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One click and your jailed...

The government's Counter-Terrorism Act has received royal consent and makes it an offence to accidentally click on a link before you even know what it contains


Link Here 13th February 2019
Full story: Extremism in the UK...UK government introduces wide ranging ban on extremism
It will be an offence to view terrorist material online just once -- and could incur a prison sentence of up to 15 years -- under a new UK law.

The Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Bill has just been granted Royal Assent, updating a previous Act and bringing new powers to law enforcement to tackle terrorism.

But a controversial inclusion was to update the offence of obtaining information likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism so that it now covers viewing or streaming content online.

Originally, the proposal had been to make it an offence for someone to view material three or more times -- but the three strikes idea has been dropped from the final Act.

The government said that the existing laws didn't capture the nuance in changing methods for distribution and consumption of terrorist content -- and so added a new clause into the 2019 Act making it an offence to view (or otherwise access) any terrorist material online. This means that, technically, anyone who clicked on a link to such material could be caught by the law.

 

 

Javid threatens to cut social media down to size...

Delete gang related content or else!


Link Here 13th February 2019
Full story: Knives in UK Media...Blaming video games showing knives
Social media giants will face tough new laws to prevent the spread of knife crime, the Home Secretary threatened -- as he spoke of fears for his own children's safety.

Sajid Javid said it was time for a legal crackdown on social media images promoting gang culture, in the same way that child sex abuse images and terrorist propaganda have already been outlawed.

In a warning to online firms, he said:

My message to these companies is we are going to legislate and how far we go depends on what you decide to do now. At the moment we don't have the legislation for these types of [knife crime-related] content.

I have it for terrorist content and child sexual abuse images.

Google is among several firms which have been criticised for hosting content glamorising gang culture. Rappers using its YouTube video platform post so-called drill music videos to boast about the number of people they have stabbed or shot, using street terms. The platform has taken down dozens of videos by drill artists, after warnings from the Metropolitan Police that they were raising the risk of violence.

 

 

From the inventors of Hell, the Spanish Inquisition and witch finders...

Christian Concern calls on christians to monitor sado-masochism


Link Here 13th February 2019
Christian Concern writes a long article criticising the relaxation of UK obscenity law and concludes:

We need your help to monitor the mainstreaming of sado-masochism and extreme pornography in British society from now on. Christians have a unique calling to shed the light of the Gospel on this problem, and to provide a witness to redemption in a society that has completely lost its way regarding sexual ethics.

See the full article from christianconcern.com

 

 

The Cairncross Review...

Online platforms should have a 'news quality obligation' to improve trust in news they host, overseen by a censor


Link Here 12th February 2019

The Cairncross Review into the future of the UK news industry has delivered its final report, with recommendations on how to safeguard the future sustainability of the UK press.

  • Online platforms should have a 'news quality obligation' to improve trust in news they host, overseen by a regulator

  • Government should explore direct funding for local news and new tax reliefs to support public interest journalism

  • A new Institute for Public Interest News should focus on the future of local and regional press and oversee a new innovation fund

The independent review , undertaken by Frances Cairncross, was tasked by the Prime Minister in 2018 with investigating the sustainability of the production and distribution of high-quality journalism. It comes as significant changes to technology and consumer behaviour are posing problems for high-quality journalism, both in the UK and globally.

Cairncross was advised by a panel from the local and national press, digital and physical publishers and advertising. Her recommendations include measures to tackle the uneven balance of power between news publishers and the online platforms that distribute their content, and to address the growing risks to the future provision of public-interest news.

It also concludes that intervention may be needed to improve people's ability to assess the quality of online news, and to measure their engagement with public interest news. The key recommendations are:

  • New codes of conduct to rebalance the relationship between publishers and online platforms;

  • The Competition and Markets Authority to investigate the online advertising market to ensure fair competition;

  • Online platforms' efforts to improve their users' news experience should be placed under regulatory supervision;

  • Ofcom should explore the market impact of BBC News, and whether its inappropriately steps into areas better served by commercial news providers;

  • The BBC should do more to help local publishers and think further about how its news provision can act as a complement to commercial news;

  • A new independent Institute should be created to ensure the future provision of public interest news;

  • A new Innovation Fund should be launched, aiming to improve the supply of public interest news;

  • New forms of tax reliefs to encourage payments for online news content and support local and investigative journalism;

  • Expanding financial support for local news by extending the BBC's Local Democracy Reporting Service;

  • Developing a media literacy strategy alongside Ofcom, industry and stakeholders.

The Government will now consider all of the recommendations in more detail. To inform this, the Culture Secretary will write immediately to the Competition and Markets Authority, Ofcom and the Chair of the Charity Commission to open discussions about how best to take forward the recommendations which fall within their remits. The Government will respond fully to the report later this year.

DCMS Secretary of State Jeremy Wright said:

A healthy democracy needs high quality journalism to thrive and this report sets out the challenges to putting our news media on a stronger and more sustainable footing, in the face of changing technology and rising disinformation. There are some things we can take action on immediately while others will need further careful consideration with stakeholders on the best way forward.

A Mediatique report Overview of recent market dynamics in the UK press, April 2018 commissioned by DCMS as the part of the Cairncross Review found:

  • Print advertising revenues have dropped by more than two-thirds in the ten years to 2017;

  • Print circulation of national papers fell from 11.5 million daily copies in 2008 to 5.8 million in 2018 and for local papers from 63.4 million weekly in 2007 to 31.4 million weekly in 2017;

  • Sales of both national and local printed papers fell by roughly half between 2007 and 2017, and are still declining;

  • The number of full-time frontline journalists in the UK has dropped from an estimated 23,000 in 2007, to just 17,000 today, and the numbers are still declining.

A report Online Advertising in the UK by Plum Consulting, commissioned by DCMS as the part of the Cairncross Review (and available as an annex to the Review) found:

  • UK internet advertising expenditure increased from £3.5 billion in 2008 to £11.5 billion in 2017, a compound annual growth rate of 14%.

  • Publishers rely on display advertising for their revenue online - which in the last decade has transformed into a complex, automated system known as programmatic advertising.

  • An estimated average of £0.62 of every £1 spent on programmatic advertising goes to the publisher - though this can range from £0.43 to £0.72. *Collectively, Facebook and Google were estimated to have accounted for over half (54%) of all UK online advertising revenues in 2017.

  • The major online platforms collect multiple first-party datasets from large numbers of logged-in users. They generally, they do not share data with third-parties, including publishers.

Dame Frances Cairncross is a former economic journalist, author and academic administrator. She is currently Chair of the Court of Heriot-Watt University and a Trustee at the Natural History Museum. Dame Frances was Rector of Exeter College, Oxford University; a senior editor on The Economist; and principal economic columnist for the Guardian. In 2014 she was made a Dame of the British Empire for services to education. She is the author of a number of books, including "The Death of Distance: How the Communications Revolution is Changing our Lives" and "Costing the Earth: The Challenge for Governments, the Opportunities for Business". Dame Frances is married to financial journalist Hamish McRae.

The BBC comments on some of the ideas not included in the report's recommendations

See article from bbc.co.uk

The report falls short of requiring Facebook, Google and other tech giants to pay for the news they distribute via their platforms. Caurncross told the BBC's media editor Amol Rajan that "draconian and risky" measures could result in firms such as Google withdrawing their news services altogether.:

There are a number of ways we have suggested technology companies could behave differently and could be made to behave differently. But they are mostly ways that don't immediately involve legislation."

Frances Cairncross earned widespread respect as a journalist for her hard-headed and pragmatic approach to economics. That pragmatism is the very reason the government commissioned her to look at the future of high-quality news - and also the reason many in local and regional media will be disappointed by her recommendations.

What is most notable about her review is what it doesn't do.

  • It doesn't suggest all social media should be regulated in the UK
  • It doesn't suggest social media companies pay for the privilege of using news content
  • It doesn't suggest social media companies be treated as publishers, with legal liability for all that appears on their platform

This is because the practicalities of doing these things are difficult, and experience shows that the likes of Google will simply pull out of markets that don't suit them.

Ultimately, as this report acknowledges, when it comes to news, convenience is king. The speed, versatility and zero cost of so much news now means that, even if it is of poor quality, a generation of consumers has fallen out of the habit of paying for news. But quality costs. If quality news has a future, consumers will have to pay. That's the main lesson of this report.

 

 

UK Internet Regulation...

Open Righst Group publishes a report outlining a new wave of Internet censorship on the horizon


Link Here 12th February 2019

2018 was a pivotal year for data protection. First the Cambridge Analytica scandal put a spotlight on Facebook's questionable privacy practices. Then the new Data Protection Act and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) forced businesses to better handle personal data.

As these events continue to develop, 2019 is shaping up to be a similarly consequential year for free speech online as new forms of digital censorship assert themselves in the UK and EU.

Of chief concern in the UK are several initiatives within the Government's grand plan to "make Britain the safest place in the world to be online", known as the Digital Charter. Its founding document proclaims "the same rights that people have offline must be protected online." That sounds a lot like Open Rights Group's mission! What's not to like?

Well, just as surveillance programmes created in the name of national security proved detrimental to privacy rights, new Internet regulations targeting "harmful content" risk curtailing free expression.

The Digital Charter's remit is staggeringly broad. It addresses just about every conceivable evil on the Internet from bullying and hate speech to copyright infringement, child pornography and terrorist propaganda. With so many initiatives developing simultaneously it can be easy to get lost.

To gain clarity, Open Rights Group published a report surveying the current state of digital censorship in the UK . The report is broken up into two main sections - formal censorship practices like copyright and pornography blocking, and informal censorship practices including ISP filtering and counter terrorism activity. The report shows how authorities, while often engaging in important work, can be prone to mistakes and unaccountable takedowns that lack independent means of redress.

Over the coming weeks we'll post a series of excerpts from the report covering the following:

Formal censorship practices

  • Copyright blocking injunctions

  • BBFC pornography blocking

  • BBFC requests to "Ancillary Service Providers"

Informal censorship practices

  • Nominet domain suspensions

  • The Counter Terrorism Internet Referral Unit (CTIRU)

  • The Internet Watch Foundation (IWF)

  • ISP content filtering

The big picture

Take a step back from the many measures encompassed within the Digital Charter and a clear pattern emerges. When it comes to web blocking, the same rules do not apply online as offline. Many powers and practices the government employs to remove online content would be deemed unacceptable and arbitrary if they were applied to offline publications.

Part II of our report is in the works and will focus on threats to free speech within yet another branch of the Digital Charter known as the Internet Safety Strategy.

 

 

Offsite Article: Obscenity law liberalised...


Link Here 12th February 2019
The Adam Smith Institute comments on the UK liberalisation of its obscenity law. By Nick Cowen

See article from adamsmith.org

 

 

Duty of care: an empty concept...

The Open Rights Group comments on government moves to create a social media censor


Link Here 9th February 2019
Full story: Internet Safety Bill...UK Government seeks to censor social media

There is every reason to believe that the government and opposition are moving to a consensus on introducing a duty of care for social media companies to reduce harm and risk to their users. This may be backed by an Internet regulator, who might decide what kind of mitigating actions are appropriate to address the risks to users on different platforms.

This idea originated from a series of papers by Will Perrin and Lorna Woods and has been mentioned most recently in a recent Science and Technology committee report and by NGOs including children's charity 5Rights.

A duty of care has some obvious merits: it could be based on objective risks, based on evidence, and ensure that mitigations are proportionate to those risks. It could take some of the politicisation out of the current debate.

However, it also has obvious problems. For a start, it focuses on risk rather than process . It moves attention away from the fact that interventions are regulating social media users just as much as platforms. It does not by itself tell us that free expression impacts will be considered, tracked or mitigated.

Furthermore, the lack of focus that a duty of care model gives to process means that platform decisions that have nothing to do with risky content are not necessarily based on better decisions, independent appeals and so on. Rather, as has happened with German regulation, processes can remain unaffected when they are outside a duty of care.

In practice, a lot of content which is disturbing or offensive is already banned on online platforms. Much of this would not be in scope under a duty of care but it is precisely these kinds of material which users often complain about, when it is either not removed when they want it gone, or is removed incorrectly. Any model of social media regulation needs to improve these issues, but a duty of care is unlikely to touch these problems.

There are very many questions about the kinds of risk, whether to individual in general, vulnerable groups, or society at large; and the evidence required to create action. The truth is that a duty of care, if cast sensibly and narrowly, will not satisfy many of the people who are demanding action; equally, if the threshold to act is low, then it will quickly be seen to be a mechanism for wide-scale Internet censorship.

It is also a simple fact that many decisions that platforms make about legal content which is not risky are not the business of government to regulate. This includes decisions about what legal content is promoted and why. For this reason, we believe that a better approach might be to require independent self-regulation of major platforms across all of their content decisions. This requirement could be a legislative one, but the regulator would need to be independent of government and platforms.

Independent self-regulation has not been truly tried. Instead, voluntary agreements have filled its place. We should be cautious about moving straight to government regulation of social media and social media users. The government refuses to regulate the press in this way because it doesn't wish to be seen to be controlling print media. It is pretty curious that neither the media nor the government are spelling out the risks of state regulation of the speech of millions of British citizens.

That we are in this place is of course largely the fault of the social media platforms themselves, who have failed to understand the need and value of transparent and accountable systems to ensure they are acting properly. That, however, just demonstrates the problem: politically weak platforms who have created monopoly positions based on data silos are now being sliced and diced at the policy table for their wider errors. It's imperative that as these government proposals progress we keep focus on the simple fact that it is end users whose speech will ultimately be regulated.

 

 

Offsite Article: A Lord Chamberlain for the internet?...


Link Here 8th February 2019
Full story: Internet Safety Bill...UK Government seeks to censor social media
Thanks, but no thanks. By Graham Smith

See article from cyberleagle.com

 

 

Updated: As always increased red tape benefits the largest (ie US) companies...

Daily Mail reports on government discussion about a new internet censor, codenamed Ofweb


Link Here 6th February 2019
Full story: Internet Safety Bill...UK Government seeks to censor social media
Wrangling in Whitehall has held up plans to set up a social media censor dubbed Ofweb, The Mail on Sunday reveals.

The Government was due to publish a White Paper this winter on censorship of tech giants but this Mail has learnt it is still far from ready. Culture Secretary Jeremy Wright said it would be published within a month, but a Cabinet source said that timeline was wholly unrealistic. Other senior Government sources went further and said the policy document is unlikely to surface before the Spring.

Key details on how a new censor would work have yet to be decided while funding from the Treasury has not yet been secured. Another problem is that some Ministers believe the proposed clampdown is too draconian and are preparing to try to block or water down the plan.

There are also concerns that technically difficult requirements would benefit the largest US companies as smaller European companies and start ups would not be able to afford the technology and development required.

The Mail on Sunday understands Jeremy Wright has postponed a visit to Facebook HQ in California to discuss the measures, as key details are still up in the air.

Update: The Conservatives don't have a monopoly on internet censorship...Labour agrees

6th February 2019. See  article from ft.com

Labour has called for a new entity capable of taking on the likes of Facebook and Google. Tom Watson, the shadow digital secretary, will on Wednesday say a regulator should also have responsibility for competition policy and be able to refer cases to the Competition and Markets Authority.

According to Watson, any duty of care would only be effective with penalties that seriously affect companies' bottom lines. He has referred to regulators' ability to fine companies up to 4% of global turnover, or euro 20m, whichever is higher, for worst-case breaches of the EU-wide General Data Protection Regulation.

 

 

So we - and our wives and servants, too - are finally going to be allowed to see fisting...

CPS relaxes its pornography guidelines so that fisting, golden showers, female ejaculation and many more can now be legally published in the UK


Link Here 31st January 2019
The upcoming UK internet porn censorship regime being introduced later this year has set the UK authorities to thinking about a more rational set of laws governing what porn is legal and what porn is illegal in the UK. It makes a lot of sense to get the UK stall straight before the commencement of the new censorship regime.

The most contradictory area of porn law is that often referred to as 'beyond R18 porn'. This includes material historically banned by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) claiming obscenity, ie fisting, golden showers, BDSM, female ejaculation, and famously from a recent anti censorship campaign, face sitting/breath play. Such material is currently cut from R18s, as censored and approved by the BBFC.

When the age verification law first came before parliament, 'beyond R18' porn was set to be banned outright. However as some of these categories are commonplace in worldwide porn, then the BBFC would have had to block practically all the porn websites in the world, leaving hardly any that stuck to R18 guidelines that would be acceptable for viewing after age verification. So the lawmakers dropped the prohibition, and this 'beyond R18' material will now be acceptable for viewing after age verification. This leaves the rather clear contradiction that the likes of fisting and female ejaculation would be banned or cut by the BBFC for sale in UK sex shops, but would have to be allowed by the BBFC for viewing online.

This contradiction has now been squared by the government deciding that 'beyond R18' pornography is now legal for sale in the UK. So the BBFC will now have a unified set of rules, specified by the CPS, covering both the censorship of porn sales in the UK and the blocking of foreign websites.

This legalisation of 'beyond R18' porn will surely disappoint a few censorial politicians in the House of Lords, notably Elspeth Howe. She has already tabled a private members bill to restore the ban on any foreign websites including 'beyond R18' porn. Her bill has now been rendered mostly irrelevant.

However there is still one genre of pornography that is sticking out of line, and that is cartoon porn featuring under age characters. Such porn is widespread in anime but strictly banned under UK law. So given the large amounts of Japanese Hentai porn on the most popular tube sites in the world, then those videos could still be an issue for the viability of the age classification regime and could still end up with all the major porn sites in the world banned.

The new CPS censorship rules

The new rules have already come into force, they started on 28th January 2019.

A CPS spokesperson confirmed the change saying

It is not for the CPS to decide what is considered good taste or objectionable. We do not propose to bring charges based on material that depicts consensual and legal activity between adults, where no serious harm is caused and the likely audience is over the age of 18.

The CPS will, however, continue to robustly apply the law to anything which crosses the line into criminal conduct and serious harm.

It seems a little bit rich for the CPS to claim that It is not for the CPS to decide what is considered good taste or objectionable, when they have happily been doing exactly that for the last 30 years.

The CPS originally outlined the new rules in a public consultation that started in July 2018. The key proposals read:

When considering whether the content of an article is “obscene”, prosecutors
should distinguish between:

  • Content showing or realistically depicting criminal conduct (whether
    non-consensual activity, or consensual activity where serious harm is
    caused), which is likely to be obscene;
  • Content showing or realistically depicting other conduct which is lawful,
    which is unlikely to be obscene.

Do consultees agree or disagree with the guidance that prosecutors must exercise real caution when dealing with the moral nature of acts not criminalized by law, and that the showing or realistic depiction of sexual activity / pornography which does not constitute acts or conduct contrary to the criminal law is unlikely to be obscene?

The following conduct (notwithstanding previous guidance indicating otherwise) will not likely fall to be prosecuted under the Act:

  • Fisting
  • Activity involving bodily substances (including urine, vomit, blood and faeces)
  • Infliction of pain / torture
  • Bondage / restraint
  • Placing objects into the urethra
  • Any other sexual activity not prohibited by law

provided that:

  • It is consensual;
  • No serious harm is caused;
  • It is not otherwise inextricably linked with other criminality; and
  • The likely audience is not under 18 or otherwise vulnerable.

The CPS has now issued a document summarising the responses received and how the CPS has taken some of these responses onboard.

The CPS has already updated its rules in Revised Legal Guidance from cps.gov.uk . The key rules are now:

When considering whether the content of an article is "obscene", prosecutors should distinguish between:

  • Content relating to criminal conduct (whether non-consensual activity, or consensual activity where serious harm is caused, or otherwise inextricably linked to criminality), which is likely to be obscene;

  • Content relating to other non-criminal conduct, which is unlikely to be obscene, provided the audience is not young or otherwise vulnerable.

Conduct will not likely fall to be prosecuted under the Act provided that:

  • It is consensual (focusing on full and freely exercised consent, and also where the provision of consent is made clear where such consent may not be easily determined from the material itself); and

  • No serious harm is caused (whether physical or other, and applying the guidance above at paragraph 17); and

  • It is not otherwise inextricably linked with other criminality (so as to encourage emulation or fuelling interest or normalisation of criminality); and

  • The likely audience is not under 18 (having particular regard to where measures have been taken to ensure that the audience is not under 18) or otherwise vulnerable (as a result of their physical or mental health, the circumstances in which they may come to view the material, the circumstances which may cause the subject matter to have a particular impact or resonance or any other relevant circumstance).

Note that extreme pornography is considered illegal so will likely be considered obscene too. But the CPS adds a few additional notes of harmful porn that will continue to be illegal:

Publications which show or depict the infliction of serious harm may be considered to be obscene publications because they show criminal assault notwithstanding the consent of the victim. This includes dismemberment and graphic mutilation. It includes asphyxiation causing unconsciousness, which is more than transient and trifling, and given its danger is serious.

So it seems that breath play will be allowed as long as it doesn't lead to unconsciousness. Another specific rule is that gags do not in themselves imply a lack of consent:

Non-consent for adults must be distinguished from consent to relinquish control. The presence of a gag or other forms of bondage does not, without more, suffice to confirm that sexual activity was non-consensual.

The BBFC changes its R18 rules

The BBFC has several roles, it works in an advisory role when classifying cinema films, it works as an independent and mandatory censor when classifying mainstream videos, but it works directly under government rules when censoring pornographic films. And in this last role, it uses unpublished guidelines based on rules provided by the CPS.

The BBFC has informed BBC News that it will indeed use the updated CPS guidelines when censoring porn. The BBC explains:

The BBFC's guidelines forbid material judged to be obscene under the current interpretation of the Obscene Publications Act.

A spokeswoman told the BBC: Because the Obscene Publications Act does not define what types of material are likely to be considered obscene, we rely upon guidance from the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) as to what classes of material they consider likely to be suitable for prosecution.

We are aware that the CPS have updated their guidance on Obscene Publications today and we have now adjusted our own internal policies to reflect that revised guidance.

Myles Jackman And Pandora Blake

And a thank you to two of the leading campaigners calling for the CPS to lighten up on its censorship rules.

Obscenity lawyer Myles Jackman, who has campaigned for these changes for a number of years, told Yahoo News UK that the change had wider implications for the law. He said:

"It is a very impressive that they've introduced the idea of full and freely exercised consent in the law.

"Even for people with no interest in pornography this is very important for consent and bodily autonomy."

Activist and queer porn filmmaker Pandora Blake, who also campaigned to have the ban on the depiction of certain sex acts overturned, called the news a 'welcome improvement'. They said:

"This is a happy day for queer, feminist and fetish porn."

Acts that were banned that can now be depicted include:

  • Spanking

  • BDSM

  • Female ejaculation

  • Urinating (also known as watersports)

  • Strangling

  • Face-sitting

  • Fisting

  • Humiliation

 

 

Policing the wild west...

Status report on the government's plans to introduce an internet censor for social media


Link Here 30th January 2019
Full story: Internet Safety Bill...UK Government seeks to censor social media
The U.K. government is rushing to finalize a draft internet censorship law particularly targeting social media but key details of the proposal have yet to be finalised amid concerns about stifling innovation.

Government officials have been meeting with industry players, MPs, peers and other groups over the past month as they try to finalise their proposals.

People involved in those discussions said there is now broad agreement about the need to impose a new duty of care on big tech companies, as well as the need to back up their terms and conditions with the force of law.

A white paper is due be published by the end of winter. But the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, which is partly responsible for writing up the new rules alongside the Home Office, is still deliberating over key aspects with just weeks to go until the government said it would unveil an outline of its proposals.

Among the sticking points are worries that regulation could stifle innovation in one of the U.K. economy's most thriving sectors and concerns over whether it can keep pace with rapid technological change. Another is ensuring sufficient political support to pass the law despite likely opposition from parts of the Conservative Party. A third is deciding what regulatory agency would ultimately be responsible for enforcing the so-called Internet Safety Law.

A major unresolved question is what censorship body will be in charge of enforcing laws that could expose big tech companies to greater liability for hosted content, a prospect that firms including Google and Facebook have fought at the European level.

Several people who spoke to POLITICO said the government does not appear to have settled on who would be the censor, although the communications regulator Ofcom is very much in the mix, however there are concerns that Ofcom is already getting too big.

 

 

Unsurprising result from one side of the debate...

InternetMatters.org publishes a survey showing that 83% of parents support age verification for porn


Link Here 23rd January 2019
Full story: BBFC Internet Porn Censors...BBFC: Age Verification We Don't Trust
InternetMatters.org is group funded by UK internet and telecoms companies with the aim of promoting their role in internet safety.

The group has now published a survey supporting the government's upcoming introduction of age verification requirements for porn websites. The results reveal:

  • 83% feel that commercial porn sites should demand users verify their age before they're able to access content.
  • 76% of UK parents feel there should be greater restrictions online to stop kids seeing adult content.
  • 69% of parents of children aged four to 16 say they're confident the government's new ID restrictions will make a difference.

However 17% disagreed with commercial porn sites requiring ID from their users. And the use of data was the biggest obstacle for those parents opposed to the plans. Of those parents who are anti-age verification, 30% said they wouldn't trust age-verification companies with their personal data.

While 18% of parents claim they expect kids would find a way to get around age-verification and a further 13% claim they're unsure that it would actually reduce the number of children accessing pornography. Age-verification supported by experts

 

 

Unprotected sex...

Gay website closes as user fears of being outed via age verification makes the site too dangerous for it to be viable


Link Here 17th January 2019
Full story: BBFC Internet Porn Censors...BBFC: Age Verification We Don't Trust
gaystarnews.com has published an article outlining the dangers of porn viewers submitting their identity data and browsing history to age verifiers and their websites. The article explains that the dangers for gay porn viewers are even mor pronounced that for straight viewers. The artisle illustrates this with an example:

David Bridle, the publisher of Dirty Boyz , announced in October that last month's issue of the magazine would be its last. He said:

Following the Conservative government's decision ... to press ahead with new regulations forcing websites which make money from adult content to carry an age verification system ... Dirtyboyz and its website dirtyboyz.xxx have made the decision to close.

The new age verification system will be mostly run by large adult content companies which themselves host major "Tube" style porn sites. 'It would force online readers of Dirtyboyz to publicly declare themselves.

Open Rights Group executive director, Jim Killock, told GSN the privacy of users needs protecting:

The issue with age verification systems is that they need to know it's you. This means there's a strong likelihood that it will basically track you and know what you're watching. And that's data that could be very harmful to people.

It could cause issues in relationships. Or it could see children outed to their parents. It could mean people are subjected to scams and blackmail if that data falls into criminal hands. Government response

A spokesperson for the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) told Gay Star News:

Pornographic websites and age verification services will be subject to the UK's existing high standard of data protection legislation. The Data Protection Act 2018 provides a comprehensive and modern framework for data protection, with strong sanctions for malpractice and enforced by the Information Commissioner's Office.

But this is bollox, the likes of Facebook and Google are allowed to sell browsing data for eg targeted advertising within the remit of GDPR. And targeted advertising could be enough in itself to out porn viewers.

 

 

Fill your boots whilst you still can...

British porn viewers are reported to be building up their collections ahead of the introduction of censorship and age verification


Link Here 13th January 2019
Full story: BBFC Internet Porn Censors...BBFC: Age Verification We Don't Trust
UK-based porn viewers seem to be filling their boots before the government's age check kicks in as traffic to xHamster rose 6% in 2018

According to xHamster's Alex Hawkins, the trend is typical of countries in which plans to block online pornography becomes national news. It seems the more you talk about it, the more people feel invested in it as a right, he said.

The government has promised a minimum of three months for industry and the public to prepare for age verification, meaning they are likely to come into force around Easter. However this is a little unfair to websites as the BBFC has not yet established the process by which age verification services will be kitemarked and approved as promising to keep porn viewers identity and/or browsing history acceptably safe. For the moment websites do not know which services will be deemed acceptable.

Countries that have restrictions already in place showed, unsurprisingly, a decline in visitors. Traffic from China fell 81% this year, which xHamster put down to the nation's ban on VPNs and $80,000 cash rewards for people who shopped sites hosting illegal content, like porn.

Elsewhere, the report showed an increase in the number of female visitors to the site -- up 42% in the US and 12.3% worldwide -- a trend Hawkins predicted would continue into 2019.

 

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