They really seem to be going after young Pandora. The classic "you couldn't make this up" bit is that they actually get their knickers in a twist over the free video made by Pandora and Amelia Rutherford (aka Ariel Anderssen) as a fundraiser
for fighting against ATVOD!
And this on the day in which Carole Cadwalladr, interviewing Max Mosley in the Observer, says S&M has gone mainstream.
Adult entertainment industry representatives met at a roundtable meeting with the UK VoD censors of ATVOD for a discussion over age-verification compliance.
The discussion, instigated by ATVOD, IFFOR, ICM Registry and the Adult Provider Network, also
took an inward look at how the adult entertainment industry, domestically in the U.K. and worldwide, could evolve and adapt with onerous new rules put in place and ones that could be on the way.
A central question was, Can the adult industry
coalesce and work with the authorities over existing and proposed new rules?
Steve Winyard of ICM Registry, which operates the registry for .xxx, .porn, .adult and the upcoming .sex top-level domain sites, said that the real question is:
How far are people willing to be compliant when the hammer comes down?
Most of the big companies [in the online adult entertainment industry] control 80-90% of adult content across the world,. If
they come to the table, the rest of the operators would have to follow.
The thinking is that in a world of ID theft, few customers will be willing to trust small websites with extensive personal details or else their credit card
details. And even if they trust them, even fewer will want to make the effort of typing in such details just to browse a website to see what is on offer.
The natural final solution is that customers will only use, big, well known companies
that can be trusted with personal details, and that can offer a massive enough choice of porn such that customers don't have to keep entering ID details for different websites.
And of course the end game will then be a US mega mall monopoly
for porn along the lines of Amazon, eBay, iTunes and Play. And no doubt it will charge adult content providers the going rate of about 30%.
At the meeting, ATVOD's Cathy Taylor fielded queries for 20 minutes on the new AVMS rules and the
government statement over site blocking domestic and foreign adult websites. Taylor was joined by ATVOD chief censors, Ruth Evans and Pete Johnson, at the roundtable meeting.
Winyard of ICM Registry spent another 20 minutes on how the adult
business worldwide is reacting to the AVMS directive and whether the industry can work with the British government on proposed new regs.
Chris Ratcliff of Portland TV (Television X) and the Adult Provider Network spent 10 minutes on what role
should the adult trade play in the debate and whether age-verification is in the future for all adult sites.
The meeting was also attended by Sex & Censorship's Jerry Barnett, obscenity lawyer Myles Jackman, Vince Charlton from the US trade
group ASACP and IFFOR's Sharon Girling.
Update: Details of ATVOD censorship censored
21st May 2015. Thanks to Sergio
One Eyed Jack originally posted a podcast of the meeting but it seems that this has had to be
taken down on 'legal advice'.
So the meeting that was called to explain the status quo in the censorship of adult videos on websites is reprehensibly censored.The segment of the UK adult industry who could not attend are not to be informed about
practical details of the current interpretation of ATVOD's onerous and suffocating age verification requirements.
Update: View from America: Britain is to become a world leader in internet censorship
Britain is to become a world leader in internet censorship, instituting Chinese-style internet filters to block pornography, unless websites agree to check the identities of all visitors -- risking creating a database of British porn viewers.
Sold to the public on the pretence of protecting children from being able, either intentionally or accidentally, to view pornography on-line, sexual websites will soon be required to know exactly who is viewing them. By checking
identities through government databases such as local government or the Royal Mail, or though third parties such as banks or mobile phone operators, the government hopes to force companies to assume a child protection role.
Although the system being administered by the Digital Policy group is designed to keep the identities of those accessing adult material secret, privacy campaigners have said the databases will inevitably be fallible, and could allow the details of individuals, and what they view, to fall into the hands of third parties.
The Guardian reports the comments of free speech campaigner Jerry Barnett, who said:
We know that privacy in such cases is often breached by accident, by hackers, or secretly by the police
and intelligence services.
This is the state, yet again, intervening in people's private lives for no reason other than good old British prurience and control-freakery... I don't believe [The Government's] plans can be
achieved without drastically changing the face of the internet .
Britons may soon face ID checks to access adult material on the internet, according to discussions between the government and groups from the beleaguered UK adult trade.
A scheme proposed by the industry group, The Digital Policy Alliance,
would see adult sites verifying visitors' identity with organisations such as banks, credit reference agencies or even the NHS. Adult websites would offer visitors a choice of identity providers -- from Vodafone to the Department for Work and
Pensions -- to vouch for their age, O'Connell said. The user would sign in to the provider with a username and password, and a check would be run against the data it holds. To boost privacy, checks would pass through an anonymising hub . This
strips identifying information in both directions of the request. In theory, the provider never knows the reasons for the checks, and the site never knows users' true identities, just that they are over 18.
It comes ahead of an expected new law
demanding age checks for online pornography and threatening a block on any sites which don't comply. It is a key Conservative pledge. But critics say the plans are a privacy nightmare. Some warn they are a step towards Chinese-style internet
restrictions. Myles Jackman, a lawyer specialising in obscenity law said:
This is cutting-edge censorship. We are now becoming the world leaders in censorship. And we are being watched very closely from abroad.
British-based sites have had to make stringent age checks since 2010, using credit cards, the electoral roll and credit reference agencies. It's a quite intrusive means of identifying age, said Chris Ratcliff, chief executive of
Portland TV, which runs Television X. Many customers simply go elsewhere, he said. Ratcliff, a key member of the DPA's age verification working group, expects government action by the end of the year.
According to Tory proposals, a regulator would
have the power to block sites that don't use stringent enough checks. Observers believe this will be the Authority for Television on Demand (Atvod), which currently enforces age-check and obscenity rules on UK streaming video sites. The result of ATVOD's
'enforcement' is that it is near impossible to run a UK site within the current rules and has led to the UK industry losing out to foreign operations.
The legal situation is also confused. Ratcliff said it was unclear whether new rules would make
content not behind age filters illegal. Jackman added:
As a matter of international law, I don't understand how it can possibly work. And I don't understand how it can work under the Obscene Publications Act. It's just
being made up as they go along.
The stub of the UK adult trade that has been persevering with ludicrous British censorship required, eg Ofcom rules only allowing softcore TV, believe that acceptable age verification may be a benefit,
but this seems unlikely. As with eBay, Amazon, Apple, and Google, once governments start making life tough with onerous rules and red tape, only the largest operation have large enough economies of scale to handle the burdensome expenses, so creating a
natural monopoly. and as the US has the largest markets, so they can grab the lion's share of the market.
And as for the kids, there's already enough porn knocking around on hard drives to keep them happy for decades. Perhaps they will just go back
to swapping porn mags, or the modern day equivalent, 64GByte memory sticks with enough porn to last a year.
And as a final thought, It is not clear that the security services would be very impressed if half the population of Britain were forced into
using VPNs and the like. It would make life an awful lot tougher to keep track of the bad guys.
The British Government is concerned that EU measures to ensure net neutrality could impact ISPs website blocking systems that are turned on by default.
Net neutrality is the concept of not allowing states or commercial entities from hijacking the
internet for their own purposes. A particular example is for large VoD companies convincing the ISPs that for a suitable fee, their video services could be given priority over other people's internet communications.
A leaked document from Brussels
dated May 17 proposes to make it illegal to try to manage web traffic, including by automatically applying parental controls. Instead, EU officials want ISPs to have to ask parents or account holders to opt-in to pornography filters.
Campaigners for internet blocking by default claim that the move would endanger children by putting another barrier in the way of parents wanting to keep internet usage at home free from adult material.
The rule change is included in a document banning mobile phone companies or ISPs from restricting or managing any legal content on the internet.
John Carr, a pro-censorship campaigner said that the risk is that a major plank of the UK's
approach to online child protection will be destroyed at a stroke.
A spokesman for the Department of Culture, Media and Sport said: The UK government will not support any proposals that do not allow us to maintain our child protection
policies or bring forward new policies.
Tory MP John Whittingdale, the chair of the Culture, Media and Sport select committee over the last decade, is the new Culture Secretary, taking over from Sajid Javid.
Whittingdale has a lamentable record of being one of the Daily Mails favourite 'go
to' sources for a censorial or moralistic sound bite.
The BBC is non too impressed by the appointment, as the broadcaster is often the target of Whittingdale's critical comments and sound bites. And of course it is one of the Culture Secretary's
jobs to steer through the upcoming BBC charter that will apply for the next decade.
In fact, the BBC apparently responded to the appointment by tweeting Whittingdale's anti-gay voting record, but soon thought it better of it, and deleted the
John Whittingdale's eclectic tastes mark him out as an unlikely-sounding cabinet minister. The newly appointed secretary of state for culture, media and
sport is a devotee of Star Trek and Thunderbirds and a heavy metal fan known to sing karaoke versions of Smoke on the Water and Bat out of Hell.
The Conservative MP is also a horror fan including the so-called torture porn of Hostel director Eli Roth.
I quite like really nasty films, Whittingdale once told journalists. Hostel is undoubtedly the most unpleasant film I have ever seen, he said, while Roth's Netflix series Hemlock Grove made An American Werewolf in London look like Mary Poppins
Pandora Blake has done sterling work in opposing ATVOD's nasty censorship grab of anything on the internet with video. She writes in a blog entry about the inevitable attempt by ATVOD censors to get their own back:
thought I was going to be devastated to receive the letter, but when I opened it I just felt numb. I'd known it was coming. It was inevitable. I'm one of the most visible producers in the UK porn scene who is standing up and opposing the new laws. I've
been writing blogposts, appearing on TV, distributing free protest videos and generally making a nuisance of myself. They joined my website for 5 days in January, so I already knew they were aware of me. It was only a matter of time before they sent the
I'm absolutely horrified by this, especially as Pandora is so conspicuously ethical (to the extent, to be honest, of sometimes pissing off other spanking erotica producers).
Another, nasty piece of empire-building by the toxic twats of ATVOD. Pandora's probably a target because she has been so vocal in her opposition to this idiocy. Not a clever move on the part of ATVOD, since they have managed to rally
to Pandora's support at least one of that class of person whom they might have expected to be porn-bashing cheerleaders for censorship, the robustly feminist Guardian journalist Zoe Williams.
There are a few factors that make this whole thing particularly stressful which I haven't mentioned yet. The most significant is this: if and when ATVOD issue their Determination against me (that is, the final step of their investigation process),
they are likely to out me. The way they are likely to do this is by publishing my legal name as the Service Provider of the site Dreams of Spanking on the list of 2015 Determinations on their website. Nearly all of the providers ATVOD have targeted so
far this year have been listed by their legal name.
This is depressing. It looks very much as if they're going after Pandora because she's had the bottle to stand up to these idiots. I very much hope that
Jackman resolves the issue for her.
The whole thing seems ridiculous. This protecting children twaddle (where the children are adolescents aged 14-17) is a complete nonsense. Is the average modern young man REALLY so
technically inept that he can't beat parental controls ?
Conservative Party promises to ban all international internet adult porn, on the grounds that it can't and wont sign up to overly restrictive and unviable age verification requirements. And inevitably the Labour Party agrees.
The Motion Picture Association has obtained a High Court order requiring UK ISPs to block access to five sites that offer the popular Popcorn Time software. In addition, the Internet providers must block several more torrent and streaming sites.
than 100 websites have been blocked in recent years and now the court has issued the first injunction against domains that offer no direct links, but only software.
The order, obtained by Hollywood's Motion Picture Association (the overseas arm of
the MPAA), targets five popular Popcorn Time forks: popcorntime.io, flixtor.me, popcorn-time.se, and isoplex.isohunt.to.
In his order Judge Birss notes that the Popcorm Time software has little to no legal use. Instead, he mentions that it's
mostly used to download and stream pirated movies and TV-shows:
It is manifest that the Popcorn Time application is used in order to watch pirated content on the internet and indeed it is also manifest that that is its
purpose. No-one really uses Popcorn Time in order to watch lawfully available content. The point of Popcorn Time is to infringe copyright. The Popcorn Time application has no legitimate purpose.
Over the past year Popcorn Time has
become a major threat to Hollywood so it doesn't come as a complete surprise that the applications are now being targeted. Previously the movie studios took down code repositories on Github, for example.
Designer Holly Gramazio makes games you play in person, at events and installations. But thanks to a very special set of rules--namely, the long list of sex acts suddenly banned in the United Kingdom --Gramazio was drawn to make a hilarious digital
game for the first time.
So when the UK's bizarre list of sex acts banned from pornography began making the rounds, Gramazio saw an opportunity to try making a digital game for the first time ( these sound like bad rules, she thought).
The result is Gramazio's
Pornography for Beginners , released late last year. It's a charming game that sees the player visiting a porn shed to find all the little bits that make up a porn, from genitalia to faces and wine glasses. Thanks to the natural limitations
of PuzzleScript, the tool Gramazio used to make her game, the genitalia is limited to 25 pixels. Watching your screen fill with tiny dongs is hilarious, as is Gramazio's charming, winking writing.
The letter below was sent to Peter Wanless, CEO of the National Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC), on 10th March. It is signed by leading academics, sex educators, journalists and campaigners.
Dear Mr Wanless,
We write to express our deep concern about a report you published last week, which received significant press coverage. The report claimed that a tenth of 12-13 year olds believe they are addicted to pornography, and appears to have
been fed to the media with accompanying quotes suggesting that pornography is causing harm to new generations of young people.
Your study appears to rely entirely on self-report evidence from young people of 11 and older, and so
is not -- as it has been presented -- indicative of actual harm but rather, provides evidence that some young people are fearful that pornography is harming them. In other words, this study looks at the effects on young people of widely published but
unevidenced concerns about pornography, not the effects of pornography itself.
It appears that your study was not an academic one, but was carried out by a "creative market research" group called OnePoll. We are
concerned that you, a renowned child protection agency, are presenting the findings of an opinion poll as a serious piece of research. Management Today recently critiqued OnePoll in an article that opened as follows: "What naive readers may not
realise is that much of what is reported as scientific is not in fact genuine research at all, but dishonest marketing concocted by PR firms."
There have been countless studies into the effects of porn since the late 1960s,
and yet the existence of the kinds of harm you report remains contested. In fact, many researchers have reached the opposite conclusion: that increased availability of porn correlates with healthier attitudes towards sex, and with steadily reducing rates
of sexual violence. For example, the UK government's own research (1) generated the following conclusion in 2005: "There seems to be no relationship between the availability of pornography and an increase in sex crimes ...; in comparison there is
more evidence for the opposite effect."
The very existence of "porn addiction" is questionable, and it is not an accepted medical condition. Dr David J Ley, a psychologist specialising in this field, says: "Sex
and porn can cause problems in people's lives, just like any other human behavior or form of entertainment. But, to invoke the idea of "addiction" is unethical, using invalid, scientifically and medically-rejected concepts to invoke fear and
feed panic." (2)
Immediately following the release of your report, the Culture Secretary Sajid Javid announced that the Tories would be introducing strong censorship of the Internet if they win the next election, in order to
"protect children" from pornography. The Culture Secretary's new announcement would probably lead to millions of websites being blocked by British ISPs, should it come into force. We would point out the experience of the optional "porn
filters", introduced in early 2014, which turned out in practise to block a vast range of content including sex education material.
The BBC news website quotes you as saying, in response to the minister's announcement:
"Any action that makes it more difficult for young people to find this material is to be welcomed." We disagree: we believe that introducing Chinese-style blocking of websites is not warranted by the findings of your opinion poll, and that
serious research instead needs to be undertaken to determine whether your claims of harm are backed by rigorous evidence.
Jerry Barnett, CEO Sex & Censorship Frankie Mullin, Journalist Clarissa Smith, Professor of
Sexual Cultures, University of Sunderland Julian Petley, Professor of Screen Media, Brunel University David J. Ley PhD. Clinical Psychologist (USA) Dr Brooke Magnanti Feona Attwood, Professor of Media & Communication at Middlesex
University Martin Barker, Emeritus Professor at University of Aberystwyth Jessica Ringrose, Professor, Sociology of Gender and Education, UCL Institute of Education Ronete Cohen MA, Psychologist Dr Meg John Barker, Senior Lecturer in
Psychology, The Open University Kath Albury, Associate Professor, UNSW Australia Myles Jackman, specialist in obscenity law Dr Helen Hester, Middlesex University Justin Hancock, youth worker and sex educator Ian Dunt, Editor in Chief,
Politics.co.uk Ally Fogg, Journalist Dr Emily Cooper, Northumbria University Gareth May, Journalist Dr Kate Egan, Lecturer in Film Studies, Aberystwyth University Dr Ann Luce, Senior Lecturer in Journalism and Communication,
Bournemouth University John Mercer, Reader in Gender and Sexuality, Birmingham City University Dr. William Proctor, Lecturer in Media, Culture and Communication, Bournemouth University Dr Jude Roberts, Teaching Fellow, University of Surrey
Dr Debra Ferreday, Senior Lecturer in Sociology, Lancaster University Jane Fae, author of "Taming the beast" a review of law/regulation governing online pornography Michael Marshall, Vice President, Merseyside Skeptics Society Martin Robbins, Journalist
Assoc. Prof. Paul J. Maginn (University of Western Australia) Dr Lucy Neville, Lecturer in Criminology, Middlesex University Alix Fox, Journalist and Sex Educator Dr Mark McCormack, Senior Lecturer in Sociology, Durham University Chris Ashford, Professor of Law and Society, Northumbria University
Diane Duke, CEO Free Speech Coalition (USA) Dr Steve Jones, Senior Lecturer in Media, Northumbria University Dr Johnny Walker, Lecturer in Media, Northumbria University
Update: NSPCC's shoddy political
campaigning gets picked up by the Independent
13th April 2015.
The open letter has been picked up by both the Independent and the website politics.co.uk
The Independent leads
NSPCC accused of risking its reputation and whipping up moral panic with study into porn addiction among children
The NSPCC has been accused of deliberately whipping up a moral panic with a study suggesting a
tenth of all 12- to 13-year-olds fear they are addicted to pornography.
In an open letter to the child protection organisation's chief executive Peter Wanless, a group of doctors, academics, journalists and campaigners
criticised the NSPCC for suggesting that pornography is causing harm to new generations of young people .
Meanwhile politics.co.uk note that the NSPCC research was hogwash
How the NSPCC lost its way.
Late last month, the NSPCC released some startling findings. A tenth of all 12-to-13-year-olds were addicted to porn, it found. One in five had been shocked or upset by the things they'd found
online. Twelve per cent had made their own porn.
The findings were widely reported . Immediately afterwards, culture secretary Sajid Javid promised new censorship measures, with a regulator ensuring adult sites have age
verification technology to prevent young people accessing porn.
The cycle from research to reporting to promises of legislation was accomplished in the space of a morning. It was a remarkably effective operation.
The only problem was, it was all nonsense. The NSPCC research was hogwash.
Children addicted to porn Don't believe everything the surveys say
OnePoll was behind a recent survey revealing that 20% of people believe that smoking has improved their career opportunities . This one was
commissioned by an E-cigarette company . A poll commissioned during National Ferry Fortnight for Discover Ferries -- which had just invested heavily in improved seating -- revealed that travellers really hate aircraft seats. You get the picture.
Thank you for your letter detailing your concerns about our recently launched porn campaign for young people and a poll that was published with it.
As you will be aware the NSPCC has a long
tradition of campaigning on difficult issues that affect children. Our work is solely designed to make the most difference to the protection of children. Through our various services, including ChildLine, we listen to the voices of children day in day
out and it is essential that we respond to their concerns and help them confront and address issues that they find worrisome. Porn is a subject which has always drawn strong debate but that doesn't mean that we should shy away from what children are
As you will expect we make no judgment on adults viewing porn. But we know through those who call ChildLine, that children can be worried and upset by the effect pornography is having on them. A recent European-wide
piece of research into violence and abuse in teenage relationships found a high proportion of boys in England regularly viewed pornography, and one in five harbored extremely negative attitudes towards women. High levels of sexual coercion and in some
cases violence within teenage relationships were reported. We believe that as a society we need to ensure that children are both protected and educated in the best way possible. Rather than seek to restrict debate we seek to promote it for it is only
when subjects are not allowed to remain in the shadows that they can be properly dealt with.
As a campaigning organisation, the NSPCC uses a wide range of methods to listen to the voices of children, parents, carers and
professionals. We continue to explore how sensitive subjects, including pornography, are affecting young people. This will no doubt uncover difficult and complex issues; and we must work together as a society to address these challenges.
Over the last decade or so, politicians, media and public have woken up to the fact that the internet allows individuals to access a range and volume of pornographic material well beyond what
was once available in an age of print and cellulose film.
At the same time, they have had to acknowledge that traditional approaches to controlling access to this material have proven legally ineffective. That same period,
therefore, has seen a two-pronged attempt to stuff the internet genie back into its virtual bottle. First, through an unprecedented passing of new and ground-breaking laws -- at times, seemingly, a new law every year: and second, through the
implementation of technical solutions, including moderation, filtering and blocking to achieve through brute technological force what may not always be achievable through law.
This book is a first attempt to document both these
processes. It is not quite an academic textbook. It does, however, set out clearly the main pathways taken by legislators and public servants in attempting to deal with the issue of online porn. It therefore provides a basic roadmap from which those
interested in to carry out their own more detailed exploration of the territory can branch out on their own.
In terms of narrative, the book brings us to the end of 2014, at which point the government's central legislative measure
â-- the law on possession of extreme porn â-- has been rudely challenged through judicial review. It is also the point at which the public have begun to question the validity of filtering as a generic approach. We are undoubtedly living in interesting
The government has been trailing this policy by forcing onerous age verification requirements on British adult Video on Demand websites. Unfortunately there is currently no economically viable way to implement age verification and the net result is that
pretty much the entire British VoD business has either been forced to close or else move overseas.
Widening out the policy to all internet porn will not do anything to make age verification practical and so the only possible outcome is that all
internet porn will have to be blocked by the ISPs. Perhaps a few sites with a massively comprehensive selection of porn (think porn Amazon) may be able absorb the administrative burden, but they will for sure be American.
Anyway this is what the
Tories are proposing:
It's time to protect children online
By Sajid Javi, Culture & Censorship Secretary, writing for the Daily Mail
Imagine a 12-year-old-boy being
allowed to walk into a sex shop and leave with a DVD showing graphic, violent sexual intercourse and the subjugation of women.
You would, quite rightly, ask whether society should allow such a young mind to view hard-core
pornography. I'm sure we'd all agree that the answer would be an emphatic no .
Yet each and every day children right across our country are being exposed to such images. And it's happening online.
The internet has been an amazing force for good in so many ways. But it also brings new threats and challenges for us to contend with. I'm a father of four young children and I know all too well that the online world can be a worrying place for mums and dads. After all, even the most attentive and engaged parents cannot know for sure which websites our children are visiting and what images they're seeing. Culture and Media Secretary Sajid Javid is setting out plans to shield youngsters from easy access to hardcore online pornography
Culture and Media Secretary Sajid Javid is setting out plans to shield youngsters from easy access to hardcore online pornography
In 2015 anyone, regardless of their age, is only ever two clicks away from
the kind of material that would be kept well away from young eyes in the high street. And allowing young people to access pornography carries alarming consequences both for individuals and for society. It can lead to children pressuring each other to try
out things they've seen online, and sharing inappropriate sexual pictures and videos. And it can lead to children having unhealthy attitudes towards sex AND relationships.
It is because of these types of concerns that we have long
restricted and regulated adult content in the offline world -- whether that is magazines, TV programmes, DVDs or video-on-demand content. Such protections are taken for granted, and, as the Daily Mail has argued for years, it's time our approach to the
online world caught up.
So today we are announcing that, if the Conservatives win the next general election, we will legislate to put online hard-core pornography behind effective age verification controls.
Of course adults should be perfectly free to look at these sites. But if websites showing adult content don't have proper age controls in place -- ones that will stop children looking at this kind of material -- they should and will be blocked
altogether. No sex shop on the high street would be allowed to remain open if it knowingly sold pornography to underage customers, and there is no reason why the internet should be any different.
An independent regulator will
oversee this new system. It will determine, in conjunction with websites, how age verification controls will work and how websites that do not put them in place will be blocked.
One thing is absolutely clear: the Conservative
Party's commitment to child safety online. For the past five years we have been working with industry on A voluntary basis, an approach that led to the creation of default-on family filters. But filtering is just one way in which we can keep our children
safe online. Now we can -- and must -- go further to give our children the best start in life.
There will be some who say that this exercise is futile, that websites and children alike will find ways to get around this law. And I
agree that there are always people who try to avoid legal restrictions. But we must not let the best be the enemy of the good.
It is right that we act now and do what we can to restrict this content. It is right that we have the
same rules applying online as we do offline. And it is right that we do everything we can to protect our children.
If we fail to take action, there is every chance that the sort of things children see on these websites will be
considered normal by the next generation. That is not the sort of society I want to see and it's certainly not the sort of society I want my children to live in.
Over time Britain's laws have evolved to reflect our most
deeply held values and beliefs, and the protection of children has long been a sacrosanct principle at the heart of that. I don't believe that we should abandon such an important principle simply because the latest threat to our young people comes from a
technology that also brings incredible benefits.
There is a choice at this election, and it is between a party which backs families wants to give children the best start in life, and a chaotic Labour Party with no plan.
We are clear: adults should and will be free to view legal content, but we would never stand by and allow that 12-year-old boy to buy hardcore pornography from a sex shop.
It's time to make sure our children
are just as well protected online as they are on the high street.
The political organisation, Children's Charities' Coalition on Internet Safety, is lobbying parliamentary candidates to sign up for oppressive policies to ban all businesses from working with age restricted websites who don't sign for onerous and
unviable age verification requirements.
The political campaign group, Children's Charities' Coalition on Internet Safety, is an umbrella organisation funded by Action for Children, BAAF, Barnardo's, Children England, Children's Society, ECPAT UK,
Kidscape, NCB, NSPCC, and Stop It Now!
CHIS has launched its Digital Manifesto which it is sending to all the major political parties contesting seats in the forthcoming General Election to the UK Parliament. The manifesto asks the parties
to commit themselves to the policy recommendations which are put forward. CHIS has more or less guaranteed political support by cunningly tacking on the internet censorship measures to a raft of measures targeting child porn.
Perhaps the most
oppressive section in the document is:
Data protection and access to age restricted goods and services
39. The government should consider ways to ensure stricter compliance with the
decision in R v Perrin (CCA 2002)15 in respect of adult pornography sites. Perhaps the Gambling Commission's experience in certifying age verification systems could be brought to bear in this area. The Authority for Television on Demand's remit could be
extended to enable them to advise or adjudicate on whether particular sites are covered by the decision in R v Perrin.
40. Legislation should be introduced to make it illegal for any bank, credit card company or other form of
business or association to provide any services or facilities to companies or organisations that publish pornography on the internet but do not have a robust age verification process in place.
41. Legislation should be brought
forward to provide for the development of regulations governing the online sale of age-restricted goods and services. It should be a crime for any bank, credit card company or other organisation to provide financial or other services to websites selling
age restricted goods or services without a robust age verification system in place.
42. The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) should issue clear, research-based advice and guidance on the respective rights and
responsibilities of all the parties where online data transactions involving children are concerned. These regulations should specifically address but not be limited to data transactions linked to the engagement of children in e-commerce.
43. In particular, the ICO should consider setting, or asking parliament to set, a legally defined minimum age below which verifiable parental consent will always be required in an online environment (though this should be balanced to
avoid overly restricting the children's activities online). This should apply for all types of data transactions, or for those transactions linked to e-commerce, or both.
Comment: Censored whilst claiming to be
2nd April 2015. Thanks to Alan
Two thoughts spring to mind here.
1. How can these outfits claim to be charities when they are engaged in naked political activity by campaigning for changes in the
law? Would it be worthwhile to mount a challenge with the Charity Commissioners?
2. I note their enthusiasm for the decision in R v. Perrin. You covered this case at the time, and it was pretty outrageous. Perrin, a straight
Frenchman, had acquired as a going concern an American business, one of whose activities was a gay scat site. (Nothing else it did involved porn.) Perrin ensured that the site complied with American federal law and the law of the states in which the porn
was filmed and the servers housed. It was Perrin's misfortune to live in Sussex. He was nicked on the basis that since the stuff could be downloaded here it was published here. The charities are creaming their pants over this case because
the jury only found Perrin guilty in relation to the free samples, not the stuff behind the paywall. Incidentally, the case was met with outrage and incomprehension in France, where Le Nouvel Observateur had to explain the bizarre concept of obscene
publication to its readers.