Age Verification Live on Sky News

We are printing in full the post from Pandora Blake as it clearly lays out the situation that will greet all of us come April if the government bring in their aget verification law. Unlike Pandora however we do not agree with anyone, government or private company having the right  to censor the internet and most certainly not to also alow them unrestricted access to your private data and to be able to use it as they see fit.

The only outcome that is acceptable is the unrestricted use of the internet. Do not be swayed by the arguments that this is to protect children, it’s nothinbg oif the sort and we have rehearsed the arguments in previous articles. It is the parents job to look after their children, it always has been and always should be. Most kids are internet savvy by a very young age and will despite any restrictions find anything they are looking for in short order.

“I watched this Sky News report live yesterday on the bus on my phone with my headphones. It’s a trip to see your indie porn trailers used to illustrate a news story about the privacy dangers of age verification, even more so when you’re watching it on public transport. I’m on the train again now (lots of schlepping around London this weekend) so this is going to be a super quick scrappy post, but I just had to share this massive breakthrough into the mainstream media with the campaigning I’ve been doing around age verification.

I filmed this report with Sky News a couple of weeks ago – you may remember the video diary I posted after the shoot. You can watch it online here:

Are porn companies taking advantage of new age regulations?

The problem with age verification isn’t so much that it will make MindGeek lots of money – I’m sure AgeID has been expensive to build – but that it risks compromising the sensitive personal data and private sexual preferences of millions of Internet users. I was encouraged to see Sky News so sympathetic to the arguments myself and other privacy campaigners are making. I thought it was a strong piece that gets to the heart of the problem.

The independent research the Sky News team did into the AgeID privacy policy was particularly chilling.

In the article accompanying the news report, correspondent Tom Cheshire shows that although MindGeek deny they will snoop on user’s private data, the AgeID Privacy Policy “details a wealth of information the site may collect.”

It includes name, postal address, nationality, date and place of birth, email address, mobile phone numbers and demographic information, as well as searches made on AgeID.

It notes that this information can be used by AgeID “to develop and display content and advertising tailored to your interests on our Website and other sites”.

The policy also says: “We also may use these technologies to collect information about your online activities over time and across third-party websites or other online services.”

MindGeek has suffered high profile hacks in the past, with millions of people’s personal information being stolen. A database of pornographic sites visited across the web for 25 million people in the UK would likely be a target for hackers.

Making these points in international media is a real win for privacy campaigners like myself who are concerned about the high stakes at play if people’s private porn viewing data is released into the public domain. As I explained in my latest blogpost,

I don’t endorse age verification. But with people’s lives at risk, especially people with more marginalised sexualities who risk suffering of homophobia and transphobia, I can’t in good conscience sit back and let the worst case scenario unfold.

It’s work like this – producing articles, lobbying Parliamentarians, speaking to the press, filming news reports and documentaries, and engaging with thought leaders – that is made possible by donations like yours. I wouldn’t have been able to do this without you.

If you can, would you please share the links to the Sky video and article, so they can spread as far as possible? If you felt like linking my Patreon and mentioning that you support me and why, that would be ace too. Thank you!”

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