Turns Out UK Government Only Wishes It Had Special Powers To Censor YouTube

from the not-quite-the-full-story dept

Yesterday we had a post, based on a Financial Times story that suggested YouTube had somehow given the UK government "special" powers to censor videos they don't like.

After digging deeper into this issue, it appears that the Financial Times report greatly exaggerated the facts, and while it appears that the UK government still wishes it had the power to censor perfectly legal videos, YouTube is not, in fact, aiding in this process. While anyone can flag lots of videos, YouTube has a "trusted flagger program" which gives those who are flagging many videos -- and those who have a good track record of actually flagging videos that violate YouTube's terms of service -- the ability to flag more videos quickly. It also seems likely (though unconfirmed) that the YouTube policy team that reviews the flags will more quickly review (or take more seriously) flags that come from those "trusted flaggers." However, it's really not all that different than YouTube's regular flagging, and as such won't allow the easy censorship of legitimate content.

The FT's report on "special powers" and claims that such flags would be "instantly reviewed," combined with direct claims from a government official, James Brokenshire, about how content "that may not be illegal, but certainly is unsavoury" needs to be dealt with, because it "may not be the sort of material people would want to see or receive" is still worrisome from the position of what the UK government thinks it should be doing online. But it appears that the idea that YouTube is giving the UK government "special" powers to carry out that task is not accurate.

It is still deeply concerning that the UK government seems to think that it has a role in being the nanny on the internet over what legal videos the public can and cannot watch, but YouTube has long been a supporter of free speech -- even on controversial videos -- as seen by the company's support for keeping controversial videos like Innocence of Muslims online (until recently forced by a court to censor it).

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 14th, 2014 @ 4:52pm

    this is what I was saying yesterday

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 14th, 2014 @ 4:58pm

    This attitude of governments is still a problem as its is pressure to turn platforms in gatekeeper controlled publishers, or for them to limit uploads to accredited publishers.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 14th, 2014 @ 5:10pm

      Re:

      I don't think they will ever be able to do that

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Mar 29th, 2014 @ 10:09pm

        Re: Re:

        nukes will fly before they totally make the internet bland and annoying. where's the "intelligence" agencies honeypot if it's not there?

        Remember, the point of all this is constantly reminding us that we're slaves to their whims.

         

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 14th, 2014 @ 5:36pm

    the UK is fast turning towards an authoritarian nation. once it started down the censorship road, everyone warned it could only get worse and probably out of hand! when it all goes shit shaped, as it is bound to do, and countries like China make comments about what has happened to the free speech and privacy complained so bitterly about lacking there, when the UK has become a lot worse!!
    he's gonna learn the hard way that following orders of a self-interested industry or a main player in their game, wont pay off. it will only bring problems that will be very tricky to fix!!

     

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    Mr. Oizo, Mar 14th, 2014 @ 10:07pm

    God damn it Mike

    'Trusted flaggers' program. Indeed an euphemism for handing them censorship powers. Why can Google never do anything wrong for you ? Whenever possible you extend sentences by interpreting the results or the meanings behind sentences (which is certainly not a wrong thing to do), yet with 'trusted flaggers' you interpret it merely as 'oh right, there is trust involved'.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 15th, 2014 @ 9:21am

    I had a video censored just because of the title.

     

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    jeff todd, Mar 15th, 2014 @ 12:47pm

    state control

    the web is success because it is free of state control; once they get their foot in the door for any excuse, censorship will follow. without the web Climategate would have been buried by the BBC.

     

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    roger, Mar 16th, 2014 @ 2:05am

    if a Christian did a thing like this in a muslim country they would be executed on the spot. but we have a freedom of speech that is being abused.These people are not human there animals because they have no humanity in them and the people that watch it are no better. Britain need not go aboard to fight we have them living among us. if they don't like us why live here the death penalty for treason needs bringing back anyone how defaces the union flag or what it stands for people that fight our army and still hold a british passport

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 16th, 2014 @ 5:14am

    Wanting it, is absolutely just as bad, it means that one day, us all might have the privalage to find out one day, that the uk/insert tyranical g off choice, has been doing this/insert overreach, for the last fucking ten years, ..........and slipped their minds to "tell" us about our consent, that we must have given.....obviously..............i mean, for the folks around the world "running things", they sure got terrible memories

     

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