Backbytes: Government plans to license porn on a global scale

By Backbytes
22 Jul 2014 View Comments
Could images like these be accidentally filtered by the ISP pornography filters

In an era where quality is weighed rather than critically evaluated, volume is everything - especially where legislation is concerned.

Between 1997 and 2010, for example, an estimated 28 different crime and criminal justice bills were passed and at least 3,500 new crimes identified and legislated for. Hurrah for our hard-working legislators!

Further reading

Now, though, they seem to have become even more ambitious. Buried within the latest Criminal Justice and Courts Bill is a cunning plan to globally license the internet porn industry.

We are not kidding.

Sections 42B and 42C contain peculiar proposals that would theoretically criminalise unlicensed foreign providers of online grumble flicks. The proposed legislation even provides the "Secretary of State" (it doesn't say which one - perhaps a new Minister for Porn?) the power to levy "a tariff providing for different fees for different classes of foreign pornographic service and for different circumstances".

Quite apart from the insight into the deranged thinking of whoever thought it a bright idea, such a proposal would surely be struck down on competition grounds for treating grubby foreign competition differently from marvellous, patriotically produced, home-grown porn.

Intriguingly, these foreign pornographers are expected to provide assurances to the Minister for Porn that under-18s - people old enough, from the age of 16, to bleed to death in a foreign land on the whim of a politician - will be "provided in a manner which secures that persons under 18 will not normally see or hear it". Licences will need to be renewed annually.

In order to head off EU anti-competitive alarm bells, an amendment in 42C specifically exempts Euro-porn, so producers of Dutch and German grumble flicks can rest easy, although the World Trade Organization might have something to say about the British parliament's imaginative porn power grab, so to speak.

Maybe MPs are running out of things to criminalise or perhaps some of them have their eyes on a cheeky new sinecure when they are voted out next year - Her Majesty's Royal Commissioner of Global Porn?

@backbytes

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