The case for age verification for pornography sites

first_imgVarious people have observed that the internet is the biggest social experiment in history. We owe it to our children not to insist that they are unwitting, involuntary guinea pigs.To put that slightly differently, we cannot say we will wait 20 years or so to see how things turned out for this generation before deciding what to do to ensure the next is not damaged in a similar way.In the EU Kids Online survey exposure to pornography came out as the No 1 issue kids found upsetting in terms of materials they were exposed to online.By any standards there is enough evidence to suggest porn may be causing significant harm to children, particularly younger and vulnerable children. It is therefore simply unacceptable to say, in effect, we must do nothing until the matter is conclusively and finally settled beyond all reasonable doubt. Only then will it be acceptable to seek to mitigate or reduce the likely consequences of children being exposed to porn.There are very few areas of scientific or academic enquiry where the evidence is not disputed. If we waited until there was 100% agreement about everything and never tried anything new until there was zero doubt about the probable outcomes we would probably all still be living in the Rift Valley herding cows.The precautionary principle therefore dictates we must have regard to the evidence of the possibility of harm and, unless and until there is a widely accepted body of evidence to the contrary, we are obliged to take proportionate steps to avoid the reasonable apprehension of predictable harm.Anyone who thinks online porn can be a useful or worthwhile source of advice, guidance or information about sex and relationships plainly hasn’t seen any of it.It is easier to make the argument for introducing age verification in respect of younger children and the risk of accidental exposure, but in fact all under 18s have a right to be protected and to understand where the boundaries are and why those boundaries exist.Older teens might be more likely to want to engage with porn but the very fact that difficult to circumvent boundaries and technical controls are in place will cause them to pause and reflect and that is likely to change the nature of their experience or engagement with any porn they do encounter.We agree that porn consumers have a right to have their privacy properly safeguarded.Age verification does not promise to deal with accidental or intentional exposure to all forms of porn everywhere e.g. porn that might be exchanged via Bluetooth, messaging Apps or on thumb drives or be created using cameras in phones. Rather age verification addresses the easy accessibility of  the gigantic quantities of pornography published by commercial concerns on the internet. This is the dominant form.Sadly there is no silver bullet that catches all porn everywhere, but that is no reason to refuse to act where you can have an impact.Age verification is about the responsibility of the publishers of pornography. They all say they don’t want children to access their wares but hitherto they have done little or nothing actually to prevent it.This was because they weren’t required to and even if an individual company might have been inclined to do something about it they were worried that unless everyone was under the same obligation to act at the same time they could lose business to less fastidious competitors. This is exactly how it worked with online gambling in the UK.Age verification should not be conflated or confused with the use of filters. Families might want to use filters to restrict access to all kinds of materials that conflict with their values or they might not want to use them at all. That still does not give porn publishers the right to expose under age youngsters to their products.Even if a family uses filters at home their children may end up in friends’ houses or other places where filters are not in use. Again that does not give  porn publishers the right to expose under age youngsters to their products.An age verification law is really about establishing a new normative value. It is saying it is not OK for porn publishers to make their products available without taking meaningful steps to ensure children cannot see them.It is also saying that the realities of our modern lives and the challenges of parenting in the digital age mean it is unfair and unreasonable to put the responsibility solely or even largely on parents to protect their kids from stuff that shouldn’t be there in the first place. The porn industry should not be creating extra burdens for parents.Least of all should porn companies feel unmoved or unconcerned about the idea of making money from showing porn to kids.People argue kids will get around whatever you try. That is an argument for doing nothing, for preserving the status quo.  Cui bono? Yet the evidence (see page 16) suggests most kids do not  know how to get around blocks and even  among those that do only a small proportion (6%) actually bother.It is a convenient myth that every child is a super-cool internet user who knows every  technical trick in the book and wants to break every rule or ignore every boundary.That said it will be important to keep track of technological developments and changes in the porn market to ensure the regulators stay up to date and relevant and are sufficiently nimble so they can swiftly address any circumvention strategies which might appear at scale.READ MORE: Desiderata 29 April 2018Children’s organizations and children’s interests led from the outsetIn the UK we have a number of large and extremely well known children’s organizations. Some are substantial bodies employing thousands of people and can trace their roots back to the mid  19th Century. They have Royal patrons, are highly respected and respectable, often with internationally recognized expertise across a broad range of child welfare, child development, protection and educational issues.  Moreover – and this was hugely important – they are resolutely secular. On internet policy they co-operate through a specially constructed coalition which has existed since 1999. I am its Secretary.We were 100% pragmatic and stayed completely focused on harm to children. Obviously we had support from feminist and religious groups and that was welcome but they were in no way involved in shaping our tactics, strategy or messaging.At no point did we say that we thought all porn was bad in and of itself, although we did point out that a great many people probably had a somewhat dated idea of what today’s online porn is like i.e. predominantly it depicts anti-female violence and promotes a completely unreal set of ideas about sex and relationships.The new lawThe Digital Economy Act, 2017 established that commercial pornography sites that publish into the UK must introduce age verification measures to restrict access by children. The so-called “free” sites were a key target of the legislation. These are, in truth, highly successful businesses. They don’t charge at the door, so to speak, they collect their revenues in other ways.The new  law will be operational towards the end of this year. There are two regulators.What is porn?The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) has the primary regulatory role.Like the children’s organizations referred to earlier the BBFC is an extremely well known and trusted brand. An independent organization that has been in existence for over 100 years, the BBFC’s business is analyzing, classifying and describing every kind of content, including pornography. It has a child protection mission.The BBFC’s principal regulatory task is to determine whether or not a qualifying site has put in place robust age verification measures that work. If they haven’t the BBFC has a range of tools at its disposal to encourage compliance. Ultimately the BBFC has a legal power to require ISPs and other access providers to block non-compliant sites. It is not thought this blocking power will be used very often because the sites are likely to comply. If they don’t their revenues will be hit. They care deeply about revenues.As a matter of fact because the porn sites will be able to guarantee they have an adult audience in the UK, porn companies may even find they become more profitable. They will need less bandwidth to service their sites and since their visitors will have money and the means to spend it, advertisers may be prepared to pay more. This is an example of the doctrine of unintended consequences at work. Hey ho.Privacy is vitalThe other regulator with skin in the game is the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), the UK’s data protection authority. Its task is to ensure age verification solutions respect people’s privacy rights.A key legal principle is data minimization i.e. the  only thing a porn publisher needs to  know is whether or not an individual who wishes to access their site  has been reliably verified as being over 18. A number of companies are springing up to provide age verification services that can be used across a range of adult products, not just porn e.g. for gambling, buying alcohol, tobacco and knives. Thus, going through an age verification process does not mark you out as being into porn. It just shows that you may sometimes engage with a range of items which are associated with an age restriction.Porn sites do not need to know or retain your name, your actual age, address or credit card number. All the porn site needs to know is that this particular log-in has been verified as belonging to someone who is 18 or above. The new system can therefore be seen as being privacy enhancing in a number of respects.Getting agreement to actFirst key political point: the measure went through the UK Parliament with all-Party support.  However, it has to be said that winning the personal support and engagement of the previous Prime Minister was crucial in getting the ball rolling. Neither he nor his successor tried to use attitudes to porn and protecting children as a means of scoring points and the opposition parties adopted a similar stance. This was important. If the draft measure had become heavily politicised in Party terms it would probably have failed.Second key political point:  in lobbying for the measure  we got the backing of major, mainstream newspapers and within Parliament a group of talented women Parliamentarians devoted a lot of time and energy to the subject over several years.Without in any way doubting the sincerity or commitment to the principle behind the measure on the part of the Prime Ministers and the other politicians,  it certainly did no harm to our cause to have the sustained support of major media outlets.You have to listen to the other sideFree speech and civil rights groups were heavily involved in trying to get the measure defeated or neutered. That is their job. It is both wrong and counterproductive to portray them as heartless, nihilistic anarchists who do not care about children. The great majority of them do care but have genuinely held reservations about the methods being proposed. We have to address those reservations not just shout them down and refuse to  hear. Some of what a number of them said definitely influenced me even though I thought others were too quick and too ready to misrepresent what was going on and why.While I completely reject the idea that protecting children from pornography is in any way about promoting censorship – no legal content that is on the internet today will not be there tomorrow –  it has to be acknowledged that whenever politicians get involved in subjects of this kind people are entitled to be nervous.Some regimes and a number of groups do not want anyone in their country, or anywhere else for that matter, to be able to access  pornography, and they might have a very broad definition of what constitutes pornography. We never argued adults should not have a right to access pornographic content.Our only point was that children should not be able to get at it so easily.A tiny amount of hassle is unavoidableAge verification  in the UK undeniably will create a minor inconvenience, i.e. adults will have to go through a process, but they already do this in many other areas, online and off. It is the inescapable but essentially  trivial price we pay to achieve a desirable social goal. The age verification solutions that are being developed for use in Britain can be completed easily and rapidly. In other countries with better developed online infrastructures it might  be even simpler to get confirmation that someone is over 18.Technical measures are not a substitute for sex and relationships educationAge verification in respect of pornography sites is NOT an alternative to or a substitute for children and young people receiving age appropriate advice and guidance about sex and relationships, both at home and at school or indeed via thoughtfully prepared educational resources available online. This continues to be of vital importanceHowever, age verification is an important complementary component. Inter alia, it helps show children that, as with alcohol, gambling and similar, a serious effort is being made to ensure the laws and norms mean something. The advice given by parents, teachers and others in respect of porn is not merely “virtue signalling”. It is not something to which grown-ups  pay lip service without it truly being meant to be taken seriously.Bringing the physical and virtual worlds into closer alignmentAge verification for porn sites helps bring about a closer alignment between the physical world and the virtual one. We don’t have one set of rules and expectations which apply in one place but not the other.Campaigning pointslast_img read more

Confession: Foden did not mention he had girlfriend or baby to me – Icelandic

first_img Loading… Icelandic teen beauty at the centre of the Phil Foden and Mason Greenwood scandal has released a video confession in English. Lara Clausen said that England star Foden never mentioned he had a girlfriend or young son. And she claims Man City ace Foden, 20, and Greenwood, 18, were also messaging another beauty while in the Three Lions camp. Clausen said she “feels bad” for the footballers – who were axed from the England squad as a result of their actions – and their families in a long video apology. After Saturday’s 1-0 win over Iceland, they sneaked model Nadia Sif Lindal Gunnarsdottir, 20, and her cousin Lara, 19, into the team’s hotel. Gunnarsdottir previously admitted she “messed up” – and Clausen has now for the first time released a video apology in English explaining what happened. She said: “Obviously I feel very bad about the situation. I didn’t realise how much attention this would cause and how big this would get. “I posted the videos and photos too, I deleted them a few hours later too, but it got out of hand. I never expected the video and photos to get out like it did. “Obviously I feel very bad for the boys and their families and everyone near them.” Promoted ContentThe Most Exciting Cities In The World To VisitA Hurricane Can Be As Powerful As 10 Atomic Bombs7 Of The Wealthiest Universities In The World6 Incredibly Strange Facts About HurricanesWhat Are The Most Delicious Foods Out There?7 Ways To Understand Your Girlfriend Better5 Of The World’s Most Unique Theme Parks7 Reasons It’s Better To Be A Vegan6 Extreme Facts About Hurricanes10 Risky Jobs Some Women DoWhich Country Is The Most Romantic In The World?Top 10 Tiniest Phones Ever Madecenter_img She revealed Foden had not told her about his partner – childhood sweetheart Rebecca Cooke – and their two-year-old son. Clausen said: “I didn’t know that Phil had a girlfriend or kid. He didn’t mention it, and I didn’t like Google him before I went to the hotel. “Obviously I feel very bad for his family.” The Icelandic teen then went onto claim that Foden – who was snapped showing his bum to the girls – and Man Utd star Greenwood had actually been messaging another girl too. read also:How randy England duo ‘paid hotel employee to smuggle Icelandic girls into team hotel’ She added: “The last thing I am going to mention is the girl talking to Phil on Snapchat and Facetiming them, it’s not me and it’s not Nadia. You are mixing two stories. “We did go and meet them, but we didn’t Snapchat and Facetime them. That’s not us.” Clausen had previously posted an apology in Icelandic and said she would also explain her actions in English. In the two-minute long video, she apologised if she did not pronounce every word correctly. FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmail分享 last_img read more

What we learned from Syracuse’s 82-81 last-second win over Clemson

first_imgEditor’s note: The Daily Orange was not at the Clemson game Tuesday night. Our reporters are providing coverage after watching the game on TV.Squaring off with another opponent on the NCAA Tournament bubble, it took Syracuse (16-9, 8-4 Atlantic Coast) until its final possession to edge Clemson (13-10, 3-8) on the road, 82-81. Tyus Battle hit a corner 3-pointer at the buzzer to secure SU’s fifth straight win, the Orange’s second-longest winning streak of the season.Here are three things we learned from Tuesday’s game.Syracuse is a proven comeback threatSU demonstrated its mettle once again by coming back from a double-digit deficit for the third consecutive game. The first two wins — in overtime at North Carolina State and at home against then-No. 9 Virginia — didn’t have quite as exciting finishes, but Tuesday’s result was a substantial step forward for Syracuse.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textFacing a 12-point hole at one point in the first half, SU rebounded and cut the deficit to two by halftime. The Orange looked a lot like it did earlier this season, struggling to work the ball inside and lacking any rhythm on defense, but it transformed in the game’s final 20 minutes.When Andrew White couldn’t replicate his sharpshooting first half, Taurean Thompson emerged as a go-to threat in the paint. When Syracuse needed a big defensive play in the game’s final minutes, White picked off an inbounds play that resulted in a two-point possession. When SU needed to hold it together against a Tigers team that made 6-of-11 3-pointers in the second half, it did just enough.“We’ve just been making really good plays down the stretch,” SU head coach Jim Boeheim said in his postgame press conference. “We’ve been behind. We’re used to it.”Even when he’s not his best, Tyler Lydon is still a key cogIt’s no secret that Lydon can easily be Syracuse’s best player on both ends of the floor. He’s been just that for most of this season. Tuesday was a step down from the steady play Lydon has showcased all season, turning the ball over a team-high five times. But against Clemson, Lydon proved how vital he can be even when he doesn’t play as polished as he usually does.With SU losing by two and a minute remaining, Lydon had the ball stripped out of his hands near the baseline. Clemson’s Avery Holmes knocked it out of Lydon’s grasp and it ricocheted off his leg and out of bounds. If Clemson scored on the other end, making it a two-possession game, it would have been a game-ending turnover. But the Tigers didn’t.When White snagged a Clemson inbound and dished it to Lydon, he was fouled and hit both fouls shots to tie the game at 79. Then on the game’s final possession, Lydon barreled down the paint and looked like he was going to elevate for a contested layup. Instead, at the last moment he found Battle open in the corner, notching only his second assist of the game on the buzzer-beating 3-pointer. By any stretch, it wasn’t Lydon’s best game. It was just good enough.MORE COVERAGE Superlatives from Syracuse’s 82-81 victory over ClemsonTyus Battle hits buzzer-beating 3 to give Syracuse 82-81 win over ClemsonFan reactions from Syracuse’s win over Clemson “There’s not many centers that can make that last play: Get in the lane and find the guy wide open,” Boeheim said. “Usually a guy will take a bad shot in that situation. He played like a point guard.”Taurean Thompson is capable of taking the reins of the offenseThe 6-foot-11 freshman has shown all season how well he can command the post. But given how much SU relied on its outside shooters in the first half, Thompson’s strengths were only played up in the second stanza. He scored all 14 of his points in the final 20 minutes, including 12 of the Orange’s first 15 second-half points.“He can score,” Boeheim said of Thompson, “he’s just got realize he can get close to the basket.”Thompson was a force on the offensive glass. He converted all three of his offensive rebounds into baskets, and two into three-point plays. Syracuse relied on him in the second half like it relied on White in the first. Earlier this year, when White’s performance trickled off in the second half, no one else compensated. Tuesday it was Thompson, and that’s a large part of why the Orange has now won five straight. Comments Facebook Twitter Google+center_img Published on February 7, 2017 at 11:45 pm Contact Connor: | @connorgrossmanlast_img read more

Tasmanian business team headed for India next week

first_imgNew Delhi, Sep 1 (PTI) A high-level business delegation led by Premier of Tasmania Will Hodgman is scheduled to visit India next week to discuss ways to deepen bilateral economic ties.The delegation includes Minister for State Growth Matthew Groom, Tasmanian ambassadors and renowned cricketers Ricky Ponting and David Boon, senior government and business leaders from the Tasmanian education, energy, tourism, food and beverage sectors.Besides the national capital, the team will visit Mumbai, a release said, adding that this visit would give India direct access to this growing region.”Meetings with the Indian government and business officials will seek to deepen economic links while showcasing what the island state of Tasmania has to offer visitors, students and investors,” it said.The delegation aims to finalise some important business and sporting exchange programmes. Tasmania offers India expertise in areas like agribusiness, aquaculture and renewable energy.Tasmania is Australias only island state and is located on the south coast.Tasmania and India already have strong business ties, with Indian enterprises sourcing goods worth more than 90 million Australian dollar in 2015. PTI RR ARDlast_img read more

2013 GWN7 Top Tourism Award Finalists Announced

first_imgHeritage AwardCultural AwardWebsite Development AwardManagement & Staff Training AwardCommunity Relations AwardEnvironment AwardSpecial Events Award The judges will also be awarding the RAC Travel Services Business Planning & Marketing Award and the Vanguard Press Judges Award.Now in their 24th year of the Awards, the VCAWA and GWN7 are extremely proud to once again be recognising the importance of Visitor Centres and the Tourism Industry in Western Australia.“Judging such a diverse range of towns from all over the State is no easy task – the level of entrants is increasing each year” according to the Chair of the judging panel, Robyn Fenech.“We were very impressed with the standard of submissions – the passion that Visitor Centres and towns put into their tourism product really shone through. Every year this process reinforces for the judging panel, the diverse range of tourism opportunities that WA has to offer and we can’t wait to visit the finalists to experience our extraordinary State”.  Each of the six finalists for the 2013 GWN7 Top Tourism Award will receive a site visit from the judges and the winning entrant of the GWN7 Top Tourism Award will receive from GWN7 an airtime package valued at $25,000 to utilise in support of their overall marketing activities to attract visitors to their area. The winner of the Population Under 5,000 category will receive a $5,000 airtime package with GWN7 as well.The award winners will be announced at the GWN7 Top Tourism Award Gala Dinner on Thursday 20th September in Armadale, which forms part of the Annual Visitor Servicing Conference.The Visitor Centre Association of WA is a not-for-profit peak industry body, representing more than 102 Visitor Centres and sub-representation of approximately 4,500 tourism businesses throughout Western Australia. In addition, all of the towns who nominated are eligible for the West Australian Regional Newspaper Special Category Awards which include: Top Tourism Award: Busselton, Denmark, Margaret RiverTop Tourism Award for Population Under 5,000: Bridgetown, Dunsborough, Kalbarricenter_img The Visitor Centre Association of Western Australia (VCAWA) is delighted to announce the finalists of the prestigious GWN7 Top Tourism Awards.For the first time, this year saw the 15 entrants enter in two categories, either for the Top Tourism Award or for the Top Tourism Award for Population Under 5,000. Three finalists have been selected in each category and are in the running for the prestigious honour of being named a Top Tourism Town in 2013.Judges deliberated hard over naming the finalists from an excellent field of entrants from all over the State but today have announced that the finalists are: Source = VCAWAlast_img read more