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2012: April-June

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Update: Warped Views...

Scottish MPs queue up to claim that default porn blocking will cure all society's ills


Link Here28th June 2012
Full story: Internet Blocking Adult Websites in UK...Government push for ISPs to block porn

Scottish politicians have been queuing up to blame online porn for a 10% rise in reported sexual offences in Scotland.

East Dunbartonshire MP Jo Swinson called for ISPs to use a system of default blocking for adult content on websites. She said:

It's very difficult to pin down exactly what is causing these attitudes by young people, but given that there's very easily available pornography online -- and not just the lads mag, page three images, but really explicit, hardcore pornography -- it's not hard to imagine that it helps to create a warped view of relationships.

Scottish Conservative MSP John Lamont added:

We need to investigate measures such as having filters switched on as the default option, or blocking all adult content unless you decide otherwise.

Glasgow MP John Robertson said more needs to be done to raise parental awareness of the security tools available to them.

 

 

Updated: Egotist and Moralist...

MSP aims to push for a rapid ban on buying sex in Scotland and claims that there is simply no need for public debate of the proposal because she is right


Link Here20th June 2012
Full story: Sex Work in Scotland...Bills to ban and to decriminalise sex work

A new bill to make prostitution illegal in Scotland is to be put before the Scottish parliament this week.

Labour MSP Rhoda Grant wants to see a bill fast-tracked through Holyrood, claiming it will reduce demand for prostitution by criminalising those who buy sex. She said the proposals could be passed rapidly through the parliamentary process as the previous consultation meant there was no need to repeat this:

Practical, operational, legal, equality and financial considerations have been explored to a sufficient degree to test, develop and refine my specific proposal and enable me to proceed towards the development of a bill. I have continued to liaise with organisations on this topic.

Views expressed to me so far, as part of my on-going engagement with a number of bodies, the public and others with an interest in this proposal, confirm that the views expressed during the formal consultation process have not changed.

Currently kerb crawling, running brothels and soliciting for prostitution are all outlawed in Scotland but it is still legal for an adult to pay another adult for sex without any offence being committed.

The SNP Government says it will give careful consideration to the new proposals after similar plans were rejected two years ago. Former Labour MSP Trish Godman's proposals in the Criminal Justice and Licensing bill were turned down by ministers who feared it would make the problem less visible to the authorities.

Grant, a Highland and Islands list MSP, is essentially taking over the Godman proposals, and will tell Holyrood's justice committee this week that she thinks there is no need to go through the lengthy consultation process that usually accompanies new bills again.

The original bill  met with concerns from the Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland (ACPOS), which warned that it could drive prostitution off the street and into areas where it is harder to identify vulnerable women and enforce the law. Assistant Chief Constable Iain Livingstone told MSPs on the justice committee he was not looking for additional powers in this area.

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: Prostitution damages the individuals caught up in selling sex and the communities involved. It is a complex issue which requires careful consideration to ensure that any additional measures which may be required to be put in place are necessary, practicable and sustainable. We will give careful consideration to any bill which Rhoda Grant brings forward on this matter.

Update: Fast track derailed

20th June  2012.  See  article from  scotsman.com

Rhoda Grant is to press ahead with her selfish plans to criminalise prostitution in Scotland but her attempt to fast-track new legislation through parliament was blocked..

Holyrood's justice committee ruled that a 12-week consultation on the measures, which would make it an offence for someone to purchase sex from another adult, must be carried out by Highlands and Islands MSP Rhoda Grant who said:

I look forward to hearing the responses to the further consultation on these proposals.

Overwhelmingly, the feedback that I have received to date makes clear that reducing the demand for prostitution can be achieved by making the purchasing of sex illegal.

I look forward to the parliament considering more consultation feedback in the coming months and a full debate on my proposals that will protect Scottish women.

Offsite Comment: Making Things Worse

20th June  2012. See  article from  bbc.co.uk

Dr Belinda Brooks-Gordon, from the Department of Psychological Sciences, Birbeck, University of London, has researched and written about the sex industry. She said the Scottish legislation proposal was not supported by any evidence that it would help sex workers.

It's McCarthyism in the bedroom

The prisons are at bursting point so to fill them with people who use prostitutes and to give them a criminal record is lunacy.

It would be a retrograde step and would make things worse.

The people this legislation would most harm are the people they are proposing to help.

She said the best way to protect sex workers was to treat violence against them as a hate crime and build a strong relationship between the police and prostitutes so they felt that if they approached them for help their complaint would be taken seriously

...Read the full article

 

 

Blaming All the Cliches in the Book to Avoid Mentioning Religion...

Deputy children's commissioner says social networking, mobiles and hardcore porn contribute to child sexual exploitation


Link Here 13th June 2012

Children are being encouraged to take part in sexual activity by exposure to hardcore pornography on their mobile phones, the deputy children's commissioner has claimed.

Sue Berelowitz was giving evidence to the home affairs select committee which is investigating the issue of street grooming and child sexual exploitation after nine British Asian men in Rochdale were convicted for grooming and abusing vulnerable young girls.

The case, along with several others in the north of England over the last three years, has provided some evidence that street grooming of young girls, often from children's homes, is disproportionately being carried out by Asian men who target white victims. The five victims were plied with food, alcohol, drugs and gifts so they could be passed around a group of men for sex.

Berelowitz told the committee the issue of ethnicity was complex. She said there was a particular pattern of Asian men and white girls as revealed by the Rochdale case and others, but she said it was a pattern among many other patterns of child sexual exploitation.

She said the issue of how social networking, BBM messaging and pornography was being used as part of the exploitation of children and young people, often by teenagers not much older than themselves, was of serious concern.

She said she was concerned about the viewing of pornography by young people, which contributed to the problem of child sexual exploitation.

They are watching it and then they are enacting it. Parents think they know what their child is watching ... the reality is children can get anything they like on their mobile phones and they are. This is affecting children's thresholds of what they think is normal behaviour.

Social networking sites can be a source of real problems in this area. They [the perpetrators] are sometimes filming their victims, girls are making themselves vulnerable by filming themselves ...

Extract: According to the Crown Prosecution

14th June 2012. See  article from  dailymail.co.uk

The sexual exploitation and grooming of young vulnerable white girls is a particular problem in Asian communities , one of Britain's top prosecutors admitted for the first time today.

In a year when several paedophile gangs were convicted of raping and prostituting victims in north west England, Nazir Afzal says it is impossible not to notice that the perpetrators were Asian and the victims were not.

The Chief Crown Prosecutor for the region added that cultural baggage and the status of women among some men in these communities contributes to their disrespect for the rights of women.

It came as the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee announced yesterday a day of evidence next week because its members and chairman Keith Vaz are very concerned by the recent cases of child exploitation. The Labour MP for Leicester East has previously said: I do not think it is a race issue.'

...Read the full article

Update: Shocked

26th June 2012. See  article from  policeoracle.com

Committee Chairman Keith Vaz said: The committee were shocked to hear that the number of victims of child sexual exploitation runs into the thousands. Child grooming is a national issue that requires thorough investigation.

 

 

Offsite Article: Defamation Bill 2012...


Link Here9th June 2012
Full story: Censorship by Libel...British libel law allows the rich to censor the truth
The Libel Reform Group set out their concerns about the government bill ahead of the 2nd Reading Commons debate on 12th June.

See report [pdf] from senseaboutscience.org

 

 

Update: How Pornography Hijacks the Nutter Mind...

Claire Perry wheels in the nutters to preach to MPs about the sins of porn


Link Here26th May 2012
Full story: Internet Blocking Adult Websites in UK...Government push for ISPs to block porn

The Daily Mail introduces its latest propaganda piece:

Children are being scarred for life by stumbling across internet pornography before their brains are able to cope with it, according to a leading neuroscientist.

Dr William Struthers told MPs that in eight out of ten cases, youngsters come across hard-core images by accident. If they are between nine and 14, when their bodies are becoming sexually mature but their brains are not emotionally developed, early exposure can lead to lasting damage including withdrawn behaviour and acting out what they see onscreen.

Dr Struthers was speaking at a House of Commons seminar sponsored by Claire Perry, the Tory MP who wants to block web porn from computers unless adults opt in .

Dr Struthers, associate professor of psychology at Wheaton College, Illinois, found that research subjects were able to recall the first images of porn they ever saw in remarkable detail even though they could not remember images they had seen more recently.

He said that impact was profound because although the hypothalamus, the region of the brain which controls sexual development, is preparing the body for sexual maturity, the higher thinking regions of the brain are not developed enough to deal with viewing extreme sex.

I wonder if the MPs were informed about where Dr Struthers is coming from.

Wheaton College introduces itself on its website as follows:

Welcome to Wheaton College---a community of grace. As an academically rigorous, four-year Christian liberal arts college and graduate school, we seek to honor Jesus Christ with mind, soul, body, and strength. We praise God for your interest and pray that in some way your contact with Wheaton College will serve the sacred purpose expressed in our historic motto: 'For Christ and His Kingdom.' ---Philip Ryken 88, Presiden t

Wheaton College is an explicitly Christian, academically rigorous, fully residential liberal arts college and graduate school located in Wheaton, Illinois. Established in 1860, Wheaton is guided by its original mission to provide excellence in Christian higher education, and offers more than 40 undergraduate degrees in the liberal arts and sciences, and 14 graduate degrees.

Dr William Struthers has written a book titled Wired for Intimacy: How Pornography Hijacks the Male Brain . The promotional book description reads:

Pornography is powerful. Our contemporary culture as been pornified, and it shapes our assumptions about identity, sexuality, the value of women and the nature of relationships. Countless Christian men struggle with the addictive power of porn. But common spiritual approaches of more prayer and accountability groups are often of limited help. In this book neuroscientist and researcher William Struthers explains how pornography affects the male brain and what we can do about it. Because we are embodied beings, viewing pornography changes how the brain works, how we form memories and make attachments. By better understanding the biological realities of our sexual development, we can cultivate healthier sexual perspectives and interpersonal relationships. Struthers exposes false assumptions and casts a vision for a redeemed masculinity, showing how our sexual longings can actually propel us toward sanctification and holiness in our bodies. With insights for both married and single men alike, this book offers hope for freedom from pornography.

Amen.

 

 

Update: Call to Nutter Duty...

Keith Vaz asks in Parliament whether Anders Breivik's use of video games for combat training will result in further restrictions


Link Here23rd May 2012
Full story: Keith Vaz...Keith Vaz in votes for knighthood claim

House of Commons, Questions re Culture, Media and Sport, 16th May 2012.

Keith Vaz (Leicester East, Labour)

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport whether his Department has any plans to place further restrictions on the content of video games following the testimony of Anders Breivik.

Edward Vaizey (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Culture, Communications and Creative Industries), Business, Innovation and Skills; Wantage, Conservative)

The Government is currently moving towards strengthening the laws in respect of video game regulation. We have recently announced our intention to designate officers of the Video Standards Council as the authorities responsible for the classification of video games. When that process is complete, it will for the first time be a legal requirement for all video games suitable for those aged 12 or over to be classified. It will be an offence to supply a video game in breach of its classification. In addition, there is one extra safeguard in the UK that is not part of the general Pan European Games Information scheme that we will be using: in the UK, there will be the option of refusing classification where a video game cannot fit within the published PEGI criteria. If a game that |s not exempt has no classification, it will be an offence to supply it to anyone.

Keith Vaz:

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport how many representations his Department has received from the Pan European Game Information Service in relation to newly-published video games.

Edward Vaizey:

The Pan European Games Information system is the mechanism by which video games are rated. The bodies that implement the scheme are independent of Government and have not made any representations about newly-published video games

 

9th May   

Pandering to the Sexualisationists...

The Queen is set to outline more censorship of music videos and computer games and the introduction of extensive internet snooping
Link Here

A new Children and Families Bill will be one of the major pieces of legislation for the next year to be announced in the Queen's Speech at the state opening of Parliament.

Measures in the Bill will include:

  • Tighter controls on music videos and computer games to stop unsuitable material being seen by children as part of new laws to enact recommendations from an official review of child sexualisation.

The Home Office will also unveil legislation to extend police and intelligence agency surveillance to forms of internet-based communication.

 

9th May   

Playing with the Economy...

Labour's Heln Goodman adds merchandise for children to the long list of banned pleasures of life
Link Here
Labour's shadow media minister Helen Goodman has called for curbs on merchandising by children's television programmes, claiming that the proliferation of products is placing an intolerable burden on hard-up parents.

Speaking at a Westminster media forum, Financing Children's Media , Goodman called for limits to the growth of merchandising.

Speaking as a parliamentarian I am not enamoured of ideas to liberalise rules and allow more product placement and merchandising. Governments are also responsible for preventing the economic exploitation of children, she claimed.

Speaking after her speech, she added: Parents do become quite tired of being pestered to provide things they might not be able to afford.

 

1st May

 Offsite Article: Do we really need Big Sister watching over us?...

Link Here
Full story: Internet Blocking Adult Websites in UK...Government push for ISPs to block porn
Why Claire Perry MP for Devizes has got it wrong on online child protection. By Kay Lacey

See article from marlboroughpeople.co.uk

 

30th April   

Update: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3...

Recommended by Keith Vaz in yet another parliamentary EDM
Link Here
Full story: Keith Vaz...Keith Vaz in votes for knighthood claim

Early day motion 3014: VIOLENT VIDEO GAMES (No. 2)

Primary sponsor: Keith Vaz

That this House is reminded of the consequences of the ineffectual Pan European Game Information (PEGI) classification system for video games following the testimony of Anders Breivik about the tragic events in Norway in July 2011;

  • notes that in his submission of evidence to the court Breivik describes how he trained for the attacks using the video game Call of Duty: Modern Warfare ;

  • is disturbed that Breivik used the game to help hone his target acquisition and the suggestion that the simulation prepared him for the attacks;

  • is concerned that PEGI as a classification system can only provide an age-rating and not restrict ultra-violent content; recognises that in an era of ever-more sophisticated and realistic game-play more robust precautions must be taken before video games are published; and

  • calls on the Government to provide for closer scrutiny of aggressive first-person shooter video games.

Signed by:

  • Bottomley, Peter Conservative Party Worthing West

  • Hopkins, Kelvin Labour Party Luton North

  • McDonnell, John Labour Party Hayes and Harlington

  • Russell, Bob Liberal Democrats Colchester

  • Vaz, Keith Labour Party Leicester East

 

29th April   

Extract: The Salient Points...

Daily Mail and Labour teaming up to show their digital illiteracy on porn and child protection is simply dangerous
Link Here
Full story: Internet Blocking Adult Websites in UK...Government push for ISPs to block porn

I've written extensively on the subject of web blocking to protect children from harmful content like pornography so I'll try and keep this short.

  • If you turned the internet off tomorrow you wouldn't stop kids getting hold of digital porn
  • General content filtering is impractical and imperfect. It doesn't even stop all accidental or incidental exposure and it certainly doesn't stop a motivated person or child getting to what they want with minimum technical knowledge.
  • Content filters over-block and prevent access to clean, lawful content and this impacts legitimate businesses
  • Even if content filters got much better, there is no one-size fits all. If you have children aged 7, 11 and 15 there is clearly content OK for a 15-year-old you wouldn't want your 7-year-old watching. So what level of content filtering do you want enabled by default on all connections?

...Read the full article

 

27th April   

Update: Shadowy Labour...

Labour add to the shrill nutter cacophony calling for one size fits all website blocking
Link Here
Full story: Internet Blocking Adult Websites in UK...Government push for ISPs to block porn

Senior Labour MPs have supported a default block on adult websites.

Jenny Chapman, the shadow minister for justice, and Helen Goodman, the shadow minister for culture, media and sport, pledged their support.

In an article for the Daily Mail they condemned the access to pornography as a modern-day form of pollution . They wrote:

Children are regularly seeing pornography and sometimes being groomed for sex. Righting these wrongs is not an attack on civil liberties. Adults will still have the choice to access material they want to see.

But in a civilised society we must also protect our children. What we want to see is the same balance of rights and responsibilities as we have in the real world.

They also claimed that sales of televisions with internet access meant even more children will be one click from the strongest material .

They attacked Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt's proposal, which involves asking the four major ISPs to offer new customers the chance to opt out of access to pornography. They argue it would be 2017 before the proportion of households included reached 90%. They added that the plan does not go nearly far enough.

 

23rd April   

Update: Same Old Song...

Parliamentary motion querying a lack of action about requiring state censorship of music videos
Link Here
Full story: VRA Exempt...Video Recordings (Exemption from Classification) Bill

Early day motion 2968: Age Ratings For Music Videos

That this House

  • is concerned about the lack of progress being made in the formulation and introduction of age ratings for music videos which currently are exempt from any restrictions in the UK;

  • believes this to be totally unacceptable as many contain material which is often highly inappropriate for children in respect of language, violence and sexual imagery;

  • is alarmed that despite promises made, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport has so far failed to even establish a consultation process on this most important matter; and

  • calls on the Government to act quickly to protect children from being exploited by such unacceptable commercial practices.

Primary sponsor: Alan Meale, Labour, Mansfield

Signed by:

  • Peter Bottomley, Conservative, Worthing West
  • Ronnie Campbell, Labour, Blyth Valley
  • Martin Caton, Labour, Gower
  • Katy Clark, Labour, North Ayrshire and Arran
  • Jim Dobbin, Labour, Heywood and Middleton
  • Mark Durkan, Democratic and Labour, Foyle
  • Mike  Hancock, Liberal Democrats, Portsmouth South
  • Margaret Ritchie, Social Democratic and Labour , South Down
  • Steve Rotheram, Labour,  Liverpool Walton
  • David  Simpson, Democratic Unionist, Upper Bann

 

19th April   

Comment: Perry and the Blockheads...

Claire Perry's parliamentary inquiry reiterates her call for a default ISP block on adult content
Link Here
Full story: Internet Blocking Adult Websites in UK...Government push for ISPs to block porn

Claire Perry's parliamentary inquiry sponsored by Premier Christian Media has reiterated her call for a default ISP block on adult content.

Anyone wanting to view hardcore images online [or any other adult content such as Melon Farmers] would have to opt out of the default blocking, according to a panel of MPs and peers looking into child protection.

Their report said that six out of ten children download adult material because their parents have not installed filters. The use of blocking filters in homes has fallen from 49% to 39% in the last three years.

They concluded that parents were often outsmarted by their web-savvy children and felt unconfident in updating and downloading content filters. Many parents were oblivious to the type of material available on the internet and were often 'shocked' when they realised the content that children were accessing.

Claire Perry, the Tory MP who chaired the non-governmental Parliamentary Inquiry on Online Child Protection, said:

This is hugely worrying. While parents should be responsible for their children's online safety, in practice, people find it difficult to put content filters on the plethora of internet-enabled devices in their homes.

The inquiry called for ISPs to offer one-click filtering for all devices within a year. This would block out adult content for all domestic broadband users and stop them accessing pornography on mobiles and iPads as well as PCs and laptops.

The inquiry said that the Government should launch an official inquiry into internet filtering and ministers should seek backstop legal powers to intervene should the ISPs fail to implement an appropriate solution .

Carefully selected witnesses before the inquiry pointed to changes in the availability of hard-core images: As a result, more hard-core imagery is now available in the "free shop front" of commercial porn sites, the report said. It also found that only 3% of porn sites asked for proof of age and 66% did not contain any warning that they were for adults only.

Comment: Claire Perry's default blocking would censor adults and fail children

19th April 2012. See  article from  openrightsgroup.org

Commenting on Claire Perry's committee findings, Jim Killock, Executive Director of the Open Rights Group said:

These recommendations, if enacted, would endanger children, create disruption for small business, and would not work technically.

Default filtering is a form of censorship. Adults should not have to opt out of censorship. Governments should not be given powers to default censor legal material that adults see online.

Our work on mobile networks is showing that default censorship is disrupting businesses, campaign groups and bloggers. Yet it is trivial for a child to avoid the network blocking that Claire Perry recommends - sites using https are invisible to network blocks. Furthermore, default blocks may be appropriate for some older children, but too weak for others.

Parents need help, but 'default blocking' is an appalling proposal.

Comment: And for a little light relief, why not try the Daily Mail. They do a Jackson Pollox, throwing all sorts of negative terms at an empty canvas, to see what mess it makes

19th April 2012. See  article from  dailymail.co.uk

Miranda Suit, founder of campaign group Safermedia, told the inquiry:

This generation is going through an experiment. No one knows how they will survive this unprecedented assault on their sexual development. They are guinea pigs for the next generation.

These broadband providers are making massive money from the internet. They should not be making money from our teenagers future sexual health.'

...Read the full article

 

6th April   

Update: Howes That!...

Elspeth Howe's internet censorship bill fails to win government support
Link Here
Full story: Internet Blocking Adult Websites in UK...Government push for ISPs to block porn

Elspeth Howe's Bill introduced to the House of Lords a few days ago required ISPs to default to a censored internet feed until an adult subscriber requests otherwise and verifies that they are adult.

The bill also requires internet devices to be sold with pre-installed blocking software and to provide information about internet safety.

However it is a private members bill and is rather muddying the water for alternative initiatives undertaken by industry in response to pressure from the government and nutter campaigners.

For the moment the Department for Culture, Media and Sport has said it would not support the bill, as industry was already taking steps to address the issue. A DCMS spokesman said:

We understand the sentiment behind this Private Members Bill, but it isn’t something that Government would support. Much can be achieved through self-regulation and it can be more effective than a regulatory approach in delivering flexible solutions that work for both industry and consumers.

Howe's Bill reads:

Online Safety Bill (HL Bill 137)

1 Duty to provide a service that excludes pornographic images

(1) Internet service providers must provide to subscribers an internet access service which excludes pornographic images unless all the conditions of subsection (3) have been fulfilled.

(2) Where mobile telephone network operators provide a telephone service to subscribers which includes an internet access service, they must ensure this service excludes pornographic images unless all the conditions of subsection (3) have been fulfilled.

(3) The conditions are---

(a) the subscriber opts-in to subscribe to a service that includes pornographic images;

(b) the subscriber is aged 18 or over; and

(c) the provider of the service has an age verification policy which has been used to confirm that the subscriber is aged 18 or over.

(4) In subsection (3)---

opts-in means a subscriber notifies the service provider of his or her consent to subscribe to a service that includes pornographic images.

2 Duty to provide a means of filtering online content

Manufacturers of electronic devices must provide customers with a means of 20filtering content from an internet access service at the time the device is purchased.

3 Duty to provide information about online safety

Internet service providers and mobile telephone network operators must provide prominent, easily accessible and clear information about online safety to customers at the time the internet service is purchased and shall make such 5information available for the duration of the service.

Note, the definition of “pornographic” is taken from the Dangerous Pictures Act:

An image is “pornographic” if it is of such a nature that it must reasonably be assumed to have been produced solely or principally for the purpose of sexual arousal.


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