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posted by janrinok on Friday March 14 2014, @04:07PM   Printer-friendly
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."

 
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  • (Score: 5, Informative) by MrGuy on Friday March 14 2014, @04:30PM

    by MrGuy (1007) on Friday March 14 2014, @04:30PM (#16490)

    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.

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  • (Score: 1) by cculpepper on Friday March 14 2014, @04:33PM

    by cculpepper (46) on Friday March 14 2014, @04:33PM (#16493)

    How long befor a "mass flagging" flags Google itself? Then how could we use the Internet?!

  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by d on Friday March 14 2014, @05:26PM

    by d (523) on Friday March 14 2014, @05:26PM (#16523)

    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

    by Angry Jesus (182) on Friday March 14 2014, @06:28PM (#16554)

    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

      by lhsi (711) on Friday March 14 2014, @10:27PM (#16664) Journal
      Here is a relativly clear explanation of it from the Open Rights Group Wiki: https://wiki.openrightsgroup.org/wiki/Blocking_of_ extremist_material#YouTube_flagging [openrightsgroup.org]

      In March 2014 it was reported[5][6] in the Financial Times that YouTube had given the Home Office “super flagger†(moderation) powers to enable to flag content in bulk to be reviewed for "Terms of Service" violations. Google have said that its "trusted flagger" tool is available to organisations that flag lots of content (including NGOs) and have a high hitrate for videos that are in violation. The "reporting at scale" is the ability to flag up to ten videos per report. No additional priority is given to these requests over normal flagging[7].

      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.