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El Reg deep dive: Everything you need to know about's pr0n block

Some foreplay: Dark web, smut monopolies and moral outrage

Any chance of a happy ending?

For some, the delay offers an opportunity to reinvigorate the campaign against age verification.

"I don't think it's a done deal," said Blake. "There's no shame in abandoning a policy that it turns out isn't going to work the way you thought it was.

"We shouldn't be trying to seek technological solutions to social problems, and I would welcome them realising that and dropping it entirely. I think it's ill-conceived, not evidence-based and completely unworkable in practice."

But it's hard to imagine it being the dead stop they want, because the move fits into an agenda that Nash describes as "broader moves to age gate the internet".

Two kids in superhero costumes/disguises.

UK digi minister Hancock suggests Facebook and pals give your kids a time-out


You only need look back a couple of weeks, to digital secretary Matt Hancock's disconcerting comments on two-hour time limits for under-14s on social media.

Nash said this was due to two things: that a lack of research makes it hard to make sensible policy decisions; and a "media-driven panic around technology".

"It was exactly the same with TV, VCRs, radio," she said. "And ministers are faced with those same pressures, to be seen to be doing something about the internet, which clearly has risks and harms to youngsters."

These pressures to "do something" about the internet – which were apparent even before this week's Facebook furore – don't stop at age gating.

Countries all over the world are struggling to get a grip on the impact web giants and tech are having on society – and it's unlikely policymakers will stop spurting out regulation anytime soon. ®


* The Video Recordings Act 1984 governs the supply of "video recordings" (physical media like disks or tapes) and requires that "video works" are classified before the tape is sold.

The Communications Act 2003 (as amended by the Audiovisual Media Services Regulations 2009 and 2014) imposes a regulatory framework on both broadcast television and "on-demand" programme services ("TV-like" services rather than simply online porn). It says on-demand services can't contain prohibited material or "specially restricted" material, which includes R18 sex works. Even though they're now regulated by Ofcom, they're often known as ATVOD-regulated services.

S63 Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008 criminalises possession of "extreme pornography", which is content that depicts a prohibited act (one that is grossly offensive or disgusting). This is likely to apply even if it's a video of consenting actors following an agreed script.

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