back to article Thanks to UK peers, coming to a laptop near you in 2019: Age checks for online smut

Age checks for online porn are expected to come into force around Easter 2019, as peers yesterday signed off on the final regulations and guidance despite acknowledging they will not be wholly efficient. The roll-out of the controversial rules is about a year later than the government had hoped, as it had to give the regulator …

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  1. vir Silver badge

    Non-photographic Images

    What's objectionable about my collection of erotic Byzantine mosaics?

    1. Andy Non

      Re: Non-photographic Images

      I'll take a look and let you know but first you no doubt require my name, address and credit card details to verify I'm over 18? I totally trust you not to do anything untoward with that information.

      1. ridley

        Re: Non-photographic Images

        Do you mean an Adult Verification Service (AVS)?

        Last time that didn't end well for quite a number of innocent Brits #AVS #Operation Ore

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Non-photographic Images

      I wondered about Morph porn though I'm not going to search for it as it's now subject to Rule 34.

  2. }{amis}{ Silver badge
    FAIL

    Doh....

    Time to invest in VPN companies then as their user base is about to get ~60m new users.

    If the VPN use does explode in the UK I wonder how much that's going to screw up GCHQ's work.

    1. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

      Re: Doh....

      Now, WE (the vaguely IT-literate Reg-commentardiate) know that VPNs are basically a good thing, so long as they aren't free! Paid for and used properly they can considerably increase security while browsing, and not just smut.

      Could someone explain this to the BBC and the Lottery? Who flatly refuse to let you use iPlayer or buy a ticket while you are using a VPN, even if it terminates in the UK.

      No, they want you to disconnect your VPN and use the highly questionable free WiFi in your local coffee shop without the safety of virtuality.

      But kids can still sit in Star*ucks watching movies showing grown-ups in a state of undress, so long as they use their VPN.

      Why do we bother with a Parliament of morons?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Could someone explain this to the BBC and the Lottery?

        Let the beeb be, I stopped bothering with iplayer long time before they made it compulsory to watch you while you're watching it. All you need is tor browser and tixati. For now.

      2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        Re: Doh....

        Why do we bother with a Parliament of morons?

        Ohh - I know this one!

        Because we elect people who haven't ever had a real job[1] in their lives? Who have spent all their 'working' life in a political/social bubble and never, ever have had to do something real?

        [1] IE - not politics/banking/legal.

      3. Phil W

        Re: Doh....

        "Paid for and used properly they can considerably increase security while browsing, and not just smut."

        The fact that you're paying for a VPN makes it neither secure or trustworthy. If you believe that's really the case I will happily take your money for the VPN service I'm about to set up.

        I pinky promise not to log all your activity and sell it to either the government or ne'er-do-wells on the dark web.

        1. bondyboy

          Re: Doh....

          You do know there are VPN providers where you can just send your VPN account number together with cash in post yes? No, names, addresses, bank accounts involved at all

    2. Ledswinger Silver badge

      Re: Doh....

      If the VPN use does explode in the UK I wonder how much that's going to screw up GCHQ's work.

      Opera, with its built in VPN capability is suddenly looking very attractive. Yes, it all gets funnelled to China, but that's only a problem for those doing the sort of jobs that the PLA might have an interest in, or those who might have illegal interests?

    3. ridley

      Re: Doh....

      Nah watch out for the new super duper VPN offering really cheap and based in Cheltenham.

    4. Kane Silver badge
      Big Brother

      Re: Doh....

      "If the VPN use does explode in the UK I wonder how much that's going to screw up GCHQ's work."

      Not much, they'll just set up their own private companies that run VPN services for offer in the UK.

      Remember kids, we own nothing.

    5. Gonzo wizard

      Re: Doh....

      "If the VPN use does explode in the UK I wonder how much that's going to screw up GCHQ's work."

      I suspect that depends on where the VPN terminates. If it terminates at an IP address in the UK - or any other five eyes country (US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand) I'd expect GCHQ to be able to access the traffic.

  3. Trollslayer Silver badge

    Stopping porn is like

    Trying to hold liquid helium in a string sieve.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Stopping porn is like

      there is no intention to stop porn, the intention is to show the plebs, aka the public, that their concerns are heard and acted on, thus making them "connect" with the Masters (deliver brexit for everybody, etc.). It works on most things, so why shouldn't it work in this case: the voice is being heard (tick) the show is being had (tick), the porn-lovers continue as before (tick), everybody goes nudge nudge wink wink (tick). All's well, for now.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "[...] the Earl of Erroll also came up with the novel proposal that the government could perhaps require a pop-up on the front page of porn sites "about understanding the beginning of a relationship and how you can get excited and go forward without going to the harder aspects which involve penetrative sex".

    I wonder how carefully his lordship crafted that choice of words?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      It should start off with "When a man loves a woman very much..." though how that would work these days is questionable. Not in a bad way, each to their own.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "It should start off with "When a man loves a woman very much..."

        When my friends' and neighbours' teenagers asked me for advice on sex*** I told them that most of the pleasure was in the mind. The pleasure would depend on many things: learned technique; personal aesthetics; the degree of empathy with each other.

        When lust becomes love is always an interesting debate. Relationships can decline suddenly when lust is sated. It only takes one jarring of other expectations to shatter the whole edifice.

        In the 1990s it was interesting to hear snippets of athletic heterosexual experiences from one lad seeming destined for marriage. Then he broke off the relationship and came out as gay in his late twenties. He said "Now I have to make up for lost time" as he learned how to date men prior to Grindr.

        The current twenty-somethings seem to be going in for serial monogamous relationships. As they approach thirty they acknowledge the experience needed to make a relationship work with their latest partner.

        There is still the odd one - somewhat dangerously innocent - who has ended up in a rocky early marriage due to a pregnancy that should have been avoided.

        ***at that age they often need someone they trust outside the family in whom to confide their misdemeanours and fears. In days gone by that was the role of an official godparent.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Kids have reddit these days to teach them everything they need to know plus its porn won't get banned. I speak as a man of experience and some of the advice I've seen given there is spot on. Godparents when I were a lad were just people they knocked about in the pub with.

      2. Jamesit

        "It should start off with "When a man loves a woman very much...""

        I would word it as "When two people love each other very much..."

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Or even more accurate....

          When two people are drunk and pass a bus shelter....

        2. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

          "I would word it as "When two people love each other very much...""

          Typical discrimination against Mormons and polyamorists.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Typical discrimination against Mormons

            Oh dear, I read it as "against Morons" and I felt deeply offended. Had to blink (thrice!) to clear the muck off my eyeses...

        3. IanTP
          Joke

          "I would word it as "When two people love each other very much..."

          Did you just assume my species...

        4. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          'I would word it as "When two people love each other very much..."'

          But I don't identify as a person.

      3. Andy The Hat Silver badge

        It should start off with "When a man loves a woman very much..."

        When a man loves a woman ... a man loves a man ... a woman loves a woman ... a man that was a woman loves a man ... a man that was a woman loves a woman ... a man that was a woman loves a woman that was a man ...

        Oh sod it kids, find out for yourselves ...

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        re. "When a man loves a woman very much..."

        being of a different disposition I feel terribly offended by the above, narrow-minded and last-century sweeping and hurtful disregard for different dispositions, moreover, and much more importantly, I feel deeply discriminated against. Which, I would hope, qualifies for free legal assistance once I bring this matter to the court of law!

      5. katrinab Silver badge
        Flame

        Anonymous Coward says:

        'It should start off with "When a man loves a woman very much..."'

        See icon. I try to be as man-repellent as possible.

    2. cam

      What a lucky old Earl

      Most people have to browse a few pages to get a 'pop-up'.

    3. Tim Jenkins

      "....understanding the beginning of a relationship...."

      That's the bit where the guy(s) with the moustache arrives to deliver the pizza / fix the washing machine / mow the lawn, right?

    4. Lars Silver badge
      Joke

      So tell me Earl of Erroll, how do you "get excited and go forward without the hardon", does it come with age.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "[...] it will only apply to those where porn makes up a third or more of the material available"

    So all a pr0n site has to do is add more than two thirds of cat pictures to their usual pussy ones.

    1. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge
      Gimp

      How is "material available" measured or defined?

      There would seem to be numerous ways a porn site can get round that requirement. I wonder which is going to be the first to scrape and take public domain images from NASA and content from elsewhere?

    2. katrinab Silver badge

      Or birds, of the avian type.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Cat video explosion

    If a site's content theme is judged on the number of videos rather than the total length, then I predict a sudden increase in the number of cat videos (of which there is a seemingly inexhaustible supply) on these sites, each one no more than two seconds longs.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Inevitably

    "that included explaining what to do when they inevitably – regardless of the age checks – encounter porn online."

    I think most teenage boys already know what to do when they encounter such material online. Something to do with making sure the bedroom door is shut and mum is not about to walk in....

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Inevitably

      "I think most teenage boys [...]"

      That applies equally to teenage girls. Since the 1960s it has become permissible in English society for girls to know about the possible pleasures of their own body too.

      Not sure what pr0n they watch - in the past some of my women friends expressed a desire to watch gay male videos. Possibly because such videos only became generally available later and were therefore an unknown area for them.

      I wonder if women are the larger audience for mainstream gay relationship films eg Brokeback Mountain; Call Me By Your Name.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Inevitably

        There are some smaller sites (such as Pandora Blake) that do pr0n that is more lady-friendly than the typical male sort money-shot style, but sadly they are going to be hit much worse than the pornhubs of this world by this stupid legislation.

        Also the BDSM world gets a fairly balanced interest from women, but their tastes are so wildly different you can't really put them in to male/female interest groups.

      2. xyz

        Re: Inevitably

        >I wonder if women are the larger audience for mainstream gay relationship films eg Brokeback Mountain

        .... never having seen the film (bloke), I understand that 2 blokes who haven't washed, changed underwear or used bog paper for months suddenly decide to stick their ***** up each other's ***** ( in a caring and nurturing way obviously)....Can't see that appealing to women unless to comment on how much the place needed a good polishing (not French).

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Inevitably

          "Can't see that appealing to women unless to comment on how much the place needed a good polishing (not French)."

          Worldwide - anal intercourse is mainly a heterosexual practice. It provides contraception - and a tighter fit for a man after his wife has had several children. There is some doubt about how much, if any, physical pleasure is inherent in the act for the woman. However a man as the recipient has the potential for direct stimulation of his prostate - which apparently can be quite something.***

          ***having had my enlarged prostate prodded in various medical investigations - it was noted that nothing was felt at all.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Inevitably

      well, as a parent of a (soon to be) teenagers, I expect to have to knock on their doors anyway, just in case. Having shuffled towards the abovementioned doors in a protracted and clumsy manner, talking to myself louder than usual (and that applies to both, son and daughter's room).

      ...

      er... a thought has just struck me, but... I'll let it rest.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Inevitably

        "I expect to have to knock on their doors anyway, just in case. "

        Very wise. A teenage friend had a tale of the day he was getting a BJ from his girlfriend. Then his mother and her mother walked into his room. Fortunately they left immediately - as they had been under no illusions about what the young couple probably did.

        Unlike a neighbour. One day her young teenage daughter and a boyfriend were "at it like rabbits" naked on their lounge floor. In that position they believed themselves shielded from external view by the frosted glass in the bottom section of the floor to ceiling windows. Unfortunately the room was brightly illuminated by the evening sun - which made them very visible outside even through that glass.

        A quick word to her later appraised her of the problem of that location. She didn't even blush - but went "Oops!".

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just how...

    So its a URL blacklist of the entire internet of Pr0n which your site can only be removed from if it deploys age verification checks from a UK approved age verification check provider? The black list will be applied to all UK ISP's?

    And this applies to any adult educational *ahem* site anywhere in the world?

    Or have I got that wrong?

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Just how...

      Seems they've given up on regulating the entire Internet (odd that) and I guess the same address lists that are used to block pirate sites will have UK porn sites which don't verify age added to them.

      Meaning you could probably get round this with a small ISP or changing your DNS settings.

      So Something Has Been Done, with enough loopholes to get the tabloids frothing meaning yet another law in two or three years.

    2. Mycho Silver badge

      your site can only be removed from if it deploys age verification checks

      ... or a ton of cat videos.

  9. Cynic_999 Silver badge

    There appears to be an assumption

    ... that watching porn will be highly likely to harm children. Is there any credible evidence to support that assumption? IME young kids are pretty much uninterested apart from its forbidden aspect, and older kids use it for the purpose for which it is intended. They also don't regard it as any more true-to-life than a James Bond movie.

    Meanwhile, there appears to not be the same amount of hand-wringing regarding the amount of violent content available to children. The message perhaps being, "Make war not love"?

    1. MiguelC Silver badge

      Re: There appears to be an assumption

      Another assumption is that payment (in cash) is mandatory on porn sites (as Lord Paddick so astutely pointed out when referring that it would be hard to control Twitter content as "asking payment service providers to take action – as they are required to for porn sites –" was not possible)....

      I see a tiny point of failure there (in addition to all the others)

      1. phuzz Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: There appears to be an assumption

        "I see a tiny point of failure there"

        How dare you! I'm assured it's a perfectly reasonable size!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: There appears to be an assumption

      "Meanwhile, there appears to not be the same amount of hand-wringing regarding the amount of violent content available to children."

      Churches still expose children to the gory sight of a bloodied naked man nailed to a cross. Before the 16th century the figures were totally naked - and some were created by the most talented people of their day.

      Then the Church decided that a loin cloth was needed for "moral" purposes - and some sculptures were irrevocably damaged in order to fit one. Pictures on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel were partially gouged down to the brickwork in order to then replaster and add briefs to male figures.

      It often seems to me that those who vociferously want to hide the human body from everyone - are often those who object to any criticism of their religions' public violent torture and death depictions in art.

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