back to article El Reg deep dive: Everything you need to know about UK.gov's pr0n block

Remember last night when you went online to order pizza and stumbled across those two people humping each others' brains out? No? Us neither. But it seems we've all dodged a bullet because the Brit government is still worried. So worried, it is introducing age checks on online adult content to prevent kids accidentally surfing …

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    1. JimboSmith Silver badge

      Re: Won't someone think of the children?... indeed

      This won't stop anything in the grand scheme of things. It might be a vote winner or it might not it's a double edged sword and the politicians would do well to remember that. What will actually happen is the child or children at a school who can access the pr0n on their computer will become more popular. I've been on the bus when school has just ended and the boys were sharing images by Bluetooth and videos by WiFi. Some clever kids will look at the keychain on their mother's or father's mac and get their password that way. Some will download from mainstream sites like twitter etc. others will get it via a vpn/tor etc. It will still get passed around that won't stop. The difference is that the lanky kid at my school who looked 18 wouldn't be able to rent out his magazines for a quid a night any more.

      1. phuzz Silver badge
        IT Angle

        Re: Won't someone think of the children?... indeed

        I'm sure there's a lot of PFY's out there who first honed their IT skills finding ways around the web-blocking at their school.

  1. chivo243 Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    sexual proclivities

    What the hell, are we talking about Barbados Slim?

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    given unrealistic expectations of the act

    I can attest to this, I spent 2 years training to be a plumber and since I've left I've not had any sex at work. I guess I'll have to try delivering pizza.

    1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

      Re: given unrealistic expectations of the act

      Pizza, is that with anchovies? Or extra cream?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: given unrealistic expectations of the act

      You're doing it wrong.

      You need to be one of the following if you wish to "score".

      a) Fireman

      b) Milkman

      c) Postman

      d) Rich

      e) Very very well endowed if none of the above.

      1. tiggity Silver badge

        Re: given unrealistic expectations of the act

        Or be female - plenty of unwanted "scoring" attempts have to be fended off

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: given unrealistic expectations of the act

          @tiggity - As a male who hasn't had a relationship or scored since 8 years ago that'd be a welcome change :-D

          - Anon for obvious reasons.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: given unrealistic expectations of the act

            The worst part of all this was realising that all women are not lesbians till a penis walks in the room.

            Porn is bad mmmkay.

      2. Rich 11 Silver badge

        Re: given unrealistic expectations of the act

        Unfortunately I can confirm that category d) doesn't work just by itself.

  3. Rande Knight

    Laws for other people

    I would like to know who in Parliament is going to stand up and say 'I signed up to AgeID and found it safe, secure and easy to do'.

    Lead by example please!

    1. Teiwaz Silver badge

      Re: Laws for other people

      I would like to know who in Parliament is going to stand up and say 'I signed up to AgeID and found it safe, secure and easy to do'.

      Asking a Politician to 'stand up' and make a statement doesn't guarantee anything like the truth whatsoever.

      Force them to use it for six months first, then if there's been no scandal, maybe, just maybe*....

      Of course this is no guarantee of data safety either.

  4. Graham Marsden
    WTF?

    Don't forget...

    ... the Digital Economy Act is also supposed to deal with online copyright violations, but Mindgeek are one of the most notorious purveyors of material ripped off from pay sites, then uploaded and distributed for free, whilst they cash in on the adverts which appear alongside it!

  5. Teiwaz Silver badge

    given unrealistic expectations of the act

    Hey, it's not just children that are affected you know.

    It's awkward, borderline embarassing, often frought with risks in pursuit of and gets more awkward and even occasionally uncomfortable as you grow older.

    You get over it.

    What I don't get over is 'unrealistic expectations' of any act of parliament being sane and measured to counter whatever threat or risk is present without being an undue burden on the citizenry and not another building block laid for some future potential tyranny.

  6. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

    " age checks on online adult content to prevent kids accidentally surfing across porn"

    Accidentally?

    So they admit this will not stop an adolescent who *wants* to see porn? (which is probably all of them)

  7. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Dave K Silver badge

      Re: Still at it

      People should have a right to be able to access legal content (regardless of how seedy or unpalatable you may perceive it to be), without having their personal details required by law to be logged in a nice big tracking database.

      People should also have a right to privacy in their own homes.

      Or do you disagree with these?

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

        1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

          Re: Still at it

          "I have nothing to hide."

          That's great. Fill in forms, give your local Council all your personal details (of everything) up-front.

          That way, people like you, who want to give all their personal details away, can. That leaves the rest of us to have a wank in peace.

        2. Ken Hagan Gold badge

          Re: Still at it

          "Where this type of material is concerned there should be no 'right' to possess it or conceal its presence from law enforcement."

          Umm, you do realise that we are dealing with *legal* material. Stuff that is already illegal is covered by existing laws and you won't be able to get hold of it just by ticking a box that says "I'm over 18.". So, pretty much by definition, there *is* an existing right to possess this material.

          If you wish to conceal its presence then that, too, is covered by the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights (to which nearly every country on the planet is signed up), article 12 of which states that "No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.".

          "I have nothing to hide."

          Well that's debatable...

          1. This post has been deleted by its author

            1. Graham Marsden
              Big Brother

              Re: Still at it

              > I don't recognise its so-called 'legality'.

              Fortunately we don't have to rely on *your* personal preferences to decide what *we* are allowed to see.

              Meanwhile, consider this quote from Myles Jackman, Human Rights Barrister:

              "Pornography is the canary in the coal mine of freedom of expression".

              Or, to paraphrase Martin Niemoller:

              "First they came for the pornographers..."

              The Internet has the capability to be the greatest opportunity for freedom of expression ever, but this, of course, terrifies authoritarian regimes, who are doing their utmost to control it using "think of the children" and similar specious arguments to justify their oppressive laws.

              Naturally, once such laws are in place, it is easy to add a bit of Function Creep and start blocking other "unacceptable" material.

              But, of course, I have no doubt you're just someone else who thinks that "Freedom of Expression" means "Freedom to say the things I approve of..."

              1. This post has been deleted by its author

        3. JimboSmith Silver badge

          Re: Still at it

          Where this type of material is concerned there should be no 'right' to possess it or conceal its presence from law enforcement.

          I have nothing to hide.

          So you have nothing covering your windows then? I mean if you've really got nothing to hide then you wouldn't be bothered with what people see through them.

        4. hplasm Silver badge
          Devil

          Re: Still at it

          "I have nothing to hide."

          Your pictures on Grindr agree...

        5. Loyal Commenter Silver badge
          Headmaster

          Re: Still at it

          Where this type of material is concerned there should be no 'right' to possess it or conceal its presence from law enforcement.

          Without the plod having an appropriate warrant, everyone has the perfect right to conceal whatever they like from law enforcement. It's known as "the right to a private life" (article 8 of the European Charter of Human Rights), or more colloquially, "An Englishman's home is his castle".

        6. onefang Silver badge

          Re: Still at it

          "I have nothing to hide."

          Other than your genitals.

    2. Teiwaz Silver badge

      Re: Still at it

      You lot are revealing an awful lot about yourselves and your motives in attempting to access this material. One wonders why you are so keen to protect this 'right' (hint: there isn't one).

      More 'unwarranted' 'moral majority' propaganda....

      It's not totally about 'this material'. This is just the tip of the iceberg.

      To allow this to pass without comment, will almost certainly give them permission to add the same 'safeguards' to other categories of information.

      'Porn blockers' have been known to block education and other health information sites too.

    3. Grimsterise

      Re: Still at it

      Sir or Madam

      My conscience has nothing to do with you.

      Mind your own business.

      Love

      The rest of Humanity.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Still at it

      I wish to upvote your trolling to protest the downvoters who can NEVER stop themselves from downvoting your trolling. Unless they're running a script to downvote you by default (I would really hope so!)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Still at it

        I wish to upvote your trolling to protest the downvoters who can NEVER stop themselves from downvoting your trolling.

        Trolls should be allowed to have their say - what they fear the most is being ignored.

        Their postings do serve a useful purpose. They remind us that there are people in the real world who do hold such views - and that can provoke a useful debate on the pros and cons of something.

        It should be remembered that the levers of power are usually held by a minority - who often try to exorcise their inner demons by controlling everyone else.

    5. cantankerous swineherd

      Re: Still at it

      your triumphalism is unwarranted. but nice try.

    6. Loyal Commenter Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: Still at it

      Maybe you should take a close look at yourself in the mirror.

      Sorry buddy, I'm not into auto-eroticism.

    7. onefang Silver badge

      Re: Still at it

      "Maybe you should take a close look at yourself in the mirror. I'll understand if you don't want to - it might reveal some things about yourself that you don't want to acknowledge."

      I had a very close look at myself in the mirror, and what I saw I want to acknowledge, but the UK grubbyment insists you pass Age Verification to see my acknowledgment.

    8. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge

      Re: Still at it

      “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. They may be more likely to go to Heaven yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell of earth. This very kindness stings with intolerable insult. To be "cured" against one's will and cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level of those who have not yet reached the age of reason or those who never will; to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals.”

      ― C.S. Lewis, God in the Dock: Essays on Theology (Making of Modern Theology)

      I'm glad your conscience is clear...

  8. Fading Silver badge
    IT Angle

    Any website that hosts....

    content that "it is reasonable to assume from its nature was produced solely or principally for the purposes of sexual arousal"........

    So I'm going to have to prove my age to Overclockers????

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Any website that hosts....

      So I'm going to have to prove my age to Overclockers????

      Got an extra letter 'l' there, I think...

      1. Teiwaz Silver badge

        Re: Any website that hosts....

        So I'm going to have to prove my age to Overclockers????

        Got an extra letter 'l' there, I think...

        joke missed, AC ? - bad luck, thanks for playing.

        Personally I'm more worried for Unix porn.

  9. J.G.Harston Silver badge

    Due to humans being humans I can't see how this is ever going to work.

    Anything that depends on asking "are you 18+?" can be bypassed by simply lying.

    Anything that depends on asking "enter details to show you are 18+" can be bypassed by simply lying.

    Anything that depends on asking something like "enter credit card details to prove you are 18+" can by bypassed by stealing and then lying.

    As XHamster says, comparing with buying booze or going into a nooky cinema is flawed as with those the claimant is stood there in front of the gatekeeper declaring "I am 18+ and this is me saying it, look at me, do I look like a kid?".

    1. JDX Gold badge

      Can be bypassed by putting in a fair bit of effort to steal a CC... you could say that about many things now but most people don't immediately turn to theft or identity fraud the moment they can't have something they want.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        > putting in a fair bit of effort to steal a CC

        You don’t need to steal it, just borrow it.

        I remember an episode of The Simpsons where Bart and Lisa both know Marge’s credit card number, expiry date etc. off by heart. So you don’t even need to physically have it.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          So you don’t even need to physically have it.

          I forgot my CC once when I went to a shopping center, didn't realise until I was at the checkout.

          I asked them if they were able to perform 'cardholder not present' transactions and they said they could - so I gave them all the CC details from memory. No problem.

          1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

            That was extraordinarily helpful of them!

            I'd have at least expected them to say you have be on the phone , forcing a phone call covering 4 feet.

      2. VinceH Silver badge
        Facepalm

        "Can be bypassed by putting in a fair bit of effort to steal a CC... you could say that about many things now but most people don't immediately turn to theft or identity fraud the moment they can't have something they want."

        In this case, though, I can very easily see something like that happening in the case of teenagers. We know there will be ways to get around this blocking - and one of those ways will be to 'borrow' their dad's credit card without his knowledge. After all, they aren't actually buying anything, just using it to prove they are over 18, so he'll never find out. It'll be perfectly safe - what could possibly go wrong?

  10. JDX Gold badge

    "Parents and schools need to be having discussions with their children about pornography"

    Parents and schools need to be having discussions with their children about pornography, explaining that it is not a representation of real life and it is often a fantasy that can take things to extremes," said Lust, who has created a site that aims to help do this.

    "Instead of trying to fix a social problem with technology, children should be educated and given a safe space to explore their sexuality."

    Girl on the Net agreed, saying that young people have been crying out for "properly funded sex ed, which doesn't just cover the very basics like pregnancy and STIs, but which is broad and covers issues such as consent, self identity and pornography as well".

    The many teachers I know bemoan the fact that they ALREADY have to teach this stuff at a younger and younger age and that this clearly isn't helping. They say they should not be having to talk to under-10s, or even under-8s about porn, consent and sexuality, and that the focus is all on sex not on relationships. They definitely don't like the idea of pre-pubescent children being encouraged to "explore their sexuality"

    It seems like the things being requested are already part of modern sex-ed, but they don't seem to stop modern kids growing up with the impression that spaffing on your GF's face is a respectful relationship as long as they consent to it.

    1. Graham Marsden

      Re: "Parents and schools need to be having discussions with their children about pornography"

      And yet the Netherlands begins Sex and Relationship Education in primary school, but *they* don't have problems, because they've not been brought up with the "think of the children" and "sex is wrong outside marriage" BS that the Mary Whitehouse Brigade have tried to force on us all.

      1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

        Re: "Parents and schools need to be having discussions with their children about pornography"

        And yet the Netherlands begins Sex and Relationship Education in primary school, but *they* don't have problems, because they've not been brought up with the "think of the children" and "sex is wrong outside marriage" BS that the Mary Whitehouse Brigade have tried to force on us all.

        The problems incumbent on the Netherlands attitude towards legalising prostitution are linked with this in a significant manner. On the one hand, you might say, "allowing women to sell their bodies empowers them". On the other hand, allowing pimps to coerce and control women legally, and Johns to treat women's bodies as a commodity isn't exactly a shining example of empowerment and equality. So, I'd question whether they have problems with their approach towards sex education in the Netherlands, which almost certainly normalises this harmful attitude towards women.

        1. onefang Silver badge
          IT Angle

          Re: "Parents and schools need to be having discussions with their children about programming"

          "The problems incumbent on the Netherlands attitude towards computer programming are linked with this in a significant manner. On the one hand, you might say, "allowing coders to sell their minds empowers them". On the other hand, allowing managers to coerce and control coders legally, and users to treat coder's minds as a commodity isn't exactly a shining example of empowerment and equality. So, I'd question whether they have problems with their approach towards IT education in the Netherlands, which almost certainly normalises this harmful attitude towards coders."

          Works for many other professions to.

        2. Graham Marsden

          Re: "Parents and schools need to be having discussions with their children about pornography"

          > The problems incumbent on the Netherlands attitude towards legalising prostitution are linked with this in a significant manner

          Try talking to sex workers and you'll find that they DO NOT want prostitution to be "legalised", they want it to be *DECRIMINALISED*.

          Legalisation just turns the Government and Police into Pimps, giving them the right to tell sex workers what they can do and when and how and with whom and then interefere in private matters on the spurious grounds of "checking licences" or "safety inspections" etc.

          In the Amsterdam, "Window Girls" already have a stringent set of regulations they have to obey, but now the authorities are trying to introduce more restrictions, very possibly in an attempt to "gentrify" the Red Light area. What this does, of course, is force the women out of there and into areas which may well be *less* safe.

          Sex workers just want the protections that all other workers enjoy, the right to be treated fairly, the right to be protected from assault or intimidation, the right to choose how and where and when they offer their services and to whom and, importantly, work together and employ security staff for their own protection *without* being accused of "running a brothel" or the security staff being called pimps.

          PS In other forms of work, workers have people who manage their money and find them employment. In music and acting, they're called Agents...

  11. JDX Gold badge

    Here's a question... does the porn industry WANT to restrict underage access?

    They say they do, but that any actual restrictive mechanism is likely to be harmful. Do we really believe them... genuine question? Do we think pornographers are good citizens running legitimate businesses, or dodgy types who - like cigarette makers in the past - are more than happy to get the next generation hooked?

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