back to article UK age-checking smut overlord won't be able to handle the pressure – critics

The UK's smut overlord has been told it isn't up to the mammoth challenge it faces in regulating age checks for online porn, and that its guidelines do little to offer users much-needed guarantees on privacy. The British Board of Film Classification was this year named as the body in charge of regulating the government's …

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  1. Crisp Silver badge

    Just enter your credit card number

    We'll only use it to verify your age, honest.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Just enter your credit card number

      it is OK, we are passing management to Equifax, so you can be assured it's safe.

      1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
        Coat

        stupid plan remains stupid

        What else can I say.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Just enter your credit card number

      Then will any old number that conforms to the Luhn standard work?

      Will they require the CSV digits?

      Darkcoding.net has an unlimited supply of compliant credit card number that will pass any checks but needless to say they have no CSV digits so cannot be used to buy stuff. But if they aren't charging me then they wouldn't need those digits anyway.

      So again, within 10 mins, a potential way round it appears.

      Yawn. They really have NO idea do they.

      1. DrBobK

        Re: Just enter your credit card number

        Indeed - very easy to find a generato, e.g. https://planetcalc.com/2464/

    3. macjules Silver badge

      Re: Just enter your credit card number

      We'll only use it to verify your age, honest.

      That's exactly what Cambridge Analytica said to me!

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The Government* response?

    La, la la la laa...evidence? la, la la la laaa....wrong way to approach something? la la la laaa laaa.

    What Daily Mail / Sun have a new vote winning campaign based on little more than pandering to their readership. Quick recall Parliament, we must rush out some other ill thought out, badly implemented and funded laws.

    * Labour / Conservative...make no difference, they are all a bunch of vote chasing power hungry Muppets** with no concept of saying no to the newspapers.

    **Apologies to Jim Henderson for insulting the Muppets

    1. }{amis}{ Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: The Government* response?

      At least a retired Muppet have a future as couch stuffing I cant think of a use for a retired politician!

      1. Haku

        Re: The Government* response?

        "At least a retired Muppet have a future as couch stuffing I cant think of a use for a retired politician!"

        Mulch?

        Or perhaps fertilizer, considering what most of them are full of.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The Government* response?

      The Daily Mail website has more human flesh on show than many a porn site.

      1. AndyS

        Re: The Government* response?

        The Daily Mail website also has more hypocrisy on show than a 1984 censor, but that's never bothered them before.

      2. steviebuk Silver badge

        Re: The Government* response?

        And yet they then complain about so much flesh on show. I can't stand that paper. I also can't understand why my parents read that shit.

      3. John Smith 19 Gold badge
        Unhappy

        "The Daily Mail website has more human flesh on show than many a porn site."

        Indeed.

        And I'm not sure how much of it could be called "Age validated" either.

    3. frank 3

      Re: The Government* response?

      Ummm... you may have noticed that Labour no longer gives a crap what the Sun and Mail think. It's open warfare between them - which is why these papers devoted over 30-pages of their 2017 election day editions attacking Labour. Unpatriotic foreign tax-dodging billionaires deliberately trying to subvert British democracy you say? Surely such a thing would never be allowed.

    4. JimboSmith Silver badge

      Re: The Government* response?

      As I think I've said before this won't change the ability of kids to watch porn. It might make it a bit harder (snigger) to do so but the penetration (Oh Matron) of porn won't be stopped. I was on the bus a while ago just after the schools had finished for the day. There were students at the back of the bus who were sharing porn on their phones. Now there's always going to be at least one kid who has access to porn at any school if my school was anything to go by. Back then you had to be lanky to look 18 or have a benevolent hedgerow or parent. Given porn is no longer restricted to a physical media it's much easier to distribute it via WiFi sharing etc. No more one pound per magazine per night. If kids want to see it then they will and the BBFC ain't going to stop them.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: The Government* response?

        "If kids want to see it then they will and the BBFC ain't going to stop them."

        Exactly! It's the parents job. It's not as if parents didn't grow up with computers and the internet. The www has been around for a while now. Govt. seem to work on the assumption that parents are numpties who don't know what the www is. (they may be right, but that's can only be the fault of the education system)

        1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
          Unhappy

          Exactly! It's the parents job.

          Except that would require their parents to understand something about modern technology.

          This all started when "Claire Perry," some annoymouse backbench Tory nobody, organized a debate attended by about 8 MPs on this. Next thing she's Cameron's "Child Sexualization and Exploitation Czar."

          All because she couldn't figure out how to set the age filters on a browser.

          Why be knowledgeable when ignorance is so richly rewarded?

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "obscenity lawyer Myles Jackman"

    Unfortunate name of the year award goes to...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Unfortunate name of the year award goes to..."

      Nominative determinism?

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I put up a new adult blog on blogger.com only a few days ago, afaik there is not way for me to implement age verification on their even it i wanted to, if it does get blocked down the line i will just restore a backup on a new blog and they can play whack a mole again.

    Within 12 months the BBFC will release how much they have taken on and that even companies that run web filtering software have difficultly blocking all adult sites even when they are using bots to search for them, unlike the BBFC who will have to manually review every website to see if it has the required age verification.

    If they do use a bot to do the checks rather than a manual verification it will become trivial for shady webmasters to detect the bot and redirect it to a site with the age check installed and when regular visitors come along they get the version with no age checks.

  5. Herring` Silver badge

    Doesn't Opera come with a free VPN? I can see it becoming quite popular in the UK.

    Governments still wanting to regulate the internet. Oh dear.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      there are no private VPNs

      They can and are compromised.

      The only kind of safe ones are work related ones, and those you obviously dont use for smut.

      I still use them because they are safe as long enough as you dont break the law, they just prevent the worst of the mass snooping and profiling.

      So yeah, I use anon (actually not so much) sessions + double VPN for legal porn, websites that might look suspicious, etc.

      Anon, for obvious reasons.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: there are no private VPNs

        "So yeah, I use anon (actually not so much) sessions + double VPN for legal porn,"

        I don't give a stuff if "others" know I'm visiting porn sites. If it's legal, it's not a problem.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    RE: Opera's free VPN

    If it's free, then it is unlikely to be private. Whoever operates it will be pimping the users' data. There's no such thing a free.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: RE: Opera's free VPN

      See the reply button.

      It stops post like yours dropping so far down the list it no longer makes sense.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: RE: Opera's free VPN

      it's not a (...) point whether it's "private", the point is that it can be used to access porn without going through age verification. This works great for all ages, by the way. Now... how can our caring overlords take care of THIS? I suppose asking Opera people nicely to block (what irony) to block vpn feature for UK's IPs.

      That said, in the steaming pile of VPN "reviews", paid by the VPN providers themselves, I stumbled upon a gem, a rather sober reminder of how "much" REAL privacy there is:

      thatoneprivacysite.net/vpn-comparison-chart

      btw, the actual review section of that blog is quite informative - and hilarious - too, if anyone cares to go into detail...

    3. CommanderGalaxian
      Pirate

      Re: RE: Opera's free VPN

      True, but it works just fine for getting around geo-blocking.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Do Politicians Ever Look At The Right things

    They've been pushing this idiotic policy through ignorance, as if they can will it to work. Meanwhile all the Sillycon Valley Data Harvesters and their dark-web friends: Palantir / Emerdata / Firecrest etc, have got a free ride.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A sledgehammer to crack a nut.

    I'd say it's more like using your daughter's eyeball to crack a nut. The potential for harm is massive, the potential benefit is negligible.

    1. Daniel von Asmuth Bronze badge
      Paris Hilton

      Re: A sledgehammer to crack a nut.

      How hard can it be?

      - every web site should serve a 'content-grade: ' HTTP or HTML header = { 'line noise' | 'advertising' | 'harmless' | 'fiction' | 'non-ficition' | 'fake news' | 'religious' | 'political' | 'action' | 'realistic violence' | 'erotic' | 'soft porn' | 'hard-core porn' }

      - creating an account on a PC or Microsoft web site should require the user to enter his/her aage

      - every browser should have a plug-in that checks the 'content-grade' header and the user's age and if age < 12, reditrects to http://www.teletubbies.com/

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: A sledgehammer to crack a nut.

        - every web site should serve a 'content-grade: ' HTTP or HTML header = { 'line noise' | 'advertising' | 'harmless' | 'fiction' | 'non-ficition' | 'fake news' | 'religious' | 'political' | 'action' | 'realistic violence' | 'erotic' | 'soft porn' | 'hard-core porn' }

        but how are you going to make every website conform to the will of our government?

        the easy solution would be to make the isp's tarpit every website that does not conform...

        the best solution is for parents to actually be parents to police the kids internet use....

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          Re: A sledgehammer to crack a nut.

          "the best solution is for parents to actually be parents to police the kids internet use...."

          Bingo!

  9. A Non e-mouse Silver badge
    Flame

    Sex Education

    a "distraction from the real issues" of poor funding for compulsory sex education in schools.

    Please explain why only schools can educate children about sex & relationships. What about these things called "parents".

    Ah, I know: Take no responsibility and blame someone else.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Sex Education

      FFS, maybe the fact many kids find it embarrassing or difficult to talk to their parents about erections, condoms, myths and facts and a ton of other stuff, whereas in a classroom with your mates, you can take in the information in a way that isn't difficult for both parties.

      Add into the issues where parent may actually be wrong, have out of date information or have a prejudiced bias (ask a devout catholic about the best forms of contraception) and you have a bad risk situations. What about sexting, blackmail and other topics?

      Heck, ask many adults and they think that the pill or condoms STOP pregnancy.

    2. JimmyPage Silver badge
      Stop

      Re: What about these things called "parents"

      You mean parents that teach you can only get pregnant when raped if you enjoyed it ?

      Personally I'd like to see the state offer at least a minimum of scientifically accurate information.

      Remember the poor girl that committed suicide when she had her first period - such was the "education" she received at home. You may not have heard of her, but you will have heard of "The Samaritans" ....

    3. katrinab Silver badge

      Re: Sex Education

      'What about these things called "parents"'

      My parents don't know much [anything] about lesbian sex. That's why people end up turning to the likes of LesbianSpankInferno.co.uk for guidance, and the problem is that you don't get very good guidance there.

    4. Smooth Newt Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: Sex Education

      Please explain why only schools can educate children about sex & relationships. What about these things called "parents".

      There is no intellectual capacity or social responsibility needed to become a parent, so you can't assume they are willing or capable of anything apart from the ability to shag.

      There is even less required of a voter, since they don't even have to be able to attract a solitary member of the opposite sex and be able to shag it. Hence stupid government policies designed to appeal to narrow-minded dolts, like this (and Brexit).

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Sex Education

      Where did you learn about sex?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Sex Education

        > Where did you learn about sex?

        We had a very good and informative sex education lesson at school, albeit this had little to do with the plans of the teacher giving the session. A couple of bright and somewhat experienced girls hi-jacked the session by asking all sorts of leading questions till things went in the direction they wanted it to go. Very informative. We all learned a lot, particularly the teacher I think.

      2. Doctor_Wibble
        Facepalm

        Re: Sex Education

        > Where did you learn about sex?

        For many of us that will be some basic mechanics at school, little if anything from parents, with all the really important lessons being learnt in one go, that oh so wondrous 'first time'.

        That's where as the disaster unfolds we discover that a roll in the hay requires actual hay, the difference between hay and straw is the degree of pain involved as it pokes everything everywhere and not in a good way, and that trustworthiness, a sense of caution and at least some judgement of character are an essential part of any relationship.

        Icon for 20/20 hindsight...

        It's not porn that's to blame, it's all that warm fuzzy fluffy idealised romance crap that causes the problems and disillusionment. And the subsequent unending bitterness, seething spite etc and possibly even a permanent state of angst unless that's a teenagers-only thing - even if we did move on the bitemarks still sometimes itch.

        1. phuzz Silver badge
          Stop

          Re: Sex Education

          "the difference between hay and straw is the degree of pain involved"

          Can confirm, a 'roll in the straw' is, bloody uncomfortable. Stick to nice soft hay.

          (note for townies; straw is the left-over stalks of wheat, hay is dried grass)

        2. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge
          Windows

          Re: Sex Education

          It can be romantic if you find the right places. Wood shavings from a bird aviary are quite soft for a first fumble..

          In fairness it was over my teens before I did it in a proper bed... now I only ever do it in a bed (not by choice I might add). I think we tend to lose sight of the newness of it all when we're all grown up and jaded..

          I have a sudden urge go find a park near the sea.... uncomfortable yet oddly pleasing memories to dig up.

          1. This post has been deleted by its author

      3. Dazed and Confused Silver badge

        Re: Sex Education

        Where did you learn about sex?

        My parents just made sure there was a collection of educational material on the bookshelf and assumed that we'd find it when the time came to look.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Sex Education

        "Where did you learn about sex?"

        I still have no idea how the birds don't get stung.

        And surely the size difference is an issue for both of them, or is that what they mean by size doesn't matter?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Sex Education

          "Where did you learn about sex?"

          Back in the UK in the late 1950s our junior school would take the 11 year olds to a weekly class at the local museum. In hindsight some of the bits about worms were probably hinting at sexual reproduction.

          At secondary school I believe the girls might have had a bit more information - along with how to cook and how to bathe a baby. Usually the boys never had any formal sex education. Even the small number who took biology at "O" Level probably only learned about pistils and stamens.

          Most of my cohort of boys ended up in early marriages in the 1960s as the only way to have sex with a woman. Then it was a case of two quick kids and possibly a loveless marriage.

          In the 1970s Women's Lib and "The Joy of Sex" were two factors that opened up the possibility of both sexes getting a better idea of what was possible. Even so - many did not avail themselves of the theoretical sources and discussions that gave a better understanding.

          We confidently predicted that England at least was going to become like the Scandinavian countries with an educated open attitude to sex and people choosing their own particular taste in pr0n. Maggie Thatcher and Mary Whitehouse made sure that didn't happen - at least outside their own circles.

          In the 1990s and noughties when my friends' and neighbours' children reached their teens - they would ask me the questions that might cause problems if posed to parents. In some cases it was a matter of "confessions" with me sworn to secrecy. My guidance was to tell them what their parents probably thought, what society in general said, and finally what I thought about the subject they had raised. They were then encouraged to choose their own conclusions.

          Nowadays - for self-protection - I won't go anywhere near such frank discussions with anyone under 18.

          1. JustWondering

            Re: Sex Education

            Get married for sex? Isn't that like buying a jumbo jet because you fancy a bag of peanuts?

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Sex Education

          "[...] or is that what they mean by size doesn't matter?"

          Neighbours had a small terrier bitch and a large collie. It seemed impossible - but the unexpected litter were indeed a cross between them.

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What about these things called "parents".

      Sadly many parents are totally unprepared to teach their children about sex in general and porn in particular. Without easy non judgemental access to information kids will reach out to find out what they can in the only ways that are available to them. For many that means they'll find porn and rely on that as their primary source of sex education and human relationships and the sort of porn they find is unlikely to be the healthiest sort (see "Sex in Class" on C4).

      It's far better to have skilled understanding sex ed teachers providing input to kids on these subjects. Simply having grown ups yelling No, Say No, Never, It's disgusting, You'll get hairs on the palms of you hands ...etc. isn't going to work. Kids reactions will tend to be "well if it's so bad why does nearly every adult put to much effort into it in one form or other". In a former part of my life I worked with a lot of young ladies who had been brought up very strictly, usually schooled by nuns who's idea of sex ed was "if you ever think about boys you'll burn in hell and you'll deserve it" So having escaped from their home environment tended to get a little carried away trying to catch up.

      Another thing that doesn't work is having adults who are completely embarrassed about the whole subject trying to explain things. This applies to both teachers and parents.

      Of course parents should also help educate their children about sex, love and human relationships, parents should also help educate their children about about "reading, riting and rithmetic", but we still expect trained teachers to cover these topics too. Parents might also "educate" their kids that the world in flat and that evolution is sin, but that doesn't mean that kids shouldn't also be taught geography and biology by people who understand more about the subjects than their parents.

    7. The Nazz Silver badge

      Re: Sex Education

      I have to admit i'm still learning. Here's one lesson :

      Stepdaughter states that one of her lower sixth form mates ( age 16-17 at most) has done everything sexually.

      "Everything?" i ask, somewhat disbelieving.

      "Yep, everything" she says "you heard of being *airtight*"?

      Well, they say you learn something new every day, and sometimes i wish i'd never asked.

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