back to article Brit film board proposed as overlord of online pr0nz age checks

The British Board of Film Classification will be responsible for regulating age checks for UK users of online porn websites, if the government gets its way. The UK's Ministry of Fun* has proposed the BBFC as the regulator for ensuring sites are using age-verification controls. These checks were made mandatory by the Digital …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    One to watch

    There's an age verification system called AV Secure (or something like that, I've only heard it spoken) which uses blockchain to prevent websites seeing who is verifying their age.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: One to watch

      Too late to edit, but I dug out a link.

    2. Aitor 1 Silver badge

      Re: One to watch

      But being anon would break the whole idea, this is, to know who is watching what.

  2. kbb

    Why not copy mobile?

    As I recall when I signed up to my current mobile provider there was a defacto block on adult sites. To unblock I had to make a token payment of £1 which was then taken off the next bill, to allow me to choose to allow access.

    Why can't the same simply be done with ISPs? Give the control to the bill payer.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Why not copy mobile?

      1) The government don't want you to have control.

      2) This is all about the Great British Soverign Offical DNS Transparent Proxy, and the excuse is it's required to hit foreign sites without age verification with a ban hammer.

      I didn't downvote you by the way, some people might find ISP level control useful, if it's optional.

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Why not copy mobile?

        >Don't you need to be 18 for a mobile phone contract? Therefore no block needed.

        Many kids have phones on their parents contracts. Therefore, block all "adult" content until the person with the phone proves they are an adult.

    3. nethack47

      Re: Why not copy mobile?

      I think the plan is to make sure the worried parents feel like they did something since they are horribly misguided and want to block "bad things" rather than confront their own insecurities.

      Same thinking that brings them to believe the comparison with for instance Netherlands youth who are taught early on about sex and similar has nothing to do with their pretty impressive lack of youth pregnancy and infections etc etc. No it must be that children go off and have sex at the earliest mention of it just like with math and all the other subjects. All that disturbing division and times tables they keep doing the moment they get a chance to be alone with a pen and paper.

      Realistic I think that like the P2P stuff they are adding more lovely tools to block what they need blocked. Just like the IWF we don't get to ask what is blocked and you don't really get to appeal it when you inherit things on the list after whomever was blocked moves on from the IPs.

      Remember this is the same people who are trying to put a master key to your encrypted communication because of .... terrorism/childporn/whateversoundsgood.

    4. Tom 38 Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Why not copy mobile?

      The mobile porn ban is... interesting. On Three, my "I'm an adult" tickbox kept getting reset, requiring a call to CS. Even when it is set, it seems that I do still get blocked from some "adult" sites. I've put "adult" in quotes, since the main thing it was blocking was Tinder* - there is more nudity on instagram.. Even today, it is 50-50 as to whether I can log in to Tinder on mobile (switch to wifi and it works instantly).

      Even when I had the "adult" option unticked, it didn't stop my favourite porn site, google.

      * No, I don't want kids turning up on my Tinder, but it is just a dating site, it's hardly worth blocking

      1. John H Woods

        Re: Why not copy mobile?

        When I see Three's "are you an adult?" page it just reminds me I forgot to turn on my VPN

        1. Tom Paine Silver badge

          Re: Why not copy mobile?

          On the plus side, there will be a renaissance in IT and infosec in the UK 5-10y after this comes in, as all those spotty 13 yos who heard at school that you can get porn with this "tor browser" thing emerge blinking into the light as guru-level hackers...

    5. Tom Paine Silver badge

      Re: Why not copy mobile?

      Yes, the mobile walled garden was the trial for a "kids internet by default" walled garden for the net as a whole. Of course you'll be free to phone up OffWank and register yourself as a disgusting weirdo pervert should you want "adult themes".

    6. Graeme5

      Re: Why not copy mobile?

      Mobiles are generally single user but home broadband is generally multi-user.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Welcome to TLS encrypted DNS...

    ...oh dear - my ISP no longer sees my outgoing traffic destination. And it's all going into random AWS IP addresses...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Welcome to TLS encrypted DNS...

      I've been doing this a while with VPNs, my devices connect to my house, my house (atm) connects to a data centre where my Intenet access exits, currently bypassing all these silly ISP rules/blocks - the data centre isn't an ISP and not bound by them. If that changes, so will my data centre endpoint. :-)

      1. Tom Paine Silver badge

        Re: Welcome to TLS encrypted DNS...

        You use ATM for your home network? That's a bit old-school isn't it?

        * Suddenly realises there's a whole new generation out there who never had to know what 56 byte cells are. Er, were

        1. Tom Paine Silver badge

          Re: Welcome to TLS encrypted DNS...

          Ok, 48 bytes. Am I mixing up ATM and BRI / PRI?

  4. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    Attempts by the Government to block porn will fail

    Errrm.....I cant really add much to the title really. So.....okay then......carry on......

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Attempts by the Government to block porn will fail

      Okay, I've thought of something else to say. This plan is so half witted, it might well have unintended consequences for the govt. Ways of circumventing the porn block will increase people's skills and knowledge of privacy, possibly without them even knowing it. The market will provide goods and services to help people stay private too. If people become more confident that their porn browsing is private, they may become more adventurous in their tastes in pr0n, and perhaps the internet generally. If more people become privacy capable, the spooks will have more trouble tracking illegal activity when they actually need to....

      1. JimboSmith Silver badge

        Re: Attempts by the Government to block porn will fail

        I was talking to a friend about whether this was a good thing when it was first proposed. She is a woman and yes I was talking about Porn (something someone once advised me not to do). I argued against the block saying that this meant that we had extended censorship to the internet. That it would effectively block people from viewing perfectly legal acts between two (or more) consenting adults. It would also build up a series of databases that list who has signed up to view this stuff and your 'tastes'. So if you're into the flying helmet and wet celery* then it will doubtless be recorded somewhere. She said the usual we need to protect the children, there's more disgusting stuff out there and it's easier to get hold of than it was when we were children etc.

        I said would you be happy with softcore porn being transmitted unencrypted every evening on (terrestrial) tv? She said the 'babe on the bed' channels weren't really porn were they you saw as much in the Daily Mail? I said that Babestation and (back then) Television X were broadcast unencrypted everynight. Most televisions/set top boxes won't be able to view it without paying for a password but a USB tv stick would allow you to watch. Oh if you'd seen her face at this point. I then said that you had to age verify Twitter, Bing Google, Tumblr, various image upload sites etc. and showed her that even though I've never paid to take the adult block off my phone I could access smut. Explaining to a parent that using technology to try and regulate what your children see is almost always due to fail. Using your skills as a parent to educate them about this smutty stuff was far better and could be combined with technological methods too. Her current method for restricting her children's internet access to certain hours was to have two routers. One was in a connected 24/7 to the internet and her children did not have the wifi password. The other which they did have the password to was only connected/switched on during homework hours. Both were in a locked cupboard so that there weren't any illicit connections.

        *RIP <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=__nCqus8plY>David Croft</a>

    2. Oh Homer
      Big Brother

      Re: Attempts by the Government to block porn will fail

      I could live without porn (wait! what am I saying?), but for me the biggest concern is that this is just a pretext to arbitrarily block anything our overlords don't approve of. Today it's porn, tomorrow it's an austerity protest site...

      Will it fail? Well, partially. It'll fail for the typical El Reg reader, whose savvy enough to use VPN et al, but in the short term (at least) it'll probably succeed for the great unwashed masses, at which point you might as well rebrand the UK as North Korea 2.0.

      1. Muscleguy Silver badge

        Re: Attempts by the Government to block porn will fail

        Or since May seems well chummy with Rajoy next IndyRef here in Scotland pretexts will be found to block access to lots of Indy supporting sites. Catalonia simply moved them out of Spain. We may have to do the same here in Scotland.

        Having Wings Over Scotland based in Bath may prove to be a masterstroke.

  5. Solarflare

    "While BBFC say they will only block a few large sites that don't use age verification, there are tens of thousands of porn sites," said Jim Killock, director of the Open Rights Group.

    I would wager that's off by several orders of magnitude.

    1. Smooth Newt
      Meh

      'The government said the BBFC had "unparalleled expertise" in classifying content'

      Why is that relevant? Does it mean that they are going to be classifying web content then?

      If so, who is going to be paying for that? Let me guess, they will be saying to website owners "if you don't want your website blocked, then give us lots of money for classifying it".*

      A bit like the traditional "if you don't want your windows broken, then give us lots of money for insurance".

      * Current rate varies between £2.91 and £7.16 per minute of video. Plus VAT of course, since the Treasury wants its cut too. http://www.bbfc.co.uk/industry-services/additional-information/fee-tariff

      1. JimboSmith Silver badge

        Re: 'The government said the BBFC had "unparalleled expertise" in classifying content'

        Yes that's exactly what they're going to do, regulate the websites who have content that doesn't fit with English/Welsh law. Such as BDSM sites which show videos/photos where marks are left on the submissive. Obviously this won't apply in Scotland where they have a different law

        Scotland bans smut. What smut? Won't say" just don't tell anyone:

        A spokesman told us: "We do not publicly disclose our prosecution policy in relation to specific offences as to do so may allow offenders to adapt or restrict their behaviour to conduct which falls short of our prosecution threshold."

        They added that any such information would also be exempt from any attempt to tease it out by using Freedom of Information legislation.

        Jennie Kermode, a Glasgow-based campaigner and writer for film review site Eye for Film told us: "The problem with the Crown Office's position in this instance is that, with the best will in the world, people cannot be expected to adhere to a law they do not understand. In the case of a crime like murder, it's pretty simple – don't kill people."

        She added: "In this case, what the law says is that people may possess some images but not others; how are they to know which ones are okay?

        "This kind of law has a chilling effect on activity not actually considered criminal, much as the infamous Section 2A (clause 28 in England) restricted discussion of homosexuality far beyond its original mandate due to its lack of clarity. Such intentional obfuscation goes against the spirit of our legal system."

        1. Tom Paine Silver badge

          Re: 'The government said the BBFC had "unparalleled expertise" in classifying content'

          Didn't expect to learn anything or be shocked, but this qualifies for both:

          "A spokesman told us: "We do not publicly disclose our prosecution policy in relation to specific offences as to do so may allow offenders to adapt or restrict their behaviour to conduct which falls short of our prosecution threshold."

          Isn't there some sort of legal principle with a Latin name that you can't prosecute secret laws, in all justice / law enforcement systems worthy of the name? (Yes, even the wacky French investigative magistrates system)

          1. JimboSmith Silver badge

            Re: 'The government said the BBFC had "unparalleled expertise" in classifying content'

            Not if you're in Scotland it seems. They're saying it's okay for you to view certain smutty things just not what would constitute breaking the law. So basically the someone might have an image that they believe is perfectly legal. They are unable to verify this though as the definition of what's legal is missing. They could be unwittingly breaking the law in that case. I find it amazing that they're getting away with this although I suspect it hasn't been challenged in court yet. Now that would be interesting to see.

            Dunno about any latin named anything but I suspect there will be a criminal barrister at a party I'm going to before Christmas and I'll ask them.

  6. wolfetone Silver badge

    "Are you 18?"

    "Yes"

    "Here you go".

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Let me correct that for you -

      > Are you 18? Enter your credit card details here for verification purposes.

      > Thank you for subscribing. Have a nice day.

      1. FuzzyWuzzys
        Facepalm

        "Are you 18? Enter your credit card details here for verification purposes."

        ....blank page....

        ...30 secs later....

        *buzz buzz* "Barclays Bank Fraud Alert SMS! Your card has been trying to run 3000 transactions a minute to www.buy-drugs.com and has been blocked. Have a nice day!"

  7. Khaptain Silver badge

    Suitable alternatives

    The first question that should be asked is "Why" the under 18s want to look at porn or other illicit content.. Answer that question first and then proceed to determine if any action should be taken...

    Quite possibly the under 18s need their minds nourished with something other than what is currently on offer but do we truly have better suitable alternatives for them ? If we don't offer them something better then I can easily understand why they are doing what they are doing.. Porn and illicit content are a means of escaping the trials tribulations of contemporary society, just like drugs and alcohol, which when taken in moderation are perfectly fine, it's the over-indulgence that creates problems.

    And what about the other powerful elements that are in play; subliminal advertising, junk TV, junk food, the dream of instantly becoming rich without making any effort all being pushed endlessly 24 hours a day etc,etc. Shouldn't we also consider the negative impacts that they undoubtedly bring ?

    Society in general has a role to play we cant just blame the governments. It really does appear as though we are sliding down towards a very dark place...

    1. GruntyMcPugh Silver badge

      Re: Suitable alternatives

      In my day a 'suitable alternative' was the Lingerie section of the Littlewoods catalogue.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Suitable alternatives

        Or even some Picasso or Dali.

        1. Swiss Anton

          Re: Suitable alternatives

          Only down voting "Or even some Picasso or Dali." because if my only alternative to porn was a Dali or Picasso, then I shudder to think how I would have turned out. That stuff is definitely not normal.

          1. David 132 Silver badge
            Trollface

            Re: Suitable alternatives

            if my only alternative to porn was a Dali or Picasso, then I shudder to think how I would have turned out. That stuff is definitely not normal.

            You don't find elephants with 40-foot long spider legs, melting pocket-watches, or screaming horses, sensual and erotic? You weirdo. Now if you'll excuse me I need to take a cold shower.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Suitable alternatives

        In my day, I don't remember government age restricting access to hedgerows, which is how we used to get porn when under 18.

        1. FuzzyWuzzys

          Re: Suitable alternatives

          Either than or wait for your older brother to go out for the evening and raid his stash!

        2. rmason Silver badge

          Re: Suitable alternatives

          'Round my way it was both the hedgerow and , the occasional "jackpot" left in skips by builders.

      3. Tom Paine Silver badge

        Re: Suitable alternatives

        It seems a long time ago now, but the Sun used to print pics of "topless lovelies" every day. ISTR their minimum age for models was 17, which would make those editions child porn today I believe. Heh. Kelvin McFilth would now be on the sex offenders register for life if he wasn't still banged up on the segregation wing...

        1. A Ghost
          Holmes

          Re: Suitable alternatives

          See Samantha Fox - she was 16.

          ============================================

          3. Raising the legal age

          Previously, printing images of women aged 16 or 17 on Page 3 was deemed acceptable. In 1983, Sam Fox was the youngest at only 16 when she first featured topless in the paper with the headline 'Sam, 16, Quits A-Levels for Ooh-Levels'.

          However, the passing of the Sexual Offences Act in 2003 resulted in the minimum age for women posing on Page 3 being raised to 18. This now means that all former images featuring women under 18 are now potentially illegal.

          ===================================

          http://www.digitalspy.com/showbiz/feature/a622891/8-startling-facts-about-the-suns-page-3-from-16-year-old-models-to-the-dungeon-of-drax/

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Suitable alternatives

            Retrospective law - right up there with secret laws and censorship as things the British public* are crying out for.

            /sarcasm off.

            *as opposed to the control freak Claire Perry.

          2. Absent

            Re: Suitable alternatives

            What I said at the time was "someone's going to have to go through each library's newspaper back catalogue and remove loads of page 3s".

    2. Teiwaz Silver badge

      Re: Suitable alternatives

      Society in general has a role to play we cant just blame the governments

      No we can't blame the governments specifically for the shortfalls in the human condition.

      We can blame them when their solutions just feed into the same old misapprehensions of the human condition with doctored statistics from flawed research to push an agenda totally biased to some (mostly) minority puritan religious mindset.

    3. phuzz Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Suitable alternatives

      As kids we found porn under a railway bridge.

      Not that unusual you might think, but this particular bridge was on a (then) closed line, in the middle of the countryside (at least a mile from the nearest village).

      So some heroic smut peddler must have walked at least half a mile, in order to make sure us kids got a sex education. Thank you sir/madam!

  8. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge

    Oh, wow...

    And there was I mistakenly thinking it was the parents role to educate the children, both morally and intellectually.

    1. Smooth Newt
      Happy

      Re: Oh, wow...

      And there was I mistakenly thinking it was the parents role to educate the children, both morally and intellectually.

      This isn't about parenting. Most parents are competent enough to look after their children properly, including dealing with this sort of issue.

      It's about retaining the votes of both the "something must be done" blue rinse brigade and the ardent feminists who believe that even gay porn objectifies women (except when they are watching it themselves). Neither group can get it banned outright, but "think of the children" is an obvious lever to restrict it as much as they can. The endpoint is making age verification so costly and inconvenient that it has much the same effect as a ban.

      1. anothercynic Silver badge

        Re: Oh, wow...

        They *might* be competent, but many choose not to address this, derogating responsibility to schools, only to lambast teachers about the lack of standards and attention to make sure little Suzy and little Johnny never learn about the actual act of their creation, nevermind the fact that they learn this from their fellow little friends on the playground...

      2. Tom Paine Silver badge

        Re: Oh, wow...

        I really don't think many "ardent feminists" vote Tory.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Oh, wow...

          @Tom Paine

          Which reminds me of a joke I heard recently.

          Q: If misogynist is the name given to people who hate women, what's the equivalent for those who hate men?

          A: There isn't one. Feminist will do.

          On a serious note, that's exactly how most men regard feminists. Even if they don't admit it.

          1. Roj Blake Silver badge
            Headmaster

            Re: Oh, wow...

            Misandrist.

            Someone who hates men is a misandrist.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So first you have to opt-in with your ISP then prove your age?

    Did I not do that by being old enough to sign up to an ISP?

    Tits.

    1. GruntyMcPugh Silver badge

      old enough,....

      ... yeah, you'd have thought that having a direct debit from a current account and being the owner of the property where the broadband was hooked up to would identify someone as an adult. But hey,.... apparently not.

      I presume the UK Citizen Card will be acceptable proof? The Govt negotiated that with all the adult sites before proposing the ban didn't they?

    2. Korev Silver badge
      Coat

      You made a boob of yourself there...

    3. PassingStrange

      "So first you have to opt-in with your ISP then prove your age?

      Did I not do that by being old enough to sign up to an ISP?

      Tits."

      ...like coconuts!

      And - sparrows like breadcrumbs!

    4. Tom Paine Silver badge

      Breaking: I am writing this in my local via their free wifi. You think they want to register as an ISP and do age verification checks on everyone who reads the password off the chalkboard behind the bar?

      1. A Ghost
        Gimp

        Tom, this is your wife, I was wondering where you were. Come home NOW!

        "You've been a very naughty boy", it that helps you cum home any quicker.

        I'm waiting!

        And it's bin night!

        P.S. please bring a Chinese.

        No, not girl, food!

        Bad bad boy!

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @Tom Paine

        Good point but...

        Who in their right mind would opt-in to porn when sharing the connection via public wifi?

        I suppose if you had a coffee shop call starfucks you might.

        1. Afernie

          "Who in their right mind would opt-in to porn when sharing the connection via public wifi?"

          You'd be surprised. "Right mind" implies "thinking", after all.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    block sites that don't comply by telling UK ISPs to restrict access to them

    as long as they do no more than what has been done about pirated contents, let them.

    btw, it will be interesting to see the first court case when parents are being sent to jail for watching their underage kids watch themselves on one of those banned sites...

  11. m-k

    development of age-verification products is "out of BBFC's hands"

    I think this should be handled by another widely-known and acclaimed board of mumsneters! Surely they wouldn't shirk from their life-long responsibility to keep our children safe?!

    p.s. never mind the gov funding!

  12. Red Bren
    Gimp

    First they came for the porn sites and I said nothing, because I had a ball gag in my mouth...

    1. FuzzyWuzzys

      Nah. S&M play always works better with the threat of punishment, not the actual punishment!

      ...I said nothing because my mistress told me, "Touch that keyboard bitch and I'll have you over my knee!"

      1. A Ghost
        IT Angle

        @FuzzyWuzzys - I'm going to assume here that you are an 18 year old girl. If not, please ignore my comment, and apologies to you, good sir!

        ---------------------------------------------

        ...I said nothing because my mistress told me, "Touch that keyboard bitch and I'll have you over my knee!"

        -------------------------------------------------

        I like it how she works it.

        Btw, Pandora brings up some very pertinent and important points about how this will affect people using 'audio' porn. It seems to be included, but no one knows what it is, technically. This is a major drawback for blind people. If I may virtue signal for a moment, I used to 'look after' a big fat Oirish ogre of a blind bastard once. Great chap. Told him about my experience about trying to help a blind person off the tube who told me "I can help myself thankyou very much I don't need you".

        He said: "Oi fokkin' hate fokkin' bloind conts like dat I doo, to be sure". Ok, he didn't say the 'to be sure' bit. That was an exaggeration. "If somm wan orfers me a fokkin' hand I gladly accept, I do, to be sure". I might have over-gilded the lily with this one. Mind you, this was a bloke that pulled out BOTH of his glass eyes and plonked them in a pint glass (half full) at his local pub when someone accused him of faking his blindness. You never can tell. The barmaid puked.

        Long story short. Do you not think he deserves a bit of audio porn as well? HTF does he set up all the extra shenanigans (not a smart reference to his ethnicity I promise) on his computer, when he has to get in wankers like me just to get it to work in the first place. I can't imagine him saying: "So Oi'm tryin' to arcsess dis here smot soite, bot dey keep askin' me for a fokkin' password to moi credit card, so dey do".

        Can't see it happening really.

        Pandora makes an excellent point about how no one really knows how these laws will be applied. She's asked, but not received any feedback. She also brings up the general point that if these new laws are applied to audio, will they be applied to text as well. She goes in to depth and explains it much better than me. Still, I've not heard anyone bring up that argument elsewhere.

        Also see: http://mylesjackman.com/index.php/my-blog/106-the-following-content-is-not-acceptable

        for what is and isn't allowed. It's a mockery of everything that is common sense. It's an affront to logic. It's an invite to the Lords of Karma. We shall see how this unfolds...

        Meanwhile, back in the office.

        ---------------------------------------------

        ...I said nothing because my mistress told me, "Touch that keyboard bitch and I'll have you over my knee!"

        -------------------------------------------------

        FuzzyWuzzys had just about had enough of this stuck up cunt bossing her around like she owned her, all because she directed a paycheck to her once a month.

        So FW decided to turn the tables on her. She'd seen the way the horny old slut had been eyeing up her pert, erect nipples, which FW made sure were particularly pert and erect any time she got called in to the "cunt's" office.

        FW touched the keyboard. Then touched it again. In fact, she just kept jack-hammering F5 like a mad woman. She did everything but stick out her tongue. This was a direct disobeying of an order, and she knew it wouldn't go unpunished. But would the office bitch have the balls to back up her bullshit, and put Miss FW over her stocking clad knee? If so, FW would submit. If not... Miss FW would know she was hers. And that bitch would be going over her knee, for some swift and strict punishment.

        They both looked at each other for a few seconds. Neither breaking their gaze, but neither submitting either. The office bitch looked all shocked and 'how very dare you', but Miss FW just looked at her right back as if to say: "What the fuck you gonna do about it, bitch?".

        It was a tense standoff, and now I'm probably banned from El Reg for life, and on some other kind of register as well, I wouldn't be surprised...

        If not, tune in next week to see what happened. Advertising space available. Age Verification provided...

        :-)

        Bitches...

        [Dedicated to the memory of Miss B, the finest Moderatrix, the entire internet has ever known]

  13. inmypjs Silver badge

    And the internet will....

    treat the work of moronic politicians as a failure and route around it.

  14. Dr_N Silver badge

    BBFC

    I thought the British public had had enough of un-elected bureaucrats imposing their will upon the population...?

    1. Tom Paine Silver badge

      Re: BBFC

      It's a fun thing to do with Brexitards trotting out that "unelected bureaucrats" line. Ask them to name the current head of the Civil Service.

      (Just as the response to 'taking back control' is to ask when they intend to repeal the 14,000 other binding treaties the UK has signed up to...)

  15. Peb

    So this

    Is the time to buy shares in VPN companies!

  16. Nigel Whitfield.

    This may, perversely, encourage more porn

    In my spare time (though it's rapidly taking up a lot more than that), I run an international leather club, for gentlemen who like leather uniforms. We have a strict dresscode, which has to apply to all photos uploaded, that explicitly prohibits (amongst other things) nudity, and sexually explicit photos.

    We operate as a non profit, and our income is just from member donations and T shirt sales. It's not a hook up site - far more social than that, and this year our members around the world have organised over 150 social events.

    And yet, we're classified as pornography by Sky's broadband filter. I raised this with them and they said "We categorize all fetish sites as pornography even the more innocuous ones like this site."

    That, ultimately, may sound our death knell. If, as some reports have suggested, every site presently listed as porn by filters is told they have to verify age, I doubt we would be able to afford the fees that will be charged by one of these firms - and since we try very hard to protect the privacy of our members, I'd be very reluctant to go down that route anyway.

    If, however, we were forced, then what would happen? We'd have to get more money from our members, which would almost certainly mean moving from a donation to a paid membership model. But with only around 3,500 members and no explicit photos, why would people pay? For the community stuff - perhaps - but then would all our volunteers around the world still volunteer to do things for what was now a commercial outfit? I doubt the figures would work out.

    And so, to make ends meet, we'd have a couple of choices - destroy a twenty year old community by selling up to someone with deeper pockets. Or relax our rules and allow people to upload explicit photos to their profiles, in the hope that doing so will encourage people to think it worth paying for.

    There are many fetish communities online that don't have explicit content. I don't particularly object to us being flagged "for over 18 only" so that we could be filtered out by prudes or parents. But by labeling us porn, this stupid rule could well force us to choose between ceasing to exist, or actually becoming a porn site.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: This may, perversely, encourage more porn

      Try and get in touch with AVSecure. From what I heard they set up largely to address situations like yours.

    2. anothercynic Silver badge

      Re: This may, perversely, encourage more porn

      Well Nigel, according to the Great Ordained Daily Heil and The Sun That Must Be Obeyed, you *are* pornographic, I mean, who in their right mind would want to dress themselves in tanned animal skins the way you do? It's non-narrow-tunnel-visioned-frock filth and thus is an affront to the Victorian attitudes by those who rule by the Great Ordained Daily Heil and The Sun That Must Be Obeyed...

      Of course, for the rest of us, it's just 'live and let live...' *cue the eyerolls here*

      For any avoidance of doubt, I agree with you and find it pathetic.

      1. Adrian 4 Silver badge

        Re: This may, perversely, encourage more porn

        Hang on, don't assume that the proprieters and marketing droids of these newspapers actually dislike the pr0n. After all, most of them are happy to print nude pictures and I imagine get up to all sorts of stuff in the coke-fuelled orgies. Given the way media barons work, they probably own a fair few of the sites too.

        It's just a marketing position, pushed to appeal to those mumsnet types. No morals are involved, just profit.

    3. Red Bren
      Trollface

      Re: This may, perversely, encourage more porn

      What if I were to admit I find it highly arousing to watch images of 650 fully clothed men and women sitting in rows, hurling jeers and insults at each other?

      I'd hate it if the BBFC were to ban such filth...

    4. A Ghost
      WTF?

      Re: This may, perversely, encourage more porn

      @Nigel Whitfield.

      So the government get to say what is porn and what is not. Noice.

      I'm in a similar situation to you with your leather thing, setting up a fetish site with no nudity and no porn. It's fashion based. More patent leather and snakeskin kind of stuff but for rich women.

      This is why I've spent all day reading all this BS. It's game over really. The last 3-6 months of research and business planning I have done is down the pan. It wasn't supposed to be porn. Perhaps slightly 'erotic' for those that like that kind of thing, but also with cross-fertilization with bona fide fashion sites and new designers, established retail outlets.

      Bummer. So to speak.

      Actually, I'm not in a similar situation to you at all. I've got out while the going was good. You, good sir, will most likely have the rug pulled out from right under you very soon. All that hard work down the pan. I wish you well and hope you can salvage something from the mess.

      I just feel a total idiot for not picking up on this sooner. Doh. I wonder how many others are about to get caught out as well.

      1. John70

        Re: This may, perversely, encourage more porn

        "So the government get to say what is porn and what is not."

        They do have a lot of it on their computers for "analysis".

  17. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

    "The Department for Culture, Media and for some reason also Sport."

    ( The new series of W1A was fantastic ).

    1. Tom Paine Silver badge

      Don't forget "digital", which the gov has decreed s now a noun.

  18. Milton Silver badge

    Heaven forfend that vulnerable minds ("Of course, it doesn't affect ME") should see other humans having it off, but at least they'll still be able to watch atrocious violence, abuse, terrorist executions and the rest on all the other non-porn websites. Always wondered what kind of mental cesspits would-be censors must have, that they'll mouth stridently about a spot of shagging, yet have almost nothing to say about media depictions of people being shot, blown up, tortured and creatively murdered all over the place. It's ok to watch Schwarzenegger blast half a dozen people to bloody chunks, but GET THAT NIPPLE OFF THE SCREEN!

    Take several lazy-minded, self-righteous idiots, add a huge dollop of technical ignorance, and get—bad, stupid laws. It's called modern politics.

    1. Smooth Newt
      Meh

      Re: get that nipple off the screen

      Heaven forfend that vulnerable minds ("Of course, it doesn't affect ME") should see other humans having it off, but at least they'll still be able to watch atrocious violence, abuse, terrorist executions and the rest on all the other non-porn websites

      I've always been a bit skeptical about the vulnerability of those minds. Humans have been around for 200,000 years, and our human-like ancestors living in similar conditions for about 3.5 million years. And those conditions weren't suburban terraced houses.

      There must have been a lot of public shagging going on when we lived in caves, and mud huts usually have just the one room. So that's about 140,000 generations exposed to public rumpy pumpy before it was declared harmful. I would have thought that natural selection would have long since eliminated any debilitating sensitivity.

      1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

        Re: get that nipple off the screen

        However what content are the (very large) media pushers pushing all the time? Yep, stuff that is heavy on explicit sex, nudity and violence - Game of Thrones is the most notable but this is just one of a very great many.

    2. Wensleydale Cheese

      "It's ok to watch Schwarzenegger blast half a dozen people to bloody chunks, but GET THAT NIPPLE OFF THE SCREEN!"

      The Europeans have a more relaxed atttitude to bare flesh.

      "Make love, not war" doesn't sound like a hippy soundbite in this context.

      1. A Ghost
        Thumb Up

        The UK leads the field in censorship. And perversion.

        If it wasn't very naughty, Matron, then I just wouldn't get turned on!

    3. A Ghost
      Coat

      Paradise Lost!

    4. Voidstorm

      Or, in another scenario...

      "Wrap them chairlegs in newspaper, Mother, they're inflamin' me ardour!" (Works best in a slightly posh accent) :)

      One guy's porn is the other guy's art. Nobody else is entitled to be my moral censor : that's my job, not some government appointed control freak.

  19. CAPS LOCK Silver badge

    This is being set up to fail...

    ... the end run is a government run white list because the 'blocking didn't work'. Once the need for a white list is is established a charge will be made to be accepted or retained on the list. Like other similar schemes the charge will be insignifiant at first. Later it will be turned into a source of revenue for the Exchequer.

    1. Marcus Fil

      Re: This is being set up to fail...

      but, but ..this is the internet ..designed from the outset to route round obstructions.If people in N Korea are still getting access to stuff they should not (and they are) then good luck HMG - now when can I have the tax you waste on this debacle back?

  20. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Meanwhile

    in peado corner, the kiddy fiddlers will be downloading child pornography from private FTP servers which have nothing to do with google/bing/regular grumble sites....

    And the first peado done after the new laws come in will be used as an example of "Our laws are failing.... tighten the bans!!" by the likes of the daily w(m)ail et al

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Meanwhile

      I worry that pushing porn underground will expose more people to that kind of stuff.

  21. This post has been deleted by its author

  22. swampdog

    It could have been so easy..

    ..to make something useful out of the domain name sell off.

    Domains *.kid.* is for children. Everything else is adult.

    1. A Ghost
      Big Brother

      Re: It could have been so easy..

      @swampdog - that's a good point.

      An earlier commentard was saying (I paraphrase) 'why do the kids feel the need to do this, how can we educate them, provide them alternatives?'.

      Young kids (talking slightly pre-teen and early teen) like a lot of very socially acceptable things. They like fashion, they like music, they like make-up if they are girls, they like motor-bikes if they are boys. Yeah, I'm gender stereotyping. Sue me. The boys wear blue and the girls all wear pink. :-)

      Nothing inherently wrong in any of this. These are fantastic, honest to goodness outlets.

      Ok, so music has been usurped by those that want to push soft porn. We can solve that. It doesn't need to be that way. Fashion is harder as clothes are meant to make you feel good/secure/sexy - not necessarily in that order. Sometimes all at once. Make-up for a kid can just be advice on how to hide spots or it can be full-on 'make me look like my favourite slutty pop-star'.

      Obviously it's not good for young girls to want to look slutty at the age of 13, I won't get in to the argument about boys at that age. We need to change the culture. And the truth is, sites like Youtube promote all kinds of stuff.

      Disclaimer: I've done a fair bit of research in to the make-up scene on youtube. It would be peado heaven if you were inclined that way. I've been subbed to and friends with 13 year old girls that show how to either do the aforementioned concealer type make-up, or the going out type of make up. Usually their dad/mum finds out and the channel gets made private. No loss to me. They were small channels, but you did get the odd pervert. I white knighted as much as I could, keeping them in check, but ultimately it was the responsibility of the parents. Research. And now I'm providing my findings.

      I got in to it via ASMR actually if the truth be told, and I have several long standing high sub youtube celebs that can vouch for me. Then I got in to the fashion thing. Now we have had the recent under-age paedo scandal. Yeah right. Like we weren't actively warning you 6-7 years ago about this. Where were the parents? 11 years old and doing make-up toots on how to look like Christina Aguilera? And that stuff goes on more than ever today. This is where perverts hang out and get their kicks, not necessarily the dark web. But 'ad-revenue'.

      The wild west is almost over with all this stuff, but then again, a new wild west is starting. As more people connect, children getting sexualised at younger ages by big corporations. It's hypocrisy at its finest. I have 'mens rea' in my defense for anything I've watched. But what do google or youtube have in theirs, after actively promoting this? They push it then they want to police it. It's like a psychodrama.

      The more they crush it the more it will grow. Stop buying your kids fucking iPads for fuck's sake.

      There should be a domain exclusively for kids. No adults. A safe space if you like (god I hate that term). Anyway, how do we police it? Age verification? Ah ah. Gotcha.

      AND/NOT Logic? EITHER/OR?

      We have seriously failed our kids in providing any kind of framework for them to have a sandbox of their own. And the thing that rustles my jim-jams the most, is how we use them as a lightning rod for the great lightning strike of 'muh children - won't you think of them'. Worse than hypocrisy. It is disingenuous and sinister.

      In my time of doing a little research on the matter, it has not just sickened me a little to see how the big organisations like the FBI and CIA and WTF actually perpetrate this crap by letting it go unpunished just for new marks, new hits, new budgets, new kicks probably.

      This world is a cesspool. No one cares about the kids. They are just bait.

      But wouldn't it be loverly for them to just have their own little world to play among each other, in innocence. If they had that, the government would have to shit on it as an excuse to police the adults, in the name of, just to keep them under control.

  23. Cynic_999 Silver badge

    If I knew what the problem was, maybe I'd have a solution

    So little Johnny (or Jane) sees porn. If they are young, they giggle and get back to something interesting like Minecraft. If older, they get aroused, have a wank, then get back to something interesting like Facebook. Not sure I see at what stage there is any damage caused, unless there is concern that it might interfere with the pro-ISIS indoctrination of our disaffected youth.

    1. Tom Paine Silver badge

      Re: If I knew what the problem was, maybe I'd have a solution

      Well. Up to a point. I fear it would be disingenuous to claim there's no harms to individuals or society /at all/ associated with porn. I just don't agree the harms merit this sort of policy response; in fact I think it will likely increase the aggregate harm and make the world, overall, a slightly worse place.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. Suricou Raven

        Re: If I knew what the problem was, maybe I'd have a solution

        There's a lack of really good science relating to the effects of pornography. It's not for a lack of trying - but once you throw out the studies actually carried out by anti-pornography groups, you find what what's left is contradictory and of dubious methodology. The problem is that you'll never get ethical approval for a controlled study*, and correlative ones alone tell you absolutely nothing when there are so many other variables which cannot be properly compensated for.

        * Just ask your ethics board: "I'd like to show porngraphy to to two hundred children twice a week for five years, and see if they grow up any different from the control group."

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Rumors

    I've heard rumors that the BBFC plans to block porn sites regardless of if they have age verification or not.

    I'm not sure how credible it is, though.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Rumors

      "I've heard rumors that the BBFC plans to block porn sites regardless of if they have age verification or not."

      So...which Conservative MPs have a financial stake in top shelf print media?

  25. WolfFan Silver badge
    Gimp

    All of you have the wrong attitude

    I see this as a perfect chance to have a Job For Life(tm). I hereby volunteer to be the one who searches the deep, dank, depths of the Internet looking for p0rn... and gets paid for it. I'd have to do a Proper British Job of it, of course, and go through every single website on the Internet, one at a time, inspecting them thoroughly and completely, before marking them as either p0rn-free or as filthy evil hives of scum and villainy. I figure that it'll take me at least an hour per site. Maybe two. Maybe even a whole day. Maybe a week, if the evil hive has enough villainy. I might need a few extra hard drives to store my research materials.

    It's a dirty job, but someone has to do it. And I thought of it first, so it's all mine.

    El Reg, you can get listed as being p0rn-free if you promise me enough BOFH stories, and if you bring back the Sainted Ms. Bee(tm). Otherwise... scum and villainy, ahoy!

    1. WolfFan Silver badge

      Re: All of you have the wrong attitude

      Bah. Turns out that there's prior art on this.

      http://dilbert.com/strip/1995-07-26

      It's still a great idea.

    2. Vinyl-Junkie

      Re: All of you have the wrong attitude

      Better make sure the health insurance covers RSI then...

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Seeing pron at a young age? Back in the day it was the lad doing a paper round and nicking mags off the top shelf - he was tall for his age .. and another lad who found a strange Dutch magazine in a hedge. Sticky but educational.

    Too strait laced us Brits by far.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Looking forward to

    cheesy Pearl & Dean ads streaming at you whilst waiting for the verification to complete.

  28. Wolfclaw

    You would think with all the porn being accessed in Westminster, this would have been shot down in flames to ensure or politicians still get to meet Mrs Hand and her five daughters, in their private chambers !

  29. Tom Paine Silver badge

    May's tin ear

    Yet another example of May's political tin ear. She has no idea that most porn users who are going to be...

    1. Astonished (they have no idea this is, uh, coming down the pipe), and

    2. Too embarrassed to be writing letters to their MPs demanding the right to toss off over whatever they want, and

    3. quietly furious and will vote/ tell pollsters so, because they won't have to say "I masturbate" out loud, just that they won't be voting Tory.

    And the poor Maybot will be there on election night, beeping plaintively, saying "stated conclusion does not agree with programmed facts!" like the robot dancers at the crap disco Zaphod and Zarniwoop think they're escaping from the MegaDodo Publishing office building to via a free teleportation flyer as it's being towed at hyperspeed whatever to the Frogstar... But I digress.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: May's tin ear

      Yet another example of May's political tin ear. She has no idea

      FTFY.

  30. FlamingDeath Bronze badge

    Social media

    Age check for social media?

    I'm pretty sure the shit that gets posted faecesbook is no good for young minds

    Will the British film board be policing that?

    What's worse, some woman (or man) being consensually fisted?

    Or some snuff porn like shown on Liveleak?

    It seems to me like the priorities are all wrong

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Welcome to the nanny state

    VPN all the way. Then people in the warez scene will release random fake logins for people to use. And surely if a site isn't hosted in the UK the UK can't force it to use the age login?

    1. Suricou Raven

      Re: Welcome to the nanny state

      There are ways easier than the VPN. There already exists an infrastructure for the covert location and distribution of illegal data - the world of piracy. Plenty of porn there.

  32. A Ghost
    Windows

    This isn't about the 'kids' - it's about control.

    Excellent link to that most erudite young lady Pandora you gave el Reg.

    Couple of beers, bit of a cock-up on the grammer (sic) front, Reggie. Super! Great!

    This is a pre-cursor to the great firewall of Blighty. Of course we can circumvent, but it will mark us all the same. The great unwashed? Let's just say I'm looking forward to seeing my 'dirty bitch' of a Doctor's p()rn viewing habits. She looks like a right goer, she does! Ahem...

    Yes, Super! Great!

    I didn't get where I am today Reggie by respecting people's privacy!

    No CJ.

    I just took people's basic human right to privacy and data-raped them to hell and back again!

    Yes CJ.

    Super!

    Great!

    For anyone with more than a passing interest in this, you want to go to Pandora's site and read everything she has written, plus all the people she has linked to like the famous (I hadn't heard of him before, admittedly) Obscenity Laws Lawyer.

    This whole shebang makes a mockery of the entire justice system. Totally out of whack with itself. I can see trouble ahead. Never mind the LAMP stack, think of the WANK stack! Or rather the entire justice system stack that will bring this to bear from snooping and finding people, people being outed, deciding who to prosecute to make test cases to set precedents, and then the not so slow drip drip dribble of the true crushing of people's rights and the real reason for all this malarkey. Yup, control!

    Not to mention the blackmail. The families ripped apart by the fact that big butch Daddy likes twinks on a Saturday afternoon while Wifey goes to knitting classes. Actually, Wifey is wardriving to hijack people's open WiFi so she can download LezDom porn. She's got a bigger collection than he does. It all comes out when shit meets fan. And I'm not talking about...

    That Brenda 4 doors up from you that works in the bins department? She never liked you. You never even knew. You never even knew she was called Brenda. You probably didn't even know she had the fully legal power to access your entire browsing history all in the name of her job. And you wonder why people have stopped talking to you down the pub? Wonder no more. People laughing as you pass them in the street? They know your dirty little secret. In fact, Brenda knows a man who can, and even gleaned a few photos of you in that loli dress, sucking that lolipop so suggestively. And you, a big oil rig worker as well. Tut tut. It's all out now. Think of the kids. Think of your kids. When Brenda's kids tell them, and all the other kids. Men commit suicide for reasons far less than this somewhat plausible scenario.

    But the police will be above the law. Remember that mounted police woman who accused someone who snubbed her at a local stables of sexually molesting her 14 year old boy? Yeah, the same one that made threatening phone calls to her family. That's the one, the one that got to resign before getting done entering false malicious information in to the PNC. She gets to keep her pension. She doesn't get prosecuted. Oh well, look on the bright side, in a year or two, knowing her name, where she lives, we will be able to find out her porn viewing habits. Maybe 'she' likes under-age boys ah? Or god forbid, getting a bit too friendly with the horses? Gonna be a lorra lorra fun. The police are not only corrupt, they are above the law when they are found to be corrupt. Justice is not done, and justice is not seen to be being done.

    This is not about the children, this is about strict censorship by other means. In fact, it is worse than that. It is blackmail material on the majority of the entire UK population who surf porn. We are already data-raped and privacy-raped to an obscene extent here on this prison island. This is just the next wave that puts the seal on it. A jack boot, forever...

    The big 'take' I got from Pandora's excellent write-up was that the UK is actually going to make it illegal for the common stuff we get on the front page of the 'big 5' (most owned by mindgeek) to be illegal. And that they MUST stop distributing it or else face international prosecution. Or whatever you call it when a little island like Britain tries to bully a big continent like America. Good luck with that.

    Some of the stuff that is illegal, is common sense. No one needs animal shit. No one needs shit shit. Etc. Common sense and I stand by that wholeheartedly. But to be put in prison for watching someone wear a fucking gas mask is a bridge too far. That's all outlawed now. You do hard time for that.

    They are going to go after every one in contact with xhamster pornhub xvideos etc. etc. as business associates and do their best to enforce international law to stop them trading with them. According to this new fancy, those that still show stuff that can not be classified as 18 or R18 by the BRITISH BOARD OF FILM CENSORS (Sorry, CUNTS) will be deemed illegal and if it can be viewed in the UK, Age Verification or no AV, they must take it down. Again, good luck with that. Won't happen of course.

    But what will happen is they will block their pipes (oooh no... matron, thrice and thrice nay...), or rather chop it off at the ISP level. Thrice I say: Good luck with that!

    But this is the endgame, ooh, 5-10 years down the line. The masses will have fallen in to place. Yes master, I look your boot very much mistress. Yes I've been a naughty boy/girl. I know I must be punished master. I want to be punished. Please punish me. Ooopss. Just had an alcoholic blackout and thought I was on F-List for a moment, mistress...

    And all the ones left using proxy, vpn, wtf, will be marked out as subversives and 'people of interest'. They might have made the haystack bigger, but with these measures, they will make the needles easier to find also.

    I called it about 5 years ago on this very website. VPN will be banned for anyone that is not a registered business.

    The government are fucking shitting themselves. These measures are not only unenforceable and unworkable, they are bat-shit crazy, criminally insane. Unintended consequences. I'm going to be checking the chans and pastebin for my dirty doctor's dirty secrets. Has she been playing away from home? What's her kink eh? Bet she's got one. And with a dump of her email addy along with all the other info, I can rip her accounts - all of them - private chat, phone messages, picture and image backup off her iPhone. Oh yes.

    I for one can't wait for our new Totalitarian Fuckwit Overlords to bring this about.

    Fat fucking city.

    I don't hack/crack btw, but I know a man who can. And he doesn't charge very much at all. Worth every penny to see what my dirty bitch of a doctor is up to behind closed doors. Up until now, I never really had a chance. With this new fiasco, it's just a matter of time. Patience, my precious, you will be mine, you will be pwned, yes, yes...

    [If it's not totally clear by now with me acting the goat, I wouldn't actually do that to my lovely doctor. But just imagine some sick deranged fuck of a stalker in my little role play]

    Reggie thinks of Theresa May and gets a serious flashback to a large Hippopotamus.

    OOh look, my connection got reset and part of my post deleted. That like, never, happens, when I'm posting subversive content.

    Whatevs. Go here and check out what Pandora has to say:

    http://pandorablake.com/blog/tag/AV%20consultation

    Chuck her a couple of quid as well if you can. She's a very intelligent lady. I don't even necessarily agree with everything she does. But who cares what I think? She's putting her time and effort in and doing a damn good job. It's probably going to be her main job in a few months time as she might have to close her entire business down if this all goes ahead, which it will.

  33. A Ghost
    Facepalm

    Back to the subject at hand -

    In his book Beaver Street, Robert Rosen provides rare documentation of ascam involving High Society magazine, in which users were asked to verify their age via credit card information to access an ostensibly free tour and then auto-billed $60 a month.

    Not that business practices ranging from disingenuous to fraudulent are unique to pornography.

    https://hackerfall.com/story/tubes-vs-torrents-the-ethics-of-piracy

    A good read.

  34. Grease Monkey

    It's been said before, but the likes of The Pirate Bay are blocked by UK ISPs, but people continue to use them thanks to VPNs and proxies. Why will this be any different?

    Another case where the government will be seen to be doing something while in reality doing nothing.

  35. unwarranted triumphalism

    A lot of you seem to know an awful lot about online pornography and how to evade security measures.

    You need to take a look at yourselves before the authorities start asking you some difficult questions.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    DOH...

    Nothing more likley to advance privacy tools.

  37. Cuddles Silver badge

    Security concerns?

    "Security concerns are not helped by MindGeek companies' poor security history. PornHub users suffered a malvertising campaign this year and in 2012 a YouPorn data breach spilled 1 million users' details."

    If that's the worst that's happened to them, they're significantly more secure than just about any other company on the internet.

  38. EnviableOne Bronze badge

    OK so They are working on this, but the US still hasnt managed to enforce properly the COPPA which has been in-force since 1998.

    How many under 13s have you seen on social media....

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