The Indian state of Uttarakhand has been hearing a rape case and has decided that porn was to blame. So the court is looking to resurrect an internet porn ban first mooted in 2015.
On August 3rd, 2015, three years back, the Government. of India had passed a notification which ordered all ISPs to ban pornographic content with immediate effect . Around 857 pornographic websites were ordered to be banned, and ISPs were duly
However, the Government faced massive backlash over this issue and were criticized for banning porn. Some even described this as Talibanization of the Internet. After two days, a new notification was issued; and this time, the responsibility for
the porn ban was passed over to the Internet Service Provider and limited to banning child porn.
Now the Uttarakhand High Court has ordered all Internet Service Providers to immediately ban porn websites, across India. If they fail to do so, then their license can be canceled!
While hearing a recent case of gang-rape in a school at Dehradun, the bench at Uttarakhand High Court comprising of acting chief justice Rajiv Sharma and justice Manoj Tiwari has asked the Centre Govt. to strictly implement a blanket ban on
pornography sites. The Bench observed:
Unlimited access to these pornographic sites is required to be blocked/curbed to avoid an adverse influence on the impressionable minds of children.
Nepal's Government will soon ban porn sites in the country. The Ministry of Communication and Information technology (MOCIT) has instructed the internet censor, the NTA, to ban porn websites and any other sexually offensive/indecent content.
The government cited an increase in the rate of rape incident in the country as the reason fir the censorship. It also claims that the easy sexual content access increases sexual violence in the country.
The ministry also requests all the ISPs, telecom operators, social media operators, and Internet users not to distribute, publish and broadcast such sexual content in the country.
Some popular porn sites have been blocked for some years. Whereas some websites are still operating freely.
Attempting to read a censored websites leads to a page simply saying: This website has been blocked as per NTA's Policy.
The often contentious subject of pornography is explored in a new book, which seeks to contribute to the ever developing academic debate on this topic.
The book, Pornographies: Critical Positions is published by the University of Chester Press.
The book is also a milestone in academic writings on this topic, as it marks the shift towards studying pornography beyond the idea that it is simply a manifestation of dangerous patriarchal oppression and provides valuable insights into
contemporary culture and politics, and our ideas about gender, sexuality and bodies.
The volume has been edited by Dr Katherine Harrison, Senior Lecturer in Media at Leeds Beckett University; and Dr Cassandra Ogden, Senior Lecturer in Sociology at Liverpool John Moores University.
Dr Katherine Harrison said:
Pornography is no longer considered to be a single, homogenous 'thing'. Nor are debates about pornography limited to the reductive anti-porn versus anti-censorship controversies of the mid-20th century. Whether we like it or not, porn is a major
part of global culture, economy and society and -- if only by that virtue alone -- deserves to be studied seriously. The Internet is ubiquitous in our everyday lives and its significances and effects are widely studied on Social Sciences
degrees. However, one of the major uses of the Internet is the production, dissemination and consumption of pornography and this is rarely studied directly at undergraduate level. The book aims to address this omission by making the academic
study of pornography accessible to readers at all levels. It is worth noting that one of the contributors, Professor Feona Attwood, is Founding Editor of Routledge's international journal Porn Studies , the pre-eminent publication for porn
research and scholarship in the world.
Niche porn producer, Pandora Blake, Misha Mayfair, campaigning lawyer Myles Jackman and Backlash are campaigning to back a legal challenge to the upcoming internet porn censorship regime in the UK. They write on a new
We are mounting a legal challenge.
Do you lock your door when you watch porn 203 or do you publish a notice in the paper? The new UK age verification law means you may soon have to upload a proof of age to visit adult sites. This would connect your legal identity to a database of
all your adult browsing. Join us to prevent the damage to your privacy.
The UK Government is bringing in age verification for adults who want to view adult content online; yet have failed to provide privacy and security obligations to ensure your private information is securely protected.
The law does not currently limit age verification software to only hold data provided by you just in order to verify your age. Hence, other identifying data about you could include anything from your passport information to your credit card
details, up to your full search history information. This is highly sensitive data.
What are the Privacy Risks?
Data Misuse - Since age verification providers are legally permitted to collect this information, what is to stop them from increasing revenue through targeting advertising at you, or even selling your personal data?
Data Breaches - No database is perfectly secure, despite good intentions. The leaking or hacking of your sensitive personal information could be truly devastating. The Ashley Madison hack led to suicides. Don't let the Government allow your
private sexual preferences be leaked into the public domain.
What are we asking money for?
We're asking you to help us crowdfund legal fees so we can challenge the new age verification rules under the Digital Economy Act 2017. We re asking for 2£10,000 to cover the cost of initial legal advice, since it's a complicated area of law.
Ultimately, we'd like to raise even more money, so we can send a message to Government that your personal privacy is of paramount importance.
Pornhub's Age verification system AgeID has announced an exclusive partnership with OCL and its Portes solution for providing anonymous face-to-face age verification solution where retailers OK the age of customers who buy a card enabling porn
access. The similar AVSecure scheme allows over 25s to buy the access card without showing any ID but may require to see unrecorded ID from those appearing less than 25.
According to the company, the PortesCard is available to purchase from selected high street retailers and any of the U.K.'s 29,000 PayPoint outlets as a voucher. Each PortesCard will cost £4.99 for use on a single device, or £8.99 for use across
multiple devices. This compares with £10 for the AVSecure card.
Once a card or voucher is purchased, its unique validation code must be activated via the Portes app within 24 hours before expiring. Once the user has been verified they will automatically be granted access to all adult sites using AgeID. Maybe
this 24 hour limit is something to do with an attempt to restrict secondary sales of porn access codes by ensuring that they get tied to devices almost immediately. It all sounds a little hasslesome.
As an additional layer of protection, parents can quickly and simply block access on their children's devices to sites using Portes, so PortesCards cannot be associated with AgeID.
But note that an anonymously bought card is not quite a 100% safe solution. One has to consider whether if the authorities get hold of a device whether the can then see a complete history of all websites accessed using the app or access code. One
also has to consider whether someone can remotely correlate an 'anonymous' access code with all the tracking cookies holding one's id.
newly published study that examined a large representative sample of highly watched pornographic videos from a leading online streaming website, we found no evidence for the claim that pornography has become more violent over the last
We also found no evidence for often-heard claims that viewers increasingly prefer aggressive content.
Pornography and sexually explicit materials have long been a matter of intense debate. Since the so-called
sex wars of the 1970s, activists and academics have been embroiled in disputes concerning the production conditions, future directions and long-term consequences of pornography.
Since the rise of online porn along with social media, discussions about pornography have taken on a life of their own, largely unhinged from a credible or systematic evidence base.
Debates about aggression in porn
Our interest in the topic of violence and aggression in pornography came out of reading and hearing claims both in the popular media and in academic circles that pornography is becoming "worse and worse."
Part of this argument has been the result of
scientifically dubious claims about pornography being addictive and users needing to constantly "up the stakes" in order to be satisfied.
According to this logic, porn viewers -- who are mostly men -- become desensitized to "soft" pornography. This forces producers to increasingly generate videos that are more hard-core, creating a growing demand for and supply of violent
and degrading acts against women in mainstream pornographic videos.
However, we found no evidence to support these claims, and most of the existing evidence for the idea that porn is more hard-core than before was anecdotal.
Studies on the presence of aggression in pornographic videos have produced wildly diverging estimates, ranging from about
two per cent to
90 per cent . Differences in the way porn is studied can cause this wide gap in results: Researchers who have looked at aggression in porn have looked at different forms of media and have used various methods to both study and choose their
They have even used various definitions of aggression. Aggression can be strictly defined as a purposeful act resulting in harm in which the target of aggression
attempts to avoid the harm , or more broadly defined as a purposeful act that
results in harm to either the self or another . The choice of definition can have an impact on what is considered aggression, creating the potential to either under- or over-estimate prevalence.
Previous studies have not examined systematically changes in depictions of aggression over time, nor the relationship between aggressive contents and the popularity of videos.
Testing the claims porn is more violent
We set out to test the accepted wisdom of the "harder and harder" argument.
We also tested the assumption that viewers prefer increasingly hard-core pornography by analyzing 269 videos uploaded to PornHub over the past decade.
one of the world's top adult websites and, according to Alexa Internet, the 36th most visited site on the Internet as of 2017, with more than 80 million daily visits. PornHub is a freely accessible video-sharing website similar to YouTube.
Most of the videos we analyzed were frequently watched, but we also analyzed a smaller random sample of less frequently watched videos so that we could compare the highly popular videos versus the less popular ones.
We tested two related claims: One, that aggressive content in videos is on the rise and two, that viewers prefer such content. We used both the number of views as well as the rankings ("based on likes") for videos containing aggression
to help us assess popularity.
We used multiple definitions and measures of aggression (including visible, verbal, non-verbal and non-consensual aggression). Our results offered no support for either of these two claims. Viewers did not show a preference for violent content.
Visible aggression was present in slightly less than 40 per cent of the videos, non-consensual aggression appeared in about 12 per cent of the videos, and nearly 10 per cent of video titles clearly suggested aggression.
None of these showed an upward trend.
In fact, while in 2008, nearly 13 per cent of the average videos portrayed non-consensual aggression, by 2016, this figure had dropped to less than three per cent. This decline in non-consensual aggression and a similar decline in aggressive
video titles suggest that aggression has become less frequent in pornography over the last decade.
We also found that videos containing aggressive acts were both less likely to receive views and less likely to be ranked favourably by viewers, who preferred videos where women clearly demonstrated pleasure.
Whether the women are actually experiencing pleasure is another matter altogether, which our study cannot assess. Nevertheless, videos where women respond with pleasure are more likely to be watched and be "liked" (given a thumb's up by
These findings clearly challenge the assumption about the popularity of aggression, at least among those viewers who choose to share their preferences.
Indeed, it seems like the majority of mainstream viewers are gradually moving away from depictions of aggression and degradation, particularly non-consensual aggression.
This shift away from non-consensual aggression may signify lower demand and, depending on the responsiveness of producers to the preferences of most consumers, might result in reduced distribution of material featuring non-consensual aggression.
That said, surveys and interviews with porn viewers are needed to further explore preferences for aggression-free pornography.
Our research suggests that those making the "harder and harder" argument may be confusing supply (what a substantial portion of mainstream porn still looks like) and demand (what most viewers actually want to watch.)
Azerbaijan's government has begun to block internet pornography sites. While this is far from the first time the country has tried to control what websites its citizens access, it does appear to be the first time it's restricting pornography.
The blocking was carried out by the Electronic Security Service of the Azerbaijani Ministry of Transport, Communications and High Technologies. The move was reportedly made due to a local court decision, but no further details were released.
In December last year, Azerbaijan's parliament adopted a new set of laws penalizing the online dissemination of banned materials. The legislation referred to a list of prohibited information that was first put into use by Azerbaijani courts in
May 2017 authorizing the government to censor online information including terrorist propaganda, suicide videos, pornography and weapons-production manuals, but also gambling and defamation.
It's not clear why the ban on pornography was implemented, but it has generated some speculation online. Journalist Habib Muntazir of Meydan TV noted that on August 15, a Facebook parody page, Politicians of Ã ayxana, photoshopped the logo of the
pornographic website Pornhub onto a picture of President Ilham Aliyev reprimanding the head of the state energy company for the country's recent blackouts. The caption read: Boss punishes sexy secretary.
New Zealand could follow the United Kingdom in bringing in age restrictions for online pornography and blocking websites which refuse to comply.
Department of Internal Affairs Minister Tracey Martin, who also holds the children's portfolio, says young people are being bombarded by internet pornography and she wants censorship laws to be strengthened.
This is a really, really big issue to New Zealand and we are going to have a serious conversation about it, she told the Herald. Martin supports the approach of the United Kingdom, which has ambitious and controversial plans to introduce
mandatory age verification for pornographic websites later this year.
She made the comments after the Chief Censor began a major piece of research on New Zealand teenagers' online pornography habits. We're pretty excited about it, Chief Censor David Shanks said.
We think it's going to give us some potentially world-leading data on the New Zealand situation and teens and pornography. With this research our aim is to get solid evidence about the experiences and perspectives of young people on the table so
there can be an informed debate.
In our view policy in this area does need some consideration, in terms of how do you regulate use and access to porn in the digital environment. The question there is . . . when the average age to get a smartphone is 10 and a half to 11 years
old, what sort of tools and restrictions can we really place on access to material that's widely available on the internet?
The Office of Film and Literature Classification began the survey last week of 2300 people aged between 14 and 17. It asks if teenagers look at online pornography, how often, what sort of content, why they are looking at it, and how they are
viewing it. The survey is expected to be completed in December.
Martin said the Chief Censor's research was vital work, though she is already intent on changes:
I have already had conversations with the Chief Censor with regard to a particular drive of mine to make sure we as a nation do something about what is the bombardment of pornography and the easy access to pornography that our young people are
Considering our censorship laws were pre-internet, this is an area that we have left for a long time without addressing and I think we need to address it.
Martin said she was not interested in wholesale bans on online content because they did not work. But she supported the UK Government's approach, saying she was interested in any policy which helped to protect young people. She added:
I would really like to watch how they implement it and see what are the challenges for them.
Elspeth Howe, a member of the House of Lords, has written an article in the Telegraph outlining her case that the remit for the BBFC to censor internet porn sites should be widened to include a wider range of material that she does not like.
This seems to tally with other recent news that the CPS is reconsidering its views on what pornographic content should be banned from publication in Britain.
Surely these debates are related to the detailed guidelines to be used by the BBFC when either banning porn sites, or else requiring them to implement strict age verification for users. It probably explains why the Telegraph recently reported
that the publication of the final guidelines has been delayed until at least the autumn.
Categories of Porn
For clarity the categories of porn being discussed are as follows:
(proposal by CPS)
(proposal by Howe))
Softcore porn rated 18 under BBFC guidelines
- Will be allowed subject to strict age verification
Vanilla hardcore porn rated R18 under current BBFC guidelines
- Will be allowed subject to strict age verification
Beyond R18 hardcore porn that includes material historically banned by the CPS claiming obscenity, ie fisting, golden showers, BDSM, female ejaculation, and famously from a recent anti censorship campaign, face sitting/breath play. Such
material is currently cut from R18s.
- Such content will be allowed under the current Digital Economy Act for online porn sites
- This category is currently banned for offline sales in the UK, but the CPS has just opened a public consultation on its proposal to legalise such content, as long as it is consensual. Presumably this is related to the
government's overarching policy: What's illegal offline, is illegal online.
Extreme Porn as banned from possession in the UK under the Dangerous Pictures Act. This content covers, bestiality, necrophilia, realistic violence likely to result in serious injury, realistic rape
- This content is illegal to possess in the UK and any websites with such content will be banned by the BBFC regardless of age verification implementation
Cartoon Porn depicting under 18s
- This content is banned from possession in the UK but will be allowed online subject to age verification requirements
Photographic child porn
This is already totally illegal in the UK on all media. Any foreign websites featuring such content are probably already being blocked by ISPs using lists maintained by the IWF. The BBFC will ban anything it spots that may have slipped through
'What's illegal offline, is illegal online'
Elspeth Howe writes:
I very much welcome part three of the Digital Economy Act 2017 which requires robust age verification checks to protect children from accessing pornography. The Government deserves congratulations for bringing forward this seminal provision,
due to come into effect later this year.
The Government's achievement, however, has been sadly undermined by amendments that it introduced in the House of Lords, about which there has been precious little public debate. I very much hope that polling that I am placing in the public
domain today will facilitate a rethink.
When the Digital Economy Bill was introduced in the Lords, it proposed that legal pornography should be placed behind robust age verification checks. Not surprisingly, no accommodation for either adults or children was made for illegal
pornography, which encompasses violent pornography and child sex abuse images.
As the Bill passed through the Lords, however, pressure was put on the Government to allow adults to access violent pornography, after going through age-verification checks, which in other contexts it would be illegal to supply. In the end the
Government bowed to this pressure and introduced amendments so that only one category of illegal pornography will not be accessible by adults.
[When Howe mentions violent pornography she is talking about the Beyond R18 category, not the Extreme Porn category, which will be the one category mentioned that will not be accessible to adults].
The trouble with the idea of banning Beyond R18 pornography is that Britain is out of step with the rest of the world. This category includes content that is ubiquitous in most of the major porn websites in the world. Banning so much content
would be simply be impractical. So rather than banning all foreign porn, the government opted to remove the prohibition of Beyond R18 porn from the original bill.
Another category that has not hitherto come to attention is the category of cartoon porn that depicts under 18s. The original law that bans possession of this content seemed most concerned about material that was near photographic, and indeed may
have been processed from real photos. However the law is of most relevance in practical terms when it covers comedic Simpsons style porn, or else Japanese anime often featuring youthful, but vaguely drawn cartoon characters in sexual scenes.
Again there would be problems of practicality of banning foreign websites from carry such content. All the major tube sites seems to have a section devoted to Hentai anime porn which edges into the category.
In July 2017, Howe introduced a bill that would put Beyond R18 and Cartoon Porn back into the list of prohibited material in the Digital Economy Act. The bill is titled the Digital Economy Act 2017 (Amendment) (Definition of Extreme
Pornography) Bill and is still open, but further consideration in Parliament has stalled, presumably as the Government itself is currently addressing these issues.
The bill adds in to the list of prohibitions any content that has been refused a BBFC certificate or would be refused a certificate if it were to be submitted. This would catch both the Beyond Porn and Cartoon Porn categories.
The government is very keen on its policy mantra: What's illegal offline, is illegal online and it seems to have addressed the issue of Beyond 18 material being illegal offline but legal online. The government is proposing to relax its own
obscenity rules so that Beyond R18 material will be legalised, (with the proviso that the porn is consensual). The CPS has published a
public consultation with this proposal, and it should be ready for implementation after the consultation closes on 17th October 2018.
Interestingly Howe seems to have dropped the call to ban Beyond R18 material in her latest piece, so presumably she has accepted that Beyond R18 material will soon be classifiable by the BBFC, and so not an issue for her bill.
Still to be Addressed
That still leaves the category of Cartoon Porn to be addressed. The current Digital Economy Act renders it illegal offline, but legal online. Perhaps the Government has given Howe the nod to rationalise the situation by making banning the likes
of Hentai. Hence Howe is initiating a bit of propaganda to support her bill. She writes:
The polling that I am putting in the public domain specifically addresses the non-photographic child sex abuse images and is particularly interesting because it gauges the views of MPs whose detailed consideration of the Bill came before the
controversial Lords amendments were made.
According to the survey, which was conducted by ComRes on behalf of CARE, a massive 71% of MPs, rising to 76% of female MPs, stated that they did not believe it was right for the Digital Economy Act to make non-photographic child sex abuse
images available online to adults after age verification checks. Only 5% of MPs disagreed.
There is an opportunity to address this as part of a review in the next 18 months, but things are too serious to wait .The Government should put matters right now by adopting my very short, but very important two-clause Digital Economy Act
(Amendment) (Extreme Pornography) Bill which would restore the effect of the Government's initial prohibition of this material.
I -- along with 71 per cent of MPs -- urge the Government to take action to ensure that the UK's internet does not endorse the sexual exploitation of children.
I haven't heard of this issue being discussed before and I can't believe that anybody has much of an opinion on the matter. Presumably therefore, the survey presented out of the blue with the questions being worded in such a way as to get the
required response. Not unusual, but surely it shows that someone is making an effort to generate an issue where one didn't exists before. Perhaps an indication that Howe's solution is what the authorities have decreed will happen.
MPs left behind unfinished business when they broke for summer recess, and we aren't talking about Brexit negotiations. The rollout of mandatory age verification (AV) technology for adult websites is being held up once again while the
Government mulls over final details. AV tech will create highly sensitive databases of the public's porn watching habits, and Open Rights Groups submitted a
report warning the proposed privacy protections are woefully inadequate. The Government's hesitation could be a sign they are receptive to our concerns, but we expect their final guidance will still treat privacy as an afterthought. MPs need
to understand what's at stake before they are asked to approve AV guidelines after summer.
AV tools will be operated by private companies, but if the technology gets hacked and the personal data of millions of British citizens is breached, the Government will be squarely to blame. By issuing weak guidelines, the Government is begging
for a Cambridge Analytica-style data scandal. If this technology fails to protect user privacy, everybody loses. Businesses will be damaged (just look at Facebook), the Government will be embarrassed, and the over 20 million UK residents who view
porn could have their private sexual preferences exposed. It's in everybody's interest to fix this. The draft guidance lacks even the basic privacy protections required for other digital tools like credit card payments and email services.
Meanwhile, major data breaches are rocking international headlines on a regular basis. AV tech needs a dose of common sense.
Internet censors of the Uganda Communication Commission (UCC) have instructed telecommunications companies and ISPs to block a list of pornography websites. Godfrey Mutabazi, Executive Director at the UCC, has said that they have identified 17
popular local and 10 international pornography websites which they, as the UCC, have asked ISP's and telecommunications companies to block.
The commission received the list of porn sites from the Pornography Control Committee. The committee has established that the list of the websites attached hereto is currently streaming pornography to Uganda in breach of section 13 of the
Anti-Pornography Act, 2014.
Mutabazi has warned that telecom companies and internet providers risk penalties if they don't comply with the new directive.
Perhaps the recent introduction of high taxes on social media websites has pushed Ugandans onto the next best internet freebie, porn.
The Crown Prosecution Service has just published proposals to end obscenity prosecutions of images and videos of fisting, golden showers, squirting and bondage.
The key proposed prosecution policy update:
When considering whether the content of an article is “obscene”, prosecutors
should distinguish between:
Content showing or realistically depicting criminal conduct (whether
non-consensual activity, or consensual activity where serious harm is
caused), which is likely to be obscene;
Content showing or realistically depicting other conduct which is lawful,
which is unlikely to be obscene.
And there is a consultation question to ask about this new policy
Question 2 Do consultees agree or disagree with the guidance that prosecutors must exercise real caution when dealing with the moral nature of acts not criminalized by law, and that the showing or realistic depiction of
sexual activity / pornography which does not constitute acts or conduct contrary to the criminal law is unlikely to be obscene?
16. The following conduct (notwithstanding previous guidance indicating otherwise) will not likely fall to be prosecuted under the Act:
Activity involving bodily substances (including urine, vomit, blood and faeces)
Infliction of pain / torture
Bondage / restraint
Placing objects into the urethra
Any other sexual activity not prohibited by law
It is consensual;
No serious harm is caused;
It is not otherwise inextricably linked with other criminality; and
The likely audience is not under 18 or otherwise vulnerable.
More to follow after reading the document but the new policy seems to expand on the concept of obscenity to incorporate modern issues such as revenge porn, or non consensual publications eg upskirting.
Maybe this change of heart is related to a delay in age verification guidelines for the new BBFC internet porn censorship regime. It would seem very closely related.
David Austin as penned what looks like an official BBFC campaigning piece trying to drum up support for the upcoming internet porn censorship regime. Disgracefully the article is hidden behind a paywall and is restricted to Telegraph paying
Are children protected by endangering their parents or their marriage?
The article is very much a one sided piece, focusing almost entirely on the harms to children. It says nothing about the extraordinary dangers faced by adults when handing over personal identifying data to internet companies. Not a word about the
dangers of being blackmailed, scammed or simply outed to employers, communities or wives, where the standard punishment for a trivial transgression of PC rules is the sack or divorce.
Austin speaks of the scale of the internet business and the scope of the expected changes. He writes:
There are around five million pornographic websites across the globe. Most of them have no effective means of stopping children coming across their content. It's no great surprise, therefore, that Government statistics show that 1.4 million
children in the UK visited one of these websites in one month.
The BBFC will be looking for a step change in the behaviour of the adult industry. We have been working with the industry to ensure that many websites carry age-verification when the law comes into force.
Millions of British adults watch pornography online. So age-verification will have a wide reach. But it's not new. It's been a requirement for many years for age-restricted goods and services, including some UK hosted pornographic material.
I guess at this last point readers will be saying I never knew that. I've never come across age verification ever before. But the point here is these previous rules devastated the British online porn industry and the reason people don't ever come
across it, is that there are barely any British sites left.
Are children being protected by impoverishing their parents?
Not that any proponents of age verification could care less about British people being able to make money. Inevitably the new age verification will further compound the foreign corporate monopoly control on yet another internet industry.
Having lorded over a regime that threatens to devastate lives, careers and livelihoods, Austin ironically notes that it probably won't work anyway:
The law is not a silver bullet. Determined, tech-savvy teenagers may find ways around the controls, and not all pornography online will be age-restricted. For example, the new law does not require pornography on social media platforms to be
placed behind age-verification controls.
The government is braced for criticism next week over an anticipated delay in its prospective curbs on under 18s' access to hardcore porn sites.
The current timetable culminating in the implementation of UK porn censorship by the end of the year required that the final censorship guidelines are presented to MPs before they go on holiday on Thursday. They will then be ready to approve them
when they return to work in the autumn. It sound like they won't be ready for publishing by this Thursday.
The BBFC noted that they were due to send the results of the public consultation along with the BBFC censorship rules to the government by late May of this year so presumably the government is still pondering what to do.
'Best practice' just like Facebook and Cambridge Analytica
Back in April when the BBFC initiated its rather naive draft rules for public consultation its prose tried to suggest that we can trust age verifiers with our most sensitive porn browsing data because they will voluntarily follow 'best practice'.
But in light of the major industry player, in this case Facebook, allowing Cambridge Analytica to so dramatically abuse our personal data, the hope that these people will follow best practice' is surely forlorn.
And there was the implementation of GDPR. The BBFC seemed to think that this was all that was needed to keep our data safe. But when t comes down to it all GDPR seems to have done is to train us, like Pavlov's dogs, to endlessly tick the consent
box for all these companies to do what the hell they like with our data.
Then there was a nice little piece of research this week that revealed that network level ISP filtering of porn has next to no impact on preventing young porn seekers from obtaining their kicks. The research notes seems to suggest that it is not
enough to block porn one lad because he has 30 mates whose house he can round to surf the web there, or else it only takes a few lads to be able to download porn and it will soon be circulated to the whole community on a memory stick or whatever.
Mass Buy in
I guess the government is finding it tough to find age verification ideas that are both convenient for adult users, whilst remaining robust about preventing access by the under 18s. I think the governments needs to find a solution that will
achieve a mass buy in by adult users. If the adults don't want to play ball with the age verification process, then the first fall back position is for them to use a VPN. I know that from my use of VPNS that they are very good, and once you turn
it on then I find it gets left on all day. I am sure millions of people using VPNs would not go down well with the security services on the trail of more serious crimes than under age porn viewing.
I think the most likely age verification method proposed to date that has a chance of a mass buy-in is the AVSecure system of anonymously buying a porn access card from a local shop, and using a PIN, perhaps typed in once a day. Then they are
able to browse without further hassle on all participating websites. But I think it would require a certain pragmatism from government to accept this idea, as it would be so open to over 18s buying a card and then selling the PIN to under 18s, or
perhaps sons nicking their Dad's PINS when they see the card lying around, (or even perhaps installing a keyboard logger to nick the password).
The government would probably like something more robust where PINS have to be matched to people's proven ID. But I think pron users would be stupid to hand over their ID to anyone on the internet who can monitor porn use. The risks are enormous,
reputational damage, blackmail, fraud etc, and in this nasty PC world, the penalty of the most trivial of moral transgressions is to lose your job or even career.
A path to failure
The government is also setting out on a path when it can do nothing but fail. The Telegraph piece mentioned above is already lambasting the government for not applying the rules to social media websites such as Twitter, that host a fair bit of
porn. The Telegraph comments:
Children will be free to watch explicit X-rated sex videos on social media sites because of a loophole in a new porn crackdown, Britain's chief censor has admitted.
David Austin, chief executive of the BBFC, has been charged by ministers with enforcing new laws that require people to prove they are over 18 to access porn sites. However, writing for telegraph.co.uk, Mr Austin admitted it would not be a
silver bullet as online porn on sites such as Facebook and YouTube would escape the age restrictions. Social media companies will not be required to carry age-verification for pornographic content on their platforms. He said it was a matter for
government to review this position.
Nobody seems to have heard much about the progress of the BBFC consultation about the process to censor internet porn in the UK.
The sketchy timetable laid out so far suggests that the result of the consultation should be published prior to the Parliamentary recess scheduled for 26th July. Presumably this would provide MPs with some light reading over their summer hols
ready for them to approve as soon as the hols are over.
Maybe this publication may have to be hurried along though, as pesky MPs are messing up Theresa May's plans for a non-Brexit, and she would like to send them packing a week early before they can cause trouble. ( Update
18th July . The early holidays idea has now been shelved).
The BBFC published meeting minutes this week that mentions the consultation:
The public consultation on the draft Guidance on Age Verification Arrangements and the draft Guidance on Ancillary Service Providers closed on 23 April. The BBFC received 620 responses, 40 from organisations and 580 from individuals. Many of the
individual responses were encouraged by a campaign organised by the Open Rights Group.
Our proposed response to the consultation will be circulated to the Board before being sent to DCMS on 21 May.
So assuming that the response was sent to the government on the appointed day then someone has been sitting on the results for quite a long time now.
Meanwhile its good to see that people are still thinking about the monstrosity that is coming our way. Ethical porn producer Erica Lust has been speaking to News Internationalist. She comments on the way the new law will compound MindGeek's
monopolitistc dominance of the online porn market:
The age verification laws are going to disproportionately affect smaller low-traffic sites and independent sex workers who cannot cover the costs of installing age verification tools.
It will also impact smaller sites by giving MindGeek even more dominance in the adult industry. This is because the BBFC draft guidance does not enforce sites to offer more than one age verification product. So, all of MindGeeks sites (again,
90% of the mainstream porn sites) will only offer their own product; Age ID. The BBFC have also stated that users do not have to verify their age on each visit if access is restricted by password or a personal ID number. So users visiting a
MindGeek site will only have to verify their age once using AgeID and then will be able to login to any complying site without having to verify again. Therefore, viewers will be less likely to visit competitor sites not using the AgeID
technology, and simultaneously competitor sites will feel pressured to use AgeID to protect themselves from losing viewers.
Moralists campaigners of Morality in Media (now calling themselves the National Center on Sexual Exploitation) is well impressed by the US streaming service Roku. The campaigners write:
A popular media streaming company is being called out for helping the public gain secretive access to pornography channels.
Dawn Hawkins of the National Center on Sexual Exploitation says Roku has a backdoor to private, sexually explicit channels while other competitors have stayed away from hardcore pornography.
They are facilitating access to hardcore pornography channels - hundreds of private and hidden channels - and none of the other streaming companies allow this.
Hawkins says the company is not even hiding its affiliation with hardcore porn. In fact, she says, the porn industry advertises the accessibility via Roku.
National Center helps parents protect their children from objectionable content so it has a step-by-step guide to help parents block content. But there is one streaming service without parental controls -- Roku.
The war on drill rages on. Some of its most popular videos have been banned from YouTube. 1011, a prominent rap group, is now banned from making music with any mention of death or injury, and must inform police about all upcoming videos and
In June, the police gained a court order that effectively bans drill music being made without their permission. However, even if YouTube has deemed the genre as too explicit or dangerous, it's not too explicit for Pornhub, where some drill videos
are now being uploaded.
DJ and presenter Tim Westwood's broadcasting of drill artists is turning up on Pornhub. His Crib Sessions with BSIDE , 1011 , and Zone have appeared on the adult film site, after being pulled down from YouTube, alongside a host of 1011's music
videos which made their way onto the site over the weekend.