The UK porn block hasn’t started yet, but experts are already doubting its potency

Posted on Mar 31, 2019 by Caleb Chen
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The United Kingdom waits with abated breath to find out when and how porn blocks will be implemented across the country. We are sure of one thing right now, though: The porn blocks are not starting today, April 1st, 2019. The latest concrete date that was provided was “by Easter 2019.” That means these blocks could be made public in the next three weeks. The UK government has said that they will announce the “final” date of implementation “soon.”

Regardless of how the end porn consumer is supposed to verify their age to bypass the porn blocks, the fact that they have to is still demeaning. Currently, it seems that UK netizens will have the option of uploading documents online or going to a physical location to show their age-identifying documents to a news agent – which one of these seems less privacy damaging is entirely up to to personal preference.

UK porn blocks are unpopular, to say the least

Only 34% of a surveyed group believe that the porn blocks will be effective at all. Given the repeated delays and potential paths forward, it’s no wonder that the porn blocks are failing before they even have an announcement date set. Don’t take it from me, take it from the following UK based lawyers, activists, and writers.

The government’s plan to implement the UK porn blocks has been redrawn and delayed over and over again. Carmel Glassbrook of the UK Safer Internet Centre commented to The Independent:

“What they are actually proposing to do is quite a bit more difficult and a lot less simple than it has been reported as.”

These past few years, we’ve seen a lot of proof that the politicians making these rules are either not capable of or willfully unable to understanding the technical underpinnings of what they are legislating into existence. Myles Jackman, an obscenity lawyer in the UK, told Business Insider his thoughts on what was wrong with the proposed porn blocks:

“It would appear the government thought this was a cost-neutral freebie that they could get away with very easily without realising the potential impact it would have on privacy and data security.”

Rowland Manthorpe, writing for Wired in UK, was even more direct in his criticism which he shared in an article titled: Why the UK’s porn block is one of the worst ideas ever. Manthorpe summarized why the UK porn ban is doomed to fail:

“What’s more, because the UK is the only country in the world mad enough to introduce a porn block, anyone with a VPN, which can make it seem like you’re in another country, can get around it.”

About Caleb Chen

Caleb Chen is a digital currency and privacy advocate who believes we must #KeepOurNetFree, preferably through decentralization. Caleb holds a Master's in Digital Currency from the University of Nicosia as well as a Bachelor's from the University of Virginia. He feels that the world is moving towards a better tomorrow, bit by bit by Bitcoin.

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