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#metoo, patriarchy, sex, and consent

Posted at 22:37 on 6 Feb 2018 by Pandora / Blake

The #metoo movement is just getting started. Lately it seems that every time I come online, I see more excellent articles discussing the gendered dynamics and inequalities of sex, pleasure and consent. This is a much-needed conversation, and it's thrilling to see it taking place in mainstream publications, on an international scale.

Here are some recent highlights from my reading. Content note: sexual assault and consent violations.

Keep reading »

Tags: consent, gender politics, metoo, patriarchy, sex

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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?

Keep reading »

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

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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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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?

Keep reading »

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

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Questions for the DCMS

Posted at 17:00 on 20 Dec 2017 by Pandora / Blake

How to get a meeting with the DCMS

I was recently invited to meet with the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) to discuss age verification.

I've been trying for a while to make this conversation happen. I'd previously connected with a couple of different members of the Child Internet Safety Team, the group responsible for implementing age verificiation - and then they moved onto other roles, leaving me without any active contacts. I first met with different representatives in collaboration with the UK Adult Producers trade association (UKAP), with the Open Rights Group - and more briefly at events organised by UKAP and the Adult Provider Network. Twice I was given email addresses and told to keep in touch, only to then have my emails ignored. No doubt they're busy people.

Keep reading »

Tags: age verification, DCMS, freedom of expression, freedom of speech, MindGeek, privacy, security

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Invite your MP to attend commemoration of sex workers on Monday 18th

Posted at 19:00 on 13 Dec 2017 by Pandora / Blake

Sunday 17th December is the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers, and the following day marks the closing date for the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) inquiry into “pop-up brothels”. Therefore on Monday 18th, the English Collective of Prostitutes (ECP) and Sex Worker Advocacy and Resistance Movement (SWARM) will 'create a memorial outside the Houses of Parliament and will be calling on MPs to join us and hear our demand for an end to criminalisation, stigma and poverty which makes us vulnerable to all kinds of violence and exploitation'. You can read the press release here

'ECP and SWARM invite MPs, and, in particular, APPG members – Fiona Bruce MP, Sarah Champion MP, Thangam Debbonaire MP, Lord McColl of Dulwich, Jess Philips MP and chair Gavin Shuker MP – to join us and speak to sex workers. Despite calls for decriminalisation from sex workers around the globe, the APPG is currently proposing that the UK increases criminalisation of the industry'.  

Please consider attending this event to support sex workers, and invite your MP to attend this event to show their solidarity with sex workers. Even if (or perhaps especially if) they are a supporter of the Nordic model, they should care about people who experience violence within the sex industry; attending this vigil is a clear way for them to show to their concern about the harms we are exposed to, which is exacerbated by the criminalisation of our work. You can find a tool at the bottom of this page which enables you to easily contact your MP to invite them to this event - enter your post code (without spaces), and it provides you with a pre-written letter which you can edit if you wish. 

Keep reading »

Tags: ECP, IDEVASW, Sex worker rights, SWARM

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What's your porn identity?

Posted at 16:00 on 1 Dec 2017 by Pandora / Blake

In early November I gave a talk with Myles Jackman at ORGCon, the UK’s biggest digital rights conference. Journalist Wendy Grossman (@wendyg) facilitated a discussion with me and Myles (@MylesJackman) about age verification.

We outlined the issues as well as we could in 20 minutes - which isn't long given the complexity of the situation. I mentioned that the whole premise of the Digital Economy Act - that children can ‘stumble across’ porn and be damaged by it - is not backed up by any evidence. We also talked about the unworkability of implementation within the deadline; with enforcement announced for April 2018, the regulator has still not been appointed, and porn producers in the UK aren't going to have enough time to evaluate and choose an age verification service. 

Keep reading »

Tags: age verification, Digital Economy Bill, Myles Jackman, Open Rights Group, queer porn

 

E-lust #100

Posted at 11:29 on 21 Nov 2017 by Pandora / Blake

Photo courtesy of Wriggly Kitty

Welcome to Elust 100-

The only place where the smartest and hottest sex bloggers are featured under one roof every month. Whether you're looking for sex journalism, erotic writing, relationship advice or kinky discussions it'll be here at Elust. Want to be included in Elust #101? Start with the rules, come back December 1st to submit something and subscribe to the RSS feed for updates!  

~ This Month’s Top Three Posts ~

He’s Out of My League - Fire and Honey

Keep reading »

Tags: e-lust

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Do you trust PornHub with a database of your sexual preferences?

Posted at 22:20 on 16 Nov 2017 by Pandora / Blake

Mindgeek: Big data

The more I learn about age verification, the worse an idea it seems to be. I’ve written before about the logistical problems with the policy, especially in light of the proposed enforcement deadline of 27 April 2018. We still don’t know how it will be enforced, who the regulator will be, or what will be considered compliant; and there are lengthy Parliamentary processes to be completed before we can find out.

Meanwhile the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, and the British Board of Film Classification (who are tipped to be the new regulator) are refusing to engage. I recently organised a roundtable of security experts, privacy campaigners, site owners and age verification providers to share knowledge and discuss the issues, and both DCMS and BBFC declined to attend. The DCMS are also refusing to answer my questions via email.

Keep reading »

Tags: age verification, BBFC, DCMS, Digital Economy Act, Digital Economy Bill, DPA, Mindgeek, privacy, security

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DIY Queer Porn show on Radio AvA

Posted at 19:09 on 7 Nov 2017 by Pandora / Blake

A couple of weeks ago I broadcast my first very own live radio show for Radio Ava, a DIY sex worker community project. I presented 90 minutes of DIY Queer Porn, including steamy audio teasers and interviews with some of the hottest up-and-coming stars of the UK queer porn scene. It was great fun - I really enjoyed playing at being DJ with the tunes I'd picked out, and it was so great to be in the studio with other sex workers.

I broadcast an interview I'd recorded and edited earlier in the week with Cookie Cosmos, in which they have loads of interesting things to say about being a trans porn producer, the ways in which mainstream porn lets down trans performers, the value of social media for DIY porn, and their exciting forthcoming projects. I've been lucky enough to meet Cookie now, at the trans femme porn screening they showed work at, alongside their wife and fellow porn maker Rae Cosmos, and Chelsea Poe. It was an amazing evening; so great to connect with other trans non-binary folk including three icons of trans porn, and see some of the exciting work being produced by new filmmakers in the UK right now. I'm eager to collaborate with Cookie and Rae and already plotting ways I can find time to get together and create some work with them.

Keep reading »

Tags: Ava Caradonna, Blath, Dion de Rossi, DiscoTitts, DIY porn, ethical porn, fairtrade porn, feminist porn, queer, queer porn, Radio AvA

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