'The UK is becoming the world leader in censorship', says obscenity lawyer following porn ID checks proposal

Government is pushing for age checks using bank cards on porn sites

Click to follow
The Independent Tech

Britain is at the cutting-edge of censorship, it has been claimed, as government plans to implement ID-based age checks for pornography websites gather pace.

A scheme put forward by the porn industry would see users forced to verify their identity using banks, credit reference agencies or even the NHS, a move they were forced into by the Conservatives, for whom a law demanding age checks for online adult content is a key pledge.

"This is cutting-edge censorship," Myles Jackman, a lawyer specialising in obscenity law, told The Guardian. "We are now becoming the world leaders in censorship. And we are being watched very closely from abroad."

Not only have the draconian proposals been blasted for censorship, they also pose privacy concerns.

The plan is for checks to pass through an "anonymising hub" that removes identification in both directions on the request, meaning that in theory only the fact that the user is over 18 is out there, but there are always weak points in such systems.

"We know that privacy in such cases is often breached by accident, by hackers, or secretly by the police and intelligence services," said Jerry Barnett, a free-speech campaigner and author of the Sex & Censorship blog. "This is the state, yet again, intervening in people's private lives for no reason other than good old British prurience and control-freakery."

Comments