from the thin-end-of-the-wedge dept.
Angry Jesus writes:
"The Irish Times reports that Google has given high level censorship powers to government security agencies in the UK.
Google has given British security officials special permissions for its YouTube video site, allowing them to have content instantly reviewed if they think that it threatens national security. They already had the power to request removal illegal content, now they can flag legal but "unsavory" content en masse.
They are in part a response to a blitz from UK security authorities to persuade internet service providers, search engines and social media sites to censor more of their own content for extremist material even if it does not always break existing laws."
UK will hold social networks accountable for harmful content
The UK government plans to penalize tech companies like Facebook and Google that fail to curb the spread of harmful content on their platforms. As promised, the country is seeking to empower an independent regulator to enforce the rules which target violent material, posts encouraging suicide, disinformation, cyber-bullying, and child exploitation. Over the coming weeks, the government will consult on the types of punishments available to the new watchdog, including fines, blocking access to sites, and holding senior members of tech companies accountable for their failures.
Both Facebook and Google have previously denied responsibility for the content published on their sites, evoking the communications act in the US to overcome lawsuits accusing them of enabling terrorism and spreading extremist views. But calls for big tech to be regulated have grown in recent years following a spate of controversial incidents, the most recent of which was the live-streaming of the mass shooting in New Zealand on Facebook.
Related: UK Security Agents Get Censoring Privs at Youtube
UK ISPs Block Sites that List Pirate Bay Proxies
Website Blocking and Unblocking on Opposite Sides of the World
UK Prime Minister Repeats Calls to Limit Encryption, End Internet "Safe Spaces"
(Score: 4, Insightful) by wantkitteh on Friday March 14 2014, @04:14PM
Someone at YouTube just pulled a Bruce Almighty on these idiots.
(Score: 5, Interesting) by PReDiToR on Friday March 14 2014, @04:26PM
It won't be long until there is a big red button on the bottom of every web page at GCHQ for instant delisting from search engines and ISP level filtering.
Do not meddle in the affairs of geeks for they are subtle and quick to anger.
(Score: 2, Insightful) by n1 on Friday March 14 2014, @05:18PM
I really don't know why your comment was modded funny... It seems prophetic or at least insightful. Unless it's funny because it's already assumed to be the case.
(Score: 2) by isostatic on Friday March 14 2014, @06:18PM
With their ties to the ISP and Hadrian's firewall, they could do it with a greasemonkey script
(Score: 5, Informative) by MrGuy on Friday March 14 2014, @04:30PM
The government has NOT been given censorship powers. They cannot remove content.
They have "mass flagging" powers, to flag items "en masse" for Google to review. Google retains the actual decision on what content comes down.
Not that this isn't a step in a potentially bad direction. But it's not (for now) direct government censorship.
(Score: 1) by cculpepper on Friday March 14 2014, @04:33PM
How long befor a "mass flagging" flags Google itself? Then how could we use the Internet?!
(Score: 2) by wantkitteh on Friday March 14 2014, @04:48PM
Better idea - flag the login page for the questionable content flagging system and it's auditing system.
(Score: 5, Funny) by GungnirSniper on Friday March 14 2014, @05:51PM
The big blue E on my desktop would still internet, right?
Tips for better submissions to help our site grow. [soylentnews.org]
(Score: 4, Insightful) by d on Friday March 14 2014, @05:26PM
Yes, and they clearly have the resources needed to review every single of these flags, right?
(Score: 5, Insightful) by Angry Jesus on Friday March 14 2014, @06:28PM
I think you are missing the point -- these new powers are explicitly directed at legal content. If "flagging" it did nothing, the government wouldn't have pursued these privileges in the first place. The fact that they've also streamlined the process is just icing on the cake for the censors.
(Score: 4, Informative) by lhsi on Friday March 14 2014, @10:27PM
I think it looks like just an ability to flag more things; any logged in user can flag something now already. Something that is flagged is removed if it breaks the YouTube guidlines only.
(Score: 3, Funny) by krishnoid on Friday March 14 2014, @05:15PM
now they can flag legal but "unsavory" content en masse.
I for one am glad they're going to be weeding out so much of the bland Youtube content.
(Score: 3) by tangomargarine on Friday March 14 2014, @08:36PM
This would be awesome if Google just told its employees to default-deny all flags unless the video contained something obviously blatantly illegal.
Sigh...a man can dream...
"Is that really true?" "I just spent the last hour telling you to think for yourself! Didn't you hear anything I said?"
(Score: 3, Interesting) by Open4D on Saturday March 15 2014, @12:06PM
On reading this I was reminded of the first episode [wikipedia.org] of Black Mirror [wikipedia.org], where the Prime Minister is publicly blackmailed via a You Tube video, despite it being taken down after just 9 minutes.