You've got pr0n: Yes, smut by email is latest workaround for UK's looming cock block

Automated filth shows plan just grist to the privacy activists' mill

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Web-dwellers who don't use Tor but are worried about the UK's impending smut block interrupting their viewing habits have been offered a simple way to satisfy their urges – porn by Email.

The idea is a two-fingered salute to the government's decision to require all sites hosting adult content to set up age-check gateways to ensure that anyone looking at the stuff online is over 18.

The controversial measures, ostensibly brought in to stop kids stumbling across porn while doing their homework, have been derided as an example of the nanny state and a threat to freedoms of expression.

Other criticisms include that it will encourage unsafe online behaviour by priming people to part with personal details on unverified sites, and that it risks creating databases of people's porn preferences – ideal, and damaging, targets for hackers.

As has been pointed out ad nauseam, those who want to watch porn untracked – under-18 viewers included – will be able to use VPNs, Tor and proxies to get around the checks.

However, for those who want a simpler workaround, PornByEmail is offering a smut delivery service: send an email with the subject "preference" followed by a performer's name and get a supply of matching porn.

Users don't need to supply any personally identifiable information to sign up (no reason not to set up a fresh email account for your porn), and the service runs autonomously, with the software searching a database for images with metadata that match the query and sending back the results.

It was set up by self-described internet troublemaker Gareth Llewellyn who said the aim was to make a point about internet censorship and oppose government measures to do that.


UK age-checking smut overlord won't be able to handle the pressure – critics


But he added that the software is under an open-source licence, so once it is finished anyone can use it on their own email address or domain for just their content, giving performers a way to "publish" material without being shut down.

That's because although the regulator, the British Board of Film Classification, can require that internet service providers block websites that don't comply with the age-verification rules, it has no power to compel ancillary service providers – which also includes social media sites – to cut off services to porn providers.

And, Llewelyn argued, since PornByEmail doesn't have a website, there's isn't anything for ISPs to block, and they can't be ordered to block emails.

El Reg expects there will be many more ingenious measures to get around the age checks – feel free to let us know how you plan to watch yours, if indeed you do. ®


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