Restricting niche porn sites is bad news for people with marginalised sexualities

Posted at 09:41 on 30 Nov 2016 by Pandora Blake

Restricting niche porn sites is a disaster for people with marginalised sexualities - Pandora Blake for The Guardian

Last week I had an article published in the Guardian about the impact of the forthcoming Digital Economy Bill, and its proposed restrictions on online porn. You can read it here - Restricting niche porn sites is a disaster for people with marginalised sexualities.

The article has received over one and a half thousand comments - and I was pleasantly astonished to discover that the majority of them are sympathetic or supportive. It seems that many people share my outrage that the Government think it a worthwhile use of time and money to legislate what consenting adults do for fun - or think that this bill is a proportionate, workable answer to the problems emerging from young people's lack of sex education.

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Tags: age verification, BBFC, classification, Digital Economy Bill, Dreams of Spanking, ethical porn, feminist porn, Guardian, in the news, kink acceptance, Kink Olympixxx, law, media, Myles Jackman, Obscene Publications Act, obscenity, porn, protest

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Porn Film Festival Berlin 2016

Posted at 11:17 on 21 Nov 2016 by Pandora Blake

This year I took the train again to the Berlin Porn Film Festival, a habit I began last year and which I mean to continue. It's a ten or eleven hour journey across northern Europe, and I vastly prefer it to flying: I like the armchairs and reclining seats of the Eurostar and high speed ICE trains, with hot coffee brought to your seat, and fast, free wifi which is unconstrained by the adult content filters now ubiquitous in the UK. I like not having to do airport security, or waiting at boarding gates. For ten hours it's just me, my laptop and my books, as the autumn fields and grey skies of Belgium and Germany whip past at nearly two hundred kilometres an hour.

That space and time to reflect has become a necessary ritual for me before the film festival, which is so crammed with social and sensory overstimulation. The linear, methodical journey by train feels more like a pilgrimage than the stop-and-start process of air travel; there's something satisfyingly complete about watching the horizon blur by. And at journey's end, I find belonging, acceptance. Here is the community queer pornographers lack the rest of the year, dotted around the globe as we are, turning Twitter into our shared office. Here, I'm neither shocking nor extreme. Sometimes I struggle with the unspoken suspicion that I choose this life because some part of me is attracted to rebellion, to the feeling of being outrageous; but when being among my people brings me such happiness, that suspicion is silenced.

This was my third year at the festival. Some part of that powerful sense of belonging was born last year, when I was awarded First Prize in the Short Film Competition for Houseboy, my BDSM romance about the teething pains of a queer poly household. That recognition, coming at a time when this film - along with the rest of my website Dreams of Spanking - had been outlawed by the UK government as too extreme to be tolerated, kept me afloat during my legal struggles. It also explains why I feel more at home in Berlin, at least for the week of the Porn Film Festival, than I do in the UK, which seems determined to criminalise my sexuality and my self expression. True, Germany already has mandatory age verification for online porn - a spectre currently looming over the UK - but at least they don't place prudish limits on the activities consenting adults can watch or film.

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Tags: Ms Naughty, porn, Porn Film Festival Berlin, porn screenings, queer porn

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English Collective of Prostitutes - Parliamentary film screening and decriminalisation evidence report

Posted at 12:09 on 1 Nov 2016 by Pandora Blake

Invitation from The English Collective of Prostitutes - Make Mum Safer

The English Collective of Prostitutes invite you to a launch event hosted by Dawn Butler MP and actress Sarah Solemani.

Tuesday 22nd November 2016, 2.30-4.00pm
Committee Room 9, House of Commons, Palace of Westminster, London SW1A 0AA.

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Tags: decriminalisation, English Collective of Prostitutes, politics, sex worker rights

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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)

 

Who we are

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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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