[–] jrimbault link

Wasn't there a "study" that showed the more porn in a region the less sexual assault, at least some correlation ? (I don't know if it was an actual study or an opinion piece I read somewhere a few months ago?)

edit: first google result, I don't think that was it https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/all-about-sex/201601/ev...

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[–] secfirstmd link

This is primarily a kneejerk political reaction by a shambles of a Conservative party looking to be seen to be doing something on a "moral issue" by its party members.

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[–] honestoHeminway link

I always wondered, why socialistic idealism is frowned upon asa idiocy but moralistic idealism is enshrined and a realizable utopia for conservatives.

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[–] chirau link

Would you mind defining the two terms?

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[–] OJFord link

No it isn't, this has been brewing for years.

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[–] flexie link

These firewalls are traditionally viewed as censorship from a free speech perspective. And I don't disagree with that. But I have started to wonder whether the Great Chinese Firewall, the Turkish one, and what seriously looks like a budding British firewall shouldn't also be viewed as import regulation like any other:

China wants to sell cars in the US: The US imposes import duties on the cars. The effect is that the US automobile industry is protected, survives and can develop.

The US wants to sell web or smart phone applications (often really advertisement) in China: China blocks it. The effect is that the Chinese IT industry is protected, survives and can develop.

Whereas I don't like trade barriers, there is an unbalance in the way trade in bytes crosses borders without tariffs and the way goods are subject to import duties, taxes and sometimes outright banned due to policies deemed vital to the importing country such as environmental concerns, health regulation etc. We also protect our industries through government subsidies.

The US East Coast and Northern Europe would completely dominate search, social media, email etc. all over the world and not just in the Western world, if it wasn't regulated. That would be fine if our part of the world opened up for the goods and services they produce in Asia and Africa. But we don't.

We are quick to throw around accusations of censorship, but for billions in the developing world, access to our markets would probably mean more to their life and to further democracy than the opportunity to like kittens on facebook or read nightly tweets from Trump.

No doubt sovereign firewalls are often used by regimes to repress free speech. But let's also not forget the financial part of it. In the Western world we exceedingly sell bytes. We cannot expect for the developing world (of which the UK is not part, I know) to allow our software if we don't allow their hardware.

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[–] jonathanstrange link

It's not clear to me what you're trying to say here. The goal of this bill is certainly not a strengthening of the UK porn industry against perceived unfair foreign competition. If the bill had anything to do with import regulations, it would not concern UK porn sites. The opposite is the case.

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[–] flexie link

Really?

While WTO negotiations in the Doha round largely failed, China perfected its firewall.

When Turkey's negotiations with EU failed, Turkey tightened its firewall.

When it becomes increasingly likely that Britain will crash out of the common market, British censorship emerges.

Whether a firewall is justified by concerns with pornography or terrorism or something else, those concerns tend to be kept at bay as long as economic forces wanting to keep society open are stronger. When those economic forces collapse, political forces that want censorship find it easier to prevail.

Also, import regulation consist of many measures and countries don't just impose those measures on products that compete with domestic products. Countries impose tariffs on wine even if they don't produce wine or competing liquors themselves.

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[–] michaelt link

China and Russia kicked out Google/Gmail - which was only possible thanks to a firewall - and by so doing allowed local competitors to thrive. Obviously it also gave them a bunch of political control, so we can only speculate about the relative importance of protectionism vs control when deciding to create the firewalls.

Once the UK has a firewall, they could also decide to block Google out of protectionism. Or (perhaps more likely) they could block smaller foreign companies with less political clout and more UK competition.

Of course, I hope they don't; it'd seem like a pretty bad decision to me. But the current conservative government doesn't have many tech-literate members - witness this very proposal! - so a bad decision is entirely possible.

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[–] pjc50 link

There's a valid point here about the asymmetry of trade in services, and the Chinese firewall definitely also functions as a means of developing local social media businesses as "import substitution". But I don't think it applies here. You could apply it more to the French requirement that a certain minimum percentage of TV be in French.

(The outcome of the last round of ""extreme porn"" regulation was the opposite: local producers were closed down, but of course people can still import the stuff)

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[–] eveningcoffee link

I would also favour this opinion because as it seams, they really do not plan to implement an age verification but an identity detection system instead.

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[–] tici_88 link

This has probably very little to do with porn and is most likely the first step in the UK's government attempt to track more closely who is accessing what on the internet and even have the power to blacklist and make inaccessible areas of the internet they deem inappropriate or inconvenient.

The enforceability of this is hugely questionable (they have heard of VPN right?) and the societal benefit of less porn is also hard to quantify asaik. Porn is not like hard drug use, cancer or drinking-and-driving where there is a definite and significant cost to society in terms of measurable harm etc.

The UK has a lot of issues to address currently with Brexit looming, so focusing on porn could also be a 'clever; political distraction from the pending mess Brexit is shaping up to be.

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[–] jaclaz link

Well, that will depend on how exactly the way the customers "will have to prove they are 18", as an example we know how no teenager under 18 would ever tick a box near "Yes, I am 18 or older".

On the other hand needing to provide a photo or scanned image of your driving license or passport AND give access to the web camera to the site to verify your identity, while reasonably effective might somehow produce as a side effect a reduction of customers.

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[–] raesene6 link

No matter how they do verification, the scheme won't have the intended effect as there are massive numbers of non-commercial sites which make porn available, including pretty much any site that allows user generated content.

And on the other side we have a load of personal information given to a load more sites on the Internet, with all the potential for problems if/when they get hacked (e.g. Ashley Madison)

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[–] xxs link

Age/identity verification for UK gambling (online) industry is somewhat 'challenging'.

"Users may be asked to provide credit card details, as gambling websites do." this is not at all how verification works.

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[–] Reason077 link

If age verification does involve providing credit card details, I imagine that the porn industry will be 100% behind this!

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[–] notahacker link

> On the other hand needing to ... give access to the web camera to the site to verify your identity

I can imagine some nefarious porn baron making an awful lot of money out of selling (or being paid not to sell) webcam footage of people browsing their website...

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[–] TeMPOraL link

Indeed. Just show an official-looking popup saying:

"In compilance with UK [some government branch] [some law name/number], this site employs continuous age and identity verification. Your webcam will be active for the duration of your visit to ensure that only people of 18 and above are viewing the content of this website."

I'm sure there would be people who'd accept that and continue with a webcam on and recording...

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[–] matthewmacleod link

It's in the article - sites will be required to request credit card details.

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[–] xxs link

Except they quote gambling and age verification there (UK) is not related to credit cards.

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[–] matthewmacleod link

I appreciate that, but various other reports do seem to indicate that credit card details will be required. We'll have to see, though.

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[–] Shivetya link

so how do they think this will prevent it? cannot children just borrow the numbers from their parents cards? as long as no charge is made they should be safe.

now it would get very interesting if any card used for verification was in turn required to send a letter to the card holder about such verification.

still the requirements seem more lenient than what some online game (think MMO) services require when they request proof of identify to secure ownership of an account

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[–] cm2187 link

Like it successfully prevented teenagers from drinking alcohol in the US.

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[–] Nursie link

>> On the other hand ... might somehow produce as a side effect a reduction of customers.

It may, on UK sites, on "legitimate" sites. Not so much on the darkweb, or via proxies, or IRC or Usenet or ....

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[–] viraptor link

No need to get that technical. Reddit has lots of very targeted subreddits. All behind main Reddit HTTPS and with all the content on Imgur / Reddit images. (Also HTTPS enabled)

There's lots of other domains like that which provide quality content and no real way of enforcing age limits.

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[–] Freak_NL link

This legislation might make finding porn at least non-trivial if broad community sites likes Reddit, Tumblr, and 4chan are found to be applicable. These would then just be blocked by British ISPs until they do implement some form of adult verification check.

Some might, some will simply dismiss the legislation as not something they want to be bothered with.

Of course, blocking such sites might also trigger an unwanted backlash within the UK, which may be precisely why they might not be targeted at all.

One does wonder if the drafters of this legislation even considered this.

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[–] mattmanser link

It will be trivial for any horny teenager to circumvent it with a proxy.

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[–] Grustaf link

They would be much more likely to use torrents, most people don't even know what a proxy is.

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[–] DiThi link

In the UK one has to use a proxy to access torrent sites, at least for many ISPs there, DNSs are all transparently proxied to block websites.

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[–] ksangeelee link

Or simply install the Tor browser - additionally (and ironically) giving them access to a wide variety of extreme material.

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[–] Nursie link

Which will definitely, once and for all, stop teenagers looking at porn.

Definitely.

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[–] raesene6 link

AFAIK it's commercial sites only, so you're dead right this legislation has failed before they even try and implement it.

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[–] gambiting link

Is reddit commercial? You can pay for reddit gold and of course they make money on ads, although they don't make money on porn directly. How about imgur? They host a staggering amount of porn yet are not a porn website - how could they regulate that? How about erotic fan fiction websites where it's 100% text? How about ones where it's just hentai?

It's just an idiotic legislations that most likely has nothing to do with porn - it just wants to establish a framework on which the government can ban anything it doesn't like.

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[–] toyg link

Well, youporn is mostly free - is that considered "commercial"?

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[–] raesene6 link

I think the tube sites would be considered commercial 'cause they're run by the commercial porn companies. What won't be covered as far as I'm aware is things like reddit, tumblr etc

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[–] Stella434 link

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[–] fredley link

This is, of course, completely barmy regulation. The most interesting thing will be the decision over what classifies as a porn website. Currently, as a teenager, you're probably most likely to 'stumble across' (i.e. view unintentionally) pornography on non-porn sites like Reddit or Tumblr. Will the regulations require age verification for these sites? If not it will not even begin to achieve its stated aims.

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[–] Reason077 link

The most bonkers thing about the "EU cookie law" is that it could have been much more effectively implemented by simply requiring browser makers to get informed consent on cookies.

This would have been both more effective (because rogue websites wouldn't have been able to avoid it) and less annoying for users, because consent could be given using a consistent UI for every website. Not to mention the many hours of lost/wasted productivity caused by requiring websites to implement the same dumb cookie consent UI over and over again.

Much like the EU's failed air pollution rules, while there's a grain of good intent behind them, the actual implementation is just broken and pointless, and does more harm than good.

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[–] dalbasal link

I agree, though in that case I'm not sure the UK/EU legislature would have been needed at all. It also doesn't address the part of the problem that they were trying to address in the first place, limiting cookie use to where/when it is most essential.

Realistically, you can see if informed consent is being achieved if the number of sites with ad/tracking software installed drops. "would you like us to keep tabs on you on behalf of FB's advertising platform?"

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[–] corney91 link

>All sites need to implement a nag screen for unknown users

It wasn't all sites though, it was just sites that use third-party tracking and things like that, you didn't need a nag screen if the cookie was part of the functionality of the site eg a website with a login screen[1].

Everyone just copied everyone else with adding a nag screen for all sites because nobody actually read the rules.

[1] http://ec.europa.eu/ipg/basics/legal/cookies/index_en.htm

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[–] rimliu link

What you say is true only for session cookies. From the linked document:

    > first‑party persistent cookies DO require informed consent.

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[–] corney91 link

True, but the "remember me" checkbox is sufficient consent:

> Persistent login cookies which store an authentication token across browser sessions are not exempted under CRITERION B. This is an important distinction because the user may not be immediately aware of the fact that closing the browser will not clear their authentication settings. They may return to the website under the assumption that they are anonymous whilst in fact they are still logged in to the service. The commonly seen method of using a checkbox and a simple information note such as “remember me (uses cookies)” next to the submit form would be an appropriate means of gaining consent therefore negating the need to apply an exemption in this case.

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[–] oneeyedpigeon link

I've never heard a peep from anyone about the site I admin which still doesn't have one of those cookie-naggers. Hopefully, when the UK leaves the EU, the one good thing that might come out of it will be getting rid of that silly legislation.

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[–] Symbiote link

It would have been better if more had been required.

"As you browse this site, a record of everywhere you click is sent to the following companies: Google, Facebook, MysteryAdNetwork. These companies use this information to sell targetted advertising. We use the data to inform improvements to the site."

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[–] Freak_NL link

If you're getting this kind of idiotic legislation in return, the net result does not appear positive.

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[–] oneeyedpigeon link

Don't get me wrong: the net result is definitely not positive as far as I'm concerned!

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[–] dalbasal link

I would like to present to the court exhibit 1: The EU/ or UK "Cookie Laws" AKA "ePrivacy directive."

In the months before and after its implementation there was a lot of discussion around the (vast) grey areas in the laws. After some months, the internet has coalesced on answers. All sites need to implement a nag screen for unknown users, in order to get "informed consent". This consent will be stored as a cookie and users should not delete cookies, or we will have to nag you next time you visit. We will also create a cottage industry of "compliance" specialists that will help you with the language of your nag screens and TCs.

Websites got slightly more annoying. Two-bit consultants made some money. User privacy was not improved in any way.Legislation regulating the internet is tricky business.

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[–] raesene6 link

This is an awful piece of legislation and will pretty inevitably produce dangerous side effects whilst not in any way meeting its goals. It's a shame to see this kind of uninformed law get introduced in a supposedly advanced country.

It won't meet its aims as the targets (teenagers) are well aware of how to geo-shift their access using Proxies and VPNs and also it doesn't (AFAIK) cover non-commercial sites, so imgur, reddit etc don't count and they've got a load of porn for anyone who spends more than about 5 seconds looking.

On the flip-side there are significant downsides here. One UK adults will need to give their identifying details to commercial sites if they want access. In some cases those adults will not want it publicly known that they use those sites.

When they inevitably get hacked, we'll have an Ashley Madison style problem again with the possibility for blackmail as a result.

Also I'd imagine even more sites will mirror the content of the commercial porn sites and these less reputable sites have a rep. for hosting malware, so we'll likely see more devices gettting infected...

So far from coverage I've seen on the "mainstream" UK media, none of these issues gets a mention...

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[–] westmeal link

The funniest part is you're probably right. After all to most people it's what the Internet is for.

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[–] vixen99 link

That'll learn you!

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[–] lb1lf link

This, if enacted, will do more than any effort by the EFF or others to enhance online privacy. VPN usage, TOR and bitcoin/ethereum acceptance online will skyrocket.

After all, what the UK government is proposing is basically to learn its citizens from an early age how to evade censorship by giving them a proper incentive to figure out how to go under the radar.

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[–] rayui link

The plan is for the BBFC to police it, which is ridiculous.

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[–] thesehands link

I'm expecting that the agency set up to police this will eventually be enforcing a policy of only allowing internet access to users who have a government assigned unique ID which will be tied to your entire online activity. first they justify it for porn, then for terrorism

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[–] positivecomment link

Anecdotal evidence (myself) suggests that those effects, if there is any at all, would not be significant :)

I do wonder though, how do you scientifically analyse that? Ask people if they were exposed to porn as a kid to pick your evaluation candidates? That'd be unreliable. Expose some underage people to porn (horrible) and evaluate them after tens of years? I don't think so...

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[–] matthewmacleod link

This is obviously preposterous, and there is basically no chance of it lasting or being significantly effective.

I am pretty curious though about what approach to safeguarding children might be effective – or indeed, if research suggests that it's required. It does seem reasonable that freely available pornography at a young age could have substantial effects on sexual and social development; before slamming into full-blown 'moral panic' mode, it might be good to know what those effects are.

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[–] onion2k link

Alternatively they'll (continue to) go to Reddit, Instagram, Facebook, etc - the sort of sites that this law will have no impact on.

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[–] vortico link

Now that you mention it, pretty much every website with user content has porn on it. So this regulation will either ban those as well, or cause people watching "professional Hollywood porn" to instead watch user-generated porn, which doesn't solve the problem the regulation is trying to solve at all.

As a small website owner (not a porn website owner though), I really don't care if a country blocks my website because of silly censorship laws. Sure, it hurts finances a bit, but if a government truly represents the people (yeah right), then the people don't want to see my website anyway, right?! I wonder if larger websites like Reddit, forum boards, and file hosting sites will follow this same attitude.

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[–] friendly_chap link

Likely this will be implemented at the ISP level, I expect 99.99 of the sites would not care otherwise.

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[–] laumars link

You still cannot effectively block every adult site even at an ISP level. There will always be smaller sites on the fringe that get missed.

It's basically the same problem as preventing online piracy.

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[–] Broken_Hippo link

And honestly - I suspect this will have the bigger effect of encouraging actual porn piracy instead of porn streaming. Wonderful way to re-introduce the popularity of a porn collection.

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[–] kahnpro link

They don't need to block 100% of all sites for it to be effective. It's the same with the lock on your home, the password on your phone, the lack of a fence or wall along the length of the border. It's "good enough".

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[–] laumars link

I think you're underestimating the determination kids have for accessing content they are told they can't have.

"good enough" here isn't good enough.

I'm going to draw parallels with online piracy again, where countless DRM and legal (both through legislation and litigation) efforts are made to curb piracy yet rarely make a dent on the numbers of people who access copyrighted content illegally via one means or another.

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[–] realusername link

I confirm, their mobile blocking in the UK does not work very well, sometimes it also even blocks non-porn websites randomly.

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[–] Rjevski link

Off topic but if you're using Three I suggest you use the "3internet" APN - it has no effect on billing but you bypass any filters and get a direct connection with your own IP address (no NAT) and no filtering proxy in between.

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[–] realusername link

Oh, that's good to know, I will use that now! Thank you!

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[–] paperpunk link

I worry this will just funnel kids onto the kinds of porn web-sites that are unlikely to follow government regulations anyway, as they might have more damaging content.

Are there any cases where something like this has been rolled out elsewhere where the effects can be looked at?

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[–] positivecomment link

Yeah, also the same for Turkey under the dictatorship of Erdoğan. Internet there is amazingly robust. They also iterate among beautiful blocked page designs for artistic freedom: https://www.google.com/search?q=eri%C5%9Fim+engellenmi%C5%9F...

Back when this craziness started, they had even blocked the sites giving STI information because they had "sex" in them. Not sure how it is right now.

The promotion in any form for alcoholic beverages are banned too. This is the web site for the biggest beer maker: http://efespilsen.com.tr/ (It says basically that according to a change in regulation, they aren't allowed to have a customer-facing website anymore).

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[–] avh02 link

>Mr Hancock said: "All this means that while we can enjoy the freedom of the web, the UK will have the most robust internet child protection measures of any country in the world."

This had me chuckling - I grew up in the Gulf region - they have the "nobody gets access" policy - way more robust.

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[–] borplk link

A generation of networking experts

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[–] Sean1708 link

I for one applaud the government for this brave and unparalleled step towards getting teenagers more involved in tech.

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[–] raesene6 link

or just going to non-commercial sites for their porn...

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[–] ianopolous link

They are targeting all porn sites, commercial or not.

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[–] raesene6 link

I don't think they are. From http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-40630582

"This, she explained, was because the Act does not tackle the fact that services including Twitter and Tumblr contain hardcore pornography but will not be required to introduce age-checks. "

It's only commercial porn sites that are being targeted. Sites that happen to host pornographic content (e.g. tumblr, reddit etc) aren't included

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[–] ianopolous link

I stopped reading the BBC 4 years ago because of their biased coverage. Here's a reputable source to my statement: https://www.theguardian.com/culture/2016/nov/25/what-how-and...

The relevant section, "a sentence was slipped in that gives a regulator powers to act against sites “making prohibited material available on the internet to persons in the United Kingdom”" - That means any website hosting said content, whether they accept money or not.

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[–] raesene6 link

yeah I think that article's a little old and doesn't reflect the actuality of what was placed in .

From the lords debate on the topic https://hansard.parliament.uk/lords/2017-02-02/debates/D2C24...

"However, I want to mention briefly user-generated material on social media, an issue that naturally arises in debating this Bill if we are told that it will not cover it, despite a vast amount of hardcore porn that can easily be viewed by anyone, including young children, being just a couple of clicks away. "

They mention tumblr/facebook being included but only when showing "commcercial" material, which appears to be the differentiating factor so sites like reddit wouldn't be generally in-scope.

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[–] ianopolous link

Here's a reference to what was actually passed, which confirms your statement: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachm...

In section 2.1, "All providers of online pornography, who are making available pornographic material to persons in the United Kingdom on a commercial basis, will be required to comply with the age-verification requirement​." So advertising funded sites fall outside the remit.

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[–] ianopolous link

I stand corrected. Thank you. The next question is, "What is social media?". What about sites where the content is user generated but those users are compensated in tokens which are exchangeable for real money? Is that commercial or social?

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[–] raesene6 link

indeed, one of the many grey areas that will be "interesting" for the new regulator to look at when they're created...

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[–] RoryH link

VPN stocks are surely going up on this news.

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[–] OJFord link

Can you name even a single publicly traded consumer VPN company?

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[–] ianopolous link

I look forward to all teenagers learning what a vpn is and how to use one.

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[–] INTPenis link

The answer is to educate teens in school and at home. To put a big lock on porn sites will not help and it's not even feasible to completely shelter them from that topic.

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[–] undefined link
[deleted]

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[–] DropbearRob link

Won't someone please think of the children!!

How about this for how to enforce parental controls... Encourage parents to supervise their childrens internet usage and educate the parents how to set up pfsense to control their own home.

I know its not for everyone, however we also have to ask the question, just how big is the problem of internet porn for society when viewed by minors? I don't have kids and haven't seen any studies, so honestly I just don't know.

Surely there are ways that you can educate, inform your kids, and maybe prepare them for what access to an unregulated stream of all of humanities information could contain.

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[–] RobertoG link

Is this really addressed to minors? Because making identification mandatory is going to affect everybody behaviour.

It also makes a perfect excuse to control what is accessible and that could be expanded to other kinds content.

Also, it's frequently the case (I can't think of exceptions) that the people in power always try to control the sexual behaviour of others. I would like to know the reason for politic and religious authorities to be so obsessed with sex.

In other gregarious species, who can reproduce is decided by the high status individuals. Maybe is related to that.

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[–] munin link

Maybe the way to counter that is with healthy, full throated and sex positive sex education? Instead of trying to bury or hide the "bad" information counter it with lots and lots of good information? Just a thought.

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[–] ksangeelee link

I can't think of any other way to address this problem. I increasingly lose control of what my children see as they get older and more independent.

The crux of the problem is the "Check this out!" scenario with the kids who have smartphones, or unsupervised Internet access at home. I simply can't protect them from that.

In addition to unabashed education, my focus will be on making sure they know how to put things into perspective; that shocking stuff they might see represents extremes of human behaviour, far removed from the world they know.

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[–] onion2k link

some young people don't realize that some fairly disgusting and extreme sex acts are not the norm and start dating thinking that is what you do instead of loving someone

Banning porn doesn't even begin to address that problem. People talk. They boast about what they do, and the more naive people go ahead and do those things too because they believe that's what they should be doing. That's true in everything, not just sex. The answer is to educate people to make their own decisions, and have the understanding, knowledge and empowerment to know they can say no if they don't want to do a particular thing.

Extreme sex acts existed before the internet. Hiding it won't make it go away. "Security through obscurity" doesn't work.

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[–] booleandilemma link

People talk. They boast about what they do, and the more naive people go ahead and do those things too because they believe that's what they should be doing.

This happens to be why my company is using a NoSQL database in one of its new projects.

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[–] OJFord link

I hope you verified the interns' ages.

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[–] Broken_Hippo link

... some young people don't realize that some fairly disgusting and extreme sex acts are not the norm and start dating thinking that is what you do instead of loving someone, that would cause them serious issues in developing relationships."

To be fair, without porn lots of folks wouldn't know what was normal anyway - so it is easy to talk folks into something. All it takes is the more persuasive person to have these things in mind (and obviously folks do, considering this sort of porn isn't new to the internet). The same problem happens when discussing abusive relationships. Young folks don't know what normal and healthy contains.

The big thing that is missing in the US is comprehensive sex and relationship education. I don't see a problem with teaching kids about film making so they can understand that a porn shoot is set up to look good for the camera or be other-worldly. I don't see a problem telling young folks they can try some of the stuff out, with the caveat of respecting everyone's health and comfort while doing it. I don't mind telling folks it is OK to be into - or not into - something.

And to be fair, I'm not sure most folks do this stuff instead of loving someone, rather as part of the course of loving someone. I'm pretty sure my sex life with my spouse mirrors average porn more closely than the whole "making love" thing.

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[–] wvh link

I'm of that age that my first relationship experiences happened just before I had access the internet and pornography. I can guarantee you that as a horny teen I did not need the internet to come up with "fairly disgusting and extreme sex acts". Neither did I have the impression that girls would readily agree with sex, let alone kinkier acts – as an average teenage boy, you're well aware the answer is more often "no" than "yes". (I'm not a gamer, but I assume this debate has a lot in common with the debate about violent computer games.)

I understand different people have different views on censorship. In my opinion it is a lot more important to raise children – boys and girls – with a healthy and balanced view of sexuality, and teach especially girls to demand respect for their own sexual needs and not let horny guys waltz all over.

The other problem is that by letting governments regulate more and more of the internet, we are giving up the freedom the medium provides to all of us. Again, some might prefer to live in a curated bubble, but I prefer to see the world as-is with its raw edges and myriad of opinions, and it would be nice if teens would be raised to be strong and decide for themselves what is acceptable and when to close the browser window rather than letting the authorities decide what views are acceptable.

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[–] manmal link

My wife studied psychology recently, and yes, it's a huge problem. There really are teenagers who think that gang bangs are the norm, and that they have to participate. I thought she was joking when my wife told me some of the stories (case studies actually), but these things really happen if you get exposed to this when really young, and nobody bothers to correct your views.

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[–] vacri link

And then you have the flip side of the coin, where you find a German couple who were so uneducated about sex that they'd been together for more than half a decade without having kids, went to the doctor for help... whereupon it was found that they never had sex. An extreme case, yes, but illustrative.

The norms of today might not be the best, but the norms of yesteryear were also pretty fucked-up. Age verification on sites is going to do squat in terms of changing young adult mindsets.

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[–] wvh link

But this is not pornography-specific. This applies just as well to views about healthy relationships, self respect, food consumption, alcohol and drug use, financial discipline, world views and whatnot. Teens need to be educated so they can form an informed and nuanced view of the world. Not sure you should ban all teens from McDonalds because some parents can't get the message across that fast-food is unhealthy.

In other words, is the main problem here that gangbang videos exist or that some kids get a really shitty upbringing that leaves them full of gaping holes, incapable of handling life or making wise decisions?

The point I'm trying to make is that people are shifting the responsibility and consequently limiting freedom and varied views for all, like the ban on "gay propaganda" in Russia or "facesitting" pornography in the UK. It's the wrong solution to a (I assume for some) real problem.

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[–] manmal link

It's a really hard topic to navigate; on the one hand you don't want your 12yo daughter to watch disgusting and mostly misogynic videos, and on the other hand you have freedom of speech and net neutrality. The thing is: Do I have to tell my kids at age 8 that fisting/gang rapes/... are not how you really do it, and tell them what it's really all about? Or should I wait until age 11? Or will they come asking (I doubt it)? What if their friends already showed them at age 6 at school, is the damage already done then?

And yeah, 6yo do have access to porn if they can read/write by then.

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[–] jaimebuelta link

I'm sure those cases exist, but most likely are not the norm. Almost everyone understands that action movies are not how things work in real life, though is true that influences us to a certain degree.

I think that the solution should be more acknowledge that fact (fiction is not real, and that's ok) and build from there. If we pretend people to have as only source of information the movies, we'll have a problem.

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[–] manmal link

I don't have the numbers ready, but neither do you.

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[–] aloisdg link

What they need is more/better sex education course.

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[–] raesene6 link

I'd say there is no perfect solution however there are much better approaches.

1) Parents should discuss sexuality issues with their children, so they understand them. 2) Schools should provide good sex education that isn't "if you play with it, it'll fall off" 3) If parents or schools want to block easy access to inappropriate materials on their networks, use one of the many many existing blacklist blocking programs available. No need for legislation to do that.

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[–] mherrmann link

I don't think anyone would confuse the sex acts in porn with love in the real world. You may be right about the expectations going into the first sexual relationships. But the youngsters find out soon enough that it's not normal what you see in porn when their spouses tell them they don't want to do these things.

TL;DR: It's a non-problem

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[–] pmlnr link
[–] salvar link

Is this conclusion based on your gut feeling or something more substantial?

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[–] easytiger link

i don't like this but you are vastly underestimating the effect of pornography on people's psyche. Not everyone, indeed increasingly few, can be called well adjusted. Societal ills begotten by distance from our primal vestiges are definitely a future problem

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[–] tombh link

I think it's clear that this is purely political. If the government truly had sexual health in mind then blatant sexualised advertising on the streets would be part of the conversation.

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[–] undefined link
[deleted]

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[–] Rjevski link

Is most porn actually disgusting and extreme? Most of what you would stumble upon on the "tube" is pretty tame, so unless you're specifically looking for extreme/disgusting you're not likely to find something "extreme".

Have there even been evidence on how porn actually hurts people at a large scale? I'd love to see that evidence.

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[–] forgottenpass link

If our actual goal is well-adjusted youth, we've got a lot bigger fish to fry than porno.

Porn is paradoxically minor. Most people are familiar with the arguments about the negative effects of porn (even if they don't believe the arguments), and reflects the way society already has a paranoid always-on-guard attitude towards porn.

We have first-pass mental filters regarding porn. If anything deserves to be made harder to access for it's negative repercussions, the prime targets are those we haven't yet (or can't) built mental filters against.

I won't even bother reiterating all the well known and widely accepted reasons half-baked social interventions are destined to fail, and likley make things worse.

I don't think this is the right approach either but what is the solution?

Maybe work on making a society that isn't outright terrified of sex? There will never be an adult conversation with the youth about sex until adults can have an adult conversation among themselves.

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[–] undefined link
[deleted]

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[–] smegel link

Parental supervision. This is no solution as kids will always find other ways to share and access porn as they have since well before the days of the internet or computers.

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[–] MichaelBurge link

Parents can buy internet filtering software such as Net Nanny and install it on all the family computers.

That does leave open the possibility that some children would be exposed to "extreme sex acts", and this would probably disproportionately affect the poor.

The government providing free voluntary filtering software would probably irk people less than the government policing morals.

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[–] IanCal link

> The government providing free voluntary filtering software would probably irk people less than the government policing morals.

This already exists, really. With the major providers, you get asked if you want filters turned on or off.

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[–] DerpyBaby123 link

Sorry, please define what you see the problem as. Is there any evidence for this problem, for example in medical journals?

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[–] rimliu link

All can see movies on TV. Does that make kids not realize that some fairly disgusting and extreme violent acts are not the norm? What about the Bible? I'd argue that some acts (note necessarily sexual) here can be described as fairly disgusting and extreme.

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[–] icebraining link

Thing is, do you really think teenagers will stop accessing porn? No; they'll just pirate it rather than access the free sites.

A solution that imposes costs but doesn't actually solve the problem is worse than doing nothing.

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[–] godzilla82 link

I hate this attitude you have towards "some young people". Are we supposed to assume that you have sufficiently grown up just because you make this comment? If not, you dont have any right to judge others. Now coming back to your question, if both consenting adults think that "some fairly disgusting .... acts" are the norm, when who are you to say other wise. In case one of the adults doesnt thinks so, they can move out of the relationship. If the society forces them somehow to stay together inspite of one of them wanting to move out, then you have arrived at a problem that you can try to solve.

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[–] icebraining link

Who said anything about "adults"? This topic is about access by minors. (Not that I agree with the plan, mind you.)

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[–] jonathanstrange link

I think there is no problem at all.

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[–] ajeet_dhaliwal link

I understand this is unpopular on HN and I don't think this is the right approach either but what is the solution? Or do you think there's no problem at all? I think it is a potential problem where some young people don't realize that some fairly disgusting and extreme sex acts are not the norm and start dating thinking that is what you do instead of loving someone, that would cause them serious issues in developing relationships.

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[–] davidpardo link

When I was a teenager there always were a few used mags that we swapped or gave each other. If kids have smartphones, they'll resort to video sharing, and there are few ways to avoid it.

I'm not sure that's a good way to spend the taxpayer money.

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[–] Zak link

A company operating outside the UK's jurisdiction wouldn't be affected at all from my reading of that. The UK could direct UK ISPs to block noncompliant sites entirely, but then they're in the position of trying to enumerate every site in the world that hosts porn.

Good luck with that.

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[–] jchw link

>but then they're in the position of trying to enumerate every site in the world that hosts porn

HAH.

No problem. I have a succinct filter that covers most of them:

    0.0.0.0/0
...The only real flaw is that it doesn't cover IPv6.

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[–] toyg link

> Good luck with that.

Web-filter companies: "challenge accepted".

Make no mistake, there is an entire industry which has been dedicated to this exact task for decades now. They will be very happy to help the UK government... for a fee.

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[–] jchw link

They might as well call it Operation Could-Not-Possibly-Go-Wrong.

>Companies breaking the rules set out in the Digital Economy Act face being blocked by their internet provider.

Seems to imply it would be the burden of individual sites. I'm sure many of which already have low margins since advertising in this space is extremely hard. So I'm going to guess most of them would sooner IP block all of Europe before bothering with this.

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[–] throw2016 link

Some parents will always find the appeal of the nanny state irresistible but it's an extraordinarily self serving desire the exists outside the concept of freedom and democracy and like all utopian solutions sound good in practice but doesn't work in the real world.

How many things is the state going to control? How many moles are you going to whack? Most networks are able to keep out pornography quite easily with consequences for those who seek to work around. This is an opportunity for those can can secure networks and provide products and services to parents.

The parent is in control to place constraints they see fit and parent, rather than seeking state intervention and empowering those who seek control and power. A nanny state built on 'saving children' is never about saving children but feeding on the vulnerable and self righteous sections of society to concentrate power.

There are always those in power who will latch on any excuse they can find and like always they remain the biggest threat to not just children but everyone in a free society.

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[–] Neliquat link

There should be no age restriction on reality. The censored images in news are an affront.

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[–] kalekold link

What about torture or murder? and I'd also argue many news sites should be 18+ too. So you're gonna need age verification to watch people engaging in a natural sexual act but if you want to see the Zeta's hacking off a rival's head with a chainsaw, go right ahead. Madness!

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[–] manarth link

Thankfully there's absolutely no porn on peer-to-peer services.

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[–] andmarios link

Ah, as usual, why solve something with education when you can solve it via forcing anyone who wants to watch porn to give their credit card details to a shady xxx website.

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[–] vortico link

Great idea, teens will just switch to Tor to get extremely unlimited genres of porn.

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[–] oneeyedpigeon link

I'm not sure that analogy holds; the Internet is just such a different thing from cinemas. Still, I'm sure no-one actually has a problem with the concept of preventing under-18s from watching porn online, it's the implementation that's the tricky bit. For example, no-one has a problem with cinema restrictions, but they might do if you had to hand over credit card details to watch a film, and if it were still trivially easy for under-18s to sneak into the cinema.

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[–] yorwba link

> Still, I'm sure no-one actually has a problem with the concept of preventing under-18s from watching porn online

I'm sure lots of under-18s would have a problem with that. The vast majority is unlikely to accidentally end up on a porn site.

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[–] kofejnik link

> it's pointless

you're starting to get it

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[–] averagewall link

This sounds silly, but the existing situation is also silly. Kids aren't allowed to go to pornographic movies in cinemas. What's the point of those restrictions, which people have been happy with for probably 100 years, when they are allowed to do all that online?

It sounds like the law should be harmonized one way or another - open everything up or close everything down, otherwise it's pointless.

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[–] Rjevski link

I was curious about a law we have here where supermarkets have to be closed early on sundays. One of the reasons the supporters of this law quoted was "it would reduce church attendance otherwise".

Probably the anti-porn ideas come from this same cesspool.

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[–] pmlnr link

This is the question I've been asking as well, especially since London and the Soho exists.

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[–] jonathanstrange link

This is probably the aftershock of the Jimmy Savile scandal plus various child sex scandals involving catholic priests, etc. UK politicians feel obliged to protect the children but at the same time are reluctant to address the real systemic issues - none of the many abuse scandals had anything specific to do with the Internet, of course. The real crimes are enabled by bigotry and awkward silence, not by anything on the Internet. Who knows, maybe those politicians who are suppressed perverts or pedophiles themselves cry out the loudest.

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[–] revelation link

Where is all this anti porn stuff coming from in the UK? I thought as a civilization as a whole we were moving away from that medieval thinking.

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[–] amelius link

There's a website and community dedicated to that problem, [1], and they cite numerous articles of the kind you mentioned. Quoting:

> To date every study offers support for the porn addiction model (no studies falsify the porn addiction model). The results of these 34 neurological studies (and upcoming studies) are consistent with 220+ Internet addiction "brain studies", many of which also include internet porn use. All support the premise that internet porn use can cause addiction-related brain changes

[1] http://www.yourbrainonporn.com

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[–] noufalibrahim link

This sounds like yet another solution that can be easily bypassed by the typical technically proficient teenager with raging hormones.

I recently read an article about how easy access to an almost unlimited amount of pornography is giving boys unrealistic sexual expectations and placing unreasonable demands on girls. I can't find the link to the article right now but from this and several others that I've read, this is a real problem. Issues like personal freedom, consent and others are all true. However, the typical website has a vested interest in making sure that it's offerings reach a large audience and I'm sure they're not beyond pushing the envelope a little to make that happen.

What is a solution?

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[–] jchw link

It seems like governments have decided that if you're on the Internet, you effectively have to follow the intersection of all laws from all countries that are also on the Internet.

I think looking at IP ranges is pretty effective actually. Google already does send people to different regional sites based on where they're coming from.

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[–] jonathanstrange link

How will this work with image search in Google, Bing, Yandex, etc.? Last time I checked you only need to enter an explicit search term and uncheck the filter, and you're flooded in porn.

Will they be forced to make their filters mandatory if the IP number looks as if it comes from the UK?

How will this work with porn sites outside the UK (such as most of them)? Will they all be blocked by default on the basis of some UK government censorship list or authority?

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[–] have_faith link

I agree with most here, it's a wasted effort and mostly the start of a slippery slope towards future policies.

But to the problem it purports to solve, underage kids viewing material that they shouldn't be viewing, what do you propose as a workable solution? I don't mean a 15 year old occasionally viewing a normal porn video, porn sites these days house all sorts of things you wouldn't want your kids to stumble across.

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[–] kristopolous link

the political claims have always been silly. They support small tiny government except for the big expansive military. They want big government out of people's lives except for what they consume and do in the bedroom.

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[–] vacri link

People shouldn't be doing perverted stuff in the bedroom, y'see. It should be in the invitation-only high-class clubs!

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[–] patrickaljord link

Funny that the British conservative party that came up with the term "Nanny State" is literally behaving like a nanny now.

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[–] jimparkins link

The key part of this is whole thing is the mechanism of enforcement - at the ISP. To do this UK ISPs will need increased government controlled infrastructure operating within their ISP core networks. This to me sounds like post Brexit GCHQ wants to significantly increase the amount of access and control it has to all UK web browsing traffic...

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[–] Quarrelsome link

yeah but that bit is cool cause the publicly funded BBC outputs good content with zero ads.

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[–] DropbearRob link

Australia has ad free tv too, and radio stations and all the same kinds of initiatives as the BBC (admittedly the tv is terrible by comparison to the BBC so) called the ABC.

there are no TV licenses in Australia though.. its just included in your tax which is how it should be here in the UK. Paying people to police the TV license is absolutely retarded

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[–] vacri link

The ABC is waaaaaaaaaaaaaay underfunded compared to the BBC. And conservative governments hate it and throttle it wherever they can. Despite being shown time and time again to be even-handed by both internal and external reviews, the conservatives treat it as a mouthpiece of the progressives.

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[–] bluedino link

This is the same country where you have to buy a television stamp isn't it?

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[–] werber link

Maybe this will help stop young people from accidentally stumbling into XXX content, but it seems to me like it would be a push into darker corners of the web for those that are actively seeking it out.

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[–] petraeus link

Its a red herring used by the government to build a stronger surveillance state.

Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety

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[–] eb0la link

Regulation, no matter what you think about it, is and will always be a great source of business opportunities.

Hard to implement? Business opportunities (aka money) don't come freely ;-)

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[–] geff82 link

Uk guys, I will offer you private VPN access for a small fee :)

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[–] olegkikin link

They are having troubles blocking ThePirateBay. Good luck blocking ALL porn websites that don't implement this nonsense.

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[–] kwhitefoot link

> which doesn't solve the problem the regulation is trying to solve at all

What problem is it, really?

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[–] romanovcode link

I see they take after Russia.

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[–] okket link

In a weird way it may be a good thing to teach our offspring how to deal with and work around censorship on a small, non-political scale. Also, this topic assures they learn the lesson thoroughly, both because a lot of self-interest (unlike with 'boring' politics) and because of the obvious stupidity of this censorship.

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[–] SirHound link

Certainly one way to raise a savvy digital generation.

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[–] falcor84 link

>online pornography ... had been seen by 65% of 15-16 year olds and 48% of 11-16 year olds.

I don't think percentages work the way you think they work.

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