Fighting Toddler ‘Porn Addiction,’ UK Lawmakers Demand Porn Sites Include Age Checks Or Face Closure

The UK’s attempts to filter the Internet of all of its naughty bits are nothing if not amusing, whether it’s the nation’s porn filter architect getting arrested for child porn, or the complete and total obliviousness when it comes to the slippery slope of expanding those filters to include a growing roster of ambiguously objectionable material. The idea of forcing some kind of overarching structure upon porn consumption in the UK is another idea that never seems to go away, whether it’s requiring a “porn license” (requiring users to clearly opt in if they want to view porn) or the latest push — mandatory age checks.

Seemingly unaware of the way the internet (or law, or the world itself) works, some UK lawmakers are now demanding that porn websites around the world include age verification systems, or face fines or closure. How exactly the UK government plans to enforce these restrictions upon a global pornography industry isn’t explained. The only thing the UK is sure of is that these restrictions are absolutely necessary for the welfare of the country’s tots:

“Providers who did not co-operate could also be fined. Mr Javid said: “If you want to buy a hardcore pornography DVD in a store you need to prove your age to the retailers. “With the shift to online, children can access adult content on websites without restriction, intentionally or otherwise. “That is why we need effective controls online that apply to UK and overseas. This is about giving children the best start in life.”

Well intentioned, perhaps, but it’s yet another example of people not realizing how the internet genie has left the bottle, and no amount of thrashing or cajoling is going to re-imprison the agitated djinn. The UK’s latest push is being propped up by a flood of recent scary headlines across the UK proclaiming that the country has a porn addiction problem among around a tenth of the nation’s 12- and 13-year-olds. In fairly typical media fashion, the storiesproclaiming this fact don’t really bother to dissect the claims or hunt down the survey’s origins.

If they had, they might discover that the survey in question was probably about as far from science as you can get without involving clowns and sacrificial altars:

“It turns out the study was conducted by a “creative market research” group called OnePoll. “Generate content and news angles with a OnePoll PR survey, and secure exposure for your brand,” reads the company’s blurb. “Our PR survey team can help draft questions, find news angles, design infographics, write and distribute your story.” The company is super popular on MoneySavingExpert.com, where users are encouraged to sign up and make a few quid. Here’s what that website says: “Mega-popular for its speedy surveys, OnePoll runs polls for the press, meaning fun questions about celebs and your love life.” So the company behind these stats about porn addiction are known for their quick and easy surveys and promise to generate headline-grabbing stats. An unusual choice, perhaps, for such a sensitive subject.”

While the group behind the effort (Childline) appears well intentioned, there are surely better ways to protect children than by scaring politicians into a global charade of internet booby whac-a-mole. Like, with actual parenting perhaps. Paying attention to what your kids do online, and intelligently explaining sexuality to them before they run into age-inappropriate content would be worlds more effective than demanding the globe’s pornography industry capitulate to the whims of the UK’s ludditical legislators.

 Link (Techdirt)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

6 + eighteen =