UK’s Age verification: We need to keep the state away from our porn

Raphael Tsavkko Garcia
Aug 5 · 4 min read

The idea that the state should legislate on age verification to grant user’s access to pornography is society assuming that it has failed miserably and that parents are merely incapable human beings.

The whole of society is harmed to “protect children” from imbecile parents.

In addition, the State’s creating a new market for private companies to profit, charging so that citizens can access porn sites whose content is free or for which they have already paid.

And to maximize the absurdity, under UK’s law (or at least the business model of verification companies) you have to buy a valid license for only one device. In other words, the State will not only hinder your access and charge you for it, but also let a private company charge you for access for each device you own.

Can you imagine someone going to a store, a bookstore or a kiosk asking the seller to buy access to pornography and handing over your data to him?

Worse, can you imagine having to hand over your data to a company in order to access porn sites with the danger of having all your preferences collected in one place and directly linked to your identity?

And I’m obviously counting on the stupidity of a government and politicians who think that teenagers are not able to use a simple VPN. Also, there’s a multitude of VPN’s with free trial periods that are just veiled scams or that simply steal data in exchange for a limited service. In addition, the British measure will also increase computer insecurity in the country and VPN scams will be even more dangerous and widespread.

The new UK age verification law will bring more danger then it will help anyone. It also might force teenagers to seek darker, underground places for free and unrestricted porn, making it even harder for (decent) parents to monitor what they do online. It is a simple fact: teeangers will look for porn and they’ll find it one way or another — I did when I was a teenager, even without internet or, later on, with a lousy dial up connection.

There’s indeed a limit to any parents’ control and (or but) the state is a terrible substitute.

The new law will, perhaps, (and that’s a huge “perhaps”) help out a bit slack parents who expect the state to be a nanny for their children. And no one else. That is, it will help large companies by creating a new and extremely lucrative line of business. Will we have (or already have) politicians who have passed this law receiving “investment” from such companies?

And I won’t even dive in the thousand questions involving privacy, it will be funny when one of these verification companies ends up invaded and start leaking the sexual preferences of the politicians who approved this law.

Any restriction on pon (or rather on what we can access online, in particular but not limited to pornography, recorded by/depicting consenting adults) is absolutely unacceptable. Age verification might be a solution to some minor issues, but not the way it was proposed in the UK and elsewhere.

Last year I wrote for CommonSpace a while ago:

“[…] a hyper-moralistic government that is trying to ban sexual behaviours they deem as inappropriate to others will soon be in possession of an enormous database of all kinds of sexual behaviours and deviations anyone can imagine — but don’t know what they’ll use it for.

The idea of “let’s protect our children” usually hides the bad intentions of pressure groups, many of which are religious, to curb others’ freedom — and nowadays there’s a legitimate concern about the security of personal data amid the panic caused by terrorism.

And the use of the expression “sexual behaviour” is not for nothing. This is government control of images and videos of sexual acts; it would be naive to think it could not be used to potentially embarrass citizens to change, hide or suppress such behaviours.”

I agree with becca caddy that “Age Verification for Online Porn Failed”, but it doesn’t mean that the system won’t be fully (and disfunctionally) implemented soon, with dire consequences.

Parents are supposed to take care of their children and monitore what they can or cannot see/access online, not the government, not any private company at the expenses of our privacy.

Raphael Tsavkko Garcia

Written by

Journalist, PhD in Human Rights (University of Deusto). MA in Communication Sciences, BA in International Relations. www.tsavkko.com.br

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