Government Wants to Give State Power to Ban Websites

 

Last week Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt announced he was appointing Amal Clooney as the UK’s envoy on media freedom. Today Culture Secretary Jeremy Wright has put out a government White Paper on ‘Online Harms’ which includes proposals for a regulator which will have the power to ban the websites of non-compliant companies from being accessed in the UK at all. Someone tell Amal quick!

You would think that the likes of Facebook and Twitter would be up in arms – they are not because as Dom Hallas, Executive Director of The Coalition for a Digital Economy (Coadec), says

“Everyone, including British startups, shares the goal of a safer internet – but these plans will entrench the tech giants, not punish them. The vast scope of the proposals means they cover not just social media but virtually the entire internet – from file sharing to newspaper comment sections. Those most impacted will not be the tech giants the Government claims they are targeting, but everyone else. It will benefit the largest platforms with the resources and legal might to comply – and restrict the ability of Britissh startups to compete fairly. There is a reason that Mark Zuckerberg has called for more regulation. It is in Facebook’s business interest.”

86% of UK investors surveyed by Coadec say that proposals claiming to tackle tech giants could lead to poor outcomes that inadvertently damage tech startups and hamper competition. As with the GDPR and we are likely to see with the Copyright Directive, the tech giants are in fact best placed to absorb wide-ranging regulation. There is a real risk of the global platforms getting bigger and British startups suffering.

There is also a risk that a future Corbyn govenment will use the legislation against political opponents. When you see the likes of Owen Jones being applauded for describing the Spectator, Sun, Mail, Telegraph, Express and of course Guido, as “spreading hate”, you can easily imagine the legislation being used by a Corbyn government to close down dissident media. This is a dangerous path being foolishly and short-sightedly cheered on by newspapers who think it will scupper the global platforms who are eating into their advertising revenue.

See: Coadec report with the survey data referred to can be found in full here.

mdi-timer 8 April 2019 @ 09:45 8 Apr 2019 @ 09:45 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Programmers Add 72,000 Fake Signatures to Article 50 Petition With £22 and 3 Hours’ Work

MPs debated the viral Revoke Article 50 petition yesterday, Chris Leslie insisted “we must fight for those who signed the petition”. Unfortunately for Leslie there’s no way of verifying exactly who “those who signed the petition” really are – as Guido revealed at the time thousands of signatures came from as far afield as Western Sahara and North Korea. As even the BBC reported over the second referendum petition back in 2016, it is all too easy for people to hijack petitions with simple programmes that submit fake signatures…

A digital marketing agency in Manchester, Kent House, decided to run a little experiment to test how easy the petition was to manipulate. They found that with a basic code written in only three hours, £12 to set up a catch-all inbox and £10 for proxy servers to spoof IP addresses, they were able to successfully submit 72,000 fake signatures over just one weekend. Every ‘signature’ had a unique name, unique email address, a valid UK postcode, and was verified by email.

These programmers weren’t even trying to distort the petition, they simply wanted to show how easily it could be done. If a Remainer with basic coding knowledge and a few quid actually wanted to manipulate the petition, this shows they could easily add on hundreds of thousands of fake ‘signatures’ in just a few days. Ultimately there’s only one number that counts, the number of votes on 23 June 2016…

mdi-timer 2 April 2019 @ 12:37 2 Apr 2019 @ 12:37 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
MEPs “Tricked” Into Voting Wrong Way Over Article 13

The EU’s internet-killing new Copyright Directive has become mired in a fresh layer of controversy after it emerged that multiple MEPs were “tricked” into voting the wrong way on it. Guido understands that an extra vote was inserted into the voting list at the last minute which threw most MEPs’ voting lists out of sync. Unlike the Commons where MPs have to physically make the decision to walk through lobbies, MEPs just robotically press buttons according to a long voting list handed out to them. A clear warning of the dangers of electronic voting…

At least 13 MEPs have told the European Parliament they accidentally voted the wrong way. Now the EU has modified their individual voting records but has refused to revisit the result of the vote, despite the fact there was a majority of just 5 MEPs. The EU also rejected a direct request from MEPs to stage the entire vote again. This blocked MEPs from voting on any amendments, including on the meme-banning Article 13

Brexit Party MEP Bill Etheridge tells Guido “it’s appalling, but that’s how this place works on a regular basis. It’s only come to people’s attention this time because it’s a high profile issue”. Etheridge says his group’s staff were sharp enough to spot the switch but many other groups weren’t, he knows several ECR and other MEPs who are “mortified” after voting the wrong way on it. Now the internet-killing law has been passed the EU simply doesn’t care. “Democracy” EU-style…

mdi-timer 28 March 2019 @ 12:02 28 Mar 2019 @ 12:02 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
EU Votes Through Article 13, Kills the Internet

Remainers scoffed when Guido warned them that the EU was banning memes last year. They’re not laughing now the European Parliament has passed the final law to approve the ban with minimal changes. 348 MEPs you’ve never heard of overruled 278 MEPs you’ve also probably never heard of. So much for all that democratic accountability Remainers like to go on about…

It’s hard to overstate just how damaging Article 13 will be to the internet, it does not just kill memes, it will force all online publishers to filter any material that could potentially be copyrighted, from pictures and short snippets of music to funny GIFs. The similarly worrying Article 11 requiring websites to pay news websites for every article shared on them has also been passed. Anyone in the EU can kiss goodbye to the free and open internet as we know it…

mdi-timer 26 March 2019 @ 13:52 26 Mar 2019 @ 13:52 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
‘Revoke Article 50’ Petition Creator Threatened May, Discussed How to Buy “Legal” Guns and Take Them to Commons

Remainers and Leavers alike have been getting a little too excited about the Revoke Article 50 Petition. Yes, you can sign it as many times as you like with made up email addresses and whatever name and country you care to put in. Yes, there are videos online explaining in detail how to use bots to hijack Parliamentary petitions – exactly what happened with the second referendum petition immediately after the referendum. Is it actually going to stop Brexit? No, that will be MPs…

The creator of the petition is a certain Margaret Anne Georgiadou, who went on LBC to discuss the petition this afternoon. Now Guido can reveal a series of shocking posts from her on Facebook where she makes repeated death threats against Theresa May. She even discusses in detail with fellow Remainers how to purchase “legal” guns and go to the House of Commons.

In January, Georgiadou wrote about how she hoped that May would kill herself. In two further comments that now appear to have been deleted, she described May (or possibly Andrea Leadsom) as a “creature” that “needs putting down” and threatened to shoot May “point blank”.

In another deeply disturbing thread, Georgiadou and two other Remainers discuss at great lengths how to purchase “completely legal” paintball guns and them load them with “solid ‘training balls'” that will cause “extreme pain”. Georgiadou asks if people “need a licence” to own one and “where can you buy?” She then jokes about shooting Brexiteers “with impunity”…

Georgiadou’s friend ‘Dino Bragoli’ shares multiple more links to websites where these guns can be purchased, before instructing her to “never shoot them in the back, always shoot them in the face or better still, the groin at close range” and what to say to avoid being prosecuted. Georgiadou responds “where to buy, and how much?”

Georgiadou and the others then discuss how to make the weapons even more painful by modifying them to contain pepper spray, before ‘Chris Hunsicker’ comes up with the suggestion of bursting balloons filled with chili powder at the House of Commons. Georgiadou responds that his suggestion is “very constructive if you ask me”, then Bragoli shares a picture of his own pistol complete with ammunition, a rifled barrel and an extra modifications:

This is not just idle threats of violence against politicians, Georgiadou and her associates were engaged in detailed discussions of how to purchase weapons within the bounds of the law and modify them to cause maximum pain, then talking about going to Parliament. Deeply concerning….

mdi-timer 22 March 2019 @ 17:19 22 Mar 2019 @ 17:19 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Remain Campaigners Are Massively Outspending Leave Campaigners on Facebook

New spending figures released by Facebook have revealed that since October the top five anti-Brexit lobby groups have spent 60% more than than the top pro-Brexit groups. Anti-Brexit campaigners have spent over £711,000 promoting targeted anti-Brexit messages…

Despite this figure dwarfing the £444,000 spent by the top pro-Brexit campaigners, there have been little to no media reports about scale or source of these funds, or the motives of those bankrolling it. Disconcertingly, the anti-Brexit groups have also ran £37,926 worth of Facebook ads without a disclaimer, further undermining the accountability of the anti-Brexit lobby. Where’s Carole Cadwalladr on this..?

The biggest spending anti-Brexit groups according to Facebook spending data were…

The biggest spending pro-Brexit groups according to Facebook spending data were…

The hysterical noise around pro-Leave groups in the left wing media is totally unjustified…

mdi-timer 19 March 2019 @ 11:55 19 Mar 2019 @ 11:55 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
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