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Comment: A push for age verification...

A pithy summary abut the current parliamentary clamour for age verification for porn and social media

Link Here2nd September 2021
Full story: Online Safety Bill...UK Government legislates to censor social media
Ben Greenstone comments on a recent article in the Times commenting on a cross party cartel of powerful parliamentarians all calling for more obtrusive age verification:

The Chairs of both the Draft Online Safety Bill Joint Committee and the DCMS Select Committee, alongside the Shadow DCMS Secretary of State and the Children's Commissioner, are all calling for tougher age verification measures online.

It blows my mind that the piece does not make more of the fact that DCMS tried to introduce age verification for *actual online pornography* and failed because it was too hard. 18 year olds can have a credit card which can be used as a proxy measure... what do 13 year olds have?

This is classic just fix it from people who don't seem to have spent any time actually thinking about what fixing it would look like and what it would require. It's bad news for online service providers, but great news if you are planning to set up an age verification business.



Toppling cherished pillars of civilisation such as free speech...

Labour MP calls for statue protection law to be extended to become a blasphemy law protecting religious characters from criticism and mockery

Link Here 6th July 2021
Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill
Debated in the House of Commons on Monday 5 July 2021

Labour MP Naz Shah said in a Parliamentary debate:

Yes, people can go out and debate, discuss, disagree and even respectfully and vehemently oppose any historical figure, but when they defame or vandalise in a mob-like fashion statues of people like Winston Churchill who mean so much to millions of Britons who hold his efforts during the second world war so close to their hearts, that does threaten the cohesive nature of our nation. We cannot pretend that a western liberal democracy like Britain does not consider feelings when it comes to such situations while at the same time today passing a law through Parliament giving such importance to protecting statues based upon commemorative feelings.

As a Muslim, for me and millions of Muslims across this country and a quarter of the world's population who are Muslim too, with each day and each breath there is not a single thing in the world that we commemorate and honour more than our beloved Prophet, Mohammed, peace be upon him. But when bigots and racists defame, slander or abuse our Prophet, peace be upon him, just like some people do the likes of Churchill, the emotional harm caused upon our hearts is unbearable, because for 2 billion Muslims, he is the leader we commemorate in our hearts and honour in our lives, and he forms the basis of our identity and our very existence. In fact, the noted playwright George Bernard Shaw said about the Prophet, peace be upon him:

He was by far the most remarkable man that ever set foot on this earth. He preached a religion, founded a state206laid down a moral code, initiated numerous social and political reforms, established a powerful and dynamic society to practice and represent his teachings and completely revolutionised the worlds of human thought and behaviour for all times to come.

To those who say it is just a cartoon, I will not say, It's only a statue, because I understand the strength of British feeling when it comes to our history, our culture and our identity. It is not just a cartoon and they are not just statues. They represent, symbolise and mean so much more to us as human beings.

In conclusion, while this law would now protect civil order and emotional harm when it comes to secular and political figures such as Oliver Cromwell and Churchill and does not necessarily put other figures that many people in modern Britain hold close to their hearts, such as Jesus, the Prophet Mohammed, peace be upon him, Moses, Ram, Buddha, Guru Nanak and many others, it does show that we recognise that there is such a thing as emotional harm. Finally, we must ask ourselves: when striking the careful balance to protect such emotional harms, can there and should there be a hierarchy of sentiments?



Safer sex work in the UK...

The Government has rejected a Labour MPs attempt to pass law criminalising men for buying sex

Link Here26th June 2021
Full story: Criminalising Prostitution in UK...Labour continue to criminalise men buying sex
There is a steady stream of mostly Labour politicians who put forward law proposals to criminalise men for buying sex.

A private members bill from Labour MP Diana Johnson titled the Sexual Exploitation Bill sought to criminalise buying sex ran out of parliamentary time this year and has therefore been abandoned.

The latest attempt this week was by another miserable Labour MP, Sarah Champion. She sought add a clause criminalising men for buying sex to the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill.

But the Conservative Government have bravely rejected the clause explaining that similar legislation in other countries has tended towards making sex workers lives more dangerous.

Victoria Atkins The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department explained in her speech:

I am grateful to the hon. Lady [Sarah Champion] for putting the case for new clauses 76 to 82 on behalf of the hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull North [Diana Johnson], who in the last Parliament had a ten-minute rule Bill on the issue.

The Government's long-standing policy towards sex work and prostitution has been focused on tackling the harm and exploitation that can be associated with prostitution, as well as ensuring that those wishing to exit sex work are appropriately supported. These six new clauses seek to make significant changes to the legislative regime governing prostitution and sex work. In summary, they would impose what is known as the sex buyer law, or Nordic model, which would criminalise the buying but not the selling of sexual services, the profiting by third parties from sexual services and the advertising of sexual services.

Under English and Welsh law currently, the buying and selling of sexual services are not necessarily unlawful in themselves. In other jurisdictions where the buying of sex has been criminalised, such as France, Northern Ireland and Sweden, there has been no conclusive evidence to show that the criminalisation of the demand for sex has either led to a significant decrease in the demand for sexual services or improved the conditions in which sex workers operate. Indeed, there is some evidence to suggest that criminalising the purchasing of sexual services worsens the conditions in which prostitutes and sex workers operate. It may change the profile of buyers of sexual services, distilling the demand down only to those willing to break the law to purchase such acts and forcing prostitutes and sex workers to engage in forms of prostitution associated with higher levels of harm. In the absence of unequivocal evidence, the Government have therefore maintained their line that we are focusing on trying to exit people and trying to reduce the harm and exploitation that they face.

Atkins then pointed out there are already laws against any sex work involving trafficking and Sarah Champion went on to withdraw her proposed clause.



Age of miserableness...

Strident Scottish feminist MSP tables motion calling for the resurrection of failed UK law requiring age verification for porn

Link Here11th June 2021
Full story: Online Safety Bill...UK Government legislates to censor social media
Rhoda Grant is a campaigning MSP with a long and miserable history of calling for bans on sex work and lap dancing. She has now tabled a motion for consideration by the Scottish Parliament expressing concern the UK government's reported failure to implement Part 3 of the Digital Economy Act 2017 seeking to impose age verification for porn but without any consideration for the dangers to porn users of having their personal data hacked or abused.

Grant's motion has received the backing of Labour and SNP MSPs and notes that a coalition of women's organisations, headteachers, children's charities and parliamentarians want the government to enforce Part 3 without further delay. Grant said:

How we keep our children safe online should be an absolute priority, so the failure to implement Part 3 of the Digital Economy Act 2017 is a terrible reflection on the UK government.

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