Angela Rayner, the shadow education secretary, has said at the Labour Party Conference that social media companies should stop letting people post abuse from anonymous accounts. Speaking at a Guardian fringe meeting, she said:
One of the first things they should do is stop anonymous accounts. Most people who send me abuse me do so from anonymous accounts, and wouldn't dream of doing it in their own name
Angela Rayner became the latest in a long line of politicians to suggest that anonymous social media accounts should be banned in an attempt on Sunday to crack down on abusive and threatening behaviour online.
There is no doubt Rayner is sincere, and that the problem she refers to is a serious one, of which she and her colleagues have first-hand experience. The reality for many MPs and public figures is that social media is a constant barrage of abuse
and threats that is far worse for women , and especially for women of colour or trans women.
Given that extensive experience of the harm caused by these accounts, it's easy to see why calling for a ban seems a reasonable thing to do. However, in reality it would do harm to a greater number of people than it would help.
Powell's bill purports to "tackle online hate, fake news and radicalisation" by making social media companies liable for what is published in large, closed online forms -- and is the latest in a series of poorly drafted attempts by
parliamentarians to address communications online.
If only Powell's proposal were the worst piece of legislation parliament will consider this autumn. Yesterday, MPs debated the
Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Bill, which would make it a crime to view information online that is "likely to be useful" to a terrorist. No terrorist intent would be required -- but you would risk up to 15 years in prison
if found guilty. This would make the work of journalists and academics very difficult or impossible.
Attempts to tackle online content are coming from all corners with little coordination -- although a factor common to all these proposals is that they utterly fail to safeguard freedom of expression.
Over the summer, the Commons Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport issued a
preliminary report on tackling fake news and the government launched a
consultation on a possible new law to prevent "intimidation" of those standing for elections.
In addition, the government is expected to publish later this year a
white paper on internet safety aimed " to make sure the UK is the safest place in the world to be online." The Law Commission, already tasked with publishing
a report on offensive online communications , was last week asked to review whether misogyny should be considered a hate crime.
Jodie Ginsberg, CEO of Index, said:
"We're having to play whack-a-mole at the moment to prevent poorly drawn laws inadvertently stifling freedom of expression, especially online. The scattergun approach is no way to deal with concerns about online communications. Instead of
paying lip service to freedom of expression as a British value, it needs to be front and centre when developing policies".
"We already have laws to deal with harassment, incitement to violence, and even incitement to hatred. International experience shows us that even well-intentioned laws meant to tackle hateful views online often end up hurting the minority
groups they are meant to protect, stifle public debate, and limit the public's ability to hold the powerful to account."
A review is to take place into whether misogynistic conduct should be treated as a hate crime, following Labour MP Stella Creasy's call to change the law.
The move was announced during a debate on proposed legislation to criminalise upskirting in England and Wales. On Wednesday, MPs approved the Voyeurism Bill, which would ban the taking of unsolicited pictures under someone's clothing, known as
upskirting, in England and Wales.
'Justice' Minister Lucy Frazer said the Voyeurism Bill was not the right vehicle for seeking such a change in the law but said she sympathised with Creasy's views. She said ministers would fund a review into the coverage and approach of hate
The Law Commission will now review how sex and gender characteristics are treated within existing hate crime laws and whether new offences are needed. This review will include how protected characteristics, including sex and gender
characteristics, should be considered by new or existing hate crime law.
Update: Governments should not be policing thought
The Law Commission will review how sex and gender characteristics are treated within existing hate crime laws and whether new offences are needed.
Index does not believe the UK needs new laws to protect women from abuse and violence.
The UK already has dozens of laws on its books that make criminal the kind of abusive actions that are disproportionately targeted at women: rape, harassment, stalking. Despite this, the most egregious crimes against women frequently go
unpunished. In the case of rape, conviction rates are woeful. A report published in 2017 found that only one in 14 rapes reported in England and Wales ended in a conviction.
Creating new laws that make misogyny a hate crime will do little to change this, as lawyers argued earlier this week . Nor are they likely to help change attitudes. In fact they can do the opposite.
Laws that criminalise speech are deeply problematic. In a free society, thoughts should not be criminal no matter how hateful they are. Yet laws that make hate criminal -- in a well-meaning but misplaced effort to protect minorities and
persecuted groups -- are on the rise.
We should all be worried about this. As the US delegation noted in a United Nations Human Rights Council meeting in 2015, hate speech laws are increasingly being abused by those in power to target political opponents or to persecute the very
minority groups such laws are meant to protect.
In addition, they do little to improve tolerance or treatment of such groups: Such laws, including blasphemy laws, tend to reinforce divisions rather than promote societal harmony, the US delegation said. The presence of these laws has little
discernible effect on reducing actual incidences of hate speech. In some cases such laws actually serve to foment violence against members of minority groups accused of expressing unpopular viewpoints.
As if to prove their point, Russia used the same meeting to praise hate speech laws and the need to police hate speech in Ukraine so as not to ignite nationalistic fires.
Tackling hate requires changes in society's attitude. Some of those changes need laws -- such as those we rightly already have to outlaw discrimination in the workplace. Some require major changes in our institutions to the structures and
practices that reinforce inequality. But prohibiting speech, or policing thought, is not the way to do this.
Offsite Comment: Stella Creasy's war on thoughtcrime
The government is amending its Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Bill with regards to criminalising accessing terrorism related content on the internet.
MPs, peers and the United Nations have already raised human rights concerns over pre-existing measures in the Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Bill, which proposed to make accessing propaganda online on three or more different occasions a
The Joint Human Rights Committee found the wording of the law vague and told the government it violated Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). The committee concluded in July:
This clause may capture academic and journalistic research as well as those with inquisitive or even foolish minds.
The viewing of material without any associated intentional or reckless harm is, in our view, an unjustified interference with the right to receive information...unless amended, this implementation of this clause would clearly risk breaching
Article 10 of the ECHR and unjustly criminalising the conduct of those with no links to terrorism.
The committee called for officials to narrow the new criminal offence so it requires terrorist intent and defines how people can legally view terrorist material.
The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to privacy also chipped accusing the British government of straying towards thought crime with the law.
In response, the government scrapped the three clicks rule entirely and broadened the concept of viewing to make the draft law read:
A person commits an offence if...the person views or otherwise accesses by means of the internet a document or record containing information of that kind.
It also added a clause saying a reasonable excuse includes:
Having no reason to believe, that the document or record in question contained, or was likely to contain, information of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism.
[The trouble with discriminatory laws such as this is that they encourage hatred of others rather than diffusing the issue. Identity politics is very aggressive. Lynch mobs gather to push for for the most severe punishments for
the most trivial of transgressions. Police and the prosecuting authorities always seem to side with the complainant and the resulting injustice is noted by more or less everyone in society. It succeeds only in winding everybody up and chipping
away at any remaining respect for the way that the authorities run our lives. In an equal society everybody should have exactly the same rights to be protected form the ill intent of others].
The Labour MP Stella Creasy has put forward an amendment to the upskirting bill, due to be debated in the Commons this Wednesday, that would add misogyny as an aggravating factor in England and Wales. This would enable courts to consider it when
sentencing an offender and require police forces to record it.
Creasy hopes this will be the first step towards recognising misogyny as a hate crime. Creasy said:
Upskirting is a classic example of a crime in which misogyny is motivating the offence. We protect women in the workplace from discrimination on grounds of their sex, but not in the courtroom -- with upskirting, street harassment, sexually based
violence and abuse a part of life for so many it's time to learn from where misogyny has been treated as a form of hate crime and end this gap.
The Guardian understands that the Law Commission, which has called for a fundamental review of all hate crime legislation, supports the spirit of Creasy's amendment.
In Scotland, the Holyrood government will shortly launch a consultation on the reform of all aspects of hate crime legislation, after an independent report recommended including gender , as well as age, as a hate crime in law. Although the
National Police Chiefs' Council rejected a proposal to extend the policy nationwide in July, it has set up a working group to examine the issue.
Deputy Labour leader Tom Watson has called for the establishment of a new internet censor with tough sanctions to police what he considers to be the wild west of the internet
Tom Watson has accused companies of not removing 'fake news' stories that are spread like wildfire saying:
Social media companies should be hit hard with fines if they fail to take down abusive content=
Watson says Britain should follow the lead of Germany, which fines social media firms up to £45million for not taking down hate speech within 24 hours. He says:
The likes of Facebook and Twitter have refused to change. Authorities worldwide don't have the baby teeth, let alone the sharp teeth, to make them take notice. International regulatory regimes are outdated and dangerous.
He adds that the protection the firms have enjoyed as platforms rather than publishers needs to be withdrawn saying: they won't go to the lengths they need to unless they have a legal liability.
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.
Alan suggests an article that urges decriminalisation and trade union organization for sex workers. He comments:
It attributes support to both Corbyn and McDonnell. There were some noises to the opposite effect about Corbyn a few weeks ago, but I've been aware of McD's support for sex workers since I worked in the neighbouring constituency (Bozza's now)
15-20 years ago.
UK Parliamentary committee claims that people failing to vote the 'correct' way is nothing to do with politicians' crap policies that don't look after British people, and must be all to do with fake news
Parliament's Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) Committee has been investigating disinformation and fake news following the Cambridge Analytica data scandal and is claiming that the UK faces a democratic crisis due to the spread of
pernicious views and the manipulation of personal data.
In its first report it will suggest social media companies should face tighter censorship. It also proposes measures to combat election interference.
The report claims that the relentless targeting of hyper-partisan views, which play to the fears and prejudices of people, in order to influence their voting plans is a threat to democracy.
The report was very critical of Facebook, which has been under increased scrutiny following the Cambridge Analytica data scandal.
Facebook has hampered our efforts to get information about their company throughout this inquiry. It is as if it thinks that the problem will go away if it does not share information about the problem, and reacts only when it is pressed, the
report said. It provided witnesses who have been unwilling or unable to give full answers to the committee's questions.
The committee suggests:
1. Social media sites should be held responsible for harmful content on their services
Social media companies cannot hide behind the claim of being merely a 'platform', claiming that they are tech companies and have no role themselves in regulating the content of their sites, the committee said.
They continually change what is and is not seen on their sites, based on algorithms and human intervention.
They reward what is most engaging, because engagement is part of their business model and their growth strategy. They have profited greatly by using this model.
The committee suggested a new category of tech company should be created, which was not necessarily a platform or a publisher but something in between.
This should establish clear legal liability for the tech companies to act against harmful and illegal content on their platforms, the report said.
2. The rules on political campaigns should be made fit for the digital age
The committee said electoral law needed to be updated to reflect changes in campaigning techniques.
It suggested creating a public register for political advertising so that anybody can see what messages are being distributed online political advertisements should have a digital imprint stating who was responsible, as is required with printed
leaflets and advertisements social media sites should be held responsible for interference in elections by malicious actors electoral fraud fines should be increased from a maximum of £20,000 to a percentage of organisations' annual turnover
3. Technology companies should be taxed to fund education and regulation
Increased regulation of social media sites would result in more work for organisations such as the Electoral Commission and Information Commissioner's Office (ICO).
The committee suggested a levy on tech companies should fund the expanded responsibilities of the regulators.
The money should also be spent on educational programmes and a public information campaign, to help people identify disinformation and fake news.
4. Social networks should be audited
The committee warned that fake accounts on sites such as Facebook and Twitter not only damage the user experience, but potentially defraud advertisers.
It suggested an independent authority such as the Competition and Markets Authority should audit the social networks.
It also said security mechanisms and algorithms used by social networks should be available for audit by a government regulator, to ensure they are operating responsibly.
Offsite Comment: Now MPs want to police political discussion
Those members of parliament are half right at least. Democracy in Britain and the West is at risk today. But contrary to the wild claims in their fake-news report, the real risk does not come from Russian bloggers or shady groups farming Facebook
users' data. The big threat comes from political elitists like the cross-party clique of Remainer MPs who dominate the DCMS committee.
It looks a lot as if these MPs, like authoritarians from Moscow to Malaysia, have been inspired by the strikingly illiberal precedent set by Angela Merkel's social media law . In particular, part of the idea behind sticking social
media companies with legal liability is to scare them into going even further in muzzling free speech than the strict letter of the law requires.
The well known alt-right news website Infowars is preparing to launch a campaign aimed at persuading politicians to stop tech giants censoring its content.
It notes that Facebook, Google and Twitter are using algorithms to automatically clampdown on right-wing publications as well as those which support Donald Trump.
Infowars has now started its first petition on the website Change.org demanding that social media companies end censorship of alternative voices online. It is calling for a new Digital Rights Act to guarantee free speech on the internet.
We have been told that Infowars staff have approached Conservative politicians in the UK and arranged for an MP to ask a question in parliament about the issue.
Infowars is also planning to contact the White House, where its calls are likely to reach the ears of Donald Trump himself.
Paul Joseph Watson, the British editor-at-large of Infowars, told Metro.co.uk:
Since social media platforms are now de facto becoming the Internet and have formed into monopolies, the argument that they are private companies who can behave with impunity is no longer a valid argument.
We demand congressional and parliamentary scrutiny. We demand a Digital Rights Act to secure free speech online.
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.
Sky, TalkTalk and Virgin Media would back the creation of an internet censor to set out a framework for internet companies in the UK, the House of Lords Communications Committee was told.
The three major UK ISPs were reporting to a House of Lords' ongoing inquiry into internet censorship. The companies' policy heads pushed for a new censor, or the expansion of the responsibility of a current censor, to set the rules for content
censorship and to better equip children using the internet amid safety concerns .
At the moment Information Commissioner's Office has responsibility for data protection and privacy; Ofcom censors internet TV; the Advertising Standards Authority censors adverts; and the BBFC censors adult porn.
Citing a report by consultancy Communications Chambers, Sky's Adam Kinsley said that websites and internet providers are making decisions but in a non structured way. Speaking about the current state of internet regulation, Kinsley said:
Companies are already policing their own platforms. There is no accountability of what they are doing and how they are doing it. The only bit of transparency is when they decide to do it on a global basis and at a time of their choosing. Policy
makers need to understand what is happening, and at the moment they don't have that.
The 13-strong House of Lords committee, chaired by Lord Gilbert of Panteg, launched an inquiry earlier this year to explore how the censorship of the internet should be improved. The committee will consider whether there is a need for new laws to
govern internet companies. This inquiry will consider whether websites are sufficiently accountable and transparent, and whether they have adequate governance and provide behavioural standards for users.
The committee is hearing evidence from April to September 2018 and will launch a report at the end of the year.
A campaign group of anti-sex works MPs comprising of feminists and religious moralists have just published a biased campaign document claiming all the usual bogies about trafficking, organised crime and so on.
The group misleadingly calls itself the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Prostitution and the Global Sex Trade, as if it was an official committee of parliament. It is not, it is just a self appointed campaign group with no attempt
to include MPs independent of the campaign nor to represent the wider views of Parliament.
Of course sex workers are definitely not party to the report., and in fact have been protesting against the report to highlight its lack of independence and representation of sex worker input.
A roughly 200-strong collection of sex workers and activists came out to Parliament Square on Wednesday to make their case, with banners such as "Decriminalise sex work, for safety's sake."
The report titled Behind Closed Doors targets technology based tools used by modern sex workers, such as pop-up brothels using Airbnb, and internet platforms like Vivastreet and Adultwork, claimed to be the most significant enablers
of sex-work and sex trafficking.
The Labour MP Sarah Champion iused the report to call for internet censorship along the lines of the US FOSTA internet censorship. By making internet platforms liable to penalties for content posted by their users, they end up censoring and
blocking large swathes of related content just in case something prohibited gets through. In America the law makers specifically prohibit material that aids sex trafficking, but because there is no obvious way of checking whether an advert is for
a legal sex worker or for a trafficked sex worker, then the companies have to take down the legal stuff too. In fact the effects are so wide spread that even dating services have been taken down just in case traffickers are lurking somewhere
amongst the dating couples.
But the campaigners don't stop there, comments to the media suggests a push for the UK to adopt The Nordic Model, a legal framework in which the selling of sexual services is legal but the purchase of those services is criminalised. The model has
been largely panned by sex workers, activists and researchers as ineffective and unsafe.
Furthermore in light of the publicity for the report, Jeremy Corbyn was asked by Sky's Sophy Ridge about the subject and he came out in favour of the #Nordic model model of criminalising men buying sex.
So, as usual from the 'progressive' left are enjoying a good sneer at men, and will happily see them imprisoned and fined just for wanting to get laid.
Comment: Disappointed by Corbyn
8th July 2018. Thanks to Alan
I'm disappointed to hear Jeremy Corbyn apparently backing the Nordic Model. In the past, he has favoured decriminalisation, to loud squeals from the pointless and reliably mouthy Jess Phillips. John McDonnell, by contrast, has always been on the
side of sex workers.
I am baffled by the behaviour of nominally Labour politicians who prattle about sex work while ignoring sex workers. I can't imagine Champion or Phillips spouting about railways without talking to the RMT and ASLEF or about higher education
without consultation with the UCU. I think the organizations representing sex workers should hammer this point home at every opportunity.