Cross Party MPs Call on Government to Ensure Internet Access for All Children 

  • A cross-party group of MPs and former ministers have called on the government to urgently ensure that more than 1 million children have reliable internet access at home or risk irreparable harm to their education. 
  • Voluntary groups have said that households without regular internet access were struggling to carry out essential tasks like paying bills, submitting job applications and making universal credit inquiries since community centres and libraries closed in March.
  • Polly Neate, Chief Executive of the homeless charity Shelter, has described the digital divide as “fast becoming a defining social justice issue of this crisis”.

Facebook Holds Contest to Detect ‘Deepfakes’

  • Facebook has held a competition for the best algorithm which will automatically locate ‘Deepfakes’. Deepfakes are videos which can replace faces and voices of real people but are completely fake. 
  • Facebook says the winning algorithm in the contest was able to spot “challenging real-world examples” of Deepfakes with an average accuracy of 65.18%.
  • Deepfake video’s immediate harm has been the creation of pornography, which normally depicts celebrities in non-consensual sexual activities.

New Zealand Use Nude Actors to Tackle Consent

  • New Zealand’s Government has used two nude actors in a TV advertisement which aims to tackle consent among young people. 
  • The video for the ‘Keep It Real’ Online series, shows fictional porn actors calling to a house to tell a woman that her son has been watching their clips online, adding that they don’t talk about consent and “just get straight to it”, The actors then explain that this is not what sex is like in real life, and express concern that young people won’t know that. 
  • It follows a December 2019 report that revealed young New Zealanders use the internet as their first and primary tool to learn about sex – and a third of the most popular pornography clips viewed in the country depicted non-consensual activities.
  • The series also includes videos addressing cyberbullying, grooming by paedophiles, and the ease of children’s access to violent content.

UN Calls for End to Conversion Therapy

  • The United Nations has released a report documenting the global reach and impact of gay and transgender ‘conversion therapy,’ calling for nations around the world to work to ban the scientifically discredited practice.
  • The UN found that children and young people are often subjected to this practice, in part because they lack the legal right to control their health care decisions and ‘as a result of the desire of parents or guardians to have them conform to expectations, (either theirs or their communities), regarding sexual orientation and gender identity.’
  • The UN’s Independent Expert on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, Victor Madrigal-Borloz, said that conversion therapy is a risk to LGBTQ lives around the globe.
  • The UK government agreed to ban the harmful practice 2 years ago, but so far has not delivered an outcome. This month over 100,000 people signed a petition to ask the government to take action.

Teenage Sex Offender Jailed 

  • A teenage sex offender whose sexual crimes made a younger boy suicidal has been jailed for eight years.
  • The jailed offender was 17 when he groomed his victim, York Crown Court heard. 
  • The victim, who was some years younger than the defendant, gave a personal statement in which he said he had been so affected, there had been a time when he had thought about ending his life.
  • The Recorder of York, Judge Sean Morris, told the offender: “I am perfectly satisfied you knew what you were doing was wrong.”

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