As Policy Director David Miles is the principal adviser on policy and public affairs to the Chief Executive. He is responsible
for coordinating the BBFC's policy work and managing and leading on its public affairs effort. The role is also responsible for managing the BBFC's research, communications and education programmes.
David Miles, BBFC Policy Director said: The BBFC is an intelligent and innovative organisation with a growing remit online, as well as an important legacy as a British institution and one of the most respected film and video regulators in the
world. I am very pleased to join the BBFC as its Policy Director and look forward to working with all BBFC staff to ensure the BBFC's Classification Guidelines continue to adapt shifting public opinion and the BBFC provides the best possible,
transparent and accessible guidance for anyone making a film, DVD/Blu-ray or VOD viewing decision for themselves or on behalf of children.
I also look forward to the opportunity to work on the BBFC's proposed role as the age verification regulator for pornography online, a significant and vital step in reducing children's exposure to online pornography available in the UK, and a
role I believe the BBFC is well equipped to fulfil.
David joined the BBFC as a consultant in February 2017, before his appointment as Policy Director in June 2017. Prior to this David held a wide range of executive leadership roles in the technology and charitable sector, including IBM and the
Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI). He is currently a member of UNICEF's Expert Panel for the Global Fund to End Violence against Children, as well as former Executive Board member of the UK Council for Child Internet Safety (UKCCIS) and chair
of several key working groups. David is a Freeman of the City of London and a member of the Worshipful Company of Information Technologists (WCIT), one of the Livery Companies of the City of London. The Company received its Royal Charter in 2010.
Open Rights Group has responded to Theresa May's post-election hints that she will continue with Conservative plans for Internet clampdowns.
Executive Director Jim Killock said:
To push on with these extreme proposals for Internet clampdowns would appear to be a distraction from the current political situation and from effective measures against terror.
The Government already has extensive surveillance powers. Conservative proposals for automated censorship of the Internet would see decisions about what British citizens can see online being placed in the hands of computer algorithms, with
judgments ultimately made by private companies rather than courts. Home Office plans to force companies to weaken the security of their communications products could put all of us at a greater risk of crime.
Both of these proposals could result in terrorists and extremists switching to platforms and services that are more difficult for our law enforcement and intelligence agencies to monitor.
Given that the priority for all MPs is how the UK will negotiate Brexit, it will be especially hard to give the time and thought necessary to scrutinise these proposals.
It could be tempting to push ahead in order to restore some of Theresa May's image as a tough leader. This should be resisted. With such a fragile majority, greater consensus will be needed to pass new laws.
We hope that this will mean our parliamentarians will reject reactionary policy-making and look for long-term, effective solutions that directly address the complex causes of terrorism.
A Freedom of Information request to the DCMS has revealed that porn company MindGeek suggested that the BBFC should potentially block millions of porn sites if they didn't comply with Age Verification requirements outlined in the Digital Economy
MindGeek, who are also developing Age Verification technology, said that the Government's plans to prevent children from seeing pornography would not be effective unless millions of sites could be blocked.
Notes made by the company and sent to the DCMS state:
A greylist of 4M URLs already exists from Sky, but lets assume that's actually much smaller as these URLs will I suspect, be page- level blocks, not TLDs. The regulator should contact them all within that 12 months, explaining that if they do not
demonstrate they are AV ready by the enforcement date then they will be enforced against. "On the enforcement date, all sites on the greylist turn black or white depending upon what they have demonstrated to the regulator.
Corey Price, VP of Pornhub, separately noted:
It is our corporate responsibility as part of the global tech community to promote ethical and responsible behavior. We firmly believe that parents are best placed to police their children's online activity using the plethora of tools already
available in modern operating systems. The law has the potential to send a message to parents that they no longer need to monitor their children's online activity, so it is therefore essential that the Act is robustly enforced.
Despite the law, those seeking adult content can still circumvent age verification using simple proxy/VPN services. Consequently the intent of the legislation is to only protect children who stumble across adult content in an un-protected
environment. There are over 4 million domains containing adult content, and unless sites are enforced against equally, stumbling across adult content will be no harder than at present. If the regulator pursues a proportionate approach we may only
see the Top 50 sites being effected 203 this is wholly unacceptable as the law will then be completely ineffective, and simply discriminate against compliant sites. We are therefore informing, and closely monitoring the development of the
regulations, to be published later this year, to see if they achieve the intended goals of the Act.
MindGeek could stand to gain commercially if competitor websites are blocked from UK visitors, or if the industry takes up their Age Verification product.
Executive Director of Open Rights Group, Jim Killock said:
There is nothing in the Act to stop the BBFC from blocking 4.6 million pornographic websites. The only constraint is cash.
This leaves the BBFC wide open to pressure for mass website blocking without any need for a change in the law.
When giving evidence to the Public Bill Committee
, the chief executive of the British Board of Film Classification, David Austin implied that only tens of sites would be targeted:
We would start with the top 50 and work our way through those, but we would not stop there. We would look to get new data every quarter, for example. As you say, sites will come in and out of popularity. We will keep up to date and focus on those
most popular sites for children.
The Digital Economy Bill (DEBill) will require that porn sites verify the age of their users in order to prevent under 18s from viewing pornography. Despite concerns that this will leave porn users vulnerable to hacks and security risks, the
Government has failed to amend the Bill so that privacy is written into the legislation. Instead, Codes of Practice will place the responsibility for protecting people's privacy with porn sites not the companies supplying age verification
Executive Director Jim Killock said:
Age verification is an accident waiting to happen. Despite repeated warnings, parliament has failed to listen to concerns about the privacy and security of people who want to watch legal adult content.
As we saw with the Ashley Madison leaks, the hacking of private information about people's sex lives, has huge repercussions for those involved. The UK government has failed to take responsibility for its proposals and placed the responsibility
for people's privacy into the hands of porn companies.
The Bill will also enable the creation of a censorship regime as the BBFC will be given powers to force ISPs to block legitimate websites without any judicial process. These powers were added to the Bill, when it became apparent that foreign porn
sites could not be compelled to apply age verification. During parliamentary scrutiny, they were extended to include other content, not just pornography, raising further concerns about the threat to free speech.
These new powers will put in place a vast system of censorship which could be applied to tens of thousands of adult websites. The BBFC will be under pressure to censor more and more legal content. This is a serious assault on free speech in the
Almost 25,000 ORG supporters signed a petition calling for the Government to reject plans for blocking legal pornography.
The Digital Economy Bill has received the royal assent. Interesting comments and links on Pandora Blake's blog. Apparently a thrilling thirteen parliamentary jobsworths could be arsed to turn up for the final debate in the House of Comics. I would
think it's now in the interest of porn producers, as well as their British customers, to drop any restrictions on access via VPNs and to help UK punters get round any attempted firewall.
Pandora seems to know more about the matter than the 650 political twats together!
We're calling on social networks to be regulated and fined when they fail to protect children after it was revealed that 4 out of 5 children feel social media companies aren't doing enough to protect them
Out of 1,696 children and young people who took part in our Net Aware research, 1,380 thought social media sites needed to do more to protect them from inappropriate or harmful content. When asked about what they were coming across
on social media sites, children reported seeing:
bullying and hatred.
We're calling on Government to draw up minimum standards that internet companies must meet to safeguard children. These standards must include:
age-ratings in line with those for films set by the British Board of Film Classification
safe accounts automatically offered to under 18's -- with default privacy settings, proactive filtering of harmful content and mechanisms to guard against grooming