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Internet Porn Censorship


2023: Jan-March

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Ethical Capital...

New owners for Mindgeek and Pornhub


Link Here18th March 2023
A Canadian private equity firm has acquired MindGeek, the company behind Pornhub, YouPorn, and other major porn sites. The Financial Times reported that newly formed Ethical Capital Partners have acquired MindGeek for an undisclosed amount and that it will continue to operate under an unidentified group of current executives alongside an ECP management team that includes lawyers and former cannabis investors.

MindGeek owns some of the highest-trafficked sites on the internet. Long-standing moderation problems reached a tipping point in 2020 when Visa and Mastercard both cut off service to Pornhub, prompting it to remove most of its videos and build out a mandatory age verification system for uploaders and producers.

While MindGeek got payment services restored to Pornhub, the payment processors have continued to deny access to its ad network TrafficJunky. Legal challenges against the site remain ongoing, and it could face further pressure as US lawmakers push to weaken liability protections for websites under Section 230. MindGeek's CEO and COO, Feras Antoon and David Tassillo, both stepped down in mid-2022.

 

 

Verified censorship...

Internet porn censorship marches across many US states


Link Here12th March 2023
Full story: Age Verification in USA...Requiring age verification for porn and social media
The Arkansas House has approved an amendment to SB 66, a Republican bill that would require age verification before entering a website offering pornography, over confusing language. SB 66 was introduced in January by state Senator Tyler Dees, who later admitted that his state initiative is only a steppingstone toward the ultimate goal of a federal mandate.

A vote in the Arkansas House sent the amended bill back to the Committee on House Rules for further consideration, the Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette reported. Representative Mindy McAlindon told the paper that the amendment was needed to clarify distinctions between 'corporate entities' and 'third party vendors' in the bill.

SB 66 is a copycat version of Louisiana's Act 440, a new law enacted in January after being championed by a religious anti-porn activist Republican legislator.

Meanwhile Virginia lawmakers recently passed a bill with near-unanimous support that would require pornography websites to more stringently verify whether a person is 18 before allowing them access to the site. Websites would have to implement more advanced methods of their choosing to verify age, such as requiring users to submit copies of government-issued identification, biometric scans or use other forms of commercial age verification software.

Under the bill, a civil cause of action, or a lawsuit, could be brought on behalf of a minor who suffered damages from access to pornographic websites that didn't use age verification measures. No one spoke in opposition when the bill was debated during the session, but some people took to social media to express their concerns.

The bill now heads to Gov. Glenn Youngkin's desk for his signature.

 

 

Moralist exploitation...

Anti-porn campaigners from Parliament call for an end to commercial pornography


Link Here6th March 2023
The grandly named All-Party Parliamentary Group on Commercial Sexual Exploitation (APPG-CSE) is a just a group of anti-porn MPs. It is not an official parliamentary committee tasked with monitoring policy on behalf of parliament.

Of course it does try present itself as something more important than it really is by referring to people its listens to as 'witnesses' in 'evidence' sessions and publishing its biased opinions as 'reports. Of course it never listens to any opposing views from sex workers, film makers, or of course from people who enjoy sex entertainment.

Anyway it has just published a moralist diatribe against porn titled: Pornography Regulation: The case for Parliamentary Reform

Predictably its observations and recommendations are simply to destroy the entire adult pornography business. The campaigners write:

On 27 February 2023, the APPG on Commercial Sexual Exploitation launched the findings of its Inquiry on Pornography. The report, Pornography Regulation: The case for Parliamentary Reform, concludes that the epidemic of male violence against women and girls cannot be ended unless the Government confronts the role pornography plays in fuelling sexual violence.

The report highlights the scale and nature of contemporary online pornography, finding that the user base of pornography is highly gendered, with significantly more men watching pornography than women. Violence against women is prolific in mainstream pornography, and illegal content -- including videos of child sexual exploitation, rape and sex trafficking victims -- is freely accessible on mainstream pornography websites.

The report evidences a multiplicity of harms connected with the pornography industry. Pornography is found to fuel sexual violence and social and political harms against women and girls, as well as perpetuating racist stereotypes. Children continue to be exposed to online pornography on an alarming scale, which is an egregious violation of child safeguarding. Meanwhile, sexual coercion is found to be inherent to the commercial production of pornography, with producers commonly adopting exploitative and abusive tactics to coerce women into being filmed for pornography videos.

The inquiry concludes that existing legislation relating to pornography is piecemeal and wholly inadequate with respect to preventing and providing redress for harms perpetuated as part of the trade.

As a result of its inquiry, the APPG on Commercial Sexual Exploitation has made the following recommendations to Government:

  • Make the regulation of pornography consistent across different online platforms, and between the online and offline spheres.

  • Criminalise the supply of pornography online to children, and legally require age verification for accessing pornography online.

  • Address pornography as commercial sexual exploitation, and a form of violence against women, in legislation and policy.

  • Legally require online platforms to verify that every individual featured in pornographic content on their platform is an adult and gave permission for the content to be published there.

  • Give individuals who feature in pornographic material the legal right to withdraw their consent to material in which they feature being published and/or distributed.

  • Hold exploiters to account by making it a criminal offence to enable or profit from the commercial sexual exploitation of others.

  • Conduct a comprehensive review of laws on pornography and obscenity.

 

Offsite Comment: Moral Coercion And Twisted Facts From The UK Parliament's Censorial Fanatics

5th March 2023. See article from reprobatepress.com

Johnson's group took evidence during their from the usual suspects -- not just NCOSE but also Gail Dines, the anti-porn academic writer who is like Andrea Dworkin without the writing ability, and Laila Mickelwait, head of anti-sex work Christian lobbyists Exodus Cry. They did not, you'll be unsurprised to hear, take any evidence from current sex workers or anyone else who might contradict their pre-existing beliefs -- because let's face it, anyone who is part of a group looking at commercial sexual exploitation led by a notorious anti-porn politician is not exactly going in with an open mind.

See full article from reprobatepress.com

 

 

Offsite Article: The Wife Swappers...


Link Here6th March 2023
Nominally uncut by the BBFC but GavCrimson has discovered 10 minutes of sexy footage missing from the released versions

See article from gavcrimson.blogspot.com

 

 

Offsite Article: The age of censorship...


Link Here25th February 2023
Full story: Age Verification in USA...Requiring age verification for porn and social media
A summary of US states proposing or enacting internet age verification

See article from news.bloomberglaw.com

 

 

Has anyone dared to ask the kids how they will respond to a social media ban?...

French lawmakers rush to get age verification mandated to block under 15s from accessing social media without parental permission


Link Here 23rd February 2023
Full story: Age Verification in France...Macron gives websites 6 months to introduce age verification
The Culture Committee of France's National Assembly voted last week to expand the age verification requirements already mandated for adult content to several popular mainstream social media platforms.

The French lawmakers voted in favour of requiring social media platforms to block access to under 15s, unless they have permission from their parents.

The reasons given by the committee for last week's hearing were to examine a proposed law establishing a "digital age of majority" of 15 and to "fight online hate."

The bill was put forward by MP Laurent Marcangeli, a member of parliament from President Emmanuel Macron's allied party Horizons, and was endorsed by the committee on Feb. 15.

Infringing social media companies, the Politico report noted, will face fines of up to one percent of their annual global turnover. Technical solutions to verify users' ages would need to be rubber-stamped by the audiovisual and privacy regulators -- Arcom and CNIL -- and Arcom would be empowered to sue non-compliant companies.

The bill now heads to a plenary session and to the Senate.

According to a French government source, CNIL and Arcom will soon be releasing age verification technical guidelines that will "frame the minimum criteria" for "pornographic websites" to comply. It appears that France will allow payment card verification and face scanning for age (with an unlikely promise of not surreptitiously using facial recognition at the same time) in the short term whilst waiting for a more complex technical solution being suggested by CNIL.

French Digital Minister Jean-NoŽl Barrot told the parliamentarians that a system of "double anonymity" for porn site age verification would be tested at the end of March with a few adult companies, which he did not name.

 

 

State control...

French minister speaks of a state age verification system being in place by September 2023


Link Here8th February 2023
Full story: Age Verification in France...Macron gives websites 6 months to introduce age verification
France's minister for digital affairs has announced that a government-issued digital certificate certifying a person's age will be necessary to view any adult content online in that country starting in September.

Minister for Digital Affairs Jean-NoŽl Barrot told newspaper Le Parisien that the new digital certificate will be unveiled this week, with full implementation planned for September.

Barrot warned all adult websites to comply:

under penalty of seeing the broadcasting prohibited on the national territory. France will be the first country in the world to propose a solution like this.

This technical solution that we are working on could be used to enforce the age limits that exist in our law, but which are not sufficiently respected online

However Barrot admitted that the specifics have not been finalized.

Critics have noted that implementation of the digital certificate could face complications relating to the issue of personal data protection .

 

 

Beyond stupid...

Utah gets onboard the US rush to internet censorship


Link Here5th February 2023
Full story: Age Verification in USA...Requiring age verification for porn and social media
Utah Republicans have introduced two ludicrous age verification bills that could have nationwide ramifications. State Rep. Jordan Teuscher and State Senator Michael McKelland introduced HB311 and SB152 respectively.

SB152 demands that beginning January 1, 2024, a social media company shall verify the age of all Utah resident wanting to use social media. If the platform determines that the person is a minor, defined by the bills as anyone under the age of 18, the proposed bill would require any social media company to give parents access to their kids' accounts.

State Sen. McKelland would like the minor's parent or guardian to be able to monitor all posts the Utah minor account holder makes under the social media platform account and all responses to those posts.

SB152 also demands that minors be prevented by the platform from accessing social media cannot between 10:30 p.m. and 6:30 a.m.

Meanwhile HB 311 not only mandates age verification, but also forbids anyone under the age of 16 from having any social media accounts.

 

 

Only OnlyFans and Pornhub...

So how is porn age verification panning out in the US?


Link Here22nd January 2023
Full story: Age Verification in USA...Requiring age verification for porn and social media
The US state of Louisiana has commenced a new law requiring porn websites to obtain identity/age verification before allow access to viewers. The law is not enforced by official censors. Instead it simply allows Louisiana to sue for damages for any harm claimed as a result of underage porn viewing. So how is it panning out in practice?

It is the second week of the new law. Vice has found that very few sites have actually implemented the age verification system. As it stands, only PornHub and OnlyFans check Louisiana's residents' ages, others don't.

This may have something to do with the way the age check is implemented: when you access PornHub from Louisiana, you're met with a screen asking you to verify your age. From there, you're redirected to AllPassTrust, a Cyprus-based company specialized in age verification. AllPassTrust links to LAWallet, the state of Louisiana's digital driver's license wallet, which provides you with a code that you need to enter on AllPassTrust.

The way it's looking now, only Louisiana drivers licenses are accepted for verification, which is a problem for anybody currently in the state that doesn't have one. Sure, practically everybody in the United States has a driver's license, but there are those who don't, and visitors or short-term residents of the state won't be able to verify their age since they won't have a license issued in Louisiana.

According to local Louisiana newspaper L'Observateur, opponents are already gearing up for a legal challenge.

The idea is spreading though. There are reports of national politicians proposing similar laws to Louisiana.

Also two Republican state senators in Arkansas introduced a bill this week requiring age verification before entering a website offering pornography. Senate Bill 66, which proposes a Protection of Minors from Distribution of Harmful Material Act, is sponsored by Sen. Tyler Dees and Sen. Jim Petty. The proposed legislation is a copycat version of Louisiana's new law.

 

 

Sharing censorship news...

Ofcom warns adult video sharing websites that are stupid enough to be based in Britain that it will soon be enforcing age/identity verification


Link Here15th January 2023
Full story: Ofcom Video Sharing Censors...Video on Demand and video sharing

One of our priorities for the second year of the video-sharing platform (VSP) regime is to promote the implementation of robust age assurance, so that children are protected from the most harmful content. In October 2022, we published our report on the first year of VSP regulation . The report highlighted that many platforms that specialise in videos containing pornographic material (or "adult VSPs") do not appear to have measures that are robust enough to stop children accessing pornographic material.

Today Ofcom is opening an enforcement programme into age assurance measures across the adult VSP sector.

Our objectives for this programme are:

  • to assess the age assurance measures implemented by notified adult VSPs, to ensure they are sufficiently robust to prevent under-18s from accessing videos containing pornographic material;

  • to identify whether there are other platforms in the adult VSP sector that may fall in scope of the VSP regime but:

    • have not yet notified their service to Ofcom, as required under the VSP framework (see more below); and

    • may not have appropriate measures in place to protect under-18s from pornographic content; and

  • to understand from providers of adult VSP services the challenges they have faced when considering implementing any age assurance measures. This will also help us build a picture of what measures work and are proportionate to expect from different VSPs, in line with our strategic priority of driving forward the implementation of robust age assurance.

The programme will seek to determine the scale of any compliance concerns in respect of notified and non-notified adult VSPs. We will then decide whether any further action (including enforcement) is needed, and how best to address potential harm.

 

 

Legal age restrictions...

Porn sites in France suffer setbacks after losing court cases


Link Here15th January 2023
Full story: Age Verification in France...Macron gives websites 6 months to introduce age verification
Notable porn websites operating in France have suffered two legal defeats.

In the first case, a priority question of constitutionality (QPC) had been addressed to the Court of Cassation. MindGeek, which publishes Pornhub, argued that ISP blocking of their websites, as ordered by France's internet censors of the Audiovisual and Digital Communication Regulatory Authority (Arcom), was an affront to freedom of speech in France.

In its verdict of January 5, the Court of Cassation swept aside this QPC:

The question posed is not of a serious nature. Considering that the legal framework in question is sufficiently clear and precise to exclude any risk of arbitrariness . Nor is there any disproportionate harm to the objectives pursued.

The attack on freedom of expression, by imposing the use of a device for verifying the age of the person accessing pornographic content, other than a simple declaration of majority, is necessary, appropriate and proportionate to the objective of protecting minors.

Meanwhile YouPorn and RedTube lost an administrative challenge to the rather circuitous way that French authorities have specified the laws requiring age/identity verification to view porn websites.

 

 

Fake law...

Taiwan is drafting a law to criminalise fake porn


Link Here8th January 2023
Taiwan's Legislature has passed draft amendments to restrict the use of technology-enabled sexual images and video. The new laws will make the production and spread of such fake or manipulated images and video for profit a crime punishable by a jail term of up to seven years.

The draft bills were proposed after the arrest in 2021 of a Taiwanese YouTuber for making and selling deepfake pornographic videos of dozens of prominent women, including female politicians.

Under the approved legislation, producing sexual material involving images or video of another individual without that person's consent is subject to a maximum of three years in prison, while the unauthorized distribution of such material can result in a prison term of six months to five years. Anyone found guilty of distributing such content for profit faces an additional punishment of up to one half of the prescribed sentence.

 

 

The Online Safety and Media Regulation Act 202...

A brief summary of Ireland's Internet Censorship Act


Link Here3rd January 2023
Full story: Internet Censorship in Ireland...Ireland considers the UK's lead in censoring porn and social media
Ireland's new internet censorship regime will be overseen by an Online Safety Commissioner (OSC), who will create binding online censorship rules to hold designated online service providers Providers to account for how they censor content. The OSC is also empowered under the Act to introduce an individual complaints mechanism.

Harmful content is set out in Part 11 of the new Act:

  1. Offence Specific Categories sets out 42 different offences. A large proportion of these offences are offences against children, or provisions protecting the identification of child victims or child offenders. Notably the Act appears to be silent as regards identifying a child who is subject to an Order or proceedings under the Child Care Act 1991.
  2. Other Categories of Harmful Online Content are set out as a two-tier category:
  • (a) The Online Content must be content which bullies or humiliates another person; promotes or encourages behaviour that characterises a feeding or eating disorder; promotes or encourages self-harm or suicide; makes available knowledge of methods of self-harm or suicide.
  • (b) Online Content must meet the risk test if it gives rise to: (a) any risk to a person's life; or (b) a risk of significant harm to a person's physical or mental health, where the harm is reasonably foreseeable.

This part of the Act deals with age-inappropriate content yet the Act does not provide for any age-verification measures. Earlier drafts of the Act sought to introduce robust measures to ensure a minimum age verification of account holders of 15 years old. This provision did not survive to enactment stage.


 

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