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The UK's Ridiculous 'Porn Block' Has Been Shelved

Good news for wankers.

by Emma Garland
16 October 2019, 3:23pm

Photo: Jamie Fullerton

On Wednesday, the UK's Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport confirmed that part three of the The Digital Economy Act (2017) – AKA the "porn block" – has been ditched.

If implemented, The Digital Economy Act would have legally required porn sites in the UK to perform age verification checks, meaning users would have had to supply ID to prove they were over 18. The start date was pushed back three times due to privacy concerns and lack of clarity around how it would actually work.

Critics pointed out that handing over identifying information to third-party verification systems tends to leave people extremely vulnerable to data breaches (shout out Ashley Madison, 2015). The British Board of Film Classification was also bizarrely nominated as the age-verification regulator. Sites which didn't or couldn't age-verify users would have been blocked, which would have put a massive financial strain on independent production companies, and content would have been regulated in compliance with outdated obscenity laws that ban acts from face-sitting to female ejaculation.

The point of all this was to protect under-18s from accessing violent pornography, but ultimately would have been completely meaningless to anyone who knows how to install a VPN. Arguably, the time and money spent would have been better invested in comprehensive and compulsory sex education in schools – but what do I know, I'm just a humble horny person who, due to a lack of information, grew up thinking it was totally good and normal to shove it in dry.

The DCMS said it remains committed to protecting underage users online with the implementation of the Online Harms White Paper, which aims to regulate harmful content by making "companies more responsible for their users' safety online".

The Online Harms White Paper is still in consultation and there is no proposed date for implementation yet. So, for now: go forth and jack it.

@emmaggarland

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pornography
age verification
porn block