This week, the U.K. government launched an unprecedented and deceptive effort to kill off end-to-end encryption. They’ve hired a fancy ad agency to convince people that encrypted messages are dangerous to children.
A group of school principals in Cheshire, England is warning parents that they will be on the lookout for evidence that children in their care have access to adult video games at home and will “contact the Police and Children’s Social Care” if they are made aware of it.
The Nantwich Education Partnership, which represents 16 schools in Cheshire, sent a note to parents last month expressing concern that “several children have reported playing, or watching adults play games which are inappropriate for their age and have described the levels of violence and sexual content they have witnessed.” The letter specifically cites Call of Duty, Grand Theft Auto, and Dogs of War (which we assume is a misnamed mangling of God or War or Gears of War) as inappropriate, and also warns parents that children should not have access to Facebook or WhatsApp accounts before they are old enough.
“Access to these games OR to some social media sites such as those above increases early sexualized behaviours (sometimes harmful) in children AND leaves them vulnerable to grooming for sexual exploitation or extreme violence,” the letter reads (as reprinted by The Daily Mail). “If your child is allowed to have inappropriate access to any game or associated product that is designated 18+ we will are [sic] advised to contact the Police and Children’s Social Care as it is neglectful.”
At least once a month TorrentFreak reports on the often crazy world of DMCA takedown notices. Google is kind enough to publish thousands of them in its Transparency Report and we’re only too happy to spend hours trawling through them.
Every now and again a real gem comes to light, often featuring mistakes that show why making these notices public is not only a great idea but also in the public interest. The ones we found this week not only underline that assertion in bold, but are actually the worst examples of incompetence we’ve ever seen.
German-based Total Wipes Music Group have made these pages before after trying to censor entirely legal content published by Walmart, Ikea, Fair Trade USA and Dunkin Donuts. This week, however, their earlier efforts were eclipsed on a massive scale.
wipedFirst, in an effort to ‘protect’ their album “Truth or Dare” on Maze Records, the company tried to censor a TorrentFreak article from 2012 on how to download anonymously. The notice, found here, targets dozens of privacy-focused articles simply because they have the word “hide” in them.
But it gets worse – much worse. ‘Protecting’ an album called “Cigarettes” on Mona Records, Total Wipes sent Google a notice containing not a single infringing link. Unbelievably one of the URLs targeted an article on how to use PGP on the Mac. It was published by none other than the EFF.