BBFC Internet Porn Censors


 BBFC designated as the UK internet porn censor



 

Offsite Article: First words from Britain's new internet porn censor...


Link Here 11th March 2018
Full story: BBFC Internet Porn Censors...BBFC designated as the UK internet porn censor
The BBFC takes its first steps to explain how it will stop people from watching internet porn

See article from bbfc.co.uk

 

 

Now that the BBFC has taken on a new role as internet censor...

Will it change its name back to the British Board of Film Censors? The Daily Mail seems to think so


Link Here 13th March 2018
Full story: BBFC Internet Porn Censors...BBFC designated as the UK internet porn censor
The Daily Mail today ran the story that the DCMS have decided to take things a little more cautiously about the privacy (and national security) issues of allowing a foreign porn company to take control of databasing people's porn viewing history.

Anyway there was nothing new in the story but it was interesting to note the Freudian slip of referring to the BBFC as the British Board of Film Censorship.

My idea would be for the BBFC to rename itself with the more complete title, the British Board of Film and Internet Censorship.

 

 

A matter of trust...

The BBFC consults about age verification for internet porn, and ludicrously suggests that the data oligarchs can be trusted with your personal identity data because they will follow 'best practice'


Link Here 26th March 2018
Full story: BBFC Internet Porn Censors...BBFC designated as the UK internet porn censor
  
Your data is safe with us.
We will follow 'best practices', honest!
 

The BBFC has launched its public consultation about its arrangements for censoring porn on the internet.

The document was clearly written before the Cambridge Analytica data abuse scandal. The BBFC gullibility in accepting the word of age verification providers and porn websites, that they will look after your data, now rather jars with what we see going on in the real world.

After all European data protection laws allow extensive use of your data, and there are absolutely no laws governing what foreign websites can do with your identity data and porn browsing history.

I think that under the current arrangements, if a Russian website were to hand over identity data and porn browsing history straight over to the Kremlin dirty tricks department, then as long as under 18s would be prohibited, then the BBFC would have to approve that website's age verification arrangements.

Anyway there will be more debate on the subject over the coming month.

The BBFC writes:

Consultation on draft Guidance on Age-Verification Arrangements and draft Guidance on Ancillary Service Providers

Under section 14(1) of the Digital Economy Act 2017, all providers of online commercial pornographic services accessible from the UK will be required to carry age-verification controls to ensure that their content is not normally accessible to children.

This legislation is an important step in making the internet a safer place for children.

The BBFC was designated as the age-verification regulator under Part 3 of the Digital Economy Act 2017 on 21 February 2018.

Under section 25 of the Digital Economy Act 2017, the BBFC is required to publish two sets of Guidance: Guidance on Age-verification Arrangements and Guidance on Ancillary Service Providers .

The BBFC is now holding a public consultation on its draft Guidance on Age-Verification Arrangements and its draft Guidance on Ancillary Service Providers. The deadline for responses is the 23 April 2018 .

We will consider and publish responses before submitting final versions of the Guidance to the Secretary of State for approval. The Secretary of State is then required to lay the Guidance in parliament for formal approval. We support the government's decision to allow a period of up to three months after the Guidance is formally approved before the law comes into force, in order to give industry sufficient time to comply with the legislation.

Draft Guidance on Age-verification Arrangements

Under section 25 of the Digital Economy Act 2017, the BBFC is required to publish:

"guidance about the types of arrangements for making pornographic material available that the regulator will treat as complying with section 14(1)".

The draft Guidance on Age-Verification Arrangements sets out the criteria by which the BBFC will assess that a person has met with the requirements of section 14(1) of the Act. The draft guidance outlines good practice, such as offering choice of age-verification solutions to consumers. It also includes information about the requirements that age-verification services and online pornography providers must adhere to under data protection legislation and the role and functions of the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO). The draft guidance also sets out the BBFC's approach and powers in relation to online commercial pornographic services and considerations in terms of enforcement action.

Draft Guidance on Ancillary Service Providers

Under section 25 of the Digital Economy Act 2017, the BBFC is required to publish: "guidance for the purposes of section 21(1) and (5) about the circumstances in which it will treat services provided in the course of a business as enabling or facilitating the making available of pornographic material or extreme pornographic material".

The draft Guidance on Ancillary Service Providers includes a non-exhaustive list of classes of ancillary service provider that the BBFC will consider notifying under section 21 of the Act, such as social media and search engines. The draft guidance also sets out the BBFC's approach and powers in relation to online commercial pornographic services and considerations in terms of enforcement action.

How to respond to the consultation

We welcome views on the draft Guidance in particular in relation to the following questions:

Guidance on Age-Verification Arrangements

  • Do you agree with the BBFC's Approach as set out in Chapter 2?

  • Do you agree with the BBFC's Age-verification Standards set out in Chapter 3?

  • Do you have any comments with regards to Chapter 4?

The BBFC will refer any comments regarding Chapter 4 to the Information Commissioner's Office for further consideration.

Draft Guidance on Ancillary Service Providers

  • Do you agree with the BBFC's Approach as set out in Chapter 2?

  • Do you agree with the classes of Ancillary Service Provider set out in Chapter 3?

Please submit all responses (making reference to specific sections of the guidance where relevant) and confidentiality forms as email attachments to:

DEA-consultation@bbfc.co.uk

The deadline for responses is 23 April 2018 .

We will consider and publish responses before submitting final versions of the Guidance to the Secretary of State for approval.

Update: Intentionally scary

31st March 2018. From Wake Me Up In Dreamland on twitter.com

The failure to ensure data privacy/ protection in the Age Ver legislation is wholely intentional. Its intended to scare people away from adult material as a precursor to even more web censorship in UK.

 

 

Offsite Article: Porn Age Verification Rules...


Link Here 12th April 2018
Full story: BBFC Internet Porn Censors...BBFC designated as the UK internet porn censor
Expensive, Ineffective and a Hacker's DelightIncrease. By Vince Warrington, Founder Protective Intelligence

See article from cbronline.com

 

 

Offsite Podcast: Podcast: Steve Winyard - Age Verification and AV Secure...


Link Here 16th April 2018
Full story: BBFC Internet Porn Censors...BBFC designated as the UK internet porn censor
Perhaps the most hopeful age verification technology where you can be age verified for porn at your local supermarket without providing any ID whatsoever

See article from itsadult.com

 

 

Don't forget the BBFC age verification consultation ends on Monday...

Note that BBFC has now re-opened its web pages with the consultation details


Link Here 20th April 2018
Full story: BBFC Internet Porn Censors...BBFC designated as the UK internet porn censor
The BBFC is consulting on its procedures for deciding if porn websites have implemented adequately strictly such that under 18s won't normally be able to access the website. Any websites not complying will be fined/blocked and/or pressurised by hosting/payment providers and advertisers who are willing to support the BBFC censorship.

Now I'm sure that the BBFC will diligently perform their duties with fairness and consideration for all, but the trouble is that all the horrors of scamming, hacking, snooping, blackmail, privacy etc are simply not the concern of the BBFC. It is pointless to point out how the age verification will endanger porn viewers, it is not in their remit.

If a foreign website were to implement strict age verification and then pass over all the personal details and viewing habits straight to its blackmail, scamming and dirty tricks department, then this will be perfectly fine with the BBFC. It is only their job to ensure that under 18s won't get through the ID checking.

There is a little privacy protection for porn websites with a presence in the EU, as the new GDPR rues have some generic things to say about keeping data safe. However these are mostly useless if you give your consent to the websites to use your data as they see fit. And it seems pretty easy to get consent for just about anything just be asking people to tick a box, or else not be allowed to see the porn. For example, Facebook will still be allowed to slurp all you personal data even within the constraints of GDPR, so will porn websites.

As a porn viewer, the only person who will look after you, is yourself.

The woeful flaws of this bill need addressing (by the government rather than the BBFC). We need to demand of the government: Don't save the children by endangering their parents.

At the very least we need a class of critically private data that websites simply must not use, EVER, under any circumstances, for any reason, and regardless of nominal user consent. Any company that uses this critically private data must be liable to criminal prosecution.

Anyway there have been a few contributions to the debate in the run up to the end of the BBFC consultation.

The Digital Economy Act -- The Truth: AgeID

20th April 2018. See  article from cbronline.com

AgeID says it wants to set the record straight on user data privacy under pending UK smut age check rules. As soon as a customer enters their login credentials, AgeID anonymises them. This ensures AgeID does not have a list of email addresses. We cannot market to them, we cannot even see them

[You always have to be a bit sceptical about claims that anonymisation protects your data. Eg if Facebook strips off your name and address and then sells your GPS track as 'anonymised', when in fact your address and then name can be restored by noting that you spend 12 hours a day at 32 Acacia avenue and commute to work at Snoops R Us. Perhaps more to the point of PornHub, may indeed not know that it was Damian@Green.com that hashed to 00000666, but the browsing record of 0000666 will be stored by PornHub anyway. And when the police come along and find from the ID company that Damian@Green.com hashes to 0000666 then the can simply ask PornHub to reveal the browsing history of 0000666.

Tell the BBFC that age verification will do more harm than good

20th April 2018. See  article from backlash.org.uk

MindGeek's age verification solution, AgeID, will inevitably have broad takeup due to their using it on their free tube sites such as PornHub. This poses a massive conflict of interest: advertising is their main source of revenue, and they have a direct profit motive to harvest data on what people like to look at. AgeID will allow them to do just that.

MindGeek have a terrible record on keeping sensitive data secure, and the resulting database will inevitably be leaked or hacked. The Ashley Madison data breach is a clear warning of what can happen when people's sex lives are leaked into the public domain: it ruins lives, and can lead to blackmail and suicide. If this policy goes ahead without strict rules forcing age verification providers to protect user privacy, there is a genuine risk of loss of life.

Update: Marc Dorcel Issues Plea to Participate in U.K. Age-Verification Consultation

20th April 2018. See  article from xbiz.com

French adult content producer Marc Dorcel has issued a plea for industry stakeholders to participate in a public consultation on the U.K.'s upcoming age-verification system for adult content. The consultation period closes on Monday. The studio said the following about participation in the BBFC public consultation:

The time of a wild internet where everyone could get immediate and open access to porn seems to be over as many governments are looking for concrete solutions to control it.

U.K. is the first one to have voted a law regarding this subject and who will apply a total blockage on porn websites which do not age verify and protect minors. Australian, Polish and French authorities are also looking very closely into this issue and are interested in the system that will be elected in the U.K.

BBFC is the organization which will define and manage the operation. In a few weeks, the BBFC will deliver the government its age-verification guidance in order to define and detail how age-verification should comply with this new law.

BBFC wants to be pragmatic and is concerned about how end users and website owners will be able to enact this measure.

The organization has launched an open consultation in order to collect the public and concerned professionals' opinion regarding this matter here .

As a matter of fact, age-verification guideline involves a major challenge for the whole industry: age-verification processor cannot be considered neither as a gateway nor a toll. Moreover, it cannot be an instrument to gather internet users' data or hijack traffic.

Marc Dorcel has existed since 1979 and operates on numerous platforms -- TV, mobile, press, web networks. We are used to regulation authorities.

According to our point of view, the two main requirements to define an independent age-verification system that would not serve specific corporate interests are: 1st requirement -- neither an authenticated adult, nor his data should belong to any processor; 2nd requirement -- processor systems should freely be chosen because of their efficiency and not because of their dominant position.

We are also thinking that our industry should have two requests for the BBFC to insure a system which do not create dependency:

  • Any age-verification processor scope should be limited to a verification task without a user-registration system. As a consequence, processors could not get benefits on any data user or traffic control, customers' verified age would independently be stored by each website or website network and users would have to age verify for any new website or network.

  • If the BBFC allows any age-verification processor to control a visitor data base and to manage login and password, they should commit to share the 18+ login/password to the other certified processors. As a consequence, users would only have one age verification enrollment on their first visit of a website, users would be able to log in with the same login/password on any age verification system to prove their age, and verified adults would not belong to any processor to avoid any dependency.

In those cases, we believe that an age-verification solution will act like a MPSP (multiple payment service provider) which processes client payments but where customers do not belong to payment processors, but to the website and where credit card numbers can be used by any processor.

We believe that any adult company concerned with the future of our business should take part in this consultation, whatever his point of view or worries are.

It is our responsibility to take our fate into our own hands.

 

 

When have internet companies ever followed 'best practice'?...

Response to the BBFC consultation on UK internet porn censorship


Link Here 23rd April 2018
Full story: BBFC Internet Porn Censors...BBFC designated as the UK internet porn censor
Re Guidance on Age-Verification Arrangements

I agree with the BBFC's Approach as set out in Chapter 2

Re Age-verification Standards set out in Chapter 3

4. This guidance also outlines good practice in relation to age-verification to encourage consumer choice and the use of mechanisms that confirm age but not identity.

I think you should point out to porn viewers that your ideas on good practice are in no way enforceable on websites. You should not mislead porn viewers into thinking that their data is safe because of the assumption that websites will follow best practice. They may not.

5c. A requirement that either a user age-verify each visit or access is restricted by controls, manual or electronic, such as, but not limited to, password or personal identification numbers

This is a very glib sentence that could be the make or break of user acceptability of age verification.

This is not like watching films on Netflix, ie entering a PIN and watching a film. Viewing porn is more akin to browsing, hopping from one website to another, starting a film, quickly deciding it is no good and searching for another, maybe on a different site. Convenient browsing requires that a verification is stored for at least a reasonable time in a cookie. So that it can be access automatically by all websites using the same verification provider (or even different verification providers if they could get together to arrange this).

At the very least the BBFC should make a clearer statement about persistence of PINs or passwords and whether it is acceptable to maintain valid verifications in cookies.(or age verifier databases). The Government needs adults to buy into age verification. If the BBFC get too fussy about eliminating the risk that under 18s could view porn then the whole system could become too inconvenient for adults to be bothered with, resulting in a mass circumvention of the system with lots of information in lots of places about how and where porn could be more easily obtained. The under 18s would probably see this too, and so this would surely diminish the effectiveness of the whole idea. The very suggestion that users age verify each visit suggests that the BBFC is simply not on the right wavelength for a viable solution. Presumably not much thought has been put into specifying advance requirements, and that instead the BBFC will consider the merits of proposals as they arise. The time scales for enactment of the law should therefore allow for technical negotiations between developers and the BBFC about how each system should work.

5d. the inclusion of measures that are effective at preventing use by non-human operators including algorithms

What a meaningless statement, surely the age verification software process itself will be non human working on algorithms. Do bots need to be protected from porn? Are you saying that websites should not allow their sites to be accessed by Google's search engine bots? Unless there is an element of repeat access, a website does not really know that it is being accessed by a bot or a human. I think you probably have a more specific restriction in mind, and this has not been articulated in this vague and meaningless statement

7. Although not a requirement under section 14(1) the BBFC recommends that age-verification providers adopt good practice in the design and implementation of their solutions. These include solutions that: include clear information for end-users on data protection

When have websites or webs services ever provided clear information about data protection? The most major players of the internet refuse to provide clear information, eg Facebook or Google.

9. During the course of this age-verification assessment, the BBFC will normally be able to identify the following in relation to data protection compliance concerns: failure to include clear information for end-users on data protection and how data is used; and requesting more data than is necessary to confirm age, for example, physical location information.

Excellent! This would be good added value from the BBFC At the very least the BBFC should inform porn viewers that for foreign non-EU sites, there will be absolutely no data protection, and for EU websites, once users give their consent then the websites can do more or less anything with the data.

10. The BBFC will inform the Information Commissioner's Office where concerns arise during its assessment of the age-verification effectiveness that the arrangement does not comply with data protection legislation. The ICO will consider if further investigation is appropriate. The BBFC will inform the online commercial pornography provider(s) that it has raised concerns with the ICO.

Perhaps the BBFC could make it clear to porn users, the remit of the ICO over non-EU porn sites, and how the BBFC will handle these issues for a non-EU website.

Re Data Protection and the Information Commissioner's Office

The world's major websites such as Facebook that follow all the guidelines noted in this section but end up telling you nothing about how your data is used, I don't suppose porn sites will be any more open.

3b Where an organisation processing personal data is based outside the EU, an EU-based representative must be appointed and notified to the individual

Will the BBFC block eg a Russian website that complies with age verification by requiring credit card payments but has no EU representative? I think the BBFC/ICO needs to add a little bit more about data protection for websites and services outside of the EU. Porn viewers need to know.

General

Perhaps the BBFC could keep a FAQ for porn viewers eg Does the UK vetting service for people working with children have access to age verification data used for access to porn sites?

 

 

Offsite Article: Expect a schoolyard black market in adult login-codes...


Link Here 24th April 2018
Full story: BBFC Internet Porn Censors...BBFC designated as the UK internet porn censor
The Economist does a piece on porn age verification and quotes some bollox from the BBFC about the requirements not making life harder for adult porn viewers

See article from economist.com

 

 

The government is acting negligently on privacy and porn AV...

Top of our concerns was the lack of privacy safeguards to protect the 20 million plus users who will be obliged to use Age Verification tools to access legal content.


Link Here 8th May 2018
Full story: BBFC Internet Porn Censors...BBFC designated as the UK internet porn censor

We asked the BBFC to tell government that the legislation is not fit for purpose, and that they should halt the scheme until privacy regulation is in place. We pointed out that card payments and email services are both subject to stronger privacy protections that Age Verification.

The government's case for non-action is that the Information Commissioner and data protection fines for data breaches are enough to deal with the risk. This is wrong: firstly because fines cannot address the harm created by the leaking of people's sexual habits. Secondly, it is wrong because data breaches are only one aspect of the risks involved.

We outlined over twenty risks from Age Verification technologies. We pointed out that Age Verification contains a set of overlapping problems. You can read our list below. We may have missed some: if so, do let us know.

The government has to act. It has legislated this requirement without properly evaluating the privacy impacts. If and when it goes wrong, the blame will lie squarely at the government's door.

The consultation fails to properly distinguish between the different functions and stages of an age verification system. The risks associated with each are separate but interact. Regulation needs to address all elements of these systems. For instance:

  • Choosing a method of age verification, whereby a user determines how they wish to prove their age.

  • The method of age verification, where documents may be examined and stored.

  • The tool's approach to returning users, which may involve either:

    • attaching the user's age verification status to a user account or log-in credentials; or

    • providing a means for the user to re-attest their age on future occasions.

  • The re-use of any age verified account, log-in or method over time, and across services and sites.

The focus of attention has been on the method of pornography-related age verification, but this is only one element of privacy risk we can identify when considering the system as a whole. Many of the risks stem from the fact that users may be permanently 'logged in' to websites, for instance. New risks of fraud, abuse of accounts and other unwanted social behaviours can also be identified. These risks apply to 20-25 million adults, as well as to teenagers attempting to bypass the restrictions. There is a great deal that could potentially go wrong.

Business models, user behaviours and potential criminal threats need to be taken into consideration. Risks therefore include:

Identity risks

  • Collecting identity documents in a way that allows them to potentially be correlated with the pornographic content viewed by a user represents a serious potential risk to personal and potentially highly sensitive data.

Risks from logging of porn viewing

  • A log-in from an age-verified user may persist on a user's device or web browser, creating a history of views associated with an IP address, location or device, thus easily linked to a person, even if stored 'pseudonymously'.

  • An age verified log-in system may track users across websites and be able to correlate tastes and interests of a user visiting sites from many different providers.

  • Data from logged-in web visits may be used to profile the sexual preferences of users for advertising. Tool providers may encourage users to opt in to such a service with the promise of incentives such as discounted or free content.

  • The current business model for large porn operations is heavily focused on monetising users through advertising, exacerbating the risks of re-use and recirculation and re-identification of web visit data.

  • Any data that is leaked cannot be revoked, recalled or adequately compensated for, leading to reputational, career and even suicide risks.

Everyday privacy risks for adults

  • The risk of pornographic web accounts and associated histories being accessed by partners, parents, teenagers and other third parties will increase.

  • Companies will trade off security for ease-of-use, so may be reluctant to enforce strong passwords, two-factor authentication and other measures which make it harder for credentials to leak or be shared.

  • Everyday privacy tools used by millions of UK residents such as 'private browsing' modes may become more difficult to use to use due to the need to retain log-in cookies, increasing the data footprint of people's sexual habits.

  • Some users will turn to alternative methods of accessing sites, such as using VPNs. These tools have their own privacy risks, especially when hosted outside of the EU, or when provided for free.

Risks to teenagers' privacy

  • If age-verified log-in details are acquired by teenagers, personal and sexual information about them may become shared including among their peers, such as particular videos viewed. This could lead to bullying, outing or worse.

  • Child abusers can use access to age verified accounts as leverage to create and exploit a relationship with a teenager ('grooming').

  • Other methods of obtaining pornography would be incentivised, and these may carry new and separate privacy risks. For instance the BitTorrent network exposes the IP addresses of users publicly. These addresses can then be captured by services like GoldenEye, whose business model depends on issuing legal threats to those found downloading copyrighted material. This could lead to the pornographic content downloaded by young adults or teenagers being exposed to parents or carers. While copyright infringement is bad, removing teenagers' sexual privacy is worse. Other risks include viruses and scams.

Trust in age verification tools and potential scams

  • Users may be obliged to sign up to services they do not trust or are unfamiliar with in order to access specific websites.

  • Pornographic website users are often impulsive, with lower risk thresholds than for other transactions. The sensitivity of any transactions involved gives them a lower propensity to report fraud. Pornography users are therefore particularly vulnerable targets for scammers.

  • The use of credit cards for age verification in other markets creates an opportunity for fraudulent sites to engage in credit card theft.

  • Use of credit cards for pornography-related age verification risks teaching people that this is normal and reasonable, opening up new opportunities for fraud, and going against years of education asking people not to hand card details to unknown vendors.

  • There is no simple means to verify which particular age verification systems are trustworthy, and which may be scams.

Market related privacy risks

  • The rush to market means that the tools that emerge may be of variable quality and take unnecessary shortcuts.

  • A single pornography-related age verification system may come to dominate the market and become the de-facto provider, leaving users no real choice but to accept whatever terms that provider offers.

  • One age verification product which is expected to lead the market -- AgeID -- is owned by MindGeek, the dominant pornography company online. Allowing pornographic sites to own and operate age verification tools leads to a conflict of interest between the privacy interests of the user, and the data-mining and market interests of the company.

  • The online pornography industry as a whole, including MindGeek, has a poor record of privacy and security, littered with data breaches. Without stringent regulation prohibiting the storage of data which might allow users' identity and browsing to be correlated, there is no reason to assume that data generated as a result of age verification tools will be exempt from this pattern of poor security.

 

 

Newsagents to sell 'porn passes'...

The press picks up on the age verification offering from AVSecure that offers anonymous porn browsing


Link Here 14th May 2018
Full story: BBFC Internet Porn Censors...BBFC designated as the UK internet porn censor
Adults who want to watch online porn (or maybe by adults only products such as alcohol) will be able to buy codes from newsagents and supermarkets to prove that they are over 18 when online.

One option available to the estimated 25 million Britons who regularly visit such websites will be a 16-digit code, dubbed a 'porn pass'.

While porn viewers will still be able to verify their age using methods such as registering credit card details, the 16-digit code option would be a fully anonymous option. According to AVSecure's the cards will be sold for 10 to anyone who looks over 18 without the need for any further identification. It doesn't say on the website, but presumably in the case where there is doubt about a customer's age, then they will have to show ID documents such as a passport or driving licence, but hopefully that ID will not have to be recorded anywhere.

It is hope he method will be popular among those wishing to access porn online without having to hand over personal details to X-rated sites.

The user will type in a 16 digit number into websites that belong to the AVSecure scheme. It should be popular with websites as it offers age verification to them for free (with the 10 card fee being the only source of income for the company). This is a lot better proposition for websites than most, if not all, of the other age verification companies.

AVSecure also offer an encrypted implementation via blockchain that will not allow websites to use the 16 digit number as a key to track people's website browsing. But saying that they could still use a myriad of other standard technologies to track viewers.

The BBFC is assigned the task of deciding whether to accredit different technologies and it will be very interesting to see if they approve the AVSecure offering. It is easily the best solution to protect the safety and privacy of porn viewers, but it maybe will test the BBFC's pragmatism to accept the most workable and safest solution for adults which is not quite fully guaranteed to protect children. Pragmatism is required as the scheme has the technical drawback of having no further checks in place once the card has been purchased. The obvious worry is that an over 18s can go around to other shops to buy several cards to pass on to their under 18 mates. Another possibility is that kids could stumble on their parent's card and get access. Numbers shared on the web could be easily blocked if used simultaneously from different IP addresses.

 

 

Pornhub blows a raspberry at the BBFC...

And introduces a free VPN to short circuit UK porn censorship


Link Here 25th May 2018
Full story: BBFC Internet Porn Censors...BBFC designated as the UK internet porn censor
Pornhub, the dominant force amongst the world's porn websites, has sent a challenge to the BBFC's porn censorship regime by offering a free workaround to any porn viewer who would prefer to hide their tracks rather then open themselves up to the dangers of offering up their personal ID to age verifiers.

And rather bizarrely Pornhub are one of the companies offering age verification services to  porn sites who want to comply with UK age verification requirements.

Pornhub describes its VPN service with references to UK censorship:

Browse all websites anonymously and without restrictions.

VPNhub helps you bypass censorship while providing secure and private access to Internet. Access all of your favorite websites without fear of being monitored.

Hide your information and surf the Internet without a trace.

Enjoy the pleasure of protection with VPNhub. With full data encryption and guaranteed anonymity, go with the most trusted VPN to protect your privacy anywhere in the world.

Free and Unlimited

Enjoy totally free and unlimited bandwidth on your device of choice.

 

 

Offsite Article: UK push for porn passes raises privacy and data concerns...


Link Here 28th May 2018
Full story: BBFC Internet Porn Censors...BBFC designated as the UK internet porn censor
Age verification requirement has raised fears about privacy, and concerns that independent providers will suffer disproportionately.

See article from wikitribune.com

 

 

Healthy scepticism...

Pandora Blake suggests that there have been about 750 responses to its consultation on age verification requirements for porn sites


Link Here 28th May 2018
Full story: BBFC Internet Porn Censors...BBFC designated as the UK internet porn censor

Age verification has been hanging over us for several years now - and has now been put back to the end of 2018 after enforcement was originally planned to start last month.

I'm enormously encouraged by how many people took the opportunity to speak up and reply to the BBFC consultation on the new regulations .

Over 500 people submitted a response using the tool provided by the Open Rights Group , emphasising the need for age verification tech to be held to robust privacy and security standards.

I'm told that around 750 consultation responses were received by the BBFC overall, which means that a significant majority highlighted the regulatory gap between the powers of the BBFC to regulate adult websites, and the powers of the Information Commissioner to enforce data protection rules.

 

 

Whatever happened to...

The BBFC consultation on UK internet porn censorship


Link Here 17th July 2018
Full story: BBFC Internet Porn Censors...BBFC designated as the UK internet porn censor
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.

...Read the full  article from newint.org

 

 

BBFC: Age Verification We Don't Trust...

BBFC boss writes a 'won't somebody think of the children' campaigning piece in support of the upcoming porn censorship law, disgracefully from behind a paywall


Link Here 22nd July 2018
Full story: BBFC Internet Porn Censors...BBFC designated as the UK internet porn censor
David Austin as penned what looks like an official BBFC campaigning piece trying to drum up support for the upcoming internet porn censorship regime. Disgracefully the article is hidden behind a paywall and is restricted to Telegraph paying subscribers.

Are children protected by endangering their parents or their marriage?

The article is very much a one sided piece, focusing almost entirely on the harms to children. It says nothing about the extraordinary dangers faced by adults when handing over personal identifying data to internet companies. Not a word about the dangers of being blackmailed, scammed or simply outed to employers, communities or wives, where the standard punishment for a trivial transgression of PC rules is the sack or divorce.

Austin speaks of the scale of the internet business and the scope of the expected changes. He writes:

There are around five million pornographic websites across the globe. Most of them have no effective means of stopping children coming across their content. It's no great surprise, therefore, that Government statistics show that 1.4 million children in the UK visited one of these websites in one month.

...

The BBFC will be looking for a step change in the behaviour of the adult industry. We have been working with the industry to ensure that many websites carry age-verification when the law comes into force.

...

Millions of British adults watch pornography online. So age-verification will have a wide reach. But it's not new. It's been a requirement for many years for age-restricted goods and services, including some UK hosted pornographic material.

I guess at this last point readers will be saying I never knew that. I've never come across age verification ever before. But the point here is these previous rules devastated the British online porn industry and the reason people don't ever come across it, is that there are barely any British sites left.

Are children being protected by impoverishing their parents?

Not that any proponents of age verification could care less about British people being able to make money. Inevitably the new age verification will further compound the foreign corporate monopoly control on yet another internet industry.

Having lorded over a regime that threatens to devastate lives, careers and livelihoods, Austin ironically notes that it probably won't work anyway:

The law is not a silver bullet. Determined, tech-savvy teenagers may find ways around the controls, and not all pornography online will be age-restricted. For example, the new law does not require pornography on social media platforms to be placed behind age-verification controls.

 

 

Unfinished business...

Open Rights Group comments on the missed milestone of publishing final age verification guidelines before Parliament's summer recess


Link Here 5th August 2018
Full story: BBFC Internet Porn Censors...BBFC designated as the UK internet porn censor

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.

 

 

Howe gets animated by anime...

Elspeth Howe reveals more of the internal government debate that is delaying the BBFC internet porn censorship guidelines


Link Here 8th August 2018
Full story: BBFC Internet Porn Censors...BBFC designated as the UK internet porn censor
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:
 

  Current   Proposed
offline online   offline online
Softcore 18 BBFC uncut BBFC uncut BBFC uncut BBFC uncut
Hardcore R18  BBFC uncut BBFC uncut BBFC uncut BBFC uncut
Beyond R18
(proposal by CPS)
banned BBFC uncut BBFC uncut BBFC uncut
Cartoon Porn
(proposal by Howe))
banned BBFC uncut banned banned
Extreme porn banned banned banned banned
Child porn banned banned banned banned
  • 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 the net.


'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.

 

 

Offsite Article: Time Magazine reports on the current status...


Link Here 22nd August 2018
Full story: BBFC Internet Porn Censors...BBFC designated as the UK internet porn censor
The U.K. Is About To Censor Online Porn, and Free Speech Advocates Are Alarmed

See article from time.com

 

 

PortesCard...

Pornhub partners with anonymous system based on retailers verifying ages without recording ID


Link Here 8th September 2018
Full story: BBFC Internet Porn Censors...BBFC designated as the UK internet porn censor
Pornhub's Age verification system AgeID has announced an exclusive partnership with OCL and its Portes solution for providing anonymous face-to-face age verification solution where retailers OK the age of customers who buy a card enabling porn access. The similar AVSecure scheme allows over 25s to buy the access card without showing any ID but may require to see unrecorded ID from those appearing less than 25.

According to the company, the PortesCard is available to purchase from selected high street retailers and any of the U.K.'s 29,000 PayPoint outlets as a voucher. Each PortesCard will cost 4.99 for use on a single device, or 8.99 for use across multiple devices. This compares with 10 for the AVSecure card.

Once a card or voucher is purchased, its unique validation code must be activated via the Portes app within 24 hours before expiring. Once the user has been verified they will automatically be granted access to all adult sites using AgeID. Maybe this 24 hour limit is something to do with an attempt to restrict secondary sales of porn access codes by ensuring that they get tied to devices almost immediately. It all sounds a little hasslesome.

As an additional layer of protection, parents can quickly and simply block access on their children's devices to sites using Portes, so PortesCards cannot be associated with AgeID.

But note that an anonymously bought card is not quite a 100% safe solution. One has to consider whether if the authorities get hold of a device whether the can then see a complete history of all websites accessed using the app or access code. One also has to consider whether someone can remotely correlate an 'anonymous' access code with all the tracking cookies holding one's id.

 

 

Campaign: ResistAV...

Pandora Blake and Myles Jack launch a new campaigning website to raise funds for a challenge to the government's upcoming internet porn censorship regime


Link Here 11th September 2018
Full story: BBFC Internet Porn Censors...BBFC designated as the UK internet porn censor

Niche porn producer, Pandora Blake, Misha Mayfair, campaigning lawyer Myles Jackman and Backlash are campaigning to back a legal challenge to the upcoming internet porn censorship regime in the UK. They write on a new ResistAV.com website:

We are mounting a legal challenge.

Do you lock your door when you watch porn 203 or do you publish a notice in the paper? The new UK age verification law means you may soon have to upload a proof of age to visit adult sites. This would connect your legal identity to a database of all your adult browsing. Join us to prevent the damage to your privacy.

The UK Government is bringing in age verification for adults who want to view adult content online; yet have failed to provide privacy and security obligations to ensure your private information is securely protected.

The law does not currently limit age verification software to only hold data provided by you just in order to verify your age. Hence, other identifying data about you could include anything from your passport information to your credit card details, up to your full search history information. This is highly sensitive data.

What are the Privacy Risks?

Data Misuse - Since age verification providers are legally permitted to collect this information, what is to stop them from increasing revenue through targeting advertising at you, or even selling your personal data?

Data Breaches - No database is perfectly secure, despite good intentions. The leaking or hacking of your sensitive personal information could be truly devastating. The Ashley Madison hack led to suicides. Don't let the Government allow your private sexual preferences be leaked into the public domain.

What are we asking money for?

We're asking you to help us crowdfund legal fees so we can challenge the new age verification rules under the Digital Economy Act 2017. We re asking for 210,000 to cover the cost of initial legal advice, since it's a complicated area of law. Ultimately, we'd like to raise even more money, so we can send a message to Government that your personal privacy is of paramount importance.

 


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