UK government ban on Pornography

There is a great chance that some of the most popular websites could be banned in Britain. This is after it has emerged that the UK government intends to filter any form of “non-conventional” pornography. This push by the government is currently facing stiff opposition especially by free speech activists.

This bill which is being discussed would see the UK government being strict on sites that host adult content. The government will put in place strict porn filters and will require such sites to verify users’ ages; failure to which they will risk being blocked in Britain.

As if that is not enough, the government may go a notch higher to completely ban “non-conventional” porn once and for all. According to The Guardian, this ban could affect all manner of adult content ranging from urination to menstruation.

This is rather confusing. Right? How will this be implemented? Currently, the BBFC-British Board of Film Classification does the vetting of all adult content and certifies such adult content that are commercially sold. To manage this, it has put in place strict rules and guidelines that clearly indicate what is allowed and not allowed. If your content is rated as unsuitable, it will be illegal for you to sell the content.

This same board (BBFC) will oversee the implementation of this law. It will be tasked with the duty of monitoring online content. The board will use the same standards it uses to authenticate DVD contents. If your online content is deemed unsuitable, you will not be allowed to upload it online; failure to which your website will be completely blocked.

What is shocking about this ban is that it is not taking into consideration that such adult content are not illegal to watch for adults who have consented to watch. A professor at Durham University takes this regulation of such material that is not criminal as an act of madness. He continues to note that regulating menstruation and urination contents would lessen our focus on the real harmful evils such as child sexual abuse and sexual violence.

Will this ban work?

There are certain elements that are still not clear on how this ban will be enforced. This is because; the internet has both porn sites and non-porn sites intertwined such that you wouldn’t easily notice a site that shows pornographic content.

Blocking some sites that solely portray adult content is quite easy. But blocking sites that mix pornographic contents with non-pornographic contents is technically difficult. This raises concern on how such a ban will be enforced on such websites. Let us look at some examples:

· Reddit allows user to create a subsection(subreddits) that may allow you to link to pornographic sites.

· Tumblr, a blogging site which is owned by yahoo, has a big number of adult content.

· 4chan which is a popular imageboard has adult content forums. Here, pornographic and non- pornographic content are shared freely.

· Twitter is also reluctant on postings that portray nudity as opposed to Facebook that is rather strict.

As seen above, these sites have millions of users but they have different sections and communities that post adult content freely. So it is not possible for the government to block Twitter and Reddit in Britain because of these small groups.

In addition, it would be next to impossible for this giant websites to track each post posted on their platform unless somebody reports such posts. BBFC on the other hand might not be able to accurately keep a record of all these subsections and groups that are sharing adult content. Even if they traced such users they wouldn’t block such big and vibrant websites in Britain.

Despite the upcoming ban on pornography, people are still curious finding out about how to get into porn.

Age Verification

BBFC will definitely approve some sites that it host “conventional” adult content. However, they will require the site to verify the users’ ages before it allows Brits to access the website. Failure to do this will lead to the site being completely blocked.

In the internet, some reputable websites don’t verify their users’ ages. For example, Reddit and 4Chan have no form of registration nor do they verify the ages of their users. We are not certain whether these sites will make significant changes in time to avoid being blocked immediately the ban becomes enforced.

Also, digital rights activists are pointing out another important aspect on privacy. They are arguing that registering Brits who may want to watch adult content is quite demeaning and may invade on other people’s privacy. Having heard of reports of passwords being leaked on giant adult sites such as Adult Friend Finder, it is important that the government reconsiders this verification process.

Another reason why this porn filter is subject to fail is that technology can be manipulated. No filter is ever perfect. Internet savvy youths will also take advantage of loopholes and have access to such websites without being detected. They can use proxies and VPNs to bypass the porn filter. Unfortunately, adults who follow the law will have to pass through various verification processes to be able to access adult content whose choices will be extremely limited.

The bright side of this Digital Economy Bill is that it is not yet law. It is at the report stage hence it can still be amended. Anti-censorship activists are following up keenly t ensure some sections of this bill are amended. However, until the amendment is done, there is a risk that legal adult content may be completely banned. This leaves big websites blindly calculating their next move.

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