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10/12/2018 14:05:44  

After fake news inquiry, DCMS committee to look into ‘addictive technologies’

A House of Commons committee has announced plans to investigate the growth of “immersive and addictive technologies”, to advise the government on how to create policy and regulation that can protect the public from the negative effects of digitisation and “gamification”.

The digital, culture, media and sport (DCMS) committee, which is nearing the end of a multiyear investigation into fake news – which has encompassed the Cambridge Analytica scandal, online privacy policies, regulation of electoral campaigning and the general data protection regulation – will lead the inquiry.

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27/11/2018 14:01:56  

Former Lib Dem MP for Sheffield Hallam and serving Peer Richard Allan has said that Mark Zuckerberg not appearing before the DCMS Committee today is “not great.” Despite serious questions beign raised over the ethical behaviour of how the Committee went about obtaining documents from a US software developer, the Committee has brought together legislators from […]

The post Facebook VP to DCMS Committee: This Doesn’t Look Great appeared first on Guido Fawkes.

27/11/2018 12:02:59  

Rolling updates as representatives from nine parliaments question the social media company, who refused to send CEO Mark Zuckerberg

Collins says Facebook has a “consistent pattern” of failing to disclose relevant information to public hearings, citing, as an example, the fact that the company didn’t tell Parliament about Russian activity when it asked, leaving Parliament to find out through media reports.

Allan: “Once we’ve investigated, and confirmed, such reports, we publish them. Over the last few months, we’ve published several reports about attempts by Russian and Iranian operatives to spread false information on Facebook.”

The DCMS committee has released an image of Mark Zuckerberg’s empty chair, just to hammer home the CEO’s absence.

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26/11/2018 13:01:52  

Carole Cadwalladr has exclusively revealed that self-promoting DCMS Committee Chairman Damian Collins made the extraordinary move to seize documents from the founder of a small US software company called ‘Six4Three’ over the weekend – in time for Carole’s deadline. The founder Ted Kramer, who is currently suing Facebook in a messy lawsuit in California, just […]

The post Damian’s Dodgy Data Discovery appeared first on Guido Fawkes.

06/11/2018 11:01:56  

Fines announced as information commissioner, Elizabeth Denham, is giving evidence to parliament’s DCMS committee

Follow all the political reaction here

UKIP has also refused to speak with the ICO, Denham says. “It’s been frustrating that they’ve refused to co-operate with our investigation.”

Cambridge Analytica’s Alexander Nix and Cambridge University’s Aleksandr Kogan both refused to appear in front of the ICO for an interview under caution. “Parliament has given us new powers that came into effect in April,” Denham says, but “one of the powers we may be coming back to parliament about is the ability to compel individuals to appear. That has frustrated our investigation.”

“We are looking at the entire structure for Cambridge Analytica and SCL Group,” adds Dipple-Johnstone, deputy commissioner.

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04/11/2018 18:59:46  

We must not ignore the noxious stink emanating from the 2016 referendum campaign

The modern mind recoils from nuance, detail and reflection. Bombarded with digital information, we seek instant gratification, confuse good public policy with instant customer service, and reserve special contempt for those who would delay the Deliveroo of democracy.

So it was no surprise that Arron Banks, the Leave.EU donor now under investigation by the National Crime Agency, framed his interview with the BBC’s Andrew Marr as just another pesky metropolitan attempt to confuse and obstruct the supposedly simple matter of Brexit. The harder Marr pressed him on the ultimate source of his £8m loan to the campaign, the more irritated Banks became (“I don’t want to get heated with you”). Any authority or source of information that the presenter cited – the Financial Times, the Electoral Commission, the Commons digital, culture, media and sport (DCMS) select committee – was instantly dismissed as biased or otherwise tarnished. The most telling remark of the interview was Banks’s disdain for “the number of corrupt MPs who have sat in this seat over the years”.

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02/11/2018 18:59:12  

Western democracies are vulnerable to subversion and murky offshore wealth can be used to support far-right populists. Ministers ought to give political backing to those trying to establish if that is what happened with the Brexit vote

It has been a year since the Electoral Commission, which regulates party and election finance, announced its investigation into Arron Banks, the biggest financial backer of the 2016 Brexit campaign. In response, the businessman tweeted “Gosh I’m terrified”. He now has grounds to be. This week the regulator said it had reasonable grounds to suspect that some of the £8m with which he funded the unofficial Leave.EU campaign came from an offshore company. The regulator says a “number of criminal offences” may have been committed; the National Crime Agency is on the trail. A graver allegation is being considered: whether Mr Banks was not the source of the funding for the Leave.EU campaign. If true, this begs the question: did the money itself come from a foreign source? Mr Banks denies receiving any “foreign donations”. Yet this is a serious allegation.

All this poses big questions for the nature of the decisions that this country faces. Britain held a referendum in 2016 that indulged ignorance and irresponsibility, abandoning the considered judgment of representative democracy. Our electoral laws proved ill-equipped for the manipulation of social media. The referendum campaign was unedifying and the outcome was not legally binding. MPs accepted the result and Britain is on its way to leaving the European Union. But the campaign was not deemed so fraudulent that it would damage voters’ trust in our democracy.

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01/11/2018 17:57:57  

Sports Minister Tracey Crouch has resigned over the delay to the Government’s reduction of FOBT maximum stakes from £100 to £2. After a day of uncertainty over whether Crouch would resign or not, including a stormy session of DCMS questions in Parliament this morning where she was absent but numerous backbench MPs from across the […]

The post Tracey Crouch Resigns appeared first on Guido Fawkes.

01/11/2018 01:02:56  

Law Commission England and Wales calls for reform of laws dealing with online abuse

Online communications law is incoherent and fails to protect victims of abuse from harassment such as “deepfake” pornography, according to a report by the Law Commission.

Commissioned by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), the study calls for the reform and consolidation of existing criminal legislation dealing with offensive and abusive communications.

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24/10/2018 17:58:05  

Jeremy Wright tells MPs there’s no proof of successful foreign interference in UK elections

It is “undoubtedly true” that there have been efforts by the Russian state to influence British elections, the culture secretary has told a committee of MPs, but the government has not seen evidence that those attempts have been successful.

Speaking to the digital, culture, media and sport (DCMS) select committee, Jeremy Wright, the secretary of state at the department, said that the UK was defended against direct electoral interference by the simple fact that the UK uses pencils and paper to vote.

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18/10/2018 13:57:50  

Clause means children will be able to view content on social media and image-sharing sites

Millions of sexually explicit videos will still be available online to children in the UK after new age verification rules come into force, due to a “commercial basis” clause that exempts social media and image-sharing websites.

Age verification (AV) regulations presented to parliament by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) last week do not include websites on which less than a third of content is pornographic material and where it is provided free of charge.

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