British MPs have claimed that that measures to reform and regulate the porn industry have faltered, putting vulnerable people at risk.
Last year attempts to introduce age verification systems into open access porn sites to stop children being able to
access extreme online content stalled, and MPs are warning that regulation proposed in a new online harms bill, currently at consultation stage in parliament, does not go far enough.
Tracy Brabin, the shadow culture secretary, whinged:
The online harms bill doesn't go far enough. We have to get control over this industry, said We have a duty of care to young people whose videos are being shared who might not want them shared, and ... to potential
victims of sex trafficking and rape.
MPs from both sides of the political divide agree. Conservative MP Maria Miller, chair of the women and equalities committee, said: These are hugely important issues and [the online harms bill] is
taking too long, we have been talking about this for two years now. She said the promised duty of care should include a way to hold companies to account if unlawful material is posted.
Activist Laila Mickelwait, part of a group of activists at Exodus
Cry, told the Guardian: Pornhub handing out 'free' premium content is a way for them to cash in on those around the world impacted by the pandemic. Pornhub is collecting an incredible amount of user data including IP addresses by allowing web beacons and
other special information targeting technology on all user devices, and monetising it for their own gain.
The popular porn website Pornhub has made its premium services free till April 3. Initially the offer was restricted to covid hotspots Italy, Spain, and France, but noe the service has been made free all over the world.
PornHub has has also announced
that it will be donating a portion of its income to helping out with the coronavirus crisis.
Pornhub also released a chart showing how porn viewing has increased at the time of lockdown.
Adult studio Evil Angel announced that the company is temporarily suspending production, effective Monday, March 16.
Evil Angel founder John Stagliano stated, The spread of the COVID-19 virus is unknown at this point. Evil Angel is stopping production
as of Monday morning, pending testing being available to performers. One thing the industry does well is testing. The company stated that its paramount consideration is the safety of performers and crew members.
A toned down version of a Utah bill requiring nonsense warning labels on pornography emerged from the Senate on Friday, one vote away from heading to the governor's desk.
Under the modified legislation, an adult content website would have to display a
now shortened , one-sentence statement: Exposing minors to obscene material could damage or negatively impact them. Alternatively, the website could embed in its metadata the searchable text, utahobscenitywarning.
Those who violate the mandate could
face fines of up to $2,500 per infraction. But pornography distributors wouldn't face repercussions for the occasional slip-up -- as long as they could prove they'd complied with the warning label mandate at least 75% of the time over the past six
The original bill did not include the metadata allowance and required a much lengthier denunciation of pornography that warned the material could impair brain and emotional development and cause low self-esteem and relationship problems if
shown to minors.
The Legislation was passed 20 - 6 ans now heads to the House, which will consider the changes made in the Senate.
The bill has now passed both the Utah House and Senate.
The Free Speech Coalition (FSC), a US adult trade group, has released a statement regarding Utah HB243, which would require all adult content in the state to include a warning label:
The Utah legislature is attempting to pass a new
law, HB243, that would require all obscene material distributed in the state to come with a five-second warning label stating that such material may damage or negatively impact minors. Anyone who does not comply can be sued by the Attorney General of
Utah, for a penalty of $2500 per violation.
Despite changes to the bill, HB243 remains a land mine of First Amendment issues. Affixing a state-mandated warning to an adult film, which enjoys First Amendment protections, is
fundamentally different from doing the same to a food product, which does not.
The bill's author, Rep. Brady Brammer, says that the labelling law will only apply to obscene content. However, there is no established legal
definition for obscenity 204 each case would have to be worked out through a lengthy and expensive legal process. However, the chilling effect on legal speech would be substantial.
HB243 is remarkably similar to a 2005 Utah
labeling bill, HB260, which was struck down in 2012 after a costly seven-year court battle. In the ensuing case, Florence v. Shetloff, a federal judge ruled that Utah could prosecute a person in communication with a specific minor, but could not
prosecute generally accessible websites. We don't know why the State of Utah would want to waste precious time and taxpayer dollars fighting an already-decided battle.
FSC supports the limiting of adult content to adults. That's
why we've worked closely with adult content filters to register adult content, and why adult sites carry the Restricted to Adults Label, which allows them to be easily blocked. If Rep. Brammer wants to limit access of adult content by minors, consumer
filters are a much more effective solution 204 and one that doesn't trample First Amendment protections.
About two Hundred anti-porn campaigners protested outside Pornhub's headquarters in Montreal on Sunday. They were calling for the platform to be shut down for a supposed role in sex trafficking.
The gathering coincided with International Women's Day.
Among those in attendance was Megan Walker, the executive director of the London Abused Women's Centre, whilst the demonstration was organized by Lalia Mickelwait, director of abolition at Exodus Cry, a group devoted to the abolition of sex
Mickelwait also started an online petition against Pornhub that has about 400,000 signatures.
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:
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.
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
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
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.
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.
A bill that would impose civil penalties on pornography distributors who fail to put a warning label on obscene material passed through the Utah Senate Judiciary, Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Committee on Tuesday.
However free speech
concerns have downgraded its purpose somewhat. The bill has been amended to replace a warning about 'pornography' , to be a warning about 'obscene material'.
The reason for the change is that obscenity is a higher legal standard and does not enjoy
constitutional protections. Bill sponsor Rep. Brady Brammersaid legal counsel has said that a narrowly tailored warning requirement like this would not violate the Constitution with respect to free speech.
However surely mainstream porn is not
considered to be obscene so the warning we be about material that is not generally available anyway.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
(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.
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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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