back to article UK.gov snaps on rubber gloves, prepares for mandatory porn checks

The government is poised to usher in mandatory porn checks this week, with reports it will require users to provide details from a credit card to prove they are over 18. The legislation was introduced in the Digital Economy Act in April, and will require websites serving up adult content to verify users' ages or be blocked by …

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Lucky parliament have got so much time on their hands

that they can improve the world by meddling in this. Not like there's anything that needs doing, or that they have a mandate for?

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Re: Lucky parliament have got so much time on their hands

They are basically too busy circling the fresh corpse of the maybot at the mo to worry about running the country. With the exception of a few horse shit token pieces of legislation, they are pretending they are back in roman times, 'et tu Boris' etc. Fact of the matter is, that they fucking love it at times like these. The smug bastard who's the chair of the 1922 pretending he's the kingmaker, cabinet ministers briefing against each other, back benchers betting their careers on picking the right person to fellate. Tories, back doing what they do best. Infighting.

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Re: Lucky parliament have got so much time on their hands

So, the UK government wants to do the following:

• Encourage people to hand over credit card details to porn site operators

• Force people to provide socially embarrassing information to untrusted parties.

• Increase overlap between mild non-standard porn and more serious things such as underage porn and snuff porn by making the mild non-standard porn only available from the same illegal sources as others. Much the same way less harmful drugs can be gateways to more harmful drugs because you have to go to the same people due to criminalisation of the former.

• Declare for other people what is and isn't sexual morality for them.

• Make larger and more legitimate porn sites less desirable than smaller and dodgier ones who can flout the laws.

• Perform extensive and intrusive online surveillance to enforce this. (Ostensibly).

N.b. a couple of the above tie into specific implementations. Namely that May's government is very puritan and believes porn itself is morally wrong.

To those simply saying "VPN", they are correct that it will be trivial to avoid this measure but there are a few further things to keep in mind:

• This is one more move in the chess game. That it doesn't mean check does not mean that it isn't an advance by your opponent that has consequences.

• For a police state, everybody must be guilty so that anybody can be charged at any time. Criminalising common behaviour achieves this and as using a VPN to avoid such checks will undoubtedly be illegal, vast swathes of people will suddenly become "guilty" and thus subject to targetting should there be a reason to find something on them later.

• This will later be used as a justification for outlawing / backdooring VPNs because the very obvious next step is to show that VPNs are being used to access "illegal porn". Why is it illegal? Because the government made it so. That is what we are seeing today.

• The government can still go after the porn companies themselves if they do not implement this. Most would to prevent them losing chunks of a large market like the UK. So will those of other countries. Customers using VPNs will only mitigate this somewhat, not prevent it.

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Re: Lucky parliament have got so much time on their hands

"This will later be used as a justification for outlawing / backdooring VPNs "

For all the noises that May has repeatedly made in this direction, I rather doubt it will ever happen. The Tories are run for the benefit of the business community. Business is not interested in having VPNs outlawed or made less secure.

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Re: Lucky parliament have got so much time on their hands

That's all right. VPN's terminating at registered businesses will be allowed. All others will be banned.

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Re: Lucky parliament have got so much time on their hands

"This will later be used as a justification for outlawing / backdooring VPNs because the very obvious next step is to show that VPNs are being used to access "illegal porn". Why is it illegal? Because the government made it so. That is what we are seeing today."

That's certainly how it looks to me, at least for personal use, because as the user above says it would greatly damage business. That said, the current "Europe Thing" we're having proves that the interests of business or the economy can come second to a politician's personal gains.

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Re: Lucky parliament have got so much time on their hands

>>"Business is not interested in having VPNs outlawed or made less secure."

VPNs will have to have a justifiable purpose. I.e. if you're a business register your VPN connection and why. If you're a domestic home user, you'll need to justify it and furthermore, given that such laws as this will typically be used retroactively to catch people you want to catch rather than be the reason you catch them, showing that you've used it for illegal purposes will be a crime of itself.

Furthermore, a VPN isn't inherently anonymous. It's just often used for that purpose. A business could have a VPN to some other office. It doesn't mean that you can definitely have a VPN to a popular and legal VPN service. Easy enough to declare VPNs for the purpose of anonymising domestic use illegal and leave business needs untouched. Hard to enforce of course, but then that's not the point, is it? The point is that if the eye of Sauron turns in your direction, it has something to pin on you.

EDIT: Can we have an Eye of Sauron icon for state surveillance? Poor Orwell is looking a bit passé these days given by how far we have actually surpassed what he imagined with his concealed telescreens.

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Anonymous Coward

So will Experian / Equifax.....

So I'm assuming Experian / Equifax will have an added field to my credit profile to show whether I'm opted into / out of Porn usage with my Credit Cards?

Given my credit profile can be accessed by anyone with money via Solicitors etc, how does this affect things like Black mail?

Rudd / May + others haven't a clue.

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Re: Lucky parliament have got so much time on their hands

I don't think businesses want a suicidal Brexit, but this is what Maybot seems to be aiming for.

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Re: Lucky parliament have got so much time on their hands

I can make a VPN completely out of software in ANY web browser and there is NOTHING they could do about it! I'm in America and UK can take a long hike up a short hill with the porn rules! They can't touch me here! I can put my plugins into any browser with 8192 bit encryption or Quantum Computing resistant algorithms to protect my data! I can do BETTER than TOR or other Onion-like routing!

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FAIL

Re: Lucky parliament have got so much time on their hands

Lucky parliament have got so much time on their hands

The law was passed last year, as I'm sure you'll remember.

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Restraint of trade

Aw snap, the ATVOD business all over again. A website proprietrix of my acquaintance is once more going to be spitting blood and fire, snarling "restraint of trade" and so on.

Although, to be fair, her trade does mostly involve restraint.

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Re: Restraint of trade

I have a similar friend - this may actually end up benefiting them as the ATVOD fiasco only targeted producers in this country, if the big free streaming alternatives start getting blocked this could actually be of benefit to local producers.

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Re: Restraint of trade

Although, to be fair, her trade does mostly involve restraint.

If we paid her enough (and, I know, it would have to be a lot) would she please have a go at restraining May Not and the rest of the Tories? Please?

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1984

One step closer.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: 1984

No. The proles were allowed all manor of low-brow distractions because of their political unimportance. So much so, they weren't even subject to surveillance, because Orwell didn't foresee that computers and databases would make marginal surveillance essentially free.

We have a unique Protestant cyberpunk dystopia of our own making.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: 1984

"We have a unique Protestant cyberpunk dystopia of our own making."

We have a unique Protestant religious cyberpunk dystopia of our own making.

FTFY

I doubt if any organised UK Abrahamic religious body would not try to influence its MPs to the same end. Even the Hindus in India are now trying to eradicate their own religious erotic stories and temple statues.

Only the Quakers might be more tolerant of human foibles - given their history of a more balanced approach to social "morality".

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Re: 1984

In 1984 they were told they subject to surveillance - e.g. via the telescreens although supposedly not all the time, the behavior control idea was they never knew when surveillance was on or off. Though a lot of the surveillance ideas were based on grass your neighbour

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Big Brother

Conjours up the image ...

of "Approved by HMG" on jazz mags and sites. A picture of Theresa May smiling beautifically.

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Re: Conjours up the image ...

A picture of Theresa May smiling beautifically.

That's guaranteed to kill the mood somewhat

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Re: Conjours up the image ...

You are not suggesting an image with thigh length vinyl boots and a cat o nine tails are you?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Conjours up the image ...

A picture of Theresa May smiling beautifically.

I hereby invoke Rule 34 of the Internet.

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Re: Conjours up the image ...

"You are not suggesting an image with thigh length vinyl boots and a cat o nine tails are you"

I'll think you'll find S&M sites are illegal in the UK, even between consenting adults.

Still so long as the MP's husbands husbands can get their porn on expenses, who cares?

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Re: Conjours up the image ...

Someone's got their wires crossed, I believe this is a Gordon Brown reference.

Remember his catchphrase when Chancellor "we will do <whatever> when Prudence permits"?

Yup. She had a flat in Bayswater apparently. [And, leather or rubber, never plastic. Ugh.]

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Re: Conjours up the image ...

was gonna say... I'm expecting to find that image and similar all over social media websites later today..

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Re: Conjours up the image ...

"A picture of Theresa May smiling beautifically."

We have a few of them in the office. One colleague decided to get a collection of Theresa May photos as a present for another colleague (who was overly enthusiastic about her when she became PM).

These now have large amounts of very crude graffiti all over them since the GE (even the previously enthusiastic TM supporter joined in) - how the mighty* have fallen!

* Not that she was mighty in the first place.

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Trollface

Re: Conjours up the image ...

@JimmyPage

So, are mags also illegal in the UK? If they have a pic of TM on the cover, I think they should be...

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Re: Conjours up the image ...

A picture of Theresa May smiling beautifically.

I hereby invoke Rule 34 of the Internet.

ITYM Rule 63.

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Re: Conjours up the image ...

Do you mean....beatifically?

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Re: Conjours up the image ...

"...A picture of Theresa May smiling beautifically..."

Oh ffs! Did you have to?

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Facepalm

Worthless.

1) Go to Chrome extensions

2) Install Tunnello* and pick a less dystopian country

3) Browse porn with impunity

*not a recommendation - use a real VPN.

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Re: Worthless.

I think you'll be supposed to go to the nearest police station to hand over your VPN under a short term amnesty. I'm worried because I have no idea how to remove the VPN from my computer.

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Re: Worthless.

You won't even need to do that. This will be all but unenforceable as most porn sites are hosted outside of this country. All this will do is put the British porn industry out of business.

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Paris Hilton

Re: Worthless.

The uh, 'big guns' of the industry (PornHub, RedTube etc.) will have no choice but to comply - not through fear of being fined but because they won't want to fall foul of the Great Firewall of the UK.

The smaller porn aggregators will likely slip through the net since clearly UK.gov has no clue how many porn sites there are out there.

Even Paris can see that this whole thing is just (ironically) political masturbation.

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Re: Worthless. British porn industry

Britain has a what now?

Ah, the proud era of the classic british porn industry - steam powered - all coming out of the ears of the classic British conservative prude (the steam - not the porn - but stranger things).

All I can think of per example is Razzle and it's sometimes more tasteful ilk.

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Re: Worthless.

Except that (as far as I can see) there's no suggestion of UK ISPs blocking access to porn sites which don't comply.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Worthless. British porn industry

IIRC the best parody of the British sex film industry was the 1975 Eskimo Nell.

That should be the one where the finale is a mix-up in the film cans for the cinema premiere. The X rated version gets shown to an audience of people like "Mary Whitehouse and Lord Longford" - who had backed a pitch for a wholesome family film variant.

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Re: Worthless.

> "Great Firewall of the UK."

I rather assume this is an excuse to implement same

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Re: British porn industry

High class British porn is acclaimed all over the world.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Worthless. British porn industry

Wasn't Britain the inventor of the "Readers Wife"?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Worthless. British porn industry

The British Porn Industry has been around for some time, they make a virtue (not sure if that is the right way to describe it) of saying "Banned in Britain" as that implies a harder (pun intended) edge to the Grumbleflicks.

At least thats what my friends in the Home Office told me...

Rob

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Re: Worthless. British porn industry

I always preferred banned in Germany. The German hardcore stuff I've seen was damn near shocking - what would the Banned be like?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Worthless. British porn industry

horrific I should think.

"Give that chippy what she wants" - sorry, in - joke for a mate who I know reads this site.

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Re: Worthless.

Um, 2nd paragraph?

It'll be a game of whackamole, but anyway.

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Gimp

And registration of users etc went so well for users of Ashley Madison.

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But shirley...?

They want to use the ownership of a CC as a way to validate age. Okay.

But they want free sites to take CCs.

Using someone else's card with intent to defraud is a crime.

BUT if someone got a legit CC from overseas with zero credit limit, and used it on a free site, they could then pass the card details around thousands of people, who wouldn't be able to charge anything to the card anyway, even if they wanted to.

Can we get a card in the names of T May and A Rudd and pass the details around? No intent to defraud after all...

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Anonymous Coward

How do you fine companies not based in the UK or EC? Who gets to play the endless game of whack-a-mole as companies endless change their domains? Will the credit card companies balk at the idea of their systems being used as a pseudo age verification process? Are the people who come up with these schemes really as thick as mince?

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Credit Card Companies

They'll just charge you a £2.00 (or more) booking fee per validation.

Champers all round then?

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"How do you fine companies not based in the UK or EC?"

They get added to the ISP "anti-piracty block list" as we advance further down the well predicted slippery slope.

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Anonymous Coward

Do maybots dream of electric wheat fields?

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