The UK’s porn ban will be catastrophic for small porn sites

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Porn is not illegal. Please write this down on a sticky note and put it on your fridge at some point before 15 July this year, when the UK government will begin blocking porn sites. It’s important to remember that porn is not illegal, because although the aim of the new law on age verification is to prevent under-18s from accessing adult content, the actual effect will be far broader than that.

The UK government is concerned about youngsters accidentally seeing porn, so for a long time it’s been exploring how to implement robust age verification checks. Not just a tick-box to say “I am over 18” (which, let’s face it, doesn’t work) but forcing adults to prove they are adults. In practical terms this means that you’ll either have to type in identifying details to prove your age (credit card number, drivers’ licence, passport) or visit a shop and show them your ID to purchase a one-off “porn pass”.

Not keen on having to register personal details to watch porn? You’re not alone. There are huge privacy concerns – not only does it encourage users to be freer with this sensitive data, any database that collects this info will be a tempting target for hackers. Just last week a hacker was jailed for six years for blackmailing porn site users, and organisations such as the Open Rights Group have already sounded alarm bells about the huge problems with the way AV will be implemented. It turns out the government is perfectly capable of highlighting these problems without their help, though: the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, in an act that looked like deliberate self-parody, announced the new date in an email that it sent to hundreds of journalists … exposing all their email addresses because it forgot to use the bcc: feature.

Read on…

Comments 6

  1. QUOTE FROM ARTICLE: “… the aim of the new law on age verification is to prevent under-18s from accessing adult content …”
    ————————————————————

    Just curious, but where did the government get the preposterous notion that sex and sexuality were exclusive to “adults?” Newsflash> We’re all sexual beings looooong before we become legal “adults.” Physical sexual maturity, and its accompanying hormones and drive are the stuff of adolescence. By the time we’re “adults” most of us have already been there, done that, got the T-shirt, and sex had, years before, become a somewhat routine aspect attending relationships and friendships.
    Just WTF does the government think kids are not doing until they suddenly reach some arbitrary, magic age? The Age of Majority is fine for lots of things – signing contracts, leaving home, getting married, establishing credit, enlisting in the armed forces, voting, running for office, possessing firearms, and so forth, but it is completely misapplied to sexuality.

  2. While I understand why this law is objectionable, this is just another fear-mongering headline.

    Either by the time the law goes into effect or shortly after, any company does significant business hosting sites in the UK will just incorporate age verification services into their standard subscription models (whether they’re ad-based or otherwise).

    Any small site that’s not hosted in the UK likely doesn’t cater specifically to UK residents. They’ll prolly see a small dip in their traffic but, unless the rest of Europe and the US enact a similarly strict law, they aren’t going to suffer (I was going to include AUS, but their population is even lower then that of the UK).

  3. There is a problem in the U.K. and I’m sure everywhere for adolescents and for younger children emulating adolescents.

    Sexting among peers – now the accepted thing by youngsters because pornography totally permeates the internet and that means adults saying ‘Don’t sext’ are just fuddy duddies. Right?
    But, the pictures then spread far and wide being used for bullying, blackmail or commercial trade as they are sought after by adult collectors.

    (( Let’s not highlight the children sent to prison by USA authorities over this ))
    (( Let’s not highlight the children illegally sucked into the American penal system by corrupt judges and prosecutors receiving kickbacks from commercial operators engaged in contracts for system facilities))

    Self image problems with disastrous results among young people.

    The normalisation of sex disassociated from love or real human feeling.

    The normalisation of fringe sexual practices further giving young people, only at the stage of working things out for themselves, warped behaviour.

    The normalisation of promiscuity, multiple random partners and risky behaviour.

    The very significant increase of STDs in young people — and those STDs may well be incurable.

    And on, and on ….. yada yada yada

    (Though teen pregnancy has fallen)

    In the U.K. we have a very serious problem getting hold of competent government and that is clear every day. It’s clear that solutions presented for equally clear problems have not been well thought out and are not the best. But, inaction is worse.

    All the smarty pants on this blog don’t have any solutions either.

  4. @Old Dan, Yes
    @Upi, Sexting is sending sexual pictures by phone, not connected to internet porn. Maybe you think violent video games is why there are more school shootings in the usa? Or is it violent movies? Or maybe it is the endless and countless wars of aggression the usa wages and associated culture of violence and aggression or the out of control gun culture and availability (anyone any age can get AK47’s in the mail)?
    That people under age view pornography should be up to their parents to control, which they can do by controlling their internet usage, yes, I believe they could control by not having data plans for the phones and put ‘filters’ on their computers. I read on the internet that the 60’s and 70’s was the “golden age” of child pornography. But they didn’t have phones to sext on, so why were they such sluts (it sure was fun growing up then)?
    The age of consent for the EU is 16, so why would any laws say they can’t view pornography. They can have sex with 50 year olds but can’t look at a film from Helix with models 1 or 2 years older than them? The difference between ‘After School Ass’ and me and my boyfriends is that we didn’t stage it for a film production. We didn’t have mobile phones nor internet pornography. And Bryce Forrest can go out with me any time he wants and I’ll pay all expenses.
    And I’m not going to comment/insult the British, they are doing it themselves. It is all fucked up in the usa too.

  5. Some boys accost older males for to get sex. Do know this from personally being an adult of at least twenty five such under 18 y o accosts. Do refuse ALL such. Am also of accost by under 18 y o boys with dildoes in their pants, making fake penile bulges, a set up by the police / cops. Do refuse all six of such … and that such is child abuse by the ‘THEM’.

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