Internet Porn Censorship


2020: Jan-March

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Offsite Article: The only point of licence is so that the state can take it away...


Link Here 23rd February 2020
A bill in the California state Assembly would require adult performers to get a business license and undergo a couple of hours of indoctrination in lefty PC issues

See article from wonkette.com

 

 

An Area of Moral Decency...

A Mississippi lawmaker introduces a bill to ban porn across the US deep south


Link Here22nd February 2020
Full story: US politicans and porn harms...US states claim porn to be a public health hazard
A Mississippi legislator has introduced two bills that would ban all online porn completely.

The bills authored by Republican Representative Tracy Arnold would not only ban porn in Mississippi but also would create a coalition of Southern states where the porn ban would apply. Other states would need to join in the legislation, but among those Arnold's bill targets would be Georgia, Arkansas, Louisiana, Alabama, Kentucky, Tennessee, West Virginia and Oklahoma.

The states would join to create what one of the bills, HB 1116 , calls an Area of Moral Decency.

Arnold's companion bill, HB 1120 , would bar social media platforms from carrying advertisements for obscene and pornographic content.

 

 

Updated: Lawmakers with negatively impacted brain development...

Utah state lawmakers introduce bill requiring a warning message to be attached to porn distributed in the state


Link Here 19th February 2020
Full story: US politicans and porn harms...US states claim porn to be a public health hazard
Utah's lawmakers are calling for mandatory warning labels on all pornography distributed within the state.

House Bill 243, sponsored by Representative Brady Brammer requires the following warning label:

Exposing minors to pornography is known to the state of Utah to cause negative impacts to brain development, emotional development and the ability to maintain intimate relationships. Such exposure may lead to harmful and addictive sexual behavior, low self-esteem, and the improper objectification of and sexual violence towards others, among numerous other harms.

Perhaps porn producers could add the note:

However it should be noted that any harms supposedly caused by porn are as nothing compared to the harm that religion causes around the world.

The enforcement mechanism is based upon anti-porn activists complaining to the state's attorney general.

Compliance details include the clear display of the warning label for 15 seconds on all videos, along with a prominent display on printed publications and websites, with the 15 second display requirement valid for all online videos and individual images.

The move is a follow-up to 2016's declaration by Utah lawmakers that porn constitutes a public health crisis.

Comment: The bill is unsupported by scientific facts, and very clearly unconstitutional

9th February 2020. See article from avn.com

The Free Speech Coalition representing the US adult trade has issued a statement responding to the Utah proposal:

A proposed bill in the Utah legislature would require adult content to carry a warning attesting to the alleged dangers of viewing, or face a $2,500 fine. The bill is unsupported by scientific facts, and very clearly unconstitutional. The Supreme Court has ruled repeatedly that such requirements are compelled speech, and a violation of First Amendment rights. The government can not force its citizens or organizations to convey a specific message, especially one political in nature.

The proponent, State Representative Brady Brammer, likens his proposal -- which would mandate a fifteen-second clip before any video featuring nudity -- to warning labels on toxic chemicals. However, toxic chemicals are highly regulated, and not a form of speech. They possess no First Amendment protections. Videos, photographs, and live performances are speech, and their creators are protected. (As for the dangers, the bill quotes no science or studies -- in fact, there is no credible evidence to support the legislator's claims.)

When it comes to adults, consumption of adult entertainment has been shown to decrease stress, increase tolerance and produce more egalitarian attitudes toward women. Over the past two decades, the availability to adult content has skyrocketed, and yet the rates of divorce, teen pregnancy and sexual assault have all fallen dramatically.

The scope of the bill is dangerously broad and would open not just explicit content, but mere nudity. All manner of film, video, and social media content could be subject to prosecution. Under the bill, individual citizens are financially rewarded for bringing lawsuits against such content -- from a Game of Thrones clip to a Kim Kardashian selfie -- if it shows so much as a bared breast and does not carry a warning of the dangers.

We have no doubt that should this bill be passed, the likely targets would be a long list of targets social conservatives regularly deem obscene -- from feminist art and LGBTQ film to comprehensive sex education texts. The State of Utah and its taxpayers would be on the hook for millions of dollars defending a law that is ultimately indefensible.

Adult content should be limited to adults, but this bill accomplishes little in that regard. Instead, it punishes speech that is not in lock step with the moral views of the bill's proponent. If Rep. Brammer wants to keep minors from accessing adult material, he should work on a proven effective solution: helping parents be more involved in their children's online lives and installing effective filters on their devices.

Update: Passed committee

12th February 2020.

Utah's House Judiciary Committee voted 9-2 in favor of the legislation, HB243 , after several strongly worded speeches about the harms of pornographic material.

Rep. Eric Hutchings said: I'm sorry, but if you want to threaten my kids, I'm not playing nice anymore,

And Rep. Travis Seegmiller said the bill's proposed fine of up to $2,500 per violation didn't seem steep enough.

Update: Passed in the House

12th February 2020. See article from sltrib.com

Representatives voted 60-12 in favor of HB243 , which seeks to curtail the prominence of pornography in the state -- and particularly its reach to children -- by requiring the inclusion of a warning label on printed materials or a 15-second advisory ahead of online content.

Failing to do so could result in a $2,500 fine for each violation,

 

 

New government internet censors...

Oliver Dowden takes over as the Culture Secretary, Julian Knight takes over the chair of the DCMS Select Committee and Ofcom is appointed as the AVMS internet censor


Link Here16th February 2020
Full story: Online Harms White Paper...UK Government seeks to censor social media
Oliver Dowden was appointed Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport on 13 February 2020.

He was previously Paymaster General and Minister for the Cabinet Office, and before that, Parliamentary Secretary at the Cabinet Office. He was elected Conservative MP for Hertsmere in May 2015.

The previous Culture Secretary Nicky Morgan will now be spending more time with her family.

There's been no suggestions that Dowden will diverge from the government path on setting out a new internet censorship regime as outlined in its OnlIne Harms white paper.

Perhaps another parliamentary appointment that may be relevant is that Julian Knight has taken over the Chair of the DCMS Select Committee, the Parliamentary scrutiny body overseeing the DCMS.

Knight seems quite keen on the internet censorship idea and will surely be spurring on the DCMS.

And finally one more censorship appointment was announced by the Government. The government has appointed Ofcom to regulate video-sharing platforms under the audiovisual media services directive, which aims to reduce harmful content on these sites. That will provide quicker protection for some harms and activities and will act as a stepping stone to the full online harms regulatory framework.

 Matt Warman, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport announced:

We also yesterday appointed Ofcom to regulate video-sharing platforms under the audiovisual media services directive, which aims to reduce harmful content on these sites. That will provide quicker protection for some harms and activities and will act as a stepping stone to the full online harms regulatory framework.

In Fact this censorship process is set to start in September 2020 and in fact Ofcom have already produced their solution that shadows the age verification requirements of the Digital Economy Act but now may need rethinking as some of the enforcement mechanisms, such as ISP blocking, are no longer on the table. The mechanism also only applies to British based online adult companies providing online video. of which there are hardly any left, after previously being destroyed by the ATVOD regime.

 

 

Opting in to censorship...

Tennessee lawmaker introduces bill for ISPs to default to porn censorship until the customers opts in


Link Here15th February 2020
Full story: Internet Censorship in USA...Domain name seizures and SOPA
A newly proposed law in the state of Tennessee would block all internet porn sites, unless a user chooses to opt in to porn by going through a series of steps and typing in a unique password. The bill was introduced last week by Republican state representative James Van Huss.

HB 2294 would require ISPs to provide parental controls that block access to a specific website or website category, and the category of pornography must be blocked by default.

Though Van Russ's Tennessee bill is titled the Safer Internet for Minors Act , the text of the bill contains no specific means for restricting access to the required parental controls to users over 18, and no age verification requirement. 

 

 

Offsite Article: Twitter has failed to keep your phone numbers safe...


Link Here 7th February 2020
How To Protect Your Phone Number On Twitter

See article from eff.org

 

 

Young People, Pornography and Age-verification...

Research commissioned by the BBFC reveals that internet porn is part of normal life for 16 and 17 year olds, just like the over 18s


Link Here 31st January 2020
Full story: BBFC Internet Porn Censors...BBFC: Age Verification We Don't Trust
The most immediately interesting point is that the BBFC has elected not to promote the research that they commissioned and not to publish it on their website. Maybe this simply reflects that the BBFC no longer has the job of internet porn censor. The job looks set to be handed over to Ofcom as part of the government's upcoming online harms bill.

The study by Revealing Reality combined a statistically representative survey of secondary school-age children with in-depth interviews and focus groups with parents. It found that adult material was a prominent feature in British childhood. Almost half of teenagers aged 16 and 17 said they had recently seen pornography, with the researchers believing this figure is substantially lower than the true figure because of respondents' awkwardness when faced with the question.

While 75% of parents did not believe their children would have watched pornography, the majority of these parents' children told the researchers that they had viewed adult material.

The report also found that while parents thought their sons would watch pornography for sexual pleasure, many erroneously believed their daughters would primarily see pornography by accident. It said: This is contrary to the qualitative research findings showing that many girls were also using pornography for sexual pleasure.

The researchers said that one side effect of early exposure to online pornography is that gay, lesbian or bisexual respondents often understood their sexuality at a younger age. It was common for these respondents to start by watching heterosexual pornography, only to realise that they did not find this sexually gratifying and then gradually move to homosexual pornography.

The research very much affirms the government campaign to seek restrictions on porn access for children and notes that such measures as age verification requirements are unsurprisingly supported by parents.

However the research includes a very interesting section on the thoughts of 16 and 17 year olds who have passed the age of consent and unsurprisingly use porn on just about the same way as adults who have nominally passed the official, but not the biological and hormonal, age of maturity.

The report uses the term 'young people' to mean 16 - 18 year olds (included in the survey as speaking about their views and experiences as 16 and 17 year olds). The report notes:

While recognising the benefits of preventing younger children accessing pornography, young people had some concerns about age-verification restrictions. For example, some young people were worried that, in the absence of other adequate sources of sex education, they would struggle to find ways to learn about sex without pornography.

This was felt particularly strongly by LGB respondents in the qualitative research, who believed that pornography had helped them to understand their sexuality and learn about different types of sexual behaviours that they weren't taught in school.

Some young people also felt that the difference in the age of consent for having sex20416204and the age at which age-verification is targeted20418204was contradictory. They also struggled to understand why, for instance, they could serve in the armed forces and have a family and yet be blocked from watching pornography.

Young people also seemed well versed in knowing methods of working around age verification and website blocking:

The majority of parents and young people (aged 16 to 18) interviewed in the qualitative research felt that older children would be able to circumvent age-verification by a range of potential online workarounds. Additionally, many 16- to 18-year-olds interviewed in the qualitative work who could not identify a workaround at present felt they would be able to find a potential method for circumventing age-verification if required.

Some of the most commonly known workarounds that older children thought may potentially negate
age-verification included:

  • Using a VPN to appear as if you are accessing adult content from elsewhere in the world
  • Torrenting files by downloading the data in chunks
  • Using Tor (the ‘onion’ router) to disguise the user’s location
  • By accessing the dark web
  • By using proxy websites

Maybe the missed another obvious workaround, sharing porn amongst themselves via internet messaging or memory sticks.

 

 

Extract: AVN Awards 2020...

...And the winners were


Link Here27th January 2020
Not quite the Oscars, but surely close enough, the US adult trade organisation AVN (Adult Video News) has handed out its annual awards. Its a very long list but here are a few selections.

Best Action/Thriller: Three Cheers for Satan , BurningAngel Entertainment

Best Comedy: Love Emergency , Adam & Eve Pictures

Best Drama: Drive , Deeper/Pulse

Best Foreign Production -- Open Genre: Elements , Evil Angel Films

Best Gonzo Production: Consent , Evil Angel Films

Best Leading Actress: Angela White, Perspective , Adult Time/Pulse

Best New Foreign Starlet: Liya Silver

Best New Starlet: Gianna Dior

Best Parody: Captain Marvel XXX: An Axel Braun Parody , Wicked Comix

Best Romance: Love Song , Wicked Passions

Director of the Year: Kayden Kross

Female Foreign Performer of the Year: Little Caprice

Female Performer of the Year: Angela White

Movie of the Year: Teenage Lesbian , Adult Time/Pulse

 

 

Pornhub launches a Tor mirror site...

To protect users against censorship and unwarranted surveillance


Link Here24th January 2020

Pornhub, the premier online destination for adult entertainment, today announced it has made a version of its website available on Tor, a privacy-focused browser that makes it more difficult to monitor users' online activity. Users can now access Pornhub on the Tor Network via an Onion URL at http://pornhubthbh7ap3u.onion/ . The move serves to bolster user privacy, ensure network security, and alleviate concerns about browsing habits among LGBT users whose preferences remain criminalized in certain countries. While certain site capabilities such as account login and consequently, the ability to upload content are disabled while using the Tor site, users are nonetheless able to enjoy completely safe and anonymous browsing on the platform.

Corey Price, VP, Pornhub said:

Here at Pornhub, we are privacy-conscious and dedicated to ensuring the confidentiality of our users. As ill-willed hackers and compromising surveillance practices become growing concerns, it's important that we set up internal safeguards to help anonymize the online activity and communication of our users and keep their personal information and digital footprint free from prying eyes. Over the course of the past few years, companies like Facebook, The New York Times and the BBC have set up Tor mirror sites to encrypt and make individual connections on the Internet less traceable. We wanted to follow in their footsteps and introduce a Tor mirror site for Pornhub users. This will help ensure their browsing experience is anonymous, private and secure

A Tor browser attempts to hide a person's location and identity by sending data across the Internet via a very circuitous route and routing it through a series of other computers. Encryption applied at each point along this route makes it very hard to connect a person to any particular browsing activity.

The launch of Pornhub's Tor browser follows a long list of efforts by the company to continue to ensure the confidentiality and privacy of their users, to protect them from hackers and safeguard against unwarranted surveillance.

 

 

Maybe also chiming with those that view Pornhub with the sound turned down...

Hearing impaired fan sues Pornhub demanding the addition of closed captioning


Link Here 20th January 2020
Yaroslav Suris is suing the popular porn site Pornhub claiming it's denied the deaf and hearing-impaired access to its videos that others can easily enjoy.

According to docs, obtained by TMZ, Suris says a lack of closed-captioning violates their rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Suris says the deaf and hearing impaired can't understand the audio portion of videos on the websites.

Pornhub's VP, Corey Price, told TMZ:

... We understand that Yaroslav Suris is suing Pornhub for claiming we've denied the deaf and hearing impaired access to our videos. While we do not generally comment on active lawsuits, we'd like to take this opportunity to point out that we do have a closed captions category.

 

 

Justice served...

Girls Do Porn but no longer on GirlsDoPorn.com


Link Here18th January 2020
GirlsDoPorn recently lost a legal case where 22 young women were awarded $12.8 million over the claim that the girls were mislead into giving consent by the company claiming that the distribution would be limited, when in fact the videos were widely distributed.

GirlsDoPorn.com has now been taken down. Porn-industry blogger Mike South published a post on 12th January pointing out that the GirlsDoPorn.com website was finally taken down, over a week after the verdict was reached. He also noted that the domains have not yet been officially seized by the federal government but this is expected soon.

 

 

Exposed pussies...

Another example about how dangerous it is to provide personal data for age or identity verification related to adult websites


Link Here16th January 2020
Cyber-security researchers claim that highly sensitive personal details about thousands of porn stars have been exposed online by an adult website.

They told BBC News they had found an open folder on PussyCash's Amazon web server that contained 875,000 files.

However the live webcam porn network, which owns the brand ImLive and other adult websites, said there was no evidence anyone else had accessed the folder. And it had it removed public access as soon as it had been told of the leak.

The researchers are from vpnMentor, which is a VPN comparison site. vpnMentor said in a blog anyone with the right link could have accessed 19.95GB of data dating back over 15 years as well as from the past few weeks, including contracts revealing more than 4,000 models' including

full name address social-security number date of birth phone number height weight hips, bust and waist measurements piercings tattoos scars The files also revealed scans or photographs of their passport driving licence credit card birth certificate.

 

 

Extract: Cam girl reality: an enticing illusion leaves many models poor and defeated...

The rise of the virtual girlfriend is changing the porn industry -- but the many downsides for performers may threaten its staying power. By Sofia Barrett-Ibarria


Link Here 15th January 2020

Webcam studios and streaming sites are capitalizing on the trend. But the payout for the cam girl isn’t always as lucrative. Since major credit card companies don’t process payments from adult entertainment sites, cam sites rely on third-party platforms that often charge 5-10% of the model’s revenue. Also, cam sites that allow viewers to tip performers typically require a 65-75% cut of the model’s earnings, sometimes on top of other processing fees.

“Camming is growing because it’s live,” says Rickey Ray, assistant manager of Studio 20, a 24/7 webcam studio franchise with 20 locations worldwide including Los Angeles. “You’re typing and she’s responding to you directly. There’s a real-life relationship with that person that you’re not going to get from someone watching a video.”
 

...See article from theguardian.com

 

 

But the idea failed because politicians like her didn't give a damn about the safety of adults...

Elspeth Howe threatens a House of Lords private members bill to reactivate the recently cancelled age verification censorship scheme for internet porn


Link Here12th January 2020
Full story: BBFC Internet Porn Censors...BBFC: Age Verification We Don't Trust
Elspeth Howe announced her intentions in a House of Lords debate about the Queen's Speech. She said:

My Lords, I welcome the Government's commitment to introduce its online harms Bill to improve internet safety for all, but, equally, stress that I remain deeply concerned by their failure to implement Part 3 of the Digital Economy Act. The rationale for focusing on the new Bill instead seems to be a desire to put attempts to protect children from pornographic websites on the same footing as attempts to protect them on social media platforms. It is entirely right to seek to promote safety in both contexts, but a basic error to suggest that both challenges should be addressed in the same way. The internet is complicated and one-size-fits-all policies simply will not work.

The focus of what I have read about the Government's plans for online harms revolves around social media companies and fining them if they do not do what they are supposed to do under a new legal duty of care. An article in the Times on 31 December suggested that Ofcom is going to draw up legally enforceable codes of practice that will include protecting children from accessing pornography. This approach may work for social media platforms if they have bases in the UK but it will be absolutely useless at engaging with the challenge of protecting children from pornographic websites.

Initially when the Digital Economy Bill was introduced in another place, the proposal was that statutory age-verification requirements should be enforced through fines, but a cross-party group of MPs pointed out that this would never work because the top 50 pornographic websites accessed in the UK are all based in other jurisdictions. One could certainly threaten fines but it would be quite impossible to enforce them in a way that would concentrate the minds of website providers because, based in other jurisdictions, they could simply ignore them.

Because of that, MPs amended the Bill to give the regulator the option of IP blocking. This would enable the regulator to tell a site based in say, Russia, that if it failed to introduce robust age-verification checks within a certain timeframe, the regulator would block it from accessing the UK market. Children would be protected either by the site being blocked after the specified timeframe or, more probably, by the site deciding that it would make more sense for it to introduce proper age-verification checks rather than risk disruption of its UK income stream. The Government readily accepted the amendment because the case for it was unanswerable.

I say again that I welcome the fact that the Government want to address online safety with respect to social media platforms through their new Bill. This must not, however, be used as an excuse not to proceed with implementing Part 3 of the Digital Economy Bill, which provides the very best way of dealing with the different challenge of protecting children from pornographic websites.

The failure to implement this legislation is particularly concerning because, rather than being a distant aspiration, it is all there on the statute book. The only thing standing in the way of statutory age verification with respect to pornographic websites is the Government's delay in relaying the BBFC age-verification guidance before Parliament and setting an implementation date. Having the capacity to deal with this problem204thanks to Part 3 of the Digital Economy Act204yet not bothering to avail ourselves of it does not reflect at all well on either the Government or British society as a whole. The Government must stop procrastinating over child safety with respect to pornographic websites and get on with implementing Part 3.

Mindful of that, on 21 January I will introduce my Digital Economy Act 2017 (commencement of Part 3) Bill, the simple purpose of which will be to implement Part 3 of the Digital Economy Act .

I hope that that will not be necessary and that the Minister will today confirm that, notwithstanding the new online safety Bill, the Government will now press ahead with implementation themselves. I very much look forward to hearing what the Minister has to say.

 

 

Pornography is not a public health crisis...

Boston University researchers determine that in fact the unfounded political claim could itself cause harm


Link Here10th January 2020
Full story: US politicans and porn harms...US states claim porn to be a public health hazard

Researchers from the Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) have written an editorial in the American Journal of Public Health special February issue arguing against the claim that pornography is a public health crisis, and explaining why such a claim actually endangers the health of the public.

The movement to declare pornography a public health crisis is rooted in an ideology that is antithetical to many core values of public health promotion and is a political stunt, not reflective of best available evidence, write Dr. Kimberly M. Nelson and Dr. Emily F. Rothman, both faculty in the Department of Community Health Sciences at BUSPH.

While 17 U.S. states have introduced nonbinding resolutions declaring pornography a public health crisis, the authors write that pornography does not fulfill the public health field's definition of one. Pornography use has increased steadily over time rather than spiking or reaching a tipping point; it does not directly or imminently lead to death, disease, property destruction, or population displacement; and it does not overwhelm local health systems.

Instead, Nelson and Rothman write, the existing evidence suggests that there may be negative health consequences for some people who use pornography, no substantial consequences for the majority, and even positive effects for some (for example, through safer sexual behaviors such as solo masturbation). Motivating people to use less extreme pornography, and less frequently, are reasonable harm reduction goals, the authors write, instead of trying to end all use. Increasing pornography literacy would also be useful, they write; Dr. Rothman and colleagues outline their pornography literacy program for Boston area adolescents in a paper in the same journal issue.

What is the harm of calling pornography a public health crisis? Nelson and Rothman argue that this mischaracterization can lead to unwarranted policy or funding shifts, rather than saving the power to mobilize the public health workforce for real crises. Moreover, pathologizing any form of sexual behavior, including pornography use, has the potential to restrict sexual freedom and to stigmatize, which is antithetical to public health, they write.

 

 

Work longer, pay more fuel tax, get maimed by rubber bullets, and now have your porn blocked...

More reforms from Macron as he gives porn websites 6 months to introduce parental control or else legislation will follow


Link Here2nd January 2020
French President Emmanuel Macron has said that he will legislate if necessary to get parental controls in place to block kids from porn. He said in a speech to UNESCO:

We do not take a 13-year-old boy to a sex-shop, not anything goes in the digital world.

We will clarify in the penal code that the simple fact of declaring one's age online is not a strong enough protection against access to pornography by minors.

The measure will give the websites a period of six months to set up parental control by default . I know it hurts a lot of platforms, a lot of digital operators, but if in six months we have no solution, we will pass a law for automatic parental control.

Macron's reference to age 13 is not casual, because that is reportedly the average age of access to erotic content for the first time in France.

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