Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Talk about missing the point...

Just when I though it couldn't get any more simple-minded, the Tory government pulled out another blinder - and today revealed its plans to impose age verification on 18- and R18-rated porn sites without actually telling anyone how it's going to verify age.

Leaving aside the obvious question of how one reveals one's passport number, credit card number, electoral roll details, measurements, greatest fears and next of kin should you get killed by facesitting without acquiescing to the Snooper's Charter while contravening the Data Protection Act, there's something inherently wrong in all this.

UK Law has an (admittedly vague) established "age of consent" at 16, although it also defines the "age of capacity to consent" at about 13 or 14 (meaning that you can't press charges if two underage people are having sex with each other). When set aside the 18 and R18 certificates, this seems highly incongruous - you can have young people of 16 or under having regular consensual sex within UK Law and they're still not allowed to watch films with depictions of sex, even softcore.

What the fuck?

And then there's the fact that their public consultation also mentions the frankly horrifying notion of being able to fine or even pull entirely the business of pornographers who "do not comply" - because they can't, won't, or don't know (I suspect the latter may be an issue) - on the discretion of a completely ambiguous "regulatory body" (sure, because ATVOD and Ofcom have done a sterling job so far).

Imagine making an entire living through pottery and then having your livelihood yanked away from you because the govenment doesn't want people not happy to reveal their entire family tree to buy your pots. Now turn that into porn and viewing porn and you have the problem I'm seeing with this.

However, the absolutely bewildering fact that I'm getting from this is that whoever wrote the consultation seems completely blind to the fact that it's completely unworkable. There's absolutely no foolproof verification system and anything they try to impose would contravene existing law regarding security and data protection - not to mention, as Myles Jackman mentions, territorial issues (what about Pornhub? As an American company, are they exempt or not?).

And all in the name of child protection!

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