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Age old practicality problems...

EFF argues against a Canadian impossible to comply with age verification for porn bill


Link Here24th April 2021
Full story: Internet Censorship in Canada...Proposal for opt in intenet blocking

Canadian Senate Bill S-203 , AKA the Protecting Young Persons from Exposure to Pornography Act, is another woefully misguided proposal aimed at regulating sexual content online. To say the least, this bill fails to understand how the internet functions and would be seriously damaging to online expression and privacy. It's bad in a variety of ways, but there are three specific problems that need to be laid out: 1) technical impracticality, 2) competition harms, and 3) privacy and security.

First, S-203 would make any person or company criminally liable for any time an underage user engages with sexual content through its service. The law applies even if the person or company believed the user to be an adult, unless the person or company implemented a prescribed age-verification method.

Second, the bill seemingly imposes this burden on a broad swath of the internet stack. S-203 would criminalize the acts of independent performers, artists, blogs, social media, message boards, email providers, and any other intermediary or service in the stack that is in some way for commercial purposes and makes available sexually explicit material on the Internet to a young person. The only meaningful defense against the financial penalties that a person or company could assert would be to verify the legal adult age of every user and then store that data.

The bill would likely force many companies to simply eliminate sexual content

The sheer amount of technical infrastructure it would take for such a vast portion of the internet to implement a prescribed age-verification method would be costly and overwhelmingly complicated. It would also introduce many security concerns that weren't previously there. Even if every platform had server side storage with robust security posture, processing high level personally identifiable information (PII) on the client side would be a treasure trove for anyone with a bit of app exploitation skills. And then if this did create a market space for third-party proprietary solutions to take care of a secure age verification system, the financial burden would only advantage the largest players online. Not only that, it's ahistorical to assume that younger teenagers wouldn't figure out ways to hack past whatever age verification system is propped up.

Then there's the privacy angle. It's ludicrous to expect all adult users to provide private personal information every time they log onto an app that might contain sexual content. The implementation of verification schemes in contexts like this may vary on how far privacy intrusions go, but it generally plays out as a cat and mouse game that brings surveillance and security threats instead of responding to initial concerns. The more that a verification system fails, the more privacy-invasive measures are taken to avoid criminal liability.

Because of the problems of implementing age verification, the bill would likely force many companies to simply eliminate sexual content instead of carrying the huge risk that an underage user will access it. But even a company that wanted to eliminate prohibited sexual content would face significant obstacles in doing so if they, like much of the internet, host user-generated content. It is difficult to detect and define the prohibited sexual content, and even more difficult when the bill recognizes that the law is not violated if such material has a legitimate purpose related to science, medicine, education or the arts. There is no automated tool that can make such distinctions; the inevitable result is that protected materials will be removed out of an abundance of caution. And history teaches us that the results are often sexist , misogynist , racist , LGBT-phobic, ableist , and so on. It is a feature, not a bug, that there is no one-size-fits-all way to neatly define what is and isn't sexual content.

Ultimately, Canadian Senate Bill S-203 is another in a long line of morally patronizing legislation that doesn't understand how the internet works. Even if there were a way to keep minors away from sexual content, there is no way without vast collateral damage. Sen. Julie Miville-Dechêne, who introduced the bill, stated it makes no sense that the commercial porn platforms don't verify age. I think it's time to legislate. We gently recommend that next time her first thought be to consult with experts.

 

 

Age of censorship...

An internet porn age verification bill progresses in Canada


Link Here19th March 2021
Full story: Internet Censorship in Canada...Proposal for opt in intenet blocking
A bill has passed 2nd reading in the Canadian Senate that would require porn websites to implement age verification for users.

Bill S-203, An Act to restrict young persons' online access to sexually explicit material, will now be referred to the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs.

 

 

'I'm not on a crusade against porn. I just want to protect kids'...

Anti-porn crusader introduces Canadian private members bill to require strict age verification for porn sites


Link Here 23rd November 2020
Full story: Internet Censorship in Canada...Proposal for opt in intenet blocking
Independent Quebec Senator Julie Miville-DechÍne is calling for censorship of online porn through new legislation that would force porn sites to verify the ages of all users.

Miville-DechÍne has introduced a bill, S-203, that would make porn sites like the Canadian-owned PornHub criminally liable for failing to check a user's age before they browse.

Miville-DechÍne, who was appointed by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in 2018, spouted anti porn rhetoric saying that children and teenagers must be protected against graphic material that she said can pollute their minds. She continued:

I'm not on a crusade against porn. I just want to protect kids from porn that is shown widely on these websites that is not at all the soft kind of stuff. It's hardcore, it's tough and it's violent.

Her bill would make it a Criminal Code offence to make sexually explicit material available to a minor on the internet. A first offence would be punishable by a fine of not more than $10,000 for an individual and $250,000 for a corporation. Fines for subsequent offences would be more substantial.

 

 

Classified as outdated...

Ontario lawmakers debate a bill to further diminish the role of state film censors


Link Here14th November 2020
Lawmakers from the Canadian province of Ontario are debating a bill to put an end to provincial film censorship.

Presumably the move is intended to save money as the bill is titled: Bill 229, Protect, Support and Recover from COVID-19 Act (Budget Measures), 2020. This includes Schedule 12: Film Content Information Act, 2020.

In fact local film censorship has already being largely wound down, The Ontario Film Review Board ceased operation as of October 1, 2019, with responsibility for film classification being transferred from the Ontario Film Authority. This body largely adopted provincial film classifications from the British Columbia Film Classification Office.

Now is seems that formal state age ratings will be no longer required, assuming that content information is provided by the distributor. The role of film censors will then be restricted to investigating complaints. Adult films will still require ratings in Ontario but it seems these will be provided by a national film censorship scheme.

Parliamentary information about the bill reads:

Schedule 12 Film Content Information Act, 2020

The Schedule enacts the Film Content Information Act, 2020 and repeals the Film Classification Act, 2005.

The new Film Content Information Act, 2020 regulates the exhibition of films, selling or renting physical copies of video games and selling, renting or otherwise making available physical copies of adult sex films.

Part I of the Act sets out the application and interpretation provisions.

Part II of the Act provides for the appointment of a Director and Deputy Directors for the purposes of the Act.

Part III of the Act provides that films cannot be exhibited for a person's direct gain unless information respecting the film and its contents is displayed to the public. This requirement does not apply in certain circumstances, such as exhibition of a film under the sponsorship of a public library or public art gallery.

Adult sex films cannot be exhibited, and physical copies cannot be sold, rented or otherwise made available, unless the film has been reviewed and approved by an entity that is authorized to approve adult sex films under the laws of a province of Canada. In addition, they cannot be exhibited to persons under the age of 18. Physical copies cannot be sold, rented or otherwise made available to persons under the age of 18.

The sale or rental of physical copies of video games is restricted based on the rating assigned to the video game by the Entertainment Software Rating Board. Physical copies of unrated video games may not be rented or sold to persons under the age of 18.

Part IV of the Act provides a procedure for the appointment of investigators and the investigation of offences under the Act. Things that are seized by the investigator may be forfeited to the Crown in certain circumstances. A procedure for applying to the Director for the return of the seized thing is set out.

Part V of the Act sets out offences, penalties and evidentiary provisions for proceedings under the Act.

Part VI of the Act provides regulation-making powers to the Lieutenant Governor in Council. These powers include the ability to modify the age restrictions that apply to the sale or rental of physical copies of video games.

Part VII sets out transitional provisions. The Ontario Film Review Board is dissolved. Licences that were issued under the Film Classification Act, 2005 are no longer needed under this new Act and expire.

Part VIII provides for the repeal of the Film Classification Act, 2005 and the revocation of the regulation made under that Act. It also makes several consequential amendments.


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