Not content with introducing the most extreme surveillance law ever passed in a democracy, the UK government also feels its citizens need to be protected from the horrors of online pornography. As such, it plans to ban websites that display “non-conventional” sex acts.
The proposal, which is part of the digital economy bill, would see the same UK pornography restrictions that are in place for adult DVDs and video-on-demand services applied to online content.
ISPs would be forced to block sites featuring material that would not be certified for commercial sale by the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) – the UK’s version of MPAA. These “non-conventional” acts may include pictures and videos that show spanking, whipping or caning that leaves marks, and sexual fetish material that includes bondage or sadomasochistic activity, urination and other bodily functions.
There are plenty of other types of acts covered by this definition, including public sex and the hilarious “four-finger rule.” Basically, porn sites would need to block about half of their content from UK audiences in order to comply.
Additionally, even those site that host so-called conventional adult material could suffer under the bill, as they will be forced to verify British users’ ages before allowing them access. The age checks could be carried out using credit cards - because nobody would have any issues with typing their Visa number into a porn site, obviously.
“The Government is committed to keeping children safe from harmful pornographic content online and that is exactly what we are doing,” said Karen Bradley, UK Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport. “Only adults should be allowed to view such content and we have appointed a regulator, BBFC, to make sure the right age checks are in place to make that happen. If sites refuse to comply, they should be blocked.”
The bill is the latest move in Britain’s battle against online pornography. Former Prime Minister David Cameron, who allegedly engaged in a sex act with a dead pig’s head as part of an initiation ceremony while at Oxford, ensured that many UK households now have adult websites blocked by their ISPs unless they opt-in.
The Digital Economy Bill could be amended before it becomes law but, unless the government pays attention to the numerous anti-censorship protesters, completely legal adult content could soon be banned.