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UK Internet Censorship


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A censorship agenda...

MPs nod through the BBFC internet porn censorship guidelines


Link Here19th December 2018
Full story: BBFC Internet Porn Censors...BBFC: Age Verification We Don't Trust
The House of Commons approved the upcoming internet porn censorship scheme to be implemented by the BBFC from about Easter 2019.

The debate was set for 3 sections to approve each of the 3 documents defining the BBFC censorship guidelines. Each was allotted 90 minutes for a detailed debate on how the BBFC would proceed. However following a Brexit debate the debate was curtailed to a single 90 minute session covering all 3 sections.

It didn't matter much as the debate consisted only of MPs with a feminist agenda saying how the scope of the censorship didn't go far enough. Even the government spokeswoman leading the debate didn't understand why the rules didn't go further in extending sites being censored to social media; and why the range of porn to be banned outright wasn't more extensive.

Hardly a word said was relevant to the topic of examining the BBFC guidelines.  Issues of practicality, privacy, the endangerment of porn viewers from fraud, outing and blackmail are clearly of no interest to MPs.

The MPs duly nodded their approval of the BBFC regime and so it will soon be announced when the censorship will commence.

The age verification service provider was quick to follow up with a press release extolling the virtues of its porn viewing card approach. Several newspapers obliging published articles using it, eg  See  Porn sites 'will all require proof of age from April 2019' -- here's how it'll work from metro.co.uk

 

 

BBFC age verification we don't trust...

The upcoming porn censorship regime has been approved by the Lords


Link Here 14th December 2018
Full story: BBFC Internet Porn Censors...BBFC: Age Verification We Don't Trust

On Tuesday the House of Lords approved the BBFC's scheme to implement internet porn censorship in the UK. Approval will now be sought from the House of Commons.

The debate in the Lords mentioned a few issues in passing but they seemed to be avoiding taking about some of the horrors of the scheme.

The Digital Economy Act defining the law behind the scheme offers no legal requirement for age verification providers to restrict how they can use porn viewers data. Lords mentioned that it is protected under the GDPR rules but these rules still let companies do whatever they like with data, just with the proviso that they ask for consent. But of course the consent is pretty mandatory to sign up for age verification, and some of the biggest internet companies in the world have set the precedent they can explain wide ranging usage of the data claiming it will be used say to improve customer experience.

Even if the lords didn't push very hard, people at the DCMS or BBFC have been considering this deficiency, and have come up with the idea that data use should be voluntarily restricted according to a kite mark scheme. Age verification schemes will have their privacy protections audited by some independent group and if they pass they can display a gold star. Porn viewers are then expected to trust age verification schemes with a gold star. But unfortunately it sounds a little like the sort of process that decided that cladding was safe for high rise blocks of flats.

The lords were much more concerned about the age verification requirements for social media and search engines, notably Twitter and Google Images. Clearly age verification schemes required for checking that users are 13 or 18 will be very different from an 18 only check, and will be technically very different. So the Government explained that these wider issues will be addressed in a new censorship white paper to be published in 2019.

The lords were also a bit perturbed that the definition of banned material wasn't wide enough for their own preferences. Under the current scheme the BBFC will be expected to ban totally any websites with child porn or extreme porn. The lords wondered why this wasn't extended to cartoon porn and beyond R18 porn, presumably thinking of fisting, golden showers and the like. However in reality if the definition of bannable porn was extended, then every major porn website in the word would have to be banned by the BBFC. And anyway the government is changing its censorship rules such that fisting and golden showers are, or will soon be, allowable at R18 anyway.

The debate revealed that the banks and payment providers have already agreed to ban payments to websites banned by the BBFC. The government also confirmed its intention to get the scheme up and running by April. Saying that, it would seem a little unfair for the website's 3 month implementation period to be set running before their age verification options are accredited with their gold stars. Otherwise some websites would waste time and money implementing schemes that may later be declared unacceptable.

Next a motion to approve draft legislation over the UK's age-verification regulations will be debated in the House of Commons. Stephen Winyard, AVSecure s chief marketing officer, told XBIZ:

We are particularly pleased that the prime minister is set to approve the draft guidance for the age-verification law on Monday. From this, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport will issue the effective start date and that will be around Easter.

But maybe the prime minister has a few more urgent issues on her mind at the moment.

 

 

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

The government's age verification scheme which leaves people's sensitive sexual preferences unprotected by law is to be presented for approval by the House of Lords


Link Here 10th December 2018
Full story: BBFC Internet Porn Censors...BBFC: Age Verification We Don't Trust
The following four motions are expected to be debated together in the House of Lords on 11th December 2018:

Online Pornography (Commercial Basis) Regulations 2018

Lord Ashton of Hyde to move that the draft Regulations laid before the House on 10 October be approved. Special attention drawn to the instrument by the Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments, 38th Report, 4th Report from the Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee (Sub-Committee B)

Guidance on Age-verification Arrangements

Lord Ashton of Hyde to move that the draft Guidance laid before the House on 25 October be approved. Special attention drawn to the instrument by the Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments, 39th Report, 4th Report from the Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee (Sub-Committee B)

Lord Stevenson of Balmacara to move that this House regrets that the draft Online Pornography (Commercial Basis) Regulations 2018 and the draft Guidance on Age-verification Arrangements do not bring into force section 19 of the Digital Economy Act 2017, which would have given the regulator powers to impose a financial penalty on persons who have not complied with their instructions to require that they have in place an age verification system which is fit for purpose and effectively managed so as to ensure that commercial pornographic material online will not normally be accessible by persons under the age of 18.

Guidance on Ancillary Service Providers

Lord Ashton of Hyde to move that the draft Guidance laid before the House on 25 October be approved. Special attention drawn to the instrument by the Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments, 39th Report, 4th Report from the Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee (Sub-Committee B)

The DCMS and BBFC age verification scheme has been widely panned as fundamentally the law provides no requirement to actually protect people's identity data that can be coupled with their sexual preferences and sexuality. The scheme only offers voluntary suggestions that age verification services and websites should protect their user's privacy. But one only has to look to Google, Facebook and Cambridge Analytica to see how worthless mere advice is. GDPR is often quoted but that only requires that user consent is obtained. One will have to simply to the consent to the 'improved user experience' tick box to watch the porn, and thereafter the companies can do what the fuck they like with the data.

See criticism of the scheme:

Security expert provides a detailed break down of the privacy and security failures of the age verification scheme

Parliamentary scrutiny committee condemns BBFC Age Verification Guidelines

Parliamentary scrutiny committee condemns as 'defective' a DCMS Statutory Instrument excusing Twitter and Google images from age verification.

 

 

Defective Age Verification Law...

Parliamentary scrutiny committee condemns as 'defective' a DCMS Statutory Instrument excusing Twitter and Google images from age verification. Presumably one of the reasons for the delayed introduction


Link Here3rd December 2018
Full story: BBFC Internet Porn Censors...BBFC: Age Verification We Don't Trust
There's a joint committee to scrutinise laws passed in parliament via Statutory Instruments. These are laws that are not generally presented to parliament for discussion, and are passed by default unless challenged.

The committee has now taken issue with a DCMS law to excuse the likes of social media and search engines from requiring age verification for any porn images that may get published on the internet. The committee reports from a session on 21st November 2018 that the law was defective and 'makes an unexpected use of the enabling power'. Presumably this means that the DCMS has gone beyond the scope of what can be passed without full parliamentary scrutiny.

Draft S.I.: Reported for defective drafting and for unexpected use of powers Online Pornography (Commercial Basis) Regulations 2018

7.1 The Committee draws the special attention of both Houses to these draft Regulations on the grounds that they are defectively drafted and make an unexpected use of the enabling power.

7.2 Part 3 of the Digital Economy Act 2017 ("the 2017 Act") contains provisions designed to prevent persons under the age of 18 from accessing internet sites which contain pornographic material. An age-verification regulator 1 is given a number of powers to enforce the requirements of Part 3, including the power to impose substantial fines. 2

7.3 Section 14(1) is the key requirement. It provides:

"A person contravenes [Part 3 of the Act] if the person makes pornographic material available on the internet to persons in the United Kingdom on a commercial basis other than in a way that secures that, at any given time, the material is not normally accessible by persons under the age of 18".

7.4 The term "commercial basis" is not defined in the Act itself. Instead, section 14(2) confers a power on the Secretary of State to specify in regulations the circumstances in which, for the purposes of Part 3, pornographic material is or is not to be regarded as made available on a commercial basis. These draft regulations would be made in exercise of that power. Regulation 2 provides:

"(1) Pornographic material is to be regarded as made available on the internet to persons in the United Kingdom on a commercial basis for the purposes of Part 3 of the Digital Economy Act 2017 if either paragraph (2) or (3) are met.

(2) This paragraph applies if access to that pornographic material is available only upon payment.

(3) This paragraph applies (subject to paragraph (4)) if the pornographic material is made available free of charge and the person who makes it available receives (or reasonably expects to receive) a payment, reward or other benefit in connection with making it available on the internet.

(4) Subject to paragraph (5), paragraph (3) does not apply in a case where it is reasonable for the age-verification regulator to assume that pornographic material makes up less than one-third of the content of the material made available on or via the internet site or other means (such as an application program) of accessing the internet by means of which the pornographic material is made available.

(5) Paragraph (4) does not apply if the internet site or other means (such as an application program) of accessing the internet (by means of which the pornographic material is made available) is marketed as an internet site or other means of accessing the internet by means of which pornographic material is made available to persons in the United Kingdom."

7.5 The Committee finds these provisions difficult to understand, whether as a matter of simple English or as legal propositions. Paragraphs (4) and (5) are particularly obscure.

7.6 As far as the Committee can gather from the Explanatory Memorandum, the policy intention is that a person will be regarded as making pornographic material available on the internet on a commercial basis if:

(A) a charge is made for access to the material; OR

(B) the internet site is accessible free of charge, but the person expects to receive a payment or other commercial benefit, for example through advertising carried on the site.

7.7 There is, however, an exception to (B): in cases in which no access charge is made, the person will NOT be regarded as making the pornographic material available on a commercial basis if the material makes up less than one-third of the content on the internet site--even if the person expects to receive a payment or other commercial benefit from the site. But that exception does not apply in a case where the person markets it as a pornographic site, or markets an "app" as a means of accessing pornography on the site.

7.8 As the Committee was doubtful whether regulation 2 as drafted is effective to achieve the intended result, it asked the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport a number of questions. These were designed to elicit information about the regulation's meaning and effect.

7.9 The Committee is disappointed with the Department's memorandum in response, printed at Appendix 7: it fails to address adequately the issues raised by the Committee.

7.10 The Committee's first question asked the Department to explain why paragraph (1) of regulation 2 refers to whether either paragraph (2) or (3) "are met" 3 rather than "applies". The Committee raised this point because paragraphs (2) and (3) each begin with "This paragraph applies if ...". There is therefore a mismatch between paragraph (1) and the subsequent paragraphs, which could make the regulation difficult to interpret. It would be appropriate to conclude paragraph (1) with "is met" only if paragraphs (2) and (3) began with "The condition in this paragraph is met if ...". The Department's memorandum does not explain this discrepancy. The Committee accordingly reports regulation 2(1) for defective drafting.

7.11 The first part of the Committee's second question sought to probe the intended effect of the words in paragraph (4) of regulation 2 italicised above, and how the Department considers that effect is achieved.

7.12 While the Department's memorandum sets out the policy reasons for setting the one-third threshold, it offers little enlightenment on whether paragraph (4) is effective to achieve the policy aims. Nor does it deal properly with the second part of the Committee's question, which sought clarification of the concept of "one-third of ... material ... on ... [a] means .... of accessing the internet ...".

7.13 The Committee is puzzled by the references in regulation 2(4) to the means of accessing the internet. Section 14(2) of the 2017 Act confers a power on the Secretary of State to specify in regulations circumstances in which pornographic material is or is not to be regarded as made available on the internet on a commercial basis. The means by which the material is accessed (for example, via an application program on a smart phone) appears to be irrelevant to the question of whether it is made available on the internet on a commercial basis. The Committee remains baffled by the concept of "one-third of ... material ... on [a] means ... of accessing the internet".

7.14 More generally, regulation 2(4) fails to specify how the one-third threshold is to be measured and what exactly it applies to. Will the regulator be required to measure one-third of the pictures or one-third of the words on a particular internet site or both together? And will a single webpage on the site count towards the total if less than one-third of the page's content is pornographic--for example, a sexually explicit picture occupying 32% of the page, with the remaining 68% made up of an article about fishing? The Committee worries that the lack of clarity in regulation 2(4) may afford the promoter of a pornographic website opportunities to circumvent Part 3 of the 2017 Act.

7.15 The Committee is particularly concerned that a promoter may make pornographic material available on one or more internet sites containing multiple pages, more than two-thirds of which are non-pornographic. For every 10 pages of pornography, there could be 21 pages about (for example) gardening or football. Provided the sites are not actively marketed as pornographic, they would not be regarded as made available on a commercial basis. This means that Part 3 of the Act would not apply, and the promoter would be free to make profits through advertising carried on the sites, while taking no steps at all to ensure that they were inaccessible to persons under 18.

7.16 The Committee anticipates that the shortcomings described above are likely to cause significant difficulty in the application and interpretation of regulation 2(4). The Committee also doubts whether Parliament contemplated, when enacting Part 3 of the 2017 Act, that the power conferred by section 14(2) would be exercised in the way provided for in regulation 2(4). The Committee therefore reports regulation 2(4) for defective drafting and on the ground that it appears to make an unexpected use of the enabling power.

 

 

Offsite Article: Online porn filters will never work...


Link Here 26th November 2018
Full story: BBFC Internet Porn Censors...BBFC: Age Verification We Don't Trust
Beyond the massive technical challenge, filters are a lazy alternative to effective sex education. By Lux Alptraum

See article from theverge.com

 

 

Disinformation...

The British establishment is still clutching at straws claiming it is fake news that has set the people against it, and nothing to do with it treating the people like shit


Link Here19th November 2018
Full story: Fake news in the UK...Government sets up fake news unit
The likes of Facebook and Twitter should fund the creation of a new UK watchdog to internet censor to police fake news, censorship campaigners have claimed.

Sounding like a religious morality campaign, the LSE Commission on Truth, Trust and Technology , a group made up of MPs, academics and industry, also proposed the Government should scrap plans to hand fresh powers to existing cesnors such as Ofcom and the Information Commissioner.

The campaigners argue for the creation a new body to monitor the effectiveness of technology companies' self regulation. The body, which would be called the Independent Platform Agency, would provide a permanent forum for monitoring and cesnorsing the behaviour of online sites and produce an annual review of the state of disinformation, the group said.

Damian Tambini, adviser to the LSE commission and associate professor in LSE's department of media and communications, claimed:

Parliament, led by the Government, must take action to ensure that we have the information and institutions we need to respond to the information crisis. If we fail to build transparency and trust through independent institutions we could see the creeping securitisation of our media system.

 

 

ID'ed as censors...

DCMS minister Margot James informs parliamentary committee of government thoughts on online digital ID


Link Here16th November 2018
Full story: Online ID in the UK...UK scheme to verify online id
Digital ID was discussed by the Commons Science and Technology Committee on 13th November 2018.

Carol Monaghan Committee Member:  At the moment, platforms such as Facebook require age verification, but that simply means entering a date of birth, and children can change that. If you are planning to extend that, or look at how it might apply to other social media, how confident are you that the age verification processes would be robust enough to cope?

Margot James MP, Minister for Digital and the Creative Industries: At the moment, I do not think that we would be, but age verification tools and techniques are developing at pace, and we keep abreast of developments. At the moment , we think we have a robust means by which to verify people's age at 18; the challenge is to develop tools that can verify people's age at a younger age, such as 13. Those techniques are not robust enough yet, but a lot of technological research is going on, and I am reasonably confident that, over the next few years, there will be robust means by which to identify age at younger than 18.

Stephen Metcalfe Committee Member: My question is on the same point about how we can create a verification system that you cannot just get around by putting in a fake date of birth. I assume that the verification for 18 - plus is based around some sort of credit card, or some sort of bank card. The issue there is that, potentially, someone could borrow another person's card, because it does not require secret information--it requires just the entering of the 16-digit number, or something. But on the younger ages, given that we are talking about digital life and digital literacy, do you think that the time has come to talk about having a digital verified ID that young people get and which you cannot fiddle with--a bit like an online ID card, or digital passport? I know that that idea has been around a little while.

Margot James: It has. I do think that the time has come when that is required, but there are considerable hoops to go through before we can arrive at a system of digital identity, including someone's age, that is acknowledged, respected and entered into by the vast majority of people. As you probably know, the Government have committed in prior years to the Verify system, which we think has got as far as it can go, which is not far enough. We have a team of excellent policy officials in the DCMS looking afresh at other techniques of digital identity. It is a live issue and there have been many attempts at it; there is frustration, and not everybody would agree with what I have said. But you asked my view, and that is it--and the Department is focusing a lot of energy on that area of research.

Chair: Can you imagine that your legislation, when it comes, could include the concept, to which Stephen referred, of a digital identity for children?

Margot James: That is a long way off--or it is not next year, and probably not the year after, given how much consultation it would require. The new work has only just started, so it is not a short-term solution, and I do not expect to see it as part of our White Paper that we publish this winter. That does not mean to say that we do not think that it is important; we are working towards getting a system that we think could have public support.

To go slightly beyond the terms of your inquiry, with regard to the potential for delivering a proper digital relationship between citizen and G overnment through delivery of public services, a digital identity system will be important. We feel that public service delivery has a huge amount to gain from the digital solution.

Bill Grant Committee Member:: I am pleased to note that the Government are addressing issues that have been with us for nearly a decade--the dark side of social media and the risk to children, not least the risk that we all experience as parliamentarians. Can you offer any reason why it has taken so long for Government to begin that process? Would you be minded to accelerate the process to address the belated start?

Margot James: One reason is that progress has been made by working with technology companies. The Home Office has had considerable success in working with technology companies to eradicate terrorist content online. To a lesser but still significant extent, progress has also been made on a voluntary basis with the reduction in child abuse images and child sexual exploitation. I said "significant , " but this is a Home Office area--I am working closely with the Home Office, because the White Paper is being developed in concert with it--and it is clear that it does not feel that anything like enough is being done through voluntary measures.

Chair: Do you feel that?

Margot James: Yes, I do. A lot of the highly dangerous material has gone under the radar in the dark web, but too much material is still available, apparently, on various platforms, and it takes them too long to remove it.

Chair: Ultimately, the voluntary approach is not working adequately.

Margot James: Exactly--that is our view now. I was trying to address the hon. Member's question about why it had taken a long time. Partly it is that technology changes very fast , but, partly, it is because voluntary engagement was delivering, but it has impressed itself on us in the last 12 months that it is not delivering fast enough or adequately. We have not even talked about the vast range of other harms, some of which are illegal and some legal but harmful, and some in the grey area in between, where decidedly inadequate progress has been made as a result of the many instances of voluntary engagement, not just between the Government and the technology sector but between charitable organisations and non-governmental organisations, including the police.

Bill Grant: It was envisaged earlier that there would be some sort of regulator or ombudsman, but , over and above that , Martha Lane Fox's think - tank proposed the establishment of an office for responsible technology, which would be overarching, in whatever form the regulation comes. Would you be minded to take that on board?

Margot James: That is one proposal that we will certainly look at, yes. Martha Lane Fox does a lot of very good work in this area, has many years' experience of it, and runs a very good organisation in the "tech for good" environment, so her proposals are well worth consideration. That is one reason why I was unable to give a specific answer earlier, because there are good ideas, and they all need proper evaluation. When the White Paper is published, we will engage with you and any other interested party , and invite other organisations to contribute to our thinking, prior to the final legislation being put before Parliament and firming up the non-legislative measures, which are crucial. We all know that legislation does not solve every ill, and it is crucial that we continue the very good work being done by many internet companies to improve the overall environment.

 

 

UK adult businesses to be crucified from Easter 2019...

DCMS minister Margot James informs parliamentary committee of the schedule for the age verification internet porn censorship regime


Link Here 15th November 2018
Full story: BBFC Internet Porn Censors...BBFC: Age Verification We Don't Trust
Age Verification and adult internet censorship was discussed by the Commons Science and Technology Committee on 13th November 2018.

Carol Monaghan Committee Member: The Digital Economy Act made it compulsory for commercial pornography sites to undertake age verification, but implementation has been subject to ongoing delays. When do we expect it to go live?

Margot James MP, Minister for Digital and the Creative Industries: We can expect it to be in force by Easter next year. I make that timetable in the knowledge that we have laid the necessary secondary legislation before Parliament. I am hopeful of getting a slot to debate it before Christmas, before the end of the year. We have always said that we will permit the industry three months to get up to speed with the practicalities and delivering the age verification that it will be required to deliver by law. We have also had to set up the regulator--well, not to set it up, but to establish with the British Board of Film Classification , which has been the regulator, exactly how it will work. It has had to consult on the methods of age verification, so it has taken longer than I would have liked, but I would balance that with a confidence that we have got it right.

Carol Monaghan: Are you confident that the commercial pornography companies are going to engage fully and will implement the law as you hope?

Margot James: I am certainly confident on the majority of large commercial pornography websites and platforms being compliant with the law. They have engaged well with the BBFC and the Department , and want to be on the right side of the law. I have confidence, but I am wary of being 100% confident, because there are always smaller and more underground platforms and sites that will seek ways around the law. At least, that is usually the case. We will be on the lookout for that, and so will the BBFC. But the vast majority of organisations have indicated that they are keen to comply with the legislation.

Carol Monaghan: One concern that we all have is that children can stumble across pornography. We know that on social media platforms, where children are often active, up to a third of their content can be pornographic, but they fall outside the age verification regulation because it is only a third and not the majority. Is that likely to undermine the law? Ultimately the law, as it stands, is there to safeguard our children.

Margot James: I acknowledge that that is a weakness in the legislative solution. I do not think that for many mainstream social media platforms as much of a third of their content is pornographic, but it is well known that certain social media platforms that many people use regularly have pornography freely available. We have decided to start with the commercial operations while we bring in the age verification techniques that have not been widely used to date. But we will keep a watching brief on how effective those age verification procedures turn out to be with commercial providers and will keep a close eye on how social media platforms develop in terms of the extent of pornographic material, particularly if they are platforms that appeal to children--not all are. You point to a legitimate weakness, on which we have a close eye.

 

 

Fireworks in the House...

The Lords discuss when age verification internet censorship will start


Link Here13th November 2018
Full story: BBFC Internet Porn Censors...BBFC: Age Verification We Don't Trust

Pornographic Websites: Age Verification - Question

House of Lords on 5th November 2018 .

Baroness Benjamin Liberal Democrat

To ask Her Majesty 's Government what will be the commencement date for their plans to ensure that age-verification to prevent children accessing pornographic websites is implemented by the British Board of Film Classification .

Lord Ashton of Hyde The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

My Lords, we are now in the final stages of the process, and we have laid the BBFC 's draft guidance and the Online Pornography (Commercial Basis) Regulations before Parliament for approval. We will ensure that there is a sufficient period following parliamentary approval for the public and the industry to prepare for age verification. Once parliamentary proceedings have concluded, we will set a date by which commercial pornography websites will need to be compliant, following an implementation window. We expect that this date will be early in the new year.

Baroness Benjamin

I thank the Minister for his Answer. I cannot wait for that date to happen, but does he share my disgust and horror that social media companies such as Twitter state that their minimum age for membership is 13 yet make no attempt to restrict some of the most gross forms of pornography being exchanged via their platforms? Unfortunately, the Digital Economy Act does not affect these companies because they are not predominantly commercial porn publishers. Does he agree that the BBFC needs to develop mechanisms to evaluate the effectiveness of the legislation for restricting children's access to pornography via social media sites and put a stop to this unacceptable behaviour?

Lord Ashton of Hyde

My Lords, I agree that there are areas of concern on social media sites. As the noble Baroness rightly says, they are not covered by the Digital Economy Act . We had many hours of discussion about that in this House. However, she will be aware that we are producing an online harms White Paper in the winter in which some of these issues will be considered. If necessary, legislation will be brought forward to address these, and not only these but other harms too. I agree that the BBFC should find out about the effectiveness of the limited amount that age verification can do; it will commission research on that. Also, the Digital Economy Act itself made sure that the Secretary of State must review its effectiveness within 12 to 18 months.

Lord Griffiths of Burry Port Opposition Whip (Lords), Shadow Spokesperson (Digital, Culture, Media and Sport), Shadow Spokesperson (Wales)

My Lords, once again I find this issue raising a dynamic that we became familiar with in the only too recent past. The Government are to be congratulated on getting the Act on to the statute book and, indeed, on taking measures to identify a regulator as well as to indicate that secondary legislation will be brought forward to implement a number of the provisions of the Act. My worry is that, under one section of the Digital Economy Act , financial penalties can be imposed on those who infringe this need; the Government seem to have decided not to bring that provision into force at this time. I believe I can anticipate the Minister 's answer but--in view of the little drama we had last week over fixed-odds betting machines--we would not want the Government, having won our applause in this way, to slip back into putting things off or modifying things away from the position that we had all agreed we wanted.

Lord Ashton of Hyde

My Lords, I completely understand where the noble Lord is coming from but what he said is not quite right. The Digital Economy Act included a power that the Government could bring enforcement with financial penalties through a regulator. However, they decided--and this House decided--not to use that for the time being. For the moment, the regulator will act in a different way. But later on, if necessary, the Secretary of State could exercise that power. On timing and FOBTs, we thought carefully--as noble Lords can imagine--before we said that we expect the date will be early in the new year,

Lord Addington Liberal Democrat

My Lords, does the Minister agree that good health and sex education might be a way to counter some of the damaging effects? Can the Government make sure that is in place as soon as possible, so that this strange fantasy world is made slightly more real?

Lord Ashton of Hyde

The noble Lord is of course right that age verification itself is not the only answer. It does not cover every possibility of getting on to a pornography site. However, it is the first attempt of its kind in the world, which is why not only we but many other countries are looking at it. I agree that sex education in schools is very important and I believe it is being brought into the national curriculum already.

The Earl of Erroll Crossbench

Why is there so much wriggle room in section 6 of the guidance from the DCMS to the AV regulator? The ISP blocking probably will not work, because everyone will just get out of it. If we bring this into disrepute then the good guys, who would like to comply, probably will not; they will not be able to do so economically. All that was covered in British Standard PAS 1296, which was developed over three years. It seems to have been totally ignored by the DCMS. You have spent an awful lot of time getting there, but you have not got there.

Lord Ashton of Hyde

One of the reasons this has taken so long is that it is complicated. We in the DCMS , and many others, not least in this House, have spent a long time discussing the best way of achieving this. I am not immediately familiar with exactly what section 6 says, but when the statutory instrument comes before this House--it is an affirmative one to be discussed--I will have the answer ready for the noble Earl.

Lord West of Spithead Labour

My Lords, does the Minister not agree that the possession of a biometric card by the population would make the implementation of things such as this very much easier?

Lord Ashton of Hyde

In some ways it would, but there are problems with people who either do not want to or cannot have biometric cards.

 

 

BBFC: Age verification we don't trust...

Analysis of BBFC's Post-Consultation Guidance by the Open Rights Group


Link Here 8th November 2018
Full story: BBFC Internet Porn Censors...BBFC: Age Verification We Don't Trust
Following the conclusion of their consultation period, the BBFC have issued new age verification guidance that has been laid before Parliament. It is unclear why, if the government now recognises that privacy protections like this are needed, the government would also leave the requirements as voluntary.

Summary

The new code has some important improvements, notably the introduction of a voluntary scheme for privacy, close to or based on a GDPR Code of Conduct. This is a good idea, but should not be put in place as a voluntary arrangement. Companies may not want the attention of a regulator, or may simply wish to apply lower or different standards, and ignore it. It is unclear why, if the government now recognises that privacy protections like this are needed, the government would also leave the requirements as voluntary.

We are also concerned that the voluntary scheme may not be up and running before the AV requirement is put in place. Given that 25 million UK adults are expected to sign up to these products within a few months of its launch, this would be very unhelpful.

Parliament should now:

  • Ask the government why the privacy scheme is to be voluntary, if the risks of relying on general data protection law are now recognised;
  • Ask for assurance from BBFC that the voluntary scheme will cover the all of the major operators; and
  • Ask for assurance from BBFC and DCMS that the voluntary privacy scheme will be up and running before obliging operators to put Age Verification measures in place.

The draft code can be found here .

Lack of Enforceability of Guidance

The Digital Economy Act does not allow the BBFC to judge age verification tools by any standard other than whether or not they sufficiently verify age. We asked that the BBFC persuade the DCMS that statutory requirements for privacy and security were required for age verification tools.

The BBFC have clearly acknowledged privacy and security concerns with age verification in their response. However, the BBFC indicate in their response that they have been working with the ICO and DCMS to create a voluntary certification scheme for age verification providers:

"This voluntary certification scheme will mean that age-verification providers may choose to be independently audited by a third party and then certified by the Age-verification Regulator. The third party's audit will include an assessment of an age-verification solution's compliance with strict privacy and data security requirements."

The lack of a requirement for additional and specific privacy regulation in the Digital Economy Act is the cause for this voluntary approach.

While a voluntary scheme above is likely to be of some assistance in promoting better standards among age verification providers, the "strict privacy and data security requirements" which the voluntary scheme mentions are not a statutory requirement, leaving some consumers at greater risk than others.

Sensitive Personal Data

The data handled by age verification systems is sensitive personal data. Age verification services must directly identify users in order to accurately verify age. Users will be viewing pornographic content, and the data about what specific content a user views is highly personal and sensitive. This has potentially disastrous consequences for individuals and families if the data is lost, leaked, or stolen.

Following a hack affecting Ashley Madison -- a dating website for extramarital affairs -- a number of the site's users were driven to suicide as a result of the public exposure of their sexual activities and interests.

For the purposes of GDPR, data handled by age verification systems falls under the criteria for sensitive personal data, as it amounts to "data concerning a natural person's sex life or sexual orientation".

Scheduling Concerns

It is of critical importance that any accreditation scheme for age verification providers, or GDPR code of conduct if one is established, is in place and functional before enforcement of the age verification provisions in the Digital Economy Act commences. All of the major providers who are expected to dominate the age verification market should undergo their audit under the scheme before consumers will be expected to use the tool. This is especially true when considering the fact that MindGeek have indicated their expectation that 20-25 million UK adults will sign up to their tool within the first few months of operation. A voluntary accreditation scheme that begins enforcement after all these people have already signed up would be unhelpful.

Consumers should be empowered to make informed decisions about the age verification tools that they choose from the very first day of enforcement. No delays are acceptable if users are expected to rely upon the scheme to inform themselves about the safety of their data. If this cannot be achieved prior to the start of expected enforcement of the DE Act's provisions, then the planned date for enforcement should be moved back to allow for the accreditation to be completed.

Issues with Lack of Consumer Choice

It is of vital importance that consumers, if they must verify their age, are given a choice of age verification providers when visiting a site. This enables users to choose which provider they trust with their highly sensitive age verification data and prevents one actor from dominating the market and thereby promoting detrimental practices with data. The BBFC also acknowledge the importance of this in their guidance, noting in 3.8:

"Although not a requirement under section 14(1) the BBFC recommends that online commercial pornography services offer a choice of age-verification methods for the end-user".

This does not go far enough to acknowledge the potential issues that may arise in a fragmented market where pornographic sites are free to offer only a single tool if they desire.

Without a statutory requirement for sites to offer all appropriate and available tools for age verification and log in purposes, it is likely that a market will be established in which one or two tools dominate. Smaller sites will then be forced to adopt these dominant tools as well, to avoid friction with consumers who would otherwise be required to sign up to a new provider.

This kind of market for age verification tools will provide little room for a smaller provider with a greater commitment to privacy or security to survive and robs users of the ability to choose who they trust with their data.

We already called for it to be made a statutory requirement that pornographic sites must offer a choice of providers to consumers who must age verify, however this suggestion has not been taken up.

We note that the BBFC has been working with the ICO and DCMS to produce a voluntary code of conduct. Perhaps a potential alternative solution would be to ensure that a site is only considered compliant if it offers users a number of tools which has been accredited under the additional privacy and security requirements of the voluntary scheme.

GDPR Codes of Conduct

A GDPR "Code of Conduct" is a mechanism for providing guidelines to organisations who process data in particular ways, and allows them to demonstrate compliance with the requirements of the GDPR.

A code of conduct is voluntary, but compliance is continually monitored by an appropriate body who are accredited by a supervisory authority. In this case, the "accredited body" would likely be the BBFC, and the "supervisory authority" would be the ICO. The code of conduct allows for certifications, seals and marks which indicate clearly to consumers that a service or product complies with the code.

Codes of conduct are expected to provide more specific guidance on exactly how data may be processed or stored. In the case of age verification data, the code could contain stipulations on:

  • Appropriate pseudonymisation of stored data;
  • Data and metadata retention periods;
  • Data minimisation recommendations;
  • Appropriate security measures for data storage;
  • Security breach notification procedures;
  • Re-use of data for other purposes.

The BBFC's proposed "voluntary standard" regime appears to be similar to a GDPR code of conduct, though it remains to be seen how specific the stipulations in the BBFC's standard are. A code of conduct would also involve being entered into the ICO's public register of UK approved codes of conduct, and the EPDB's public register for all codes of conduct in the EU.

Similarly, GDPR Recital 99 notes that "relevant stakeholders, including data subjects" should be consulted during the drafting period of a code of conduct - a requirement which is not in place for the BBFC's voluntary scheme.

It is possible that the BBFC have opted to create this voluntary scheme for age verification providers rather than use a code of conduct, because they felt they may not meet the GDPR requirements to be considered as an appropriate body to monitor compliance. Compliance must be monitored by a body who has demonstrated:

  • Their expertise in relation to the subject-matter;
  • They have established procedures to assess the ability of data processors to apply the code of conduct;
  • They have the ability to deal with complaints about infringements; and
  • Their tasks do not amount to a conflict of interest.
Parties Involved in the Code of Conduct Process

As noted by GDPR Recital 99, a consultation should be a public process which involves stakeholders and data subjects, and their responses should be taken into account during the drafting period:

"When drawing up a code of conduct, or when amending or extending such a code, associations and other bodies representing categories of controllers or processors should consult relevant stakeholders, including data subjects where feasible , and have regard to submissions received and views expressed in response to such consultations."

The code of conduct must be approved by a relevant supervisory authority (in this case the ICO).

An accredited body (BBFC) that establishes a code of conduct and monitors compliance is able to establish their own structures and procedures under GDPR Article 41 to handle complaints regarding infringements of the code, or regarding the way it has been implemented. BBFC would be liable for failures to regulate the code properly under Article 41(4), [1] however DCMS appear to have accepted the principle that the government would need to protect BBFC from such liabilities. [2]

GDPR Codes of Conduct and Risk Management

Below is a table of risks created by age verification which we identified during the consultation process. For each risk, we have considered whether a GDPR code of conduct may help to mitigate the effects of it.

Risk CoC Appropriate? Details
User identity may be correlated with viewed content. Partially This risk can never be entirely mitigated if AV is to go ahead, but a CoC could contain very strict restrictions on what identifying data could be stored after a successful age verification.
Identity may be associated to an IP address, location or device. No It would be very difficult for a CoC to mitigate this risk as the only safe mitigation would be not to collect user identity information.
An age verification provider could track users across all the websites it's tool is offered on. Yes Strict rules could be put in place about what data an age verification provider may store, and what data it is forbidden from storing.
Users may be incentivised to consent to further processing of their data in exchange for rewards (content, discounts etc.) Yes Age verification tools could be expressly forbidden from offering anything in exchange for user consent.
Leaked data creates major risks for identified individuals and cannot be revoked or adequately compensated for. Partially A CoC can never fully mitigate this risk if any data is being collected, but it could contain strict prohibitions on storing certain information and specify retention periods after which data must be destroyed, which may mitigate the impacts of a data breach.
Risks to the user of access via shared computers if viewing history is stored alongside age verification data. Yes A CoC could specify that any accounts for pornographic websites which may track viewed content must be strictly separate and not in any visible way linked to a user's age verification account or data that confirms their identity.
Age verification systems are likely to trade off convenience for security. (No 2FA, auto-login, etc.) Yes A CoC could stipulate that login cookies that "remember" a returning user must only persist for a short time period, and should recommend or enforce two-factor authentication.
The need to re-login to age verification services to access pornography in "private browsing" mode may lead people to avoid using this feature and generate much more data which is then stored. No A CoC cannot fix this issue. Private browsing by nature will not store any login cookies or other objects and will require the user to re-authenticate with age verification providers every time they wish to view adult content.
Users may turn to alternative tools to avoid age verification, which carry their own security risks. (Especially "free" VPN services or peer-to-peer networks). No Many UK adults, although over 18, will be uncomfortable with the need to submit identity documents to verify their age and will seek alternative means to access content. It is unlikely that many of these individuals will be persuaded by an accreditation under a GDPR code.
Age verification login details may be traded and shared among teenagers or younger children, which could lead to bullying or "outing" if such details are linked to viewed content. Yes Strict rules could be put in place about what data an age verification provider may store, and what data it is forbidden from storing.
Child abusers could use their access to age verified content as an adult as leverage to create and exploit relationships with children and teenagers seeking access to such content (grooming). No This risk will exist as long as age verification is providing a successful barrier to accessing such content for under-18s who wish to do so.
The sensitivity of content dealt with by age verification services means that users who fall victim to phishing scams or fraud have a lower propensity to report it to the relevant authorities. Partially A CoC or education campaign may help consumers identify trustworthy services, but it can not fix the core issue, which is that users are being socialised into it being "normal" to input their identity details into websites in exchange for pornography. Phishing scams resulting from age verification will appear and will be common, and the sensitivity of the content involved is a disincentive to reporting it.
The use of credit cards as an age verification mechanism creates an opportunity for fraudulent sites to engage in credit card theft. No Phishing and fraud will be common. A code of conduct which lists compliant sites and tools externally on the ICO website may be useful, but a phishing site may simply pretend to be another (compliant) tool, or rely on the fact that users are unlikely to check with the ICO every time they wish to view pornographic content.
The rush to get age verification tools to market means they may take significant shortcuts when it comes to privacy and security. Yes A CoC could assist in solving this issue if tools are given time to be assessed for compliance before the age verification regime commences .
A single age verification provider may come to dominate the market, leaving users little choice but to accept whatever terms the provider offers. Partially Practically, a CoC could mitigate some of the effects of an age verification tool monopoly if the dominant tool is accredited under the Code. However, this relies on users being empowered to demand compliance with a CoC, and it is possible that users will instead be left with a "take it or leave it" situation where the dominant tool is not CoC accredited.
Allowing pornography "monopolies" such as MindGeek to operate age verification tools is a conflict of interest. Partially As the BBFC note in their consultation response, it would not be reasonable to prohibit a pornographic content provider from running an age verification service as it would prevent any site from running their own tool. However, under a CoC it is possible that a degree of separation could be enforced that requires an age verification tools to adhere to strict rules about the use of data, which could mitigate the effects of a large pornographic content provider attempting to collect as much user data as possible for their own business purposes.
 

[1] "Infringements of the following provisions shall, in accordance with paragraph 2, be subject to administrative fines up to 10 000 000 EUR, or in the case of an undertaking, up to 2 % of the total worldwide annual turnover of the preceding financial year, whichever is higher: the obligations of the monitoring body pursuant to Article 41(4)."

[2] "contingent liability will provide indemnity to the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) against legal proceedings brought against the BBFC in its role as the age verification regulator for online pornography."

 

 

UK Council for Internet Censorship...

Government announces a new UK Council for Internet 'Safety'


Link Here31st October 2018
The Government has announced the organisations that will sit on the Executive Board of a new national body to tackle online harms in the UK.

The UK Council for Internet Safety (UKCIS) is the successor to the UK Council for Child Internet Safety (UKCCIS), with an expanded scope to improve online safety for everyone in the UK.

The Executive Board brings together expertise from a range of organisations in the tech industry, civil society and public sector.

Margot James, Minister for Digital and the Creative Industries said:

Only through collaborative action will the UK be the safest place to be online. By bringing together a wealth of expertise from a wide range of fields, UKCIS can be an example to the world on how we can work together to face the challenges of the digital revolution in an effective and responsible way.

UKCIS has been established to allow these organisations to collaborate and coordinate a UK-wide approach to online safety.

It will contribute to the Government's commitment to make the UK the safest place in the world to be online, and will help to inform the development of the forthcoming Online Harms White Paper.

Priority areas of focus will include online harms experienced by children such as cyberbullying and sexual exploitation; radicalisation and extremism; violence against women and girls; hate crime and hate speech; and forms of discrimination against groups protected under the Equality Act, for example on the basis of disability or race.

CEO of Internet Matters Carolyn Bunting said:

We are delighted to sit on the Executive Board of UKCIS where we are able to represent parents needs in keeping their children safe online.

Online safety demands a collaborative approach and by bringing industry together we hope we can bring about real change and help everyone benefit from the opportunities the digital world has to offer.

The UKCIS Executive Board consists of the following organisations:

  • Apple
  • BBC
  • Childnet
  • Children's Commissioner
  • Commission for Countering Extremism
  • End Violence Against Women Coalition
  • Facebook
  • GCHQ
  • Google
  • ICO
  • Independent Advisory Group on Hate Crime
  • Internet Matters
  • Internet Watch Foundation
  • Internet Service Providers and Mobile Operators (rotating between BT, Sky, TalkTalk, Three, Virgin Media, Vodafone)
  • Microsoft
  • National Police Chiefs' Council
  • National Crime Agency - CEOP Command
  • Northern Ireland Executive
  • NSPCC
  • Ofcom
  • Parentzone
  • Scottish Government
  • TechUK
  • Twitter
  • UKCIS Evidence Group Chair
  • UKIE
  • Welsh Assembly

The UKCIS Executive Board is jointly chaired by Margot James, Minister for Digital and the Creative Industries (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport); Victoria Atkins, Minister for Crime, Safeguarding and Vulnerability (Home Office); and Nadeem Zahawi, Minister for Children and Families (Department for Education). It also includes representatives from the Devolved Administrations of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Board membership will be kept under periodic review, to ensure it represents the full range of online harms that the government seeks to tackle.

 

 

It couldn't possibly be our policies that are so unpopular with the people...

The dissatisfaction must be caused by something else... like fake news


Link Here22nd October 2018
Full story: Fake news in the UK...Government sets up fake news unit
A committee of MPs has claimed that the government is not taking the urgent action needed to protect democracy from fake news on Facebook and other social media.

The culture committee wants a crackdown on the manipulation of personal data, the spread of disinformation and Russian interference in elections. Tory MP Damian Collins, who chairs the committee, says he is disappointed by the response to its latest report. Collins has accused ministers of making excuses to further delay desperately needed announcements on the ongoing issues of harmful and misleading content being spread through social media.

When the Digital Culture Media and Sport Committee issued its interim report on fake news in July it claimed that the UK faced a democratic crisis founded on the manipulation of personal data.

The MPs called for new powers for the Electoral Commission - including bigger fines - and new regulation of social media firms. But of the 42 recommendations in its interim report, the committee says only three have been accepted by the government, in its official response, published last week.

The committee has backed calls from the Electoral Commission to force social media advertisers to publish an imprint on political ads to show who had paid for them, to increase transparency. Collins also criticised the government's continued insistence that there was no evidence of Russian interference in UK elections.

Collins said he would be raising this and other issues with Culture Secretary Jeremy Wright, when he appears before the committee on Wednesday.

 

 

Offsite Article: Millions of porn videos will not be blocked by UK online age checks...


Link Here21st October 2018
Full story: BBFC Internet Porn Censors...BBFC: Age Verification We Don't Trust
The government makes changes such that image hosting sites, not identifying as porn sites, do not need age verification for porn images they carry

See article from theguardian.com

 

 

Not taking censorship lying down...

MoneySupermarket survey finds that 25% of customers will take action if their porn is blocked


Link Here16th October 2018
Full story: BBFC Internet Porn Censors...BBFC: Age Verification We Don't Trust
In a survey more about net neutrality than porn censorship, MoneySupermarket noted:

We conducted a survey of over 2,000 Brits on this and it seems that if an ISP decided to block sites, it could result in increasing numbers of Brits switching - 64 per cent of Brits would be likely to switch ISP if they put blocks in place

In reality, this means millions could be considering a switch as nearly six million having tried to access a site that was blocked in the last week - nearly one in 10 across the country.

It's an issue even more pertinent for those aged 18 to 34, with nearly half (45 per cent) having tried to access a site that was blocked at some point.

While ISPs might block sites for various reasons, a quarter of Brits said they would switch ISP if they were blocked from viewing adult sites - with those living with partners the most likely to do so!

Now switching ISPs isn't going to help much if the BBFC, the government appointed porn censor, has dictated that all ISPs block porn sites. But maybe these 25% of internet users will take up alternatives such as subscribing to a VPN service.

 

 

Paying for unsafe legislation...

The Government picks up the tab for legal liabilities arising from the BBFC being sued over age verification issues


Link Here12th October 2018
Full story: BBFC Internet Porn Censors...BBFC: Age Verification We Don't Trust
As far as I can see if a porn website verifies your age with personal data, it will probably also require you tick tick a consent box with a hol load of small print that nobody ever reads. Now if that small print lets it forward all personal data, coupled with porn viewing data, to the Kremlin's dirty tricks and blackmail department then that's ok with the the Government's age verification law. So for sure some porn viewers are going to get burnt because of what the government has legislated and because of what the BBFC have implemented.

So perhaps it is not surprising that the BBFC has asked the government to pick up the tab should the BBFC be sued by people harmed by their decisions. After all it was the government who set up the unsafe environment, not the BBFC.

Margot James The Minister of State, Department for Culture, Media and Sport announced in Parliament:

I am today laying a Departmental Minute to advise that the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has received approval from Her Majesty's Treasury (HMT) to recognise a new Contingent Liability which will come into effect when age verification powers under Part 3 of the Digital Economy Act 2017 enter force.

The contingent liability will provide indemnity to the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) against legal proceedings brought against the BBFC in its role as the age verification regulator for online pornography.

As you know, the Digital Economy Act introduces the requirement for commercial providers of online pornography to have robust age verification controls to protect children and young people under 18 from exposure to online pornography. As the designated age verification regulator, the BBFC will have extensive powers to take enforcement action against non-compliant sites. The BBFC can issue civil proceedings, give notice to payment-service providers or ancillary service providers, or direct internet service providers to block access to websites where a provider of online pornography remains non-compliant.

The BBFC expects a high level of voluntary compliance by providers of online pornography. To encourage compliance, the BBFC has engaged with industry, charities and undertaken a public consultation on its regulatory approach. Furthermore, the BBFC will ensure that it takes a proportionate approach to enforcement and will maintain arrangements for an appeals process to be overseen by an independent appeals body. This will help reduce the risk of potential legal action against the BBFC.

However, despite the effective work with industry, charities and the public to promote and encourage compliance, this is a new law and there nevertheless remains a risk that the BBFC will be exposed to legal challenge on the basis of decisions taken as the age verification regulator or on grounds of principle from those opposed to the policy.

As this is a new policy, it is not possible to quantify accurately the value of such risks. The Government estimates a realistic risk range to be between 21m - 210m in the first year, based on likely number and scale of legal challenges. The BBFC investigated options to procure commercial insurance but failed to do so given difficulties in accurately determining the size of potential risks. The Government therefore will ensure that the BBFC is protected against any legal action brought against the BBFC as a result of carrying out duties as the age verification regulator.

The Contingent Liability is required to be in place for the duration of the period the BBFC remain the age verification regulator. However, we expect the likelihood of the Contingent Liability being called upon to diminish over time as the regime settles in and relevant industries become accustomed to it. If the liability is called upon, provision for any payment will be sought through the normal Supply procedure.

It is usual to allow a period of 14 Sitting Days prior to accepting a Contingent Liability, to provide Members of Parliament an opportunity to raise any objections.

 

 

The new UK porn censor lays out its stall...

The BBFC launches a new website


Link Here 11th October 2018
Full story: BBFC Internet Porn Censors...BBFC: Age Verification We Don't Trust
There's loads of new information today about the upcoming internet porn censorship regime to be coordinated by the BBFC.

The BBFC has launched a new website, ageverificationregulator.com , perhaps to distance itself a bit from its film censorship work.

The BBFC has made a few changes to its approach since the rather ropey document published prior to the BBFC's public consultation. In general the BBFC seems a little more pragmatic about trying to get adult porn users to buy into the age verification way of thinking. The BBFC seems supportive of the anonymously bought porn access card from the local store, and has taken a strong stance against age verification providers who reprehensibly want to record people's porn browsing, claiming a need to provide an audit trail.

The BBFC has also decided to offer a service to certify age verification providers in the way that they protect people's data. This is again probably targeted at making adult porn users a bit more confident in handing over ID.

The BBFC tone is a little bit more acknowledging of people's privacy concerns, but it's the government's law being implemented by the BBFC, that allows the recipients of the data to use it more or less how they like. Once you tick the 'take it or leave it' consent box allowing the AV provider 'to make your user experience better' then they can do what they like with your data (although GDPR does kindly let you later withdraw that consent and see what they have got on you).

Another theme that runs through the site is a rather ironic acceptance that, for all the devastation that will befall the UK porn industry, for all the lives ruined by people having their porn viewing outed, for all the lives ruined by fraud and identity theft, that somehow the regime is only about stopping young children 'stumbling on porn'... because the older, more determined, children will still know how to find it anyway.

So the BBFC has laid out its stall, and its a little more conciliatory to porn users, but I for one will never hand over any ID data to anyone connected with a servicing porn websites. I suspect that many others will feel the same. If you can't trust the biggest companies in the business with your data, what hope is there for anyone else.

There's no word yet on when all this will come into force, but the schedule seems to be 3 months after the BBFC scheme has been approved by Parliament. This approval seems scheduled to be debated in Parliament in early November, eg on 5th November there will be a House of Lords session:

Implementation by the British Board of Film Classification of age-verifications to prevent children accessing pornographic websites 203 Baroness Benjamin Oral questions

So the earliest it could come into force is about mid February.

 

 

Preventing children and non human operators from being able to access porn...

BBFC publishes its sometimes bizarre Guidance on Age-verification Arrangement


Link Here11th October 2018
Full story: BBFC Internet Porn Censors...BBFC: Age Verification We Don't Trust

The BBFC has published its Age Verification Guidance document that will underipin the implementation of internet porn censorship in the UK.

Perhaps a key section is:

5. The criteria against which the BBFC will assess that an age-verification arrangement meets the requirement under section 14(1) to secure that pornographic material is not normally accessible by those under 18 are set out below:

a. an effective control mechanism at the point of registration or access to pornographic content by the end-user which verifies that the user is aged 18 or over at the point of registration or access

b use of age-verification data that cannot be reasonably known by another person, without theft or fraudulent use of data or identification documents nor readily obtained or predicted by another person

c. 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. A consumer must be logged out by default unless they positively opt-in for their log in information to be remembered

d. the inclusion of measures which authenticate age-verification data and measures which are effective at preventing use by non-human operators including algorithms

It is fascinating as to why the BBFC feels that bots need to be banned, perhaps they need to be 18 years old too, before they can access porn. I am not sure if porn sites will appreciate Goggle-bot being banned from their sites. I love the idea that the word 'algorithms' has been elevated to some sort of living entity.

It all smacks of being written by people who don't know what they are talking about.

In a quick read I thought the following paragraph was important:

9. In the interests of data minimisation and data protection, the BBFC does not require that age-verification arrangements maintain data for the purposes of providing an audit trail in order to meet the requirements of the act.

It rather suggests that the BBFC pragmatically accept that convenience and buy-in from porn-users is more important than making life dangerous for everybody, just n case a few teenagers get hold of an access code.

 

 

A significant number of responses raised concerns about the introduction of age-verification...

BBFC publishes its summary of the consultation repsonses


Link Here11th October 2018
Full story: BBFC Internet Porn Censors...BBFC: Age Verification We Don't Trust

BBFC Executive Summary

The British Board of Film Classification was designated as the age-verification regulator under Part 3 of the Digital Economy Act on 21 February 2018. The BBFC launched its consultation on the draft Guidance on Age-verification Arrangements and draft Guidance on Ancillary Service Providers on 26 March 2018. The consultation was available on the BBFC's website and asked for comments on the technical aspects on how the BBFC intends to approach its role and functions as the age-verification regulator. The consultation ran for 4 weeks and closed on 23 April 2018, although late submissions were accepted until 8 May 2018.

There were a total of 624 responses to the consultation. The vast majority of those (584) were submitted by individuals, with 40 submitted by organisations. 623 responses were received via email, and one was received by post. Where express consent has been given for their publication, the BBFC has published responses in a separate document. Response summaries from key stakeholders are in part 4 of this document.

Responses from stakeholders such as children's charities, age-verification providers and internet service providers were broadly supportive of the BBFC's approach and age-verification standards. Some responses from these groups asked for clarification to some points. The BBFC has made a number of amendments to the guidance as a result. These are outlined in chapter 2 of this document. Responses to questions raised are covered in chapter 3 of this document.

A significant number of responses, particularly from individuals and campaign groups, raised concerns about the introduction of age-verification, and set out objections to the legislation and regulatory regime in principle. Issues included infringement of freedom of expression, censorship, problematic enforcement powers and an unmanageable scale of operation. The government's consultation on age-verification in 2016 addressed many of these issues of principle. More information about why age-verification has been introduced, and the considerations given to the regulatory framework and enforcement powers can be found in the 2016 consultation response by the Department for Digital Culture Media and Sport1.

 

 

Petition: Online Forums Bill...

Tracking a disgraceful internet censorship bill from Lucy Powell


Link Here8th October 2018
The Online Forums Bill is a Private Members' Bill that was introduced on Parliament on 11th September 2018 under the Ten Minute Rule. The only details published so far is a summary

A Bill to make administrators and moderators of certain online forums responsible for content published on those forums; to require such administrators and moderators to remove certain content; to require platforms to publish information about such forums; and for connected purposes.

The next stage for this Bill, Second reading, is scheduled to take place on Friday 26 October 2018.

There is a small petition against the bill

Stop the Online Forums Bill 2017-18 becoming law.

Thought control by politicians, backed by the main stream media has led to ever more sinister intrusions into people's freedom to criticize public policy and assemble into campaign groups. ?More details

By requiring platforms to publish information about closed forums and making Administrators responsible for content is Orwellian and anti-democratic.

See petition from petition.parliament.uk


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