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Online privacy and age checks

Posted at 10:11 on 12 Feb 2020 by Pandora / Blake

The ICO have released their new "Age appropriate design", a new statutory code of practice, which aims to keep children safe online in the age of social media. It affects websites likely to be accessed by children in the UK, which will be obliged to account for the "best interests" of the child, and to grant special protection to how childrens' data is used.

Links:

Full code of practice

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Tags: age verification, child safety, ICO, in the news, privacy, young people

51 comments

Age verification faces ongoing delay

Posted at 11:30 on 22 Jun 2019 by Pandora / Blake

According to the Guardian, age verification "faces indefinite delay" due to bureaucratic incompetence:

"It is set to be delayed for legal reasons after government officials failed to notify the European commission of key details."

I shouldn't laugh, but this is comedy gold.

The massive privacy failings of this policy should have been a deal-breaker. Legislators should never have tried to regulate the internet by force of law when they don't understand how it works. Thanks to the tireless efforts of campaigners such as myself, Myles Jackman, Jim Killock, Alec Muffett and the rest of Open Rights Group, Backlash UK, Misha Mayfair and others, the threat that age verification represents to the privacy of internet users is well attested, and is now mentioned in any news coverage about the issue.

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Tags: age verification, AgeID, BBFC, DCMS, Digital Economy Act, Dreams of Spanking, in the news, law, legislation, MindGeek, Myles Jackman, Open Rights Group, porn, privacy

122 comments

Privacy blunder as govt announces age verification commencement date

Posted at 12:28 on 19 Apr 2019 by Pandora / Blake

This week the DCMS announced that age verification will come into effect on 15 July 2019. Hilariously, they can't even send out a press release without making an embarrassing privacy mistake. From the Guardian this week: 

"Unfortunately for the government’s attempts to calm fears on the privacy issue, the news was announced by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport in an email that exposed the contact details of almost 300 recipients. DCMS was also responsible for implementing the new GDPR laws in the UK, which mandate large financial penalties for breaches that expose personal data."

We don't even need Private Eye - DCMS are more than capable of satirising themselves.  

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Tags: age verification, DCMS, in the news, media, Open Rights Group, privacy

218 comments

Age verification: Where do things stand?

Posted at 15:42 on 25 Mar 2019 by Pandora / Blake

After the Digital Economy Act passed in July 2017, implementation of age verification has been repeatedly delayed. We were initially told it would start being enforced in April 2018, but it was put back till the end of 2018. In November the Minister for Digital, Margot James, claimed that it will come into effect by Easter 2019, but as far as I know things aren't yet in place to enable the BBFC to begin enforcement.

This leaves website owners and viewers in a state of uncertainty, not knowing at what point they will need to start age verifying to access porn - or publish it. A recent YouGov survey showed that more than three-quarters of Brits have no idea this is even happening. Meanwhile, there are still irregularities and uncertainties with the policy, which I lay out in detail in my recent academic article: Age verification for online porn: more harm than good? My Patrons (at Ally tier and above) can access the full article here.

Which sites will have to comply?

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Tags: age verification, audio porn, Digital Economy Act, freedom of expression, in the news, media, Mindgeek, Open Rights Group, politics, porn, privacy, sex workers' rights

49 comments

How not to build a data security system

Posted at 17:00 on 14 Dec 2018 by Pandora / Blake

Information security expert Alec Muffett has posted an essay analysing the data security proposals of the BBFC with regards to Age Verification - including some damning commentary on the fact that all parties responsible for implementing AV are blithely ignoring the legal sensitivity of the data involved under the Data Protection Act:

The UK Government has passed the Data Protection Act (DPA) which guarantees sensitive “…processing of data concerning an individual’s sex life or sexual orientation” — §86.7e — and yet apparently nobody wishes to consider that if a person regularly age-verifies in order to access “ireallylikegayporn.com”, the resulting metadata trail will clearly constitute “data concerning [their] sex life or sexual orientation”. 


He explains why the April 2019 deadline for enforcement is so rushed as to preclude any sensible security consultation, and gives a good analysis of the deficiencies of the proposed data security mechanisms for AV with reference to the benchmark provided by credit card security standards.

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Tags: age verification, BBFC, Digital Economy Act, privacy, security

5 comments

Porn star Misha Mayfair and activist Pandora Blake warn adults about age verification

Posted at 10:16 on 10 Sep 2018 by Pandora / Blake

Porn star Misha Mayfair and activist Pandora Blake present Curtains for Privacy: a safe-for-work satirical sexual exposé of the privacy risks presented by Government’s new age verification rules.

Mayfair and Blake appear in the viral video, released by ResistAV today, draped naked in net curtains as they warn of the risk of UK adults being outed under the Digital Economy Act 2017’s age verification requirements, with the punch line: “It’ll be curtains for personal privacy”.

The video heralds the launch of a crowd funding campaign on the CrowdJustice platform, to raise legal fees to challenge the age verification régime, designed by obscenity lawyer Myles Jackman.

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Tags: age verification, Backlash, Misha Mayfair, Myles Jackman, press release, privacy, ResistAV

7 comments

Response to the BBFC consultation on age verification

Posted at 08:00 on 24 Apr 2018 by Pandora / Blake

I sent a response to the BBFC consultation on their draft guidance on age verificationon behalf of myself and obscenity lawyer Myles Jackman.

Table of Contents

  • Do you agree with the BBFC's Approach as set out in Chapter 2?

    • Child protection

    • The scope of the legislation

      • Out-dated classification guidelines
      • “Frequently visited”
      • Extreme pornographic material
      • Indecent images of children
    • Right of Appeal

    • Sanctions and disproportionality

    • Impact on low-traffic websites

      • Financial impact
      • Lack of technical resources
      • Social benefits of online sexuality communities
      • Impact on diversity and freedom of expression
      • Proposals
    • Impact on independent sex workers

  • Do you agree with the BBFC's Age-verification Standards set out in Chapter 3?

    • Privacy “recommendations” are unenforceable

    • Risk of social exclusion

    • Collection and retention of data

      • Conflict of interest
      • Risks associated with data breaches
      • Lack of redress
  • Do you have any comments with regards to Chapter 4?

    • Insufficient security standards

      • PCI-DSS
      • PAS 1296
      • Data protection
    • Regulatory oversight

    • Conclusion

Click here to read the full consultation response.

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Tags: age verification, AgeID, BBFC, freedom of expression, freedom of speech, ICO, MindGeek, Myles Jackman, privacy, security, sex worker rights

7 comments

Strong privacy is a must for age verification tech

Posted at 15:23 on 18 Apr 2018 by Pandora / Blake

Open Rights Group

The Open Rights Group are urging people to respond to the BBFC public consultation on their age verification guidelines.

The Government is about to require all UK internet users to verify they are over 18 to be able to view pornography. This will likely require users to use documents like a passport, credit card, or driving license to prove their age to the site.

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Tags: age verification, BBFC, Digital Economy Act, Open Rights Group, privacy

10 comments

Behind the scenes with Myles Jackman

Posted at 09:32 on 21 Feb 2018 by Pandora / Blake

On Friday I got together with obscenity lawyer Myles Jackman and some like-minded friends to create a new campaign video for Backlash and raise awareness around age verification. Look out for the completed film coming in the next few weeks. We recorded this short and sweet video blog after the shoot to tell you what we've been up to. 

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Tags: age verification, AgeID, Backlash UK, Digital Economy Act, MindGeek, privacy, security

10 comments

Privacy threat posed by AgeID hits the mainstream news

Posted at 19:53 on 9 Feb 2018 by Pandora / Blake

Pandora Blake talks about age verification on Sky News

One of the difficulties of campaigning in the arena of sex and sexuality is how difficult it is to get mainstream attention. Even when issues potentially affect the privacy and freedom of a majority of adults, most publications will post stuff related to sex as a lightweight "lifestyle" feature rather than as serious news.

So it was ground-breaking for Sky News to feature a report on the dangers of mandatory age verification, in particular the threat posed to personal privacy if MindGeek successfully establish a monopoly with their AgeID software. I watched the video as it was first broadcast live on the bus on my phone with my headphones on. It features an interview with me and - somewhat to my surprise - excerpts from my film trailers I had posted on YouTube. It's a trip to see (fully clothed) snippets from your indie porn films used to illustrate a mainstream news story - even more so when watching it on public transport!

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Tags: age verification, AgeID, Digital Economy Act, in the news, media, MindGeek, porn, privacy, security

11 comments

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