Design By Humans
Published On: Thu, Jul 7th, 2016

THE SEX FILES: The UK is at it Again

Photo credit: Anna Rodriguez

Photo credit: Anna Rodriguez

Man those wacky English just don’t stop, do they? The week following the 4th my mind might have been on our independence from our now ‘across the pond’ friends more than other times, but Britain is doing its best to keep me aware of them. As of this week, the UK Parliament is considering a “Digital Economy Bill” which would require age verification for people looking at porn sites as well as impose “civil sanctions” (though these are not yet defined) for people in violation of the verification.

Most sane adults working in porn (even those like me who write about it) agree to and fight for measures restricting underage kids getting access to pornography. So, on the face of it, ever more stringent age verification always seems like it would be a good thing (though even the most brain dead bored ten-year-old can probably smoke your ass when it comes to phone app usage and how to get round a tablet). But as with any laws, there are layers to this new bill that could be over-reaching and lead to draconian tactics over time.

For instance, just how will the English government apply their new age verification regulations above and beyond sites coming in from other countries? Not such a bad thing, you say; if a site should not be viewed by a minor it doesn’t matter where it comes from, right? Well, it is less the idea here of keeping kids from viewing this material (again, something we are all pretty much for) as it’s how the UK will do this voodoo they seem to want to do. Within their own country, administering safeguards is one thing, but how do you grab what’s coming in and in that grabbing are you traipsing over treaties and laws? The fact sheet of the new bill states: “Our drafting will allow for flexibility and we will continue to work closely with the industry to monitor progress and the latest technological developments to ensure that key growth areas such as ‘apps’ are covered under scope.” But one must be ever mindful of the gray areas allowed and abused over words like ‘flexibility,’ ‘scope,’ and ‘latest technological developments.’

To what ends will the English government abuse their power in their pursuits here?

You might recall in 2014 when The Audiovisual Media Services Regulation came into effect, listing 10 acts, facesitting among them, later protested with a massive outdoor facesitting outside of Parliament) as being those that a pornographer could be fined for if shown. In the two years since plenty of providers have fought this regulation and in fact I hope to interview a lady ‘over there’ who makes spanking clips, she has fought and won for her right to produce her content that was first outlawed by the AMSR, but through her efforts and others in her country, is no longer outlawed.

Does this new proposed age verification, saddled onto the back of an issue we all agree upon, have less to do with UK children safety and more to do with that country, once again, trying to obliterate porn any which way they can?

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THE SEX FILES: The UK is at it Again