Approximately one year ago we wrote of the UK government’s plan to require age verification before allowing pornography observers, consumers, viewers, or whatever you wish to call them to watch their favorite type of debauchery.
We called it “Selling Tickets to the Sewer” and you can read complete details here.
Since this is a government program, developments proceed at a governmental, slow-motion pace. Now The Guardian reports, “The government will next week confirm the launch date for a UK-wide age block on online pornography as privacy campaigners continue to raise concerns about how websites and age verification companies will use the data they collect.”
The UK will block and/or fine porn sites unless they “show that they are taking sufficient steps to verify their users are over 18, such as by uploading a passport or driving license or by visiting a newsagent to buy a pass only available to adults.”
Privacy complainers fret that an online database of porn connoisseurs would be like placing a ‘Hack Me’ sign on the website and there is some truth to the statement. Government officials, captains of industry, entertainment figures, and other prominent types would be risking exposure and significant reputation damage if word of their prurient pleasures became known.
Naturally the complainers went too far in their protest and began using the wrong examples. One stated, “It might lead to people being outed. It could also be you’re a teacher with an unusual sexual preference and your pupils get to know that as a result of a leak. It won’t get you sacked for viewing something legal but it could destroy your reputation.”
Frankly, I think most parents would consider it a public service if “a teacher with an unusual sexual preference” became known to the public.
The option for those who don’t want to trust to the Internet to keep their private passions private is to buy a “porn pass” in person from a newsagent who will verify the age of the purchaser and make sure he is over 18-years-old. To prevent buyers from instantly being tagged as porn purchasers the “passes” can also be used to buy other age-restricted items like knives or alcohol. That means a casual observer of the transaction has three options for their judgmental decision: the buyer can be considered a pornvert, a potential stabber, or a lush.
The system isn’t foolproof. Older teens can sell the passes to younger teens and the computer adept may find other work-arounds. But it’s a start.
The public also appears to agree with us. The story says a YouGov poll seen by the reporter, “shows 67 percent of Britons said they supported the effort to require age verification, amid concerns about the impact of pornography on British teenagers.”
In the earlier column we concluded, "age verification is an excellent idea. To those who reflexively shout 'CENSORSHIP!' anytime a limit is placed on media consumption, our answer is this is no more censorship than an age limit on the purchase of alcohol is prohibition.”
Our conclusion still stands.
Michael Reagan, the eldest son of President Reagan, is a Newsmax TV analyst. A syndicated columnist and author, he chairs The Reagan Legacy Foundation. Michael is an in-demand speaker with Premiere speaker’s bureau. Read more reports from Michael Reagan — Go Here Now.
Michael R. Shannon is a commentator, researcher for the League of American Voters, and an award-winning political and advertising consultant with nationwide and international experience. He is author of "Conservative Christian’s Guidebook for Living in Secular Times (Now with added humor!)." Read more of Michael Shannon's reports — Go Here Now.