MPs have voted to allow a new regulator - expected to be the BBFC - to censor legal porn websites. Amendments to the Digital Economy Bill were accepted by MPs during its third reading yesterday. This will mean that the the BBFC in its new role can instruct Internet Service Providers to block access to porn websites that don’t verify the age of their users, even though their content is legal in the UK.
In addition, sites that are not sanctioned must obey the regulator’s instructions and censor what is deemed unacceptable. The BBFC has indicated that:
Executive Director, Jim Killock said:
“If the Digital Economy Bill is passed, the BBFC will have the power to instruct ISPs to block thousands of websites. This is unprecedented in the UK and the developed world.
“In the short term, this is likely to disproportionately affect sexual minorities. However, there are wider implications for free speech. Once this administrative power to block websites is in place, it will invariably be used to censor other content. MPs have already asked why other material that is unsuitable for children is not being censored.”
In addition, the proposals to demand that pornographic websites use age verification technology still have no privacy safeguards. Labour tabled an amendment outlining privacy duties for the regulator, but this was not adopted. The Government did not table any alternative privacy amendments.
“Websites could choose age verification tools that cause risk data leaks, tracking and even encourage credit card fraud unless the government place privacy standards into the bill.
“This is incredibly irresponsible.”
More than 11,000 people have signed an Open Rights Group petition calling for parliament to reject these plans:
Press release: Government departments could share personal health and financial data with energy companies
The Bill aims to make it easier for low income households to get discounts on their energy bills. To do this, it has been proposed that energy companies should be automatically notified if customers are entitled to discounts.
Previously the Government has claimed that this would not involve the sharing of personal data with energy companies. However, as energy companies all have different criteria for who is eligible for a discount, this might not be easy to achieve. The proposals as outlined in the Digital Economy Bill do not rule out the automatic sharing of data. This would include data about households who are not even entitled to a discount.
Executive Director of Open Rights Group, Jim Killock said:
“Previously the Government has said that it won't hand over our data to energy companies but the wording of the Digital Economy Bill tells a different story.
“Energy companies only need to know that a customer is entitled to a discount; it’s not necessary for them to know what they earn, how many children they have or whether they have a long-term health condition.
“Under the current proposals in the Digital Economy Bill, we could see the wholesale transfer of personal information from government departments to energy companies.
“The Government can’t automatically share our data just because their system for determining who gets help is a mess. ”
Open Rights Group is calling on the Government to:
DeepMind hits back at criticism of its NHS data-sharing deal
Digital Economy Bill: Why the Tories want to police more of the online world
Reacting to news that the government now supports blocking of websites that do not apply age verification tools, Jim Killock, Executive Director of the Open Rights Group said:
“This could lead to tens of thousands of websites being blocked, despite their content being perfectly legal.
“In no way should this proposal be legislated for in this bill. There has been no thought or consultation, and the government has not even begun to define how blocking might be attempted.
“They have no idea if it would work well or badly, or whether there is serious enough harm to justify such a massive restriction on UK adults access to legal material."
“We do however know that over 90% of parents manage their children’s activities online, according to OFCOM, and that 70% of households do not have children.”
Questions of accuracy, appeals, costs and extent versus efficacy of blocking have yet to be spelled out but we are expecting administrative orders rather than court-based blocking.
Jim Killock 07894498127 / firstname.lastname@example.org
For details of mediation strategies used by parents, see
and https://www.ofcom.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0020/31754/Fourth-internet-safety-report.pdf linked from there
About Open Rights Group
Open Rights Group is the UK’s leading voice defending freedom of expression, privacy, innovation, creativity and consumer rights on the Internet.
Founded in 2005, we have over 3000 paying supporters and a movement of 36,000 activists.
Winner of the Liberty Human Rights Campaigner of the Year Award 2012
Letter from a real doctor not a spin doctor.
Yesterday Virgin were handed a £700 million pound contract for 200 various NHS services in the south west of the UK.
At the same time, you gave a speech saying that we need to look at the USA for inspiration when it comes to how to manage the NHS. (Despite the fact that they spend double on their health care and have much worse outcomes than the NHS does, especially for the poor)
So can you clarify please.
Are you still saying that the NHS is not being privatised? Because evidence suggests it is.
And do you still stand by your previous ideological oposition to the NHS as shown by:
1) A book you co-authored in 2005 which called for the 'denationalisation' of the NHS
2) As Culture Secretary you tried to stop any mention of the NHS in the Olympic ceremony?
I know that you have since said that you have changed your mind and that you fully support the NHS ( as shown by.....welll...the best evidence for your support is by your wearing of the NHS badge) but......... its just that actions speak louder than words.
I am afraid that I find it hard to believe what you are saying when it comes to your support of a nationalised NHS free at the point of care run for patients and not profits.
So please just be fair to the staff and patients. As I keep asking my toddler, please just tell the truth. If my nine year old and seven year old can tell the truth, please can you?
At least then we would know where we stand.
Rob (A worried A&E Dr)
Statement from Hull City Council: Tent City Protest - 10/11/2016
"Following a meeting with the organisers of the tent city protest on Monday 7 November, we offered to meet and assess the needs of the rough sleepers present on the site and to provide emergency accommodation. Assessments were carried out yesterday and all of those who came forward were found suitable accommodation.
"We know that there are only a handful of local rough sleepers on the site, most of whom are already known to us, and that the remainder of occupants are protesters from outside of the city.
"Since tent city was established, our priority has been to get rough sleepers off the street and into warm accommodation, particularly as we are experiencing poor weather conditions. Outreach workers have visited the site and offered the occupants hostel places. There are currently enough bed places in Hull for all rough sleepers who need one.
"We have a moral obligation to protect rough sleepers in this city, which we take extremely seriously, and we work extensively with them to enable them to live independent lives.
"Sadly, we now know that the organisers of tent city are advising these vulnerable individuals to reject our offer of accommodation and remain on site for the false promise of permanent accommodation. Many of these individuals have significant problems, addictions and complex needs and it would not be in their best interests to offer them a permanent tenancy until they are ready to live independently. We will not set people up to fail.
"We have actively sought to engage constructively with the organisers of tent city since their arrival in Hull. However, it is now unclear as to whether they are prepared to co-operate with us and, unfortunately, their behaviour is becoming increasingly intimidating to council and partner employees.
"Fundamentally, their actions are encouraging rough sleepers to remain on the street. This is totally unacceptable and we are left with no option but to instigate legal proceedings to remove the protesters from the site and city.
"We will continue to support rough sleepers in Hull and our outreach support will carry on, as it has been doing, 365 days per year."
23 hrs ·
Morning After To-Do List:
1. Take over the Democratic Party and return it to the people. They have failed us miserably.
2. Fire all pundits, predictors, pollsters and anyone else in the media who had a narrative they wouldn't let go of and refused to listen to or acknowledge what was really going on. Those same bloviators will now tell us we must "heal the divide" and "come together." They will pull more hooey like that out of their ass in the days to come. Turn them off.
3. Any Democratic member of Congress who didn't wake up this morning ready to fight, resist and obstruct in the way Republicans did against President Obama every day for eight full years must step out of the way and let those of us who know the score lead the way in stopping the meanness and the madness that's about to begin.
4. Everyone must stop saying they are "stunned" and "shocked". What you mean to say is that you were in a bubble and weren't paying attention to your fellow Americans and their despair. YEARS of being neglected by both parties, the anger and the need for revenge against the system only grew. Along came a TV star they liked whose plan was to destroy both parties and tell them all "You're fired!" Trump's victory is no surprise. He was never a joke. Treating him as one only strengthened him. He is both a creature and a creation of the media and the media will never own that.
5. You must say this sentence to everyone you meet today: "HILLARY CLINTON WON THE POPULAR VOTE!" The MAJORITY of our fellow Americans preferred Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. Period. Fact. If you woke up this morning thinking you live in an effed-up country, you don't. The majority of your fellow Americans wanted Hillary, not Trump. The only reason he's president is because of an arcane, insane 18th-century idea called the Electoral College. Until we change that, we'll continue to have presidents we didn't elect and didn't want. You live in a country where a majority of its citizens have said they believe there's climate change, they believe women should be paid the same as men, they want a debt-free college education, they don't want us invading countries, they want a raise in the minimum wage and they want a single-payer true universal health care system. None of that has changed. We live in a country where the majority agree with the "liberal" position. We just lack the liberal leadership to make that happen (see: #1 above).
Let's try to get this all done by noon today.
-- Michael Moore
This blog will include a range of reports and opinion pieces covering many issues. It will be YOUR Voice.
Running a news based website is fun, time consuming and can be costly. If you would like to help the site keep afloat please use the donate button