It’s difficult to tell if this crazy, techno-backward, filtering scheme that the UK Government is intending to implement is actually going to happen. After all the Government is in turmoil and is currently trying to pick a new Prime minister from a bunch of distinctly shady looking characters, so it’s actually difficult to tell.
Some have suggested that they might just shelve it or push it back quietly. However there seems to be no sign of this and it looks like the mad scheme might actually be released. Here’s the latest opinion from the guys at Torrent Geek who are quite rightly pointing out another drawback.
This summer the UK government will attempt to ban underage access to sites that have a third or more of their content dedicated to porn. Everyone will be required to verify their age and sites that don’t comply with the regime will be blocked by ISPs. However, citizens who seek to circumvent the rules with VPNs, for example, will also find pirate sites wide open again.
Before the dawn of the mainstream Internet, underage access to pornographic content meant trying to sneak a glance over someone’s shoulder at a well-thumbed adult magazine.
Or, if you were ‘lucky’, finding a VHS cassette in a friend’s dad’s cupboard, behind the coats and shoes, in a box, inside another box, in an envelope marked “holiday video”. Such things apparently happened.
With the dawn of the Internet, things have certainly changed. With just a few clicks, one can find pornographic material, with ‘graphic’ often being the operative word. What adults choose to watch is their business, but children being able to access much of the content on today’s platforms is probably not what most parents want.
So in the absence of traditional parental controls, the UK government has stepped in to prevent youngsters from inadvertently stumbling across adult content. From July 15, the country will adopt a checking scheme that will require profit-making sites with more than a third of their content pornographic in nature to verify visitors’ ages.
So basically by implementing their porn filter, the UK Government will be simply enabling a culture of filter avoidance. It’s very likely to happen, just the same way as it does in China – where I’ve heard of very small children routinely using VPNs to access blocked content from he Chinese state. You will probably find a VPN client shortcut sitting on loads of laptop and desktops for all sorts of reasons not just as a way to bypass the uK porn filter.
The UK Porn Block Launches in July 2019
Except of course it didn’t, again, the implementation has been delayed after a slight administrative issue. This time after years of discussion, months of planning the current government continued on it’s usual method of implementing any project with a technological component by completely buggering it up. Apparently the technology was all in place but someone had forgotten that such a huge intrusion into peoples freedom of choice and liberty actually required a notification being placed with the European commission.
Before anyone get’s too upset and starts shouting about ‘bloody Europe’ these are laws and regulations largely pushed by the UK themselves in order to control how companies manage age verification. However this high profile, flagship project floundered because the basic administrative steps hadn’t been followed. It’s something akin to getting a license before you can drive or planning permission before you build that extension. Yet again, a UK IT project fails dismally before it’s even implemented which perhaps maybe a blessing in disguise.
After all one of the important assurances given to back up this project is that great care would be taken with both the age verification and database of approved users. After all, having a huge list of adults ‘who would like to watch porn’ is obviously valuable on one side but also highly personal in another. We all know that the media would have a great time sifting through a huge list of people who’d asked to be able to watch pornography legally. This care was completely missing in the initial phase so why should we believe that it would get any better during the post-Brexit shambles that the UK has become.
The project has now been shelved again, initially without any firm date but now people are suggesting it’s only going to be a few months. It’s actually when the UK Porn block is implemented that we’ll see all the main issues occur, this pre-implementation shambles is something simply created by incompetence.
The current Digital Media secretary who was in charge of this project is Morgot James, promised that this act would make the UK one of the safest countries for children to access the internet. Although it should be pointed out that she has just resigned in the latest raft of political arguments. Whether this project actually happens or is just kicked down the road by successive governments is difficult to tell. It seems likely to simply be another back door to increase censorship in the UK and of course government surveillance. Great news for all the best VPN service providers though as pretty much everyone will end up using one anyway.