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DCMS pass the buck on age verification

Posted at 16:00 on 9 Jan 2018 by Pandora / Blake

Queer porn maker infiltrating Parliament: Pandora Blake visits the DCMS

Before Christmas I met the DCMS to talk to them about age verification, and try and get some answers out of them. Here's what I learned.

Who will have to comply?

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Tags: age verification, audio, BBFC, DCMS, Digital Economy Act, freedom of expression, freedom of speech, MindGeek, privacy, security

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DIY Porn - Valentine's Special!

Posted at 12:31 on 18 Jan 2018 by Pandora / Blake

DIY porn with Pandora Blake

What are you doing for this Valentine's Day? How do you fancy spending the evening with me? I will be back at the splendid Book Club in Shoreditch doing a talk and screening on DIY Porn, and I'd love you to join me. Whether it's for distribution or simply for your own pleasure, creating your own sex tapes can be a way to empower and nurture yourself through expressing yourself, enjoying your body, embracing your sexuality, and having fun! And if you have someone special to make it with, it's a hot opportunity to create some personalised smut with your favourite lover.

Porn is political - and in a world dominated by the fantasies of straight white men, what could be more radical than creating your own consensually-produced erotica? Porn can be (and often is!) queer, feminist, trans-positive, fat-positive, age-positive, and ethnically diverse. It can be respectful, sincere, intimate, romantic, sensual, artistic, loving, or whatever you want it to be. When you're shooting yourself, you have full control over how you present, and the story you tell.

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Tags: DIY porn, public speaking, talk, workshop

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I don't endorse age verification

Posted at 10:12 on 25 Jan 2018 by Pandora / Blake

So you'll have noticed that I've been spending a lot of time campaigning around age verification, and working to mitigate the harms threatened by Section 3 of the Digital Economy Act. I've been giving talks and interviews, meeting members of the DCMS, lobbying Parliamentarians and speaking with companies who are preparing age verification software, to advise them around privacy and security. (This work is funded by my Patreon supporters - and if you believe in what I'm doing, every contribution is appreciated.)

This work puts me in something of a conflicted position. I don't endorse age verification as a policy; I think it's poorly conceived, a solution looking for a problem. It rejects the results of the government's public consultation, in which more respondents answered responded against age verification than in favour. It's based on false claims - that young children regularly 'accidentally' stumble across online porn and suffer terrible psychological damage as a result - based on shoddy evidence that does not meet peer-reviewed standards.

On the basis of these arguments and more I've argued against age verification as a strategy since it was first proposed. Nonetheless, the Digital Economy Act became law last year and age verification will be enforced very soon – on 27th April in fact, if the announced deadline is upheld. In its current form, it's a hugely problematic policy. Not only is it poorly implemented, and full of ambiguities and inconsistencies, but there are well-documented concerns over privacy and security which must be taken seriously. I've outlined risks around data collection and storage, possible identity theft, data leaks or breaches, and malicious misuse of data for advertising or profiteering, to name a few – would you want a list of porn sites you have visited saved under your email address somewhere?

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Tags: age verification, AgeID, Digital Economy Act, freedom of expression, MindGeek, privacy, security, sex education, young people

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