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posted by chromas on Monday April 08 2019, @10:03PM   Printer-friendly
from the federal-zucc dept.

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"


Original Submission

Related Stories

UK Security Agents Get Censoring Privs at Youtube 14 comments

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 ISPs Block Sites that List Pirate Bay Proxies 16 comments

TorrentFreak reports that the UK is beginning to block sites that merely link to Pirate Bay proxies. Under a series of High Court orders, copyright holders are able to update a list of "infringing domains," including torrent sites and proxies, that must be blocked by UK ISPs. Now "proxy aggregators" are being targeted:

Among the blocked sites are piratebayproxy.co.uk, piratebayproxylist.com and ukbay.org. Both sites are currently inaccessible on Virgin Media and TalkTalk, and other providers are expected to follow suit.

TF spoke with Dan, the operator of UKBay.org, who’s baffled by the newly implemented blockade. He moved his site to a new domain to make the site accessible again, for the time being at least. “The new blocks are unbelievable and totally unreasonable. To block a site that simply links to another site just shows the level of censorship we are allowing ISP’s to get away with,” Dan says. “UKBay is not even a PirateBay proxy. It simply provides links to proxies. If they continue blocking sites, that link to sites, that link to sites.. there’l [sic] be nothing left,” he adds.

One of the other blocked sites, piratebayproxy.co.uk, doesn’t have any direct links to infringing material. Instead, it provides an overview of short Pirate Bay news articles while listing the URLs of various proxies on the side.

Music group BPI, who are responsible for obtaining the original blocking order against The Pirate Bay, tells [TorrentFreak] that proxy aggregators are also covered by the court’s decision. “Under BPI’s existing blocking Orders relating to 63 illegal websites, ISPs are required to block the illegal sites themselves, and proxies and proxy aggregators whose sole or predominant purpose is to give access to the illegal sites,” a BPI spokesperson says.

[Editor's Comment: A time of editing, the TPB can be found at https://pirateproxy.sx/ ]

Website Blocking and Unblocking on Opposite Sides of the World 7 comments

We had this interesting juxtaposition of submissions in our queue today. On the one hand, pols in Australia are on the verge of passing a law that would "herald the ISP-level blocking of 'oversease pirate sites.'" And, on the other hand, it appears that in the UK, The Pirate Bay has found a way to bypass UK-mandated ISP filters. It will be interesting to see how these play out over time.

Aussie Site Blocking Law to Be Passed

The Copyright Amendment (Online Infringement) Bill was today cleared for introduction into the Australian parliament. In a whirlwind of activity it's expected to be passed this week and will herald the ISP-level blocking of "overseas pirate sites". The body representing the country's ISPs has expressed disappointment at the complete lack of consultation.

Early December 2014, Attorney-General George Brandis and Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull asked the Cabinet to approve the development of a new legal mechanism which would allow rightsholders to obtain site blocking injunctions against ISPs. And now, just three months later, it is all systems go.

"The power will only apply to websites outside Australia as rights holders are not prevented from taking direct action against websites operated within Australia," the Government said.

Full coverage over on Torrentfreak and ITNews.

TPB (and others) Amusingly Unblocked in the UK

After The Pirate Bay switched to CloudFlare's SSL service it is no longer being blocked by most UK Internet providers. Subscribers of BT, EE, Virgin and TalkTalk can reach the site without problems via the default https address. The "bug" also affects secure versions of other blocked sites, but not all.

"I believe it's because of how CloudFlare works, Simply put when you enable HTTPS Strict on CloudFlare they remove the HTTP Header from the request during HTTPS Connections, thus when they try to inspect the header to a list of 'banned' websites it won't register." Rainbows' (a TPB proxy) operator tells TF. "So any site that uses CloudFlare, has a properly configured and signed SSL Certificate and enables HTTPS-Strict under CloudFlare should be able to evade the ban that's imposed by Virgin and perhaps other providers."

What further complicates the matter is the fact that it's harder to block The Pirate Bay by its IP-address, as the true location is hidden by CloudFlare's network of addresses now.

UK Prime Minister Repeats Calls to Limit Encryption, End Internet "Safe Spaces" 88 comments

Some things in life are very predictable... the Earth continues to orbit around the Sun and Theresa May is trying to crack down on the Internet and ban/break encryption:

In the wake of Saturday's terrorist attack in London, the Prime Minister Theresa May has again called for new laws to regulate the internet, demanding that internet companies do more to stamp out spaces where terrorists can communicate freely. "We cannot allow this ideology the safe space it needs to breed," she said. "Yet that is precisely what the internet and the big companies that provide internet-based services provide."

Her comments echo those made in March by the home secretary, Amber Rudd. Speaking after the previous terrorist attack in London, Rudd said that end-to-end encryption in apps like WhatsApp is "completely unacceptable" and that there should be "no hiding place for terrorists".

[...] "Theresa May's response is predictable but disappointing," says Paul Bernal at the University of East Anglia, UK. "If you stop 'safe places' for terrorists, you stop safe places for everyone, and we rely on those safe places for a great deal of our lives."

Last month New Scientist called for a greater understanding of technology among politicians. Until that happens, having a reasonable conversation about how best to tackle extremism online will remain out of reach.

End-to-end encryption is completely unacceptable? Now that's what I call an endorsement.

[more...]

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  • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 08 2019, @10:07PM (5 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 08 2019, @10:07PM (#826396)

    When are we going to develop the tech to make censorship impossible? The social platforms are ok. The danger comes from the ISPs, like in New Zealand, not the social platforms.

    • (Score: 3, Touché) by SomeGuy on Monday April 08 2019, @10:39PM (4 children)

      by SomeGuy (5632) on Monday April 08 2019, @10:39PM (#826410)

      About a week before that tech becomes illegal.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 08 2019, @11:17PM (3 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 08 2019, @11:17PM (#826422)

        The law is hardly matters, it just means the tech will have to blend in well, and be able to throw people off the trail. There's lots to do, but the talent and money is out there. I hope somebody will put it to good use.

        • (Score: 2) by SomeGuy on Tuesday April 09 2019, @01:59AM (2 children)

          by SomeGuy (5632) on Tuesday April 09 2019, @01:59AM (#826506)

          The law does matter. When something needs to be said or a message needs to be delievered, it needs to be accessible to as many people as possible. If you want to just echo your message between between some members of a hidden underground, then fine. But if you need to reach people that can effect change, and can not do so without a potentially illegal technology tool... well, then you have let it become too late and you have bigger problems now.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 09 2019, @02:17AM

            by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 09 2019, @02:17AM (#826518)

            Mobile "Scud" servers can multicast.. Those wall wart computers are the best. Think multiple "warhead". And there's still the classifieds. That still works, doesn't it?

            Whatever, this whole cat and mouse game will eventually lead to Mad Max. The Great Pirates that run the world will exterminate 6 billion of us in the blink of an eye, if resistance were ever to mount.

            We are probably doomed to evolve into Klingons.. That is the course we are on.

          • (Score: 1, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 09 2019, @03:36AM

            by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 09 2019, @03:36AM (#826540)

            Hmm, if wswswswsws' theory about the nature of the censorship is correct (which seems fairly rational and doesn't require an illuminati-type conspiracy, just a lot of rich fucks acting according to their class interests), a hidden underground might be able to serve as a means of coordination for the theoretical international proletariat vanguard party. Maybe local sections of the vanguard party would have somebody knowledgeable who accesses the hidden underground and disseminates the information via sneakernet (or good old paper).

            Freenet would be a candidate for that model (any document-oriented distributed service really). But this might just be me having a crypto nerd fantasy. Ham radio equipment may work just as well. Maybe this role is already being served by number stations. But there is signal triangulation, which leads to the $5 wrench vulnerability, so maybe steganography and cat pics is best after all.

            Agree that if it comes to that, it's probably too late, the socialist revolution failed, and fascism has come to power.

  • (Score: 2, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 08 2019, @10:24PM (2 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 08 2019, @10:24PM (#826404)

    That should lead to interesting diplomatic discussions.

    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by c0lo on Monday April 08 2019, @11:19PM (1 child)

      by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Monday April 08 2019, @11:19PM (#826424) Journal

      That should lead to interesting diplomatic discussions.

      Not on Twitter.

      --
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0 https://soylentnews.org/~MichaelDavidCrawford
      • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Tuesday April 09 2019, @03:07PM

        by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday April 09 2019, @03:07PM (#826803) Journal

        If the UK stops Trump from playing with his tweeter, then Trump will issue an executive order to dissolve the EU. That will really get back at the UK! So there!

        Whether the order is signed before or after we know what happens with Brexit remains unclear.

        --
        If we tell conservatives that the climate is transitioning, they will work to stop it.
  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by SomeGuy on Monday April 08 2019, @10:36PM (4 children)

    by SomeGuy (5632) on Monday April 08 2019, @10:36PM (#826408)

    So what is "harmful" and who gets to define it?

    How long before we all have to be locked in a cell where we can only hear the current government/religion's propaganda?

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by legont on Monday April 08 2019, @11:02PM (1 child)

      by legont (4179) on Monday April 08 2019, @11:02PM (#826414)

      Great Britain has a long tradition of government controlled media. https://www.britannica.com/topic/British-Broadcasting-Corporation [britannica.com]

      --
      "Wealth is the relentless enemy of understanding" - John Kenneth Galbraith.
    • (Score: 0, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 08 2019, @11:11PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 08 2019, @11:11PM (#826418)

      So what is "harmful" and who gets to define it?

      Who cares? It's a tiresome subject that produces no results. It's masturbation. Let's get the tech out so nobody can "define" and restrict it.

    • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Tuesday April 09 2019, @03:09PM

      by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday April 09 2019, @03:09PM (#826806) Journal

      How long before we all have to be locked in a cell where we can only hear the current government/religion's propaganda?

      You're doing it wrong. History shows us the correct way. You turn the entire country into one large cell. You're still locked in the cell. But you are "free". Just as free as every other comrade in the cell country.

      --
      If we tell conservatives that the climate is transitioning, they will work to stop it.
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 08 2019, @10:38PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 08 2019, @10:38PM (#826409)

    Some say "Don't shoot the messenger" others pass laws requiring it ...

  • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 09 2019, @12:09AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 09 2019, @12:09AM (#826449)

    We need to punish the government for censoring the internet. But first, let's work on making censorship impossible. Then we really don't have to worry about what the government, or anybody else says about social media. Let's get those bulletproof servers up and running!

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by stormreaver on Tuesday April 09 2019, @01:16AM (2 children)

    by stormreaver (5101) on Tuesday April 09 2019, @01:16AM (#826478)

    So I presume they will be banning Christianity and Bible content any time now.

    • (Score: 3, Informative) by c0lo on Tuesday April 09 2019, @01:48AM

      by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday April 09 2019, @01:48AM (#826498) Journal

      Wishful thinking, may you be touched by His noodly appendages.

      --
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0 https://soylentnews.org/~MichaelDavidCrawford
    • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Tuesday April 09 2019, @02:59PM

      by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday April 09 2019, @02:59PM (#826796) Journal

      It will be more nuanced. They will treat it as though it and its teaching is banned with severe penalties, but without actually banning it in writing that says it is banned.

      Banning it has been tried before.

      The worst thing they could do, is for the government to embrace and endorse it -- causing the corruption of both.

      --
      If we tell conservatives that the climate is transitioning, they will work to stop it.
  • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Tuesday April 09 2019, @02:55PM

    by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday April 09 2019, @02:55PM (#826793) Journal

    if the UK were truly concerned with harmful content, they would keep the internet free of their own government content.

    Ditto for any US jurisdictions 'concerned' about harmful content.

    --
    If we tell conservatives that the climate is transitioning, they will work to stop it.
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