I wonder how this report came to be created:
Human rights groups played various games to see if any broke humanitarian laws that govern what is a war crime.
The study condemned the games for violating laws by letting players kill civilians, torture captives and wantonly destroy homes and buildings.
It said game makers should work harder to remind players about the real world limits on their actions.
I’m suspecting someone coming into the office on Monday morning after playing on the XBox all weekend, realising they haven’t done the report they were meant to have completed by then and then claiming that the weekend’s activities were actually research.
However, in terms of the complaints, I’m wondering what the ‘real world limits’ are on these actions, and how they differ from what stops a player doing these in a game. Yes, there are conventions and laws against these things, but it’s still down to the conscience of the individual as to whether they commit a war crime. Yes, the game may punish them after the event for what they’ve done – and, according to the report “some games did punish the killing of civilians and reward strategies that tried to limit the damage the conflict” – but it’s surely a question of psychology as much as it as a question of law as to why and how people deviate from the ‘accepted’ behaviour in wartime.
Welcome to 2008, and the news that the UK is one of the world’s ‘endemic surveillance socities’ (via Duncan). The good news is, of course, that we are still capable of keeping up with the superpowers at some things as the USA, Russia and China all receive the same rating.
And remember that Gordon Brown still wants to make us number 1 in this list, not just sharing that title with anybody – we’re still set to get an ID card scheme that would be the “most invasive in the world”, and doesn’t that just make you proud to be British? Don’t worry if it doesn’t, the cameras can’t work out how proud or patriotic you’re feeling at any particular moment. Yet.
Is it still ultra stylish to use the phrase ‘blogging up a storm’ or is it rather infra dig? Well, whatever may be the phrase of the moment applies to Alex Wilcock, who’s written a series of excellent posts on religion and anti-discrimination laws here, here and here.
Ian Blair must resign says Alex. But don’tworry if he does go, because Tarique Ghaffur is putting in a bid to replace him as the senior police office most likely to suggest stupid things. Yes, because coming up with plans to stop the growing menace of flag-burning and the wearing of balaclavas on demonstrations should be the main priority of our police forces. I’m sure we’re all finding it impossible to walk down the street at the moment because of the epidemic of people burning coloured pieces of cloth.
Jock suggests a National Flag Burning Day though also notes that:
It might be funny if the call didn’t come a few days before half the country goes out and burns a token Catholic, or, as Lewes sometimes does, an effigy of the Pope.
Though it would be interesting to note how any such law would define a flag. Say, for example, I had something that looked like a Union Flag, but the red diagonals were in the middle of the white ones, not slightly off-centre – is that a flag, or something that just happens to look very similar to one? What about a Stars and Stripes with 49 stars or 14 stripes, or a Tricolore where the three colours weren’t of equal size? What if the newspaper I use to light my bonfire with has a flag printed on it, or has a photo of a flag within – does that count?
And what if I burn the flag of a police force to protest about the fact that it’s their job as servants of the people to enforce the laws we already have, not demand new ones?
Yes, yes, you probably heard about this months ago, but if you haven’t already, check out Amnesty’s Irrepressible online campaign.