back to article Peers approve Brit film board as pr0n overlords despite concerns

Peers have rubber-stamped the British Board of Film Classification as the regulator for age checks on porn websites, but voiced concerns over delays in issuing guidance. The government's Digital Economy Act requires that spank-viewing UK residents prove they are 18 or over, and it has proposed the BBFC as gatekeeper. In the …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You will be required to produce your National ID card

    to be recorded onto a Watch List if you want to view any seditious Mike Leigh or Ken Loach films.

  2. Dan 55 Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Magic which will happen will be determined at a future date

    The BBFC will rate all websites on the Internet, somehow. Age verification will happen, somehow.

    With such a solid foundation, how is this not going to burn down, fall over, and then sink into the swamp?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Magic which will happen will be determined at a future date

      You are asking questions citizen. That is sedition. You should not be thinking, that is dangerous.

      Next thing you will start thinking on why is Robert Mueller investigating certain Cambridge Analytica communications and how does this relate to the fact that they donated 3m+ of goods and services at zero value to the leave campaign. Even more dangerous - you may start thinking on why is UK media not reporting it and we end up learning about it from US senators making a hash out of talking to the media about the Nunnes storm in a teacup.

      Such ability to think shall not be allowed. I suggest you introduce yourself to the location of Lark Hill. You will be relocated there shortly.

      1. phuzz Silver badge

        Re: Magic which will happen will be determined at a future date

        "why is Robert Mueller investigating certain Cambridge Analytica communications"

        Presumably more due to their possible involvement in the US elections, rather than brexit, and the UK media has reported on them.

        There's over 600 MPs who all want different things, a lot of which involve embarrassing other MPs, so talking about the government like it's one monolithic entity is rather simplifying the situation.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Magic which will happen will be determined at a future date

          Presumably more due to their possible involvement in the US elections, rather than brexit, and the UK media has reported on them.

          Not on the subject that they have ended up within the scope of the Russian Involvement inquiry and some of their communications are being looked into.

          "why is Robert Mueller investigating certain Cambridge Analytica communications"

          Correct. However, it is quite interesting that the UK media has not picked up this particular angle - the Mueller + Analitica one. In fact, prior to one of the US congressmen dropping this by mistake in the exchanges around the Nunnes memo this was not reported ANYWHERE.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Who are they going to employ to check all these pr0n websites?

    Lets face it by the time you've gotten round to checking them all there will be more than you checked in the first place.

    Is there a pop up book on how the internet works they can read?

    1. Roj Blake Silver badge

      Re: Who are they going to employ to check all these pr0n websites?

      It's a tough job, but I'd be willing to do it (in the interests of society).

    2. VinceH Silver badge
      Coat

      "Is there a pop up book on how the internet works they can read?"

      If there is, I don't know - pop ups are blocked here.

    3. A. N. Onymouse

      Who will they get to review the content?

      There is an odd cyclical thinking in the BBFC reasoning.

      1) Material must be reviewed and censored to prevent people from being corrupted and depraved by the material.

      2) BBFC employs people to review material for content that would deprave and corrupt.

      3) If this material can deprave and corrupt then the censors must be corrupted and depraved through constant watching, if not then it cannot be corrupting material.

      Conclusion: The BBFC censors are all a bit pervy and they are telling us what is normal?????

      1. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge

        Re: Who will they get to review the content?

        Not quite.

        Material on the internet may tend to deprave and corrupt 'the masses' - all those ignorant little proles.

        BBFC censors are either drawn from the establishment, or are working for the establishment, so they are immune...

  4. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

    Easy to test ...

    Someone puts their age verification credentials on line for use by children. If he gets caught the system is not anonymous.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    But what if they avoid detection of their viewing habits by using

    Peer-to-Peer networks ?

    [presumably with VPN's]

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: But what if they avoid detection of their viewing habits by using

      Well, if I was cynic I would say that is the idea.

      First think of the children: proof of identity.

      Then give it one or two years.. and then ban IVPNs that do not give all the data to the government "for safety reason, think of the children..."

  6. cantankerous swineherd Silver badge

    anonymous age verification.

    thinks.

    thinks again.

    interesting concept.

    1. Alan Edwards

      Cannot be anonymous

      "I'm Fred Bloggs, and I'm 42"

      "OK, how do I know you're really Fred and not his 15 year old son"

      "Trust me, this is Fred"

      This will last about a week before age verification credentials get posted to a FacePalm page. It needs 2FA or it's pointless, which means it's not anonymous..

  7. wolfetone Silver badge

    How will this affect those users in Britain who use an American based VPN to view their porn?

    Asking for a friend.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Tell your friend not to worry, they can carry on being a happy fapper.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Tell your friend living at Missenden Rd, Aylesbury HP17 0UZ not to worry. His secret is safe with us.

  8. Anonymous Noel Coward
    Gimp

    >The government's Digital Economy Act requires that spank-viewing UK residents prove they are 18 or over

    Doubtful. That stuff's illegal here.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Doubtful. That stuff's illegal here.

      Concur, so far BBFC has refused qualification anything and everything that has a combination of sex and violence that leaves visible traces such as bruises, etc. It is in their classification guidelines. Black on white.

  9. anothercynic Silver badge

    "The government has done its best..."

    Riiiiiight... you mean you thought about it for a few days and then assigned it to the BBFC 'because it's easier'.

    1. VinceH Silver badge

      Re: "The government has done its best..."

      "Riiiiiight... you mean you put it to one side in the hope people believe you thought about it for a few days and then assigned it to the BBFC 'because it's easier'.

      FTFY!

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    the arrangements should only verify age, not identity

    should. How? Credit card? Well, this data goes SOMEWHERE. I bet we'll see, within the next 2 years, a "leaked report" that a database of 357 milion credit and debit card details used by the Fcukboard to verify porn age, but not identity, has been exposed (in cleartext, what else) on the fcukboard website dontlookhere.html, and the fcukboard is going to issue the following statement: "Privacy of personal data is our primary concern and as a responsible data handler, we would like to stress, we take privacy with utmost care, etc."

    p.s. time to verify age for tor browser users, because, sooner than later, my kids will want to know what it's for (no no no, it's NOT for you to access all the stuff that our democratically elected leaders consider off-limits, including tits and bits, no, definitely NOT just to access all the stuff that our democratically elected leaders consider off-limits, including tits and bits.

    1. Bernard M. Orwell Silver badge

      Re: the arrangements should only verify age, not identity

      "...our democratically elected leaders.."

      I think that's the bit we need to start doubting is true.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just ban everything....

    it's just easier.

    Leave the sick, kinky, perverted, nasty stuff for the MP's to do in their (rent boys / street walkers) bedroom or the school dorm at Eton.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Just ban everything....

      Or the Rough Trade they pay to thrash them.

  12. frank ly Silver badge

    Should I laugh or cry?

    "... Clement-Jones said he didn't think the privacy-by-design approach from the ICO would be "particularly onerous" for audiovisual providers and pornographers, in terms of requiring them to find an anonymised solution."

    1. Richard Wharram

      Re: Should I laugh or cry?

      This kind of blind optimism pervades our current government.

      "Things will work because we say so. Or because we believe it's what you voted for. It's that simple."

      Unicorn-poo will solve it.

    2. Dr Dan Holdsworth Silver badge

      Re: Should I laugh or cry?

      Look, the anonymised solution already exists.

      I want to look at pr0n, I go fire up the VPN and the Great W***ing Overlords are none the wiser.

      Job done. *ahem*.

  13. John G Imrie Silver badge
    WTF?

    WTF

    Ashton attempted to address such concerns about privacy by stressing that the government "absolutely agree" that the arrangements should only verify age, not identity.

    How the hell do you check someone's age if you don't know who they are?

    1. Rich 11 Silver badge

      Re: WTF

      Handwriting analysis and astrology.

    2. wolfetone Silver badge

      Re: WTF

      "Are you over 18? Yes or No"

      1. teebie

        Re: WTF

        By CAPTCHA.

        'Complete this sentence "'E's are good, 'E's are good..."'

        'Analysis shows you are over 35'

        1. Anonymous Noel Coward
          Boffin

          Re: WTF

          A better one would be showing them a picture of a cassette and a pencil and asking how they relate to each other.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: WTF

            A good question would be to ask if Jabba the Hut was in the first star wars film.

            1. Bernard M. Orwell Silver badge
              Trollface

              Re: WTF

              A good question might be whether they consider society owes them anything, or whether effort is equated with reward in the workplace. You can further refine your search by asking if they have a pension, their own home, or have just took a payday loan for a night out drinking craft beers.

              Also ask if they own, or know the function of, a pair of socks.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: a picture of a cassette and a pencil and asking how they relate to each other.

            oy, yo wrinkly, yes, you! I know like, you tyring to foolme yeah, so like, I goed to yutub and put kaset and pencil and vola! You cant foul us!

        2. nijam Silver badge

          Re: WTF

          > 'Complete this sentence "'E's are good, 'E's are good..."'

          I must be too far over 35. Sad but true.

  14. Tigra 07 Silver badge
    FAIL

    "Ashton attempted to address such concerns about privacy by stressing that the government "absolutely agree" that the arrangements should only verify age, not identity."

    And how exactly do you prove your age without also providing your identity to check it against?

    If i say i'm over 18 how do you know unless you know who I am?

    Sincerely: a VPN user

    1. Mycho Silver badge

      1) Go into a shop with gray hair.

      2) Buy a card. Shopkeeper ticks "Don't need to verify, he's got gray hair"

      3) Use this card to verify online. Don't let anybody else see it because if they do ... oh, right, that.

      1. Tigra 07 Silver badge
        Pint

        RE: Mycho

        Seems like in the UK buying that card will require a lot of forms and checks with gov databases and fees. I'm of the mindset that I shouldn't have to do all this and pay for a special card to watch midget porn.

        1. Mycho Silver badge

          Re: RE: Mycho

          Nuh-uh. It's called AVSecure, look it up.

  15. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    I'm feeling a bit slow today.

    Can someone outline to me if this age check has to be implemented by all prawn sites in the entire world, or just the ones being hosted in the UK?

    If the former, do they then plan to block all sites in the UK that don't have a UK authorised age check?

    Good luck with that. Seriously. Most people who use the internet don't really have a clue about how it works etc., some people who like to avoid regional locking have clued up and know how to bypass it, but if we wanted the *entire* wanking population of the UK to become VPN experts in as short a time as possible I can think of no better way.

    Bring it on I say.

    Two years after implementation GCHQ are going to go fucking nuts that 90% of all internet traffic has suddenly become opaque and they will have no-one else to blame but themselves*.

    *It seems like this was predicted once before, and they complain enough about encryption already. Just wait until it's as common as email addresses twitter accounts. Hint: In 1995 I was telling my friends and family that pretty soon you wouldn't be able to do business unless you had a web site etc. - at the time they didn't even know what one was. Ok so that was ~23 years ago, but things become common knowledge when there is a common usage for something, and bypassing porn filters will create such a scenario.

    1. Rich 11 Silver badge

      Re: I'm feeling a bit slow today.

      the *entire* wanking population of the UK

      98%, according to surveys. And the other 2% are lying.

      1. The Nazz Silver badge

        Re: I'm feeling a bit slow today.

        Actually 96%, 2% were lying and 2% were no longer able to read the survey to respond.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: I'm feeling a bit slow today.

          Actually 2%, 2% were lying, 2% were no longer able to read the survey to respond and the other 94% were too busy happily wanking their day away.

  16. CAPS LOCK Silver badge

    It doesn't need a genius to see that the future holds a...

    .... 'white list'. With a fee to get on or be retained natch.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Easy way around IMO

    Torbrowser since this sort of thing is exactly what Tor is for: getting around governmental blocks of t'interweb.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Easy way around IMO

      I recommend VPN, Tor, encryption, PGP on emails etc, etc. use when possible to family & friends even though (hopefully!) they are doing nothing nefarious.

      Just because it's useful in giving a bit better privacy than the default (none) as even if you think you have "nothing to hide" you don't necessarily want to wave everything around willy nilly to all and sundry - and who knows what may suddenly become "illegal / terrorist" when previously it was just free speech comment .

  18. RGE_Master

    "The easy question is: how is that going? Do we have any timescales?" asked Stevenson.

    Am I the only one that read "testicles?"

    1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge
      Paris Hilton

      Not now that you've mentioned it, no :)

    2. Tom 38 Silver badge

      Is it like reading tea leaves?

  19. Anonymous Noel Coward
    Facepalm

    Funnily enough, I was reading an article recently which stated that the government *knows* this won't work and is going to cause an increase in fraud, but is still going to go ahead with it anyway.

    *edit*

    Here: https://www.theinquirer.net/inquirer/news/3023913/uk-gov-admits-porn-age-checks-could-be-easily-bypassed-and-lead-to-fraud

    1. Richard Wharram

      "Funnily enough, I was reading an article recently which stated that the government *knows* this won't work and is going to cause an increase in fraud, but is still going to go ahead with it anyway."

      That just sums up the whole UK at the moment.

    2. Bernard M. Orwell Silver badge

      "..going to go ahead with it anyway..."

      Yep, because that way they can trumpet their achievements in doing something for the Mumsnet brigade, who are generally just as bloody clueless. I don't think the gov actually want a working technology for this; they just want to be seen trying to get it done and are quite happy to fail and throw their hands in the air because "interweb experts, eh? whatchagonnado? vote for us. at least we tried to protect you from terrorpedoes!".

  20. ukgnome Silver badge

    All that is going to come of this is shared content on apps like snapchat and whatsapp, or multiple copies of files on USB.

    If you create a barrier under the guise of protection what you will actually get is the reverse.

    The only difference between today's teenage rites of passage and mine is that porn will be saved on USB sticks before hiding them in bushes.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just hand your credit card details over to prove you are 18

    What could possibly go wrong with that the I wonder ?

    Hello, this is PornPorn and you have a problem with your interdick please can we have access to your trousers to fix the problem.

  22. Jimmy2Cows

    "If this House approves the regulator today, we will be well on the way to doing that, and we are definitely trying to do it as quickly as possible," he said.

    "I am not trying to duck the issues that are still there, but they will come back and I am sure I will have to deal with them."

    In other words... "I don't have a clue how to actually do any of this, please please stop asking awkward questions."

    Nice to see they've really thought this through.

  23. The Nazz Silver badge

    Ffs How hard can it be.

    Fingerprints.

    Supply a scan of your fingerprints and any found to be currently being used to acquire a school dinner are refused.

    May rule out a few 18 year olds and a number of teachers, but AIUI the latter group are SO busy they shouldn't have the time to be watching porn.

  24. John H Woods Silver badge

    Anyone else read it as ...

    ... Calls for iron-age verification ?

  25. EnviableOne Bronze badge
    Childcatcher

    When will they realise

    in the age of the internet, Corporations rule, not nations ....

    Hail Zuck, Bezos, Musk, Page Et All.

    Conspiracy theories aside, wont someone stop thinking about the children for 1 minute and think about the adults?

  26. mark l 2 Silver badge
    FAIL

    Who uses a credit card to view pr0n these days anyway?

    Even the new stuff from p0rn site is available on forums within hours of it being published on the pay websites to download for free. Or just type whatever fetish your in to on Google images and let it come back with 1000s of hits

    All this is going to do is create load of phishing sites that look like naughtyspankglrls.com but with a fake age verification page to harvest credit card details.

    And unless the BBFC are suddenly taking on 1000s of new staff to monitor the millions of sites that peddle smut online there is no way they will be able to keep any sort of list up to date.

  27. Andy 97

    This is all complete nonsense.

    Any person wishing to view "grumble flicks" would simply access sites hosted outside of the UK.

    UK" jazz film" publishers all have access for international customers and even a complete imbecile can work out how to avoid ISP filters.

    It sounds like a cosy way of secureing funding to me.

  28. The Nazz Silver badge

    What's to stop you .....

    doing something like this

    Porn site : Are you over 18?

    Viewer : Yeah, of course.

    Porn site : We're not so sure, have you any evidence of this?

    Viewer : "Well, yeah, actually i'm J****** S**** (1) the MP for Wankerland and my private details are D.o .B. xx/yy/zzzz etc

    Porn site : Give us a second to look it up and you're in. Yep, fine, wank away.

    (1) the name of my real MP has been obfuscated to protect the guilty.

  29. Blitheringeejit
    Black Helicopters

    Outsourcing statutory powers to the private sector

    "...it is not appropriate for the government to give statutory powers to a body that is essentially a private company," said Labour peer Lord Stevenson."

    I agree, as it goes - but it wouldn't be the first time. The Association of Chief Police Officers is a private company, and I believe that its members have one or two statutory powers at their fingertips...

  30. Dr Dan Holdsworth Silver badge
    FAIL

    This is sounding unpleasantly like a re-run of Government versus Encryption

    Remember all the calls for encryption products to have a back door in them for the use of police? Remember how our Government are completely sure that this is a good thing, completely sure that nobody will abuse the back door and utterly certain that nobody will do horrible and illegal things like install non-backdoored software?

    This is more of the same.

    This is politicians trying to change reality by averring that such a thing is so, when in fact it is not. Age verification absolutely has to identify the person who is having their age verified, otherwise it is useless. Therefore age verification will identify who looks at what, and said details will be stored on a government computer somewhere, and later lost on a train by some gormless civil servant.

    Anyone with any sense will therefore give this age verification system the bargepole treatment, and obtain a VPN from an off-shore supplier. There are lots of different VPN suppliers to choose from, quite a few of which keep no records of what traverses their systems whatsoever.

    Somewhere, therefore, an MI5 man is crying into his beer as formerly passable sources of Internet metadata go opaque. Even the fact that someone was using an off-shore VPN was (and probably still is) a useful indicator of either paranoia or nefarious deeds (barring business use, of course).

    Alter the pr0n laws so that a VPN becomes a necessary adjunct of anyone who fancies a spot of executive relief, and all of a sudden VPN traffic becomes so common that it isn't a marker of dodgy deeds any more. Hey presto, that's another easy source of intelligence ruined by the politicians.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Quite how this is going to work for the thousands of sites which are run by non UK companies and are based outside the UK is a mystery. Presumably those not signing up (i.e. all of them) are going to be blocked. Good luck finding all those sites.

    Hilarious

  32. David Gillies

    Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away

    Huzzah. Another instance of politicians behaving like a cross between King Canute and Humpty Dumpty. I suppose to a politician all things must have a political/legislative solution, otherwise what is the point of their existence? But really this is tantamount to the attempt in Indiana to legislate a method for squaring the circle. Given that the set (World Population) \ (UK Population) is approximately equal to the set (Everyone), what exactly do Theresa May and her cyber-myrmidons hope to achieve? Clearly the denizens of Italy or New Zealand or Chile are not going to be thwarted by UK age verification in their quest for a crafty J. Arthur, so how, in the name of all that is holy, is this supposed to work? Have any implementation details been made public beyond a vague statement of intent?

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bollocks.

    ...which you can't see without proof of age...

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