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Jane Fae Ozimek

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The great Aussie firewall is back - and this time it's personal

Internet censorship in Australia is once more on a roll, with more online content than ever coming up for a ban. It seems the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, deciding that the great firewall was neither a political nor a technical issue, but a moral one. First off, according to a report this week in The Australian, the amount of …
Jane Fae Ozimek, 18 Oct 2010
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Dead baby taunting troll feels wrath of law

Opinion Do not piss off the moderator – or a jail sentence could await you. In fact, do not generally piss people off on the net, or the same may apply, as unemployed Colm Coss of Ardwick, Manchester is likely very soon to be finding out. Mr Coss is a troll, with the particularly unpleasant habit of seeking out online tribute sites – …
Jane Fae Ozimek, 15 Oct 2010
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Climate change apocalypse NOW

Analysis The long-running saga of drowning dogs and weeping rabbits finally drew to a close this week, with the pronouncement by Ofcom that last year’s "Act on CO2" advertising campaign was "not political". Critics fear that this ruling now gives the green light to government "information" campaigns that otherwise look, sound and feel …
Jane Fae Ozimek, 15 Oct 2010
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Unlimited CRB checks may fall away

The end of nanny state checking is imminent. Or is it? Last week, Coalition Equalities Minister and Liberal Democrat MP Lynne Featherstone treated local constituents to an intriguing insight into her own and presumably Coalition thinking, on just how far the state should intrude into child-care arrangements. Writing in her …
Jane Fae Ozimek, 11 Oct 2010
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French cops claimed to hold secret, illegal gypsy database

The French national police force – la Gendarmerie – yesterday stood accused of operating a secret and illegal database of Roma and other travelling minorities. The existence of this database was reported in great detail in yesterday's Le Monde. It came to light by chance, when a 48-page powerpoint presentation, prepared by a …
Jane Fae Ozimek, 09 Oct 2010
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Libya applies secret sharia to block sexy URL shortener

Size really does matter. It matters, that is, if you are looking to put up a website in Libya – and the use of a "shortener" results in creation of a domain name that is either too short, or contains the dread string "vb.ly". This item of local censorship came to light late last month, when Ben Metcalfe and Violet Blue (nsfw) - …
Jane Fae Ozimek, 07 Oct 2010
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Have hordes of sex workers snubbed the Commonwealth games?

Is it possible that somewhere out there is a lost tribe of sex workers, condemned forever to wander the globe in search of work and pay? We only ask because the latest alarming reports from the Commonwealth Games in Delhi warn of some 40,000 sex workers about to descend on the event. Indian NGO Impulse NGO Network seem to …
Jane Fae Ozimek, 07 Oct 2010
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UK energy industry mugs customers

The future for UK energy may be smart technology, but the economics behind that decision are decidedly unsmart. Or possibly very very cunning, depending on whether or not you credit the beancounters at Ofgem with a degree of subtlety. On the surface, this week’s story (pdf) on Ofgems smart grid plan was straightforward: in order …
Jane Fae Ozimek, 06 Oct 2010
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UK head of online child protection resigns

Jim Gamble, head of the UK’s Child Exploitation Online Protection Unit (CEOP), has resigned in a row over the supposed independence of his fiefdom. The announcement was made late Monday night, and it appears to be Gamble’s response to the outwardly technical issue of whether CEOP is to remain part of the new National Crime …
Jane Fae Ozimek, 05 Oct 2010
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Texan smut baron spanked over UK schoolgirl snap

A porn baron was served with an expensive reminder last week that the courts take a dim view of companies ripping off other people's creative work. A court in Tampa, Florida ruled against Texan pornographer Robert Burge and his company TVX, and gave almost $130,000 in damages to 21-year-old UK fashion photographer Lara Jade …
Jane Fae Ozimek, 04 Oct 2010
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Canada prostitution laws pulverised: politicians apoplectic

A Canadian Court has overturned a series of laws regulating sex work, furthering the debate as to whether to decriminalise or clamp down on prostitution. The decision, handed down by the High Court in Ontario, effectively abolished laws banning street soliciting (communicating for the purposes of prostitution), working together …
Jane Fae Ozimek, 01 Oct 2010
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US demands right to snoop the world

No sooner does the world agree to one request from US law enforcers for the right to snoop on its citizens than they are back with yet more demands. This week, however, the US may finally have pushed too far: the EU is not happy – and it is pushing back. First up is the news that, little over a month since signing up to the …
Jane Fae Ozimek, 30 Sep 2010
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Aussie bloggers forced to balance anonymity with influence

The outing of a political blogger in Australia once again brings the issue of online anonymity into the spotlight. Harsh words have also been directed at the Murdoch-owned News Ltd group, with suggestions that at the very least it is being inconsistent in its stance on blogging. The immediate cause of all the fuss is the …
Jane Fae Ozimek, 29 Sep 2010
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Fibre broadband is good for you, Conroy tells Aussies

If anyone thought for even a moment that Australia’s beleaguered communications Minister, Stephen Conroy, would be treading more lightly after an election in which his policies came in for strong criticism, especially on the proposed internet filter, think again! In the month or so since the Labor re-administration was re- …
Jane Fae Ozimek, 27 Sep 2010
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Sex Party proposes new classification system for Oz

The Australian Sex Party (ASP) today issued a direct challenge to what it sees as Australia’s narrow, repressive and intolerant regulations governing the censorship of erotic material. In the process, it may find it has set the ball rolling on a debate with global ramifications. The Sex Party proposals are wide-ranging and …
Jane Fae Ozimek, 24 Sep 2010
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Disability rights activist chains self to tax office desk

Opinion Poor system design and large inflexible bureaucracies are encouraging outraged punters to take the law into their own hands. Is this healthy? Or is government slowly teaching the electorate that the only way to get things sorted is by direct action and being unreasonable? Take the case of disability rights activist Clair Lewis, …
Jane Fae Ozimek, 22 Sep 2010
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Youth Justice Board about to face legal onslaught

The Youth Justice Board and the Information Commissioner (ICO) may have reached a polite gentleman’s agreement that, even if the law is being broken, that’s OK for now, because the ICO got it wrong in the first place. But it may be too little, too late for children’s rights organisation ARCH, which is now threatening local …
Jane Fae Ozimek, 22 Sep 2010
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BT feathers ruffled over pigeon-based file transfer caper

BT is peeved at an experiment appearing to demonstrate that a carrier pigeon is faster and more efficient than its broadband service. The experiment, supervised by BBC Lincolnshire and carried out by weary internet user Michelle Brumfield, proved embarrassing to the telcom in much the same way as last year's South African …
Jane Fae Ozimek, 17 Sep 2010
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Facebook follows papal line on censorship

What do the Pope and Facebook have in common? They both abhor public displays of nudity. Facebook though may not go to quite the lengths of one medieval pope, who allegedly sponsored the mass removal of every penis (of the statuary sort) in the Vatican - thereby giving rise to the legend of the papal penis room, where the …
Jane Fae Ozimek, 16 Sep 2010
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Facebook fudges policy in page-purging pickle

Facebook yesterday vigorously denied suggestions that it responds selectively to complaints, or that it favours the blocking of politically progressive links over the slightly more reactionary. Still, there are red faces today at Facebook Central over the strange and divergent fate of two controversial pages. First up is the …
Jane Fae Ozimek, 15 Sep 2010
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Celeb pics row shows ACPO in frame for shake-up

Comment Allegations by the Mail on Sunday that the UK police may be making improper use of speed camera pics were dismissed last week as wholly inaccurate by ACPO affiliate Road Safety Support (RSS). Nonetheless, the story raises further questions as to the role and democratic accountability of the police when they form up into non- …
Jane Fae Ozimek, 13 Sep 2010
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Is US prudishness ruining the internet?

Opinion Is US dominance of the internet – and particularly of the social networking space – leading to the export of US prudery across the globe? Or is the growing debate on international censorship a little more complicated? As Becky Dwyer, a US citizen and, as member of CAAN Scotland, a campaigner for less censorship in the UK put it …
Jane Fae Ozimek, 12 Sep 2010
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ACPO defuses impending photo row with police forces

Just two weeks since they clarified their position on the law regarding photography, the Association of Chief Police Officers last night issued a short note further clarifying its clarification. This follows the recent exposure by The Register of a widening gulf between ACPO and local police forces over the question of when it …
Jane Fae Ozimek, 10 Sep 2010
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Police, ACPO, public set to clash on filming rights

The seizure of a film claimed as potential evidence of a violent crime may turn out to have serious implications for police, photographers and the public – though it is still too early to tell whether the eventual outcome will be good, bad or indifferent. We reported yesterday how Sussex Police had seized a film, shot during an …
Jane Fae Ozimek, 09 Sep 2010
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Sussex police try new tactic to relieve snappers of pics

The problem of police decision-making on who is permitted to take photographs of what is highlighted again in a disturbing incident at the weekend, where film was seized at an anti-fascist protest in Brighton. According to a statement by Sussex Police: "Under Section 19 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act [1984], an officer …
Jane Fae Ozimek, 08 Sep 2010
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DVLA says council snoopers are free to take the WEE

Government officials hit back at accusations last week that they were encouraging councils to break the law and snoop on local residents, claiming instead that not only are they entitled to do so, but that they are required to by law. A report in last week’s Sunday Express pillories local councils for acting unlawfully and …
Jane Fae Ozimek, 07 Sep 2010
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Godly Aussie MP accused of being online 'smut' junkie

Another day, another God-fearing Australian politician is accused of surfing hardcore adult websites. Last week, it was New South Wales Minister Paul McLeay. Just one day later, it was the turn of fellow NSW MP and leader of the Christian Democratic Party (CDP), the Rev Fred Nile to take the title of "one of the biggest viewers …
Jane Fae Ozimek, 07 Sep 2010
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Children's rights group threatens ICO with judicial review

Children's Rights Group ARCH has threatened to take the Information Commissioner to a judicial review after the data regulator declined to take enforcement action the Youth Justice Board for unlawfully collecting and distributing data. According to Terri Dowty, Director of ARCH, the Youth Justice Board (YJB) is continuing to …
Jane Fae Ozimek, 06 Sep 2010
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Bye-bye to bizarro bye-laws, says UK.gov

If you have plans to fry fish in Gloucester or beat your carpet along Blackpool promenade or transport a dead horse through Hammersmith and Fulham, you should know all these activities are still subject to local bye-laws. But this may be about to change, with the announcement today by Local Government Minister Grant Shapps of …
Jane Fae Ozimek, 31 Aug 2010
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Underweight passport pic left traveller stuck in Amsterdam

Putting on weight can be bad for your health: it may also cause you difficulties when trying to enter the United Kingdom. That was the unfortunate experience of a Mr Derrick Agyeman, for whom weight gain led to an enforced stay in the Netherlands, and litigation that is still making its ponderous way through the UK courts some …
Jane Fae Ozimek, 31 Aug 2010
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Mail on Sunday inadvertently bolsters annual smutfest

A purse-lipped piece in the Mail on Sunday directed at politicians who dare to support the legitimate adult industry has backfired, with sex tradeshow Erotica 2010 turning the slagging to its own advantage. Erotica is an increasingly jaded attempt to generate excitement around matters sexual. It takes place once a year, toward …
Jane Fae Ozimek, 27 Aug 2010
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Holiday snaps? Er, no - criminal porn

Ignorance of the law is no excuse. Nor is it especially clever, if you’re voluntarily handing your PC over to the police to assist them in their inquiries, not to understand the difference between “holiday snaps” and pictures of a criminally pornographic or indecent nature. That, however, was the fairly elementary mistake made …
Jane Fae Ozimek, 27 Aug 2010
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How extreme is your pr0n? Depends on your lawyer

Analysis In matters of extreme porn, the message of recent cases seems to be that whether you get off increasingly depends on how familiar your legal team are with a law still in its courtroom infancy. In Mold, Mr Andrew Robert Holland, of Coedpoeth, Wrexham, Clwyd, was originally charged on two counts of possessing extreme porn. The …
Jane Fae Ozimek, 25 Aug 2010
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Danes work up head of steam over manga exhibition

A manga exhibition in a Danish museum is attracting protestors concerned that material on display depicts fictional children in a sexual manner. The exhibition opened on Sunday in the Kunsthallen Brandts' media museum in the city of Odense, and is due to run through to late October. According to museum curator Christian Hviid …
Jane Fae Ozimek, 24 Aug 2010
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Australian Sex Party stands proud

Despite its failure to win any seats in last week’s Australian General Election, the Australian Sex Party was today celebrating its arrival on the scene as the "Major Minor Party" of Australian politics. This claim is based on the fact that after Coalition, Labor and Greens, the Sex Party (ASP) is now neck and neck with Family …
Jane Fae Ozimek, 23 Aug 2010
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Aus gov, ISPs book seats for firewall demolition

With the future of the great Australian firewall once more up for grabs, major ISPs are seeking to forestall government plans by announcing a filter of their own. However, unlike the government’s proposed filter, this one will apply specifically to sites identified as hosting child porn. Of three major ISPs identified by …
Jane Fae Ozimek, 23 Aug 2010
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Aussie election results: Firewall wobbles

With almost all of the election results in, the future of the great Australian firewall looks ever so slightly wobbly. Broadband for rural areas may however be about to receive a significant boost. Just 150 members sit in Australia’s parliament, so a party with 76 seats has a majority. With something like 80 per cent of the vote …
Jane Fae Ozimek, 23 Aug 2010
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Police slam internet justice - then use it themselves

Opinion Police and the courts are losing their patience with overenthusiastic net citizens, whose "helpful" sleuthing has caused trials to be abandoned and wasted tens of thousands from the public purse. The police, however, seem a little less fastidious about protecting due process where they feel a little local publicity will do them …
Jane Fae Ozimek, 18 Aug 2010
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Google, boffins crack Rubik's Cube mystery

Has Google finally cracked it? Revealed today, courtesy of the massed ranks of Google computing, the answer to the ultimate question – not the old one about Life the Universe and Everything – is 20! We’re talking God’s Number here, or more prosaically the maximum number of moves required to solve the Rubik's Cube no matter what …
Jane Fae Ozimek, 12 Aug 2010
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Defra gifts £22m to payments quango

An answer sneaked out in the last days before parliament’s summer recess raises questions as to just what the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) is spending its ICT budget on. Because alongside a few tens of thousands spent on IT for sustainable development and animal health, and a slightly more …
Jane Fae Ozimek, 12 Aug 2010
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Conroy, Family First isolated on Oz internet filter

Clear blue water seems now to be opening up between the incumbent Australian Labor Government and other parties standing in the forthcoming election on the issue of cybersafety. In plans announced this week (pdf), the Liberal National Coalition, which currently forms the main opposition group in the Australian parliament slammed …
Jane Fae Ozimek, 11 Aug 2010
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UK.gov finally kills ContactPoint

So, farewell then, ContactPoint, the database we never quite came to love. In the end, it was victim to straitened economic circumstances and lacking the courage of its own convictions. According to a Department for Education announcement on 6 August, it was due to be taken to meet its cyber-maker at noon on 6 August. A …
Jane Fae Ozimek, 07 Aug 2010
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Extreme porn law on the ropes

A stunning reversal for police and prosecution in North Wales may herald the beginning of the end for controversial legislation on possession of extreme porn. The case, scheduled to be heard yesterday in Mold Crown Court, was the culmination of a year-long nightmare for Andrew Robert Holland, of Coedpoeth, Wrexham, Clwyd as the …
Jane Fae Ozimek, 06 Aug 2010
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Court slaps down coppers in photography case

The Met Police were making a spectacle of themselves again last week both in front of the camera and behind it. That, at least, appears to be the conclusion to be drawn from one unfortunate incident and one court ruling. According to a news report by the NUJ London Photographers' Branch, Carmen Valino, a journalist on assignment …
Jane Fae Ozimek, 03 Aug 2010
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DfT denies deliberately misleading on speed cam stats

The Department for Transport last week denied deliberately misleading the public by exaggerating claims of the beneficial effects of speed cams. This follows an exclusive report in The Register, revealing that the DfT now accepts that its claim that speed cams on average lead to a reduction of 42 per cent in the Killed and …
Jane Fae Ozimek, 02 Aug 2010
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DfT 'unwittingly' bigged-up speed camera benefits

Exclusive The Department for Transport (DfT) has "unwittingly" misled the public over the benefits of speed cameras for the last four years. That was the shock admission yesterday by a DfT spokeswoman, when finally cornered by the Department’s own research. She also told us that they have finally agreed to put matters right by adding an …
Jane Fae Ozimek, 29 Jul 2010
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Police chief: Yes, my plods sometimes forget photo laws

The Metropolitan Police Force cannot be guaranteed to abide by the law when it comes to allowing the public their right to take photographs. That was the startling admission made last week by Met Police Commissioner John Stephenson under sharp questioning from Liberal Democrat London Assembly Member Dee Doocey during a Police …
Jane Fae Ozimek, 27 Jul 2010
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Cutbacks strip speed cameras from Blighty's roads

The proposition that speed cameras improve road safety looks likely to be severely crash-tested this summer, as government cutbacks make the likelihood of some counties becoming camera-free zones a near certainty. According to the Guardian, all 72 fixed speeding cameras in Oxfordshire are likely to disappear as the county …
Jane Fae Ozimek, 26 Jul 2010
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Australian Senate censors print link to cartoon

Questions were being asked in Australia last week as to just how far the moral majority was prepared to go to protect the ordinary voter from interweb nastiness. First we had the clampdown by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) on a range of material that was not illegal, but clearly too controversial for …
Jane Fae Ozimek, 25 Jul 2010
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ACTA leaks - but secret squirrel stays secret

Just who is the bad apple at the ACTA negotiations, excluding the public and forcing discussions between the parties to be held in secret? Not us, says the EU, which has come in for some stick of late – not least from Pirate Party MEP Christian Engstroem - for its refusal to allow MEPs to disseminate anything from the talks back …
Jane Fae Ozimek, 23 Jul 2010