back to article UK's lords want more details on adult website check plans

A House of Lords committee has called for greater detail on how the UK government intends to introduce online porn age verification plans in the Digital Economy Bill. Under the proposed legislation, pornographic websites that fail to implement checks would be blocked by all UK internet service providers. The Digital Econonomy …

  1. ukgnome
    Gimp

    Are you 18

    Yes / No

    sorted

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Are you 18

      The character 'Al Murry - Pub Landlord' had similar thoughts upon asking a youthful-looking prospective customer his date of birth... "No! The entire foundation of the British licesnsed trade rocked to its core!" ( I paraphrase cos it's been a long time since i've watched it. Still, his manifesto in the last general election, running against Farage, was glorious.)

    2. Teiwaz Silver badge

      Re: Are you 18

      Yes / No

      sorted

      Unfortunately the government of the United Kingdom has about as much trust in it's citizens as teh Peoples Republic of China (and getting on North Korea).

      If 'yes' and you wish to view ponography, you are probably an anti-social radical (and unmutual) and requires watching, hence the data retention.

      "this is photography, hard photography" Alexi Sayle - Comic Strip Presents Dirty Movie.

      1. Pomgolian
        Big Brother

        Re: Are you 18

        +1 for "unmutual"

        I am not a number, I am a free man!

        @TheReg - what about a Prisoner icon? A nice Penny Farthing or something?

      2. Asterix the Gaul

        Re: Are you 18

        "Unfortunately the government of the United Kingdom has about as much trust in it's citizens as teh Peoples Republic of China (and getting on North Korea)".

        Also,fortunately, the citizens of the 'United' Kingdom have about as much trust in their government as the Peoples Republic of China (and getting on North Korea) citizens do in their governments..

    3. GruntyMcPugh Silver badge

      Re: Are you 18

      Or maybe entering your date of birth like sites that promote booze do, you know, 'cos people under 18 can't think of a date before they were born so it traps them every time.

      It's almost hilarious how poorly MPs understand technology and the Internet. Until they start making laws.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    ....risks breaking international human rights law

    that's why Chairman May is getting rid of such pesky things.

    I hate her more each day....and my VPN gets used more each day.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: ....risks breaking international human rights law

      "the guidance and guidelines will come into effect without any parliamentary scrutiny at all"

      Seems to be the way we're headed.

    2. GingerOne

      Re: ....risks breaking international human rights law

      "and my VPN gets used more each day."

      I'm curious about all these people using VPNs. Do you rent space in a data centre and terminate your own VPN and manage it's route out to the Interent through a connection you pay for? Or do you pay Johnny Foreigner to deal with all of that and just trust that they aren't going to do anything devious with your data after it pops out the other end of the VPN tunnel?

      1. Rich 11 Silver badge

        Re: ....risks breaking international human rights law

        Or do you pay Johnny Foreigner to deal with all of that and just trust that they aren't going to do anything devious with your data after it pops out the other end of the VPN tunnel?

        I expect most techies would know better than to use a free or cheap, unconfirmed service for anything but casual government-unapproved surfing, in places where you would never ever consider handing over your credit card details or using anything other than a throwaway account. Whether that holds for the non-technical or for teenagers who think they're technical is another matter.

      2. Paul Crawford Silver badge

        Re: ....risks breaking international human rights law

        Or do you pay Johnny Foreigner to deal with all of that and just trust that they aren't going to do anything devious with your data after it pops out the other end of the VPN tunnel?

        I trust Johnny Foreigner more than my own MPs these days, which is a very sad state of affairs. But looking at their own corruption, attempts to impose moral censorship, and the clustefuck of Brexit, its hard not to.

        You can of course look to reviews of such VPN providers as well, before deciding, and review payment options, etc:. For example:

        https://www.bestvpn.com/

        https://vpn-services.bestreviews.net/

        Etc, though they are a bit advertisement-like in some case.

        1. Adam 52 Silver badge

          Re: ....risks breaking international human rights law

          I trust Johnny Foreigner just because he has so much less to gain. What use is anything I put down the VPN to him? Anything useable in distance crime will be HTTPS. My government can use "communication records" to blackmail me, Johnny Foreigner is unlikely to have a motive to do that. Worst case is that he gives it back to the UK and I'm still better off than I would otherwise have been because the evidence is tainted.

          1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

            Re: ....risks breaking international human rights law

            As Adam 52 said. In fact, the 3 guide lines for choosing a VPN are:

            1) Always go for another country. It forces your own country's petty bureaucrats to get a proper court order in another land - raising the bad against fishing for things on you.

            2) Do your homework, read reviews and comments but remember one pissed off customer may not be representative.

            3) If possible use the OpenVPN protocol, but if not at least avoid PPTP as its security is crap.

        2. Version 1.0 Silver badge

          Re: ....risks breaking international human rights law

          There are plenty of inexpensive but good VPN options available, a few of them even accept payment via Btc so your use is even less obvious. I maintain one via my WiFi router so all connections terminate "elsewhere" without any trace on VPN usage on my phone.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    To repeat a comment..

    This can properly be labelled as planned adolescence.

    :)

  4. wolfetone Silver badge

    Those damn pesky Lords, up to no good as usual... Is what I would be saying if I was a supporter of the Tory party and/or Frau May.

    No, good on the Lords. Doing their job like the idiots below them should have done.

  5. Andy 97
    Paris Hilton

    Monkeys un-spanked? (yeah right).

    Another newspaper-led "won't someone think of the children" moment that won't change a thing.

    When I was merely a teenager, we all shared VHS copies of the most staggeringly awful "jazz flicks".

    Duplicating a VHS was much more costly and time consuming than sharing a thumb drive.

    *Paris because she's weakened when content of her in the nude isn't shared online.

    Can we have a face-palm icon please?

    1. wolfetone Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Monkeys un-spanked? (yeah right).

      "Can we have a face-palm icon please?"

      Here you are.

      1. Andy 97

        Re: Monkeys un-spanked? (yeah right).

        *Face-palm*

    2. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: Monkeys un-spanked? (yeah right).

      "Another newspaper-led "won't someone think of the children" moment that won't change a thing."

      These days it's rather easier to defuse that kind of claim by mentioning a certain childrens' TV personality who always thought of the children.

  6. JimboSmith Silver badge
    FAIL

    This law is Daily Mail politics and hopefully the madness will be stopped. That or it's a good time to apply for a job at the BBFC who will be making decisions on content. The job application will include

    To apply for the position you will be required to submit a 1500-word essay on ‘What are the challenges involved in regulating online pornography?’.

    http://www.bbfc.co.uk/compliance-officer-vacancy

    And they haven't even passed the law yet.

    1. 's water music Silver badge
      Gimp

      ‘What are the challenges involved in regulating online pornography?’

      Friction burns?

    2. Roj Blake Silver badge

      Watching porn all day to see if it's acceptable or not.

      It's a hard job, but someone has to do it.

  7. Cameron Colley

    Not sure whether May's stupid or just wants to ban online pornography in the UK.

    Or, perhaps, she's been promised a few quid by those in charge of UK-based pay-for porn sites? Since virtually nobody* is going to pay for pornography then I can only suspect that Ms May is either a moron or wants to try to ban free pornography.

    While I'm not as against the "dirty old man register" one must sign up to in order not to have innocuous sites blocked by association at least that is vaguely possible. Though, again, one has to wonder whether the banning of such harmless content such as face-sitting is an attempt to block all non-UK produced porn.

    So, there we have it, the only possible explanation, unless Ms May is a pathetic, moronic, puritan fascist pig, is that she's in the pay of the UK porn industry.

    1. wolfetone Silver badge

      Re: Not sure whether May's stupid or just wants to ban online pornography in the UK.

      "So, there we have it, the only possible explanation, unless Ms May is a pathetic, moronic, puritan fascist pig, is that she's in the pay of the UK porn industry."

      I would disagree. She is, after all, the daughter of a vicar. Goes to church all the time, religion is important to her etc.

      But, then again, she's cutting funding to the NHS, to schools, to the poorest of the country. She's making a lot of families suffer for no reason other than for a few quid. Shuts down Boris Johnson over his comments regarding Saudi Arabia in Yemen.

      So it's hard to know how much of her faith she gives a damn about if she's doing all of that. She ain't no Christian bruv.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Not sure whether May's stupid or just wants to ban online pornography in the UK.

        ANY politician who bases, or tries to push any act / law / etc on any kind of personal religious belief is not fit to govern.

        Belief in sky faries has NO part in a modern political establishment.

        We have proven gravity, we have proven evolution, we have not and never will prove god.

        1. wolfetone Silver badge

          Re: Not sure whether May's stupid or just wants to ban online pornography in the UK.

          "Belief in sky faries has NO part in a modern political establishment.

          We have proven gravity, we have proven evolution, we have not and never will prove god."

          They said the same about the Higgs Boson. They said the same thing about putting man on the moon. Just because you can't prove it doesn't mean it doesn't exist, because you haven't proven it doesn't exist.

          But as I said, Frau May does enough in her work life that goes against the beliefs of her religion. So don't worry, everything she's doing isn't based on any religious belief.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Not sure whether May's stupid or just wants to ban online pornography in the UK.

      Follow the money esp. when a pro-business party is in power. Somebody is going to make money from the ban.

      1. Adam 52 Silver badge

        Re: Not sure whether May's stupid or just wants to ban online pornography in the UK.

        "unless Ms May is a pathetic, moronic, puritan fascist pig, is that she's in the pay of the UK porn industry"

        She won't be in the pay of the porn industry. Few politicians would risk that and anyway the UK porn industry doesn't have any money. Your first option must be true.

        For more evidence look at her voting record, she is consistently moralistic, anti-freedom and anti-women.

  8. Duffy Moon

    Dear Lords,

    here's how it's going to work:

    It won't

    Yours sincerely,

    Captain Obvious

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So that's Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, Youtube, Photosharing sites, Bing*, Google* etc. we're banning without age verification.

    *These can and do have the adult filter set and locked by geolocation as I discovered from talking to a client who was from the Middle East.

  10. tr1ck5t3r
    Trollface

    What can of worms this subject is.

    So suppose someone passes the age verification process to watch some porn online, some websites have extreme content.

    Secondly as pointed out by someone above, most teenagers will always get access to porn, in my day it was nicking porn magazines that sold in the school playground but these were always your newsagent soft porn content and now a days any kid staying up late to watch Channel 4 can see similar using the online players on their smart phone or watching it on their tv in their bedroom. The tech savvy will also be using VPN's to bypass any censorship, and could fuel a rise in hacking in order to view said explicit material.

    So would it be more sensible to have perhaps a two tier approach to porn, like soft porn that's in line with the age of consent, and then the more extreme porn accessible from a later age, like maybe 21 or 25? The softporn aspect could be a way to educate kids better on whats acceptable sexual activity.

    Currently the age of consent does seem somewhat hypocritical considering sexting teens in a "loving" relationship can end up on the sex offenders register as well. Loving is quoted merely because some adults typically parents will denigrate a teenagers claim to being "in love"

    If the Cannabis medical data is correct, the human brain doesn't stop developing until around the age of 25, so perhaps it would make sense to have extreme/hard core porn banned until this age, so that its not burnt into the retina and brain cells of future sexual deviants?

    Of course, another point to this whole debate about viewing pixels depicting sexual activity is that, does having access to fapping material make someone less likely to commit a sex crime by not being so sexually frustrated? And considering the parental controls already provided by ISP's, anyone can go on Reddit.com, search for NSFW, and then end up on gyfcat.com and imgur.com for porn ranging from soft to hardcore verging on extreme. There's no age check for gyfcat.com or imgur.com, less than 10 seconds to gain access to this sort of material.

    Do you think kids wont tell each other how to access these sites bypassing the current ISP parental controls in place?

    On the main page of imgur.com a bestiality image involving the British constabulary, I couldn't make this up if I tried.

    Warning NSFW, but you could test your companies censorship systems out and report your findings to the IT dept and your line manager if you so wanted.

    http://imgur.com/t/nsfw/ON8sa2U

    Besides the BBC do often provide their own primetime documentaries depicting animals having sex as well.

    I dont think blanket bans are a good approach especially considering the oversight GCHQ have on the computer networks, and in your home accessing your motion detector for your games consoles, your smart phone camera's & mic's and any cctv/webcams you might have on your computer or laptop.

    In a way its no different to kids drinking alcohol under age they will always do this if they really want to, whilst ignoring the fact that peer pressure can also exploit the naïve kids into actions they don't want to do, just like taking drugs.

    In another way, I suppose it boils down to viewing your kids as personal possessions until you disregard them because some mythical age limit has been reached even though intelligence is more than just IQ results measuring spatial intelligence when considering emotional intelligence as well.

    Besides, if the viewing of sex is so bad by virtue of these mandatory control mechanisms, should kids be making decisions of what sex they want to transgender into whilst still at primary school, or does having a GP & others involved in this decision making suddenly make it all right?

    A highly emotive can a worms this topic be!

    1. Cameron Colley

      I fear that is more than NSFW.

      It's NSFUK -- I fear that is genuinely illegal in the UK and may get anyone clicking on it (as I have just done) into trouble. I may be wrong, and I hope so, but after the "tiger video" debacle a few years ago I really worry.

      So, don't make the mistake I did and go to the image tr1ck5t3r posted from a country like the UK or US.

      1. d3vy

        Re: I fear that is more than NSFW.

        Nahh, there's no penetration.

        That's just a picture of a randy horse. Nothing illegal there.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: I fear that is more than NSFW.

          That's just a picture of a randy horse. Nothing illegal there.

          I was expecting it to be porcine in nature.

          Oh. Hang on a minute.

    2. Allan George Dyer Silver badge
      Coat

      Based on the species of the active participant, isn't it humaniality?

  11. scrubber
    WTF?

    Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye

    A House that's been covering up the sexual abuse of children within its walls for decades now decides that it is incumbent upon them to stop children watching adults have sex?

  12. Simon 15

    King Cnut

    At least King Cnut knew he couldn't hold back the inevitable tide. This bunch of cnuts don't have a clue.

    1. Bernard M. Orwell Silver badge

      Re: King Cnut

      "At least King Cnut knew he couldn't hold back the inevitable tide."

      Curiously, King Cnut also knew that he couldn't hold back the tide. He tried to do so as a demonstration that, before God(s), even King had limits to their power. Shame that May isn't as wise.

  13. Huns n Hoses

    Some might buy a dedicated server for 4.99 euros/month in, oh, France or someplace and set up their own, unadvertised openVPN.

    Until now that was never considered a naughty thing to do. But suddenly we're all terrorists, or even worse - nonpayers of something.

  14. Boothy

    What is this fixing?

    Ignoring the fact (initially) that this is something that we all know won't actually stop anyone that really wants to watch 'stuff'.

    All this time an effort to (try and) implement age verification for porn sites in some way yet to be defined.

    So what current problem is this actually fixing? i.e. why is this even being discussed?

    Is this just another generic "Think of the children!" bandwagon that a few politicians have jumped on?

    Business case: If effort out-ways benefits, then don't do it. Especially when the 'benefits' seem to be perceived, rather than actual benefits!

  15. Slx

    I'm sure it'll simply be a subcutaneous NFC chip implanted by your local vet.

    Once that's there you register on the national database perv-register.gov.uk, install the special snoopware to give full access to your pic or mobile and voila! You will get access to images approved by the Home Office.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Convenient excuse

    The online porn industry probably couldn't give a damn whether UK citizens verify their age or not, and they're very unlikely to set up separate mechanisms to cater for the UK market only. So most of the websites will carry on as usual, and ISP blocking will have to be widespread and all-encompassing in order to enforce this legislation.

    It's a very Tory way of going about things - get the private sector to do all the state's dirty business, with the consumer picking up the tab for all the additional equipment and labour through increasing subscription costs. It also allows the UK Government to deny the existence of a "great firewall of Britain", as it's distributed across all the different ISPs and not under their direct control. At least China was up front about it when they created theirs.

    "Think of the children" - bollocks to that, think of the false positives!

  17. Steve Knox

    'something the "Russian or Chinese governments" would impose.'

    or those of North Carolina and North Dakota.

  18. Swiss Anton
    Paris Hilton

    The Donald and his videos

    Is there a Donald Trump angle to this story? Will I have to verify my age sanity to watch his Russian (fake news) videos?

    Paris Hilton icon because there is no Trump icon. Anyone got any suggestions for a Trump icon? I think its likely to get some heavy usage.

    1. edge_e

      Re: Trump icon

      any of these but with whiter teeth

      https://duckduckgo.com/?q=annoying+orange&t=lm&iax=1&ia=images

  19. Trigonoceps occipitalis

    Any Ideas?

    I'm a technophile, an electronic engineer specializing in comms and IT, an early adopter of the Internet. I know what is out there, well perhaps I don't know the really uncharted frontier of the unacceptable, illegal and obscene. I am fortunate that my children got through puberty and into adulthood before the time of 24 hour access where everyone has one, two or three Internet devices. There was one computer in the house and it was in a public area.

    Now I have grandchildren. Shortly the eldest will be wanting a mobile phone or pad. Forget net neutrality, 5G, fiber to the premises etc, the one thing I want is some way to ensure that they are protected from even the nearer edges of the Internet. Not only pornography but also, topically, false news. Some of this will be done with education by parents and schools. However when on their own, under the blankets in their room, they may see and hear things that are not good for them.

    Something must be done! Sadly all my training and experience makes me doubt that there is a solution that is more than just window dressing.

    Has anyone a solution?

    1. FozzyBear Silver badge

      Re: Any Ideas?

      I have one.

      What we need is a group of people, we can put in charge, who due to their lack of intelligence cannot hold a single thought for a second. They can periodically come together to discuss whatever insane ideas crawl across the salt pans of their minds. Endlessly accusing each other of being a fool never coming to a census. In that way these moronic ideas can never be implemented.

      Sad isn't it

      Democracy, great in theory, a fucking disaster in practice.

    2. Richard 12 Silver badge

      Education

      Teach them how to fact-check, and above all that anyone can put amything on the Internet - it doesn't matter whether it is real or true.

      Teach them that porn is entertainment. It's not real, any more than action movies.

      Sex or not sex are both normal. Liking porn is fine, as finding it boring and pointless. Same with action movies or romantic comedies.

      Then they will be orders of magnitude better prepared for the real world than any politician you may find in Westminster.

    3. Adrian 4 Silver badge

      Re: Any Ideas?

      They might read books, too.

      Burn all the books, to be sure they're safe from that.

      1. Simon 15

        Re: Any Ideas?

        Yes, a good idea, I'm sure it's been done before. Destroying things we find offensive or might just harm children is the solution! Can we start with religious texts first? They seem to be the most harmful of all publications.

    4. d3vy

      Re: Any Ideas?

      As others have asked.. is it really a problem?

      I suppose that depends on the age of the kids.

      Mine are 9 and 12 and have unrestricted access, but they also know that I monitor what they have been looking at, and if they overstep they loose access. So far we have had one minor infraction.. as they get older I'm ready to engage in a game of cat and mouse trying to catch them.

      The reason I'm not too worried is that I was in my mid teens at the end of the 90s... It's was slower and blockier but I don't think there's anything online now thats worse than what I saw back then (there's more now.. much more) but I reckon I turned out ok, so I'm not overly concerned with them watching a bit of porn when they are older.

  20. dan1980

    "The Digital Econonomy Bill has been passed by MPs and is now due to enter the committee stage, which will examine the legislation.

    But the committee said the Bill does not spell out "how the age-verification regime will actually work."

    Guidelines for age checks are to be drafted by an "as yet-to-be-designated regulator" which could adversely affect the ability of the House "effectively to scrutinise the legislation", it said."

    This is what I love (sarcasm) about our governments - that a bill can pass through a house without the people voting for it having any idea how it will actually work or what the implications will be. How can you honestly say you are representing your constituents and their interests when you can't even say how they will be affected?

    When it's up to an un-elected group of nobles and holy men to inject some sense then someone really needs to have a good hard look at how well those men and women elected to represent the 'common' person are really doing their jobs.

    That said, I actually don't think the House of Lords is an inherently bad idea as these people are not career politicians and are not, therefore entirely submerged in that particular soup. If the representatives of the people actually represented the interests of the people then they just wouldn't be needed but apparently they are.

  21. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    FAIL

    I blame that wappy back bench Tory MP who could not set up age locks on her browser.

    For getting this BS written into law.

  22. hoola

    Root of the problem

    What this does is highlight the root cause of the problem:

    That is that there is simply NO WAY WHAT SO EVER of reliable verify age or consent to use access/use a service/website on the Internet.

    Parents make the problem far worse by allowing kids to have Facebook Instagram or other account in blatant breach of the age restrictions. What is truly bonkers is that this has been going on for years and no one has yet found a fool proof way to manage it. In a shop, if you go in and try to buy cigarettes, alcohol etc and are clearly under age, you can be refused unless you provide appropriate ID. It works because that ID has a photograph on it. Online, it simply is a non started. There is simply no way of verifying age, identity or consent reliably.

    1. dan1980

      Re: Root of the problem

      And that could be exactly the point - it's possible that these impossible problems are really just laying the ground work for justifying a far more pervasive monitoring and identification system.

  23. TheDillinquent
    Childcatcher

    Good news for VPN providers.

    Given the popularity of pron sites, and the inconvenience of having to stop what you're doing to verify your age, I can see an upsurge in UK VPN adoption being the most likely outcome.

    This would have the added benefit of overriding all the other UK net censorship

  24. j.bourne

    If only everyone in the UK had some sort of ID card with a code that they could enter into something like a payment page for a credit/debit card and a PIN number to go with it. That could be verified by the bank of government identity watchdog and then the age consent passed back to the website.

    ID cards for all and .gov knowing all your favourite smut sites!

    Hasn't that been a Hobby horse for May for several years now....

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019