Written evidence submission to the Public Bill Committee on the Digital Economy Bill

Posted at 12:29 on 28 Oct 2016 by Pandora Blake

Digital Economy Bill

Written evidence submitted by Myles Jackman and Pandora Blake (DEB 61)


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Tags: age verification, BBFC, classification, Digital Economy Bill, freedom of expression, Myles Jackman, obscenity, politics, porn, privacy, R18

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Announcing the Backlash Kink Olympixxx - changing the rules for adult games

Posted at 17:39 on 4 Oct 2016 by Pandora Blake

The Backlash Kink Olympixxx: Mon 17 October, Houses of Parliament

I'm finally ready to announce some exciting news that I've been working on behind the scenes for over a month - ever since I realised the full extent of the harm that will be done by the Digital Economy Bill. The bill is currently going through Parliament, and proposes to bring in mandatory age verification for online porn without any provisions to safeguard the personal privacy and sexual liberty of web users. The bill has been debated twice by MPs and on 8th October will go through to the committee stage; and yet none of the concerns which I and other civil liberties activists have raised have yet been satisfactorily addressed. 

Do you want to have to enter personal identifying details before you're allowed to look at porn - such as your real name, address, or date of birth? Do you trust porn sites to keep this data secure - and do you want a database of your accumulated porn browsing history to be owned by private companies, exploited for commercial gain and at risk of Ashley Madison style data breaches that would leak your personal sexual preferences into the public domain?

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Tags: AVMS, Backlash, BBFC, classification, Digital Economy Bill, Myles Jackman, obscenity, politics, porn, protest

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Help me keep fighting for sexual freedom

Posted at 18:05 on 3 Oct 2016 by Pandora Blake

So, a few months ago I kicked off a Patreon campaign supporting my political activism. I expected it to grow fairly slowly, though of course I had plenty of hopes - but I was absolutely gobsmacked when one very generous benefactor made an extremely substantial pledge. Their support has meant I've had an unbelievably busy and productive few months:

I'm incredibly grateful for the help of this particular patron to date, along with that of all my Patreon supporters. But my benefactor was always very candid that they couldn't sustain this level of support for ever, and now it's come to an end - just as I'm really getting some momentum with my activism. I'm so glad they were able to help me get to this point, and now I need an extra boost.

All the activism and political organising I do is unpaid, and I still need to pay my bills and keep a roof over my head, just like everyone else. I don't receive a regular salary from any organisation - all my income is entirely self-generated, and every moment I'm volunteering can feel like lost earnings, as I'm sure the freelancers amongst you can understand. This is why Patreon has the potential to be such a revolutionary tool for activists - it's a way to support unpaid work that doesn't rely on a huge expenditure from any one individual. If enough people want to contribute even $10 a month to support what I'm doing, then I can keep doing it.

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Tags: activism, Patreon, politics, sexual freedom

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The Adult Provider Network discusses problems with the Digital Economy Bill

Posted at 12:29 on 28 Sep 2016 by Pandora Blake

The Adult Provider Network

Last month I attended the second meeting of the newly reinstated Adult Provider Network - an adult industry trade association formed last month to co-ordinate responses to the Digital Economy Bill. It was an absolutely fascinating meeting, and I learned a lot. Read on to discover how this will actually affect your business if you run a UK porn site, why the bill potentially discriminates against the visually impaired, and how the bill risks creating a new trade barrier between UK industry and overseas.

Who are the Adult Provider Network?

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Tags: Adult Provider Network, age verification, ATVOD, AV consultation, AVMS, BBFC, BBFC guidelines, censorship, child safety, civil liberties, Digital Economy Bill, digital rights, freedom of expression, freedom of speech, health and disability, MindGeek, obscenity, Ofcom, politics, porn, privacy, sex education, surveillance, technology, young people

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Free Naked Truth Film Club tickets for Patreon supporters

Posted at 12:56 on 22 Sep 2016 by Pandora Blake

What are you doing next Tuesday evening? I'm going to the cinema, and I'd love you to come too. The Naked Truth Film Club are hosting an exclusive screening of Respectable - The Mary Millington Story, followed by a discussion and Q&A. I'll be speaking on the panel along with Simon Sheridan, the film's director, and guests Jerry Barnett and Linsey Dawn McKenzie.

This documentary has been described as "genuinely compelling" by BBC Radio London, and is showing at 6pm on Tuesday 27 September at the Prince Charles Cinema, Leicester Square, London. It should be a fascinating springboard for a conversation about the adult industry, slut shaming, and the ongoing attempts of those in power to suppress our sexual freedom; and there are free tickets available for anyone supporting me on Patreon.

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Tags: Naked Truth Film Club, sexual freedom, slut-shaming

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Age verification: The Digital Economy Bill and what it means

Posted at 22:30 on 30 Aug 2016 by Pandora Blake

The government have published their reply to the consultation responses we submitted earlier this year on their proposed policy to enforce age verification for UK viewers of online porn. These proposals are not evidence-based, are classist to the core, and have worrying implications for privacy and freedom of speech. Along with many of you, I submitted a response to the consultation in April, which you can read in full here (it's split into six parts - turns out I had a lot to say). My response was also submitted to the Liberal Democrat policy committee, as well as to the Department of Culture, Media and Sport in the civil service. 

Since then I've attended meetings with representatives from DCMS, the UK Adult Producer trade association, and the Adult Provider Network to discuss the age verification proposals. In these meetings the civil servants I spoke to worked hard to come across as reasonable, open-minded, and interested in listening to our concerns and improving the proposals. But now they've published their official response to the consultation, it's clear that this was a performance purely for our benefit. The Digital Economy Bill reproduces the original policy proposal pretty much unchanged; which in turn is drawn straight from a Conservative party manifesto pledge. It seems that the consultation was a mere box-ticking exercise, paying lip-service to the of listening to experts, industry and the public, but without any intention to actually take the responses into account. Despite seeming open to criticism when we met in person, the official response makes it clear that they don't care what we think, and intend to go ahead with the proposals as if the consultation had never taken place. 

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Tags: age verification, ATVOD, AV consultation, AVMS, BBFC, BBFC guidelines, censorship, child safety, civil liberties, credit cards, Digital Economy Bill, digital rights, freedom of expression, freedom of speech, obscenity, Ofcom, politics, porn, privacy, surveillance, technology, young people

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Patreon update: sex work research, feminist spanking porn in the Guardian, and more

Posted at 00:00 on 9 Aug 2016 by Pandora Blake

First posted on Patreon, 9 August 2016. Patreon backers see these updates first; I add the posts to my public blog a month later.


Hi Patrons! Here’s my update just for you about the work you’ve helped to make happen in July. After June’s hectic news and Dreams of Spanking relaunch, it’s been great to start settling back into something approaching a routine...

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Porn performers talk about the UK porn laws

Posted at 12:32 on 7 Aug 2016 by Pandora Blake

I made this documentary about the UK porn laws about a year ago, using interviews that were shot as part of my sponsored caning fundraiser to raise money for Backlash, the non-profit organisation dedicated to fighting for sexual freedom in the UK. In case you weren't following at the time, this protest project was intended to help fund them to provide legal support to producers affected by the AVMS regulations, which had recently criminalised the depiction of a whole slew of consensual fetish activities in online porn. Myself and nine other spanking enthusiasts volunteered to take one hard cane stroke per £10 raised, to a maximum of 50 strokes per person. We made a colossal £3836 in total, which was donated in its entirety to Backlash.

Each of the ten sponsored canings was filmed and released under Creative Commons - you can view them for free at Dreams of Spanking. We shot an interview with each participant before the caning itself, giving them the opportunity to talk about porn criminalisation, censorship, and why they cared about the UK legislation enough to put their bottoms on the line to help fight it. It amused me no end that when ATVOD were investigating my site, they had to sit through these interviews and listen to lots of well-articulated criticism about themselves before getting to watch the free caning scenes that they were so incensed about.

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Tags: Alex Reynolds, Ariel Anderssen, ATVOD, AVMS regulations, BBFC, censorship, classification, documentary, Jilly Boyd, Nimue Allen, Ofcom, Pandora Blake, Paul Kennedy, porn law, Rosie Bottomley, Sarah, sponsored caning, Vincent Brennan

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Life-saving sex worker support service Open Doors is under threat

Posted at 17:28 on 3 Aug 2016 by Pandora Blake

The other day I attended the sexual health clinic at Homerton University Hospital. I was impressed. The clinic was clean, modern and well staffed; I was seen quickly, and the care I received was non-judgemental, helpful and thorough. In fact it was probably the best experience of attending a sexual health clinic I've ever had in London. During the short time I was sitting in the waiting room, I saw posters and leaflets advertising the other free services Homerton University Hospital offers to the public, including Out There, the walk-in center for bisexual and gay men, and Open Doors, a free and confidential advice service for people working in the sex industry.

If you look at the Open Doors website (there are three other Open Doors NHS clinics in London, but I think the Homerton one is the longest running) their mission statement is clear:

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Tags: Hackney, intersectionality, law enforcement, marginalisation, migration, Open Doors, police, racism, sex worker rights, stigma

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Patreon update: Ofcom victory, age verification meeting and more

Posted at 00:00 on 30 Jun 2016 by Pandora Blake

First posted on Patreon, 30 June 2016. Patreon backers see these updates first; I add the posts to my public blog a month later.

So, as most of you will have already heard, June has brought big news. After a prolonged legal challenge, and lots of stress and difficulty behind the scenes, my feminist spanking site Dreams of Spanking is back online! Ofcom upheld my legal challenge against ATVOD (the quango who originally ordered it to be taken down) and… well, it’s been a long time coming, and I'm very happy to have been vindicated, but it hasn’t been entirely plain sailing. If you’d like a few more of the details you can read more about the impact of this whole ordeal on my blog.

So what with that and all the work it's taken to get Dreams of Spanking up and running again, I hope you'll forgive me for this newsletter being a few days later than expected. But without further ado, here’s the lowdown on all the political campaigning work your support has helped me do since I last wrote!

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