UK wants to censor ‘non-conventional’ sex videos

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In an ongoing effort to prevent pornography from soiling the shores of Britannia, UK lawmakers are working to prevent the spread of ‘non-conventional’ sex videos online. The proposed law blocks sites that host content that would not be “certified for commercial DVD sale by the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC),” an organization similar to the MPAA in the US and formerly called the British Board of Film Censors. The law is supported by the UK Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

The bill also requires stringent age checks for online pornography and gives the UK government the ability to block non-compliant sites.

“Non-conventional” sex acts are, as you’d expect, fairly conventional when looked at from a human perspective. The BBFC, for example, will not rate films that contain anything from female ejaculation to spanking. Their guidelines, for example, note that “sexual fetish material, including bondage or sadomasochistic activity, urination and other bodily functions” is forbidden.

The bill also contains language that allows the UK to block payments to non-compliant sites. The Guardian notes that this ban brings the UK “back to the pre-Internet era.”

“The Government is committed to keeping children safe from harmful pornographic content online and that is exactly what we are doing,” said Karen Bradley, 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.”

Britain’s recent pre-occupation with Internet censorship is at once harmless and alarming. It’s abundantly clear that any effort to block porn in the UK is short-sighted and nearly every proposed punishment – from ISP controls to payment blocking – are easily circumventable by anyone interested enough to do so. Further, as evidenced by this screenshot [NSFW], porn is literally impossible to block and only good parenting and a strong home supervision can prevent kids from seeing this sort of content. Only the simplest and least Internet-savvy politician still believes there is a chance to put the porn genie back into the porn bottle.

The Guardian could not get a comment from the DCMS or the BBFC and I’ve reached out to both for further clarification.