back to article Blighty's online pr0n gatekeepers are begging for a regulatory beating, says digital rights org

Age-verification providers are privately calling for a compulsory certification scheme ahead of the UK government's controversial online porn laws due to come into force next month. The voluntary standard for protecting the privacy of people viewing filth online, who will have to pass mandatory age checks, is being overseen by …

  1. Paul Johnson 1
    FAIL

    Here is a picture of the prOn age verification scheme.

    https://www.syslog.com/~jwilson/pics-i-like/kurios119.jpg

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      I clicked that link with some trepidation; I'm at work.

      Have an upvote for not getting me sacked (so to speak).

    2. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Childcatcher

      "current guidance on security, encryption, pseudonymisation and data retention "

      What do you expect from such a vacuous, stupid TOTC policy championed by a Conservative MP because she couldn't manage to set her browsers pron filter?

    3. David Shaw

      apparently filter is INDEFINITELY SUSPENDED, 'till after exit at least...

      A spokesman from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport said er, we forgot to ask someone , and when we mentioned over coffee at The Council that our pr0n firewall was just about to launch - we strangely discovered that it is an illegal system, so it is apparently indefinitely suspended until we do the same with 'ooman rights

      /S

      quoting from Gizmodo.com

      According to Sky, a government spokesperson did not deny the indefinite delay and confirmed that culture minister Jeremy Wright would deliver a statement to the House of Commons on Thursday morning. Apparently, the problems are not technical. They’re legal, Sky wrote: “When laying the BBFC’s guidance in Parliament in late 2018, [the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport] failed to notify the European Commission as it is required to, undermining the legal basis of age verification.

      well, whatever next?

  2. Paul Crawford Silver badge

    Or better still get a VPN to an outside-UK server and be done with the fsckers.

    Don't forget to do a little research in to who you select, and always check your VPN's operations with something like https://ipleak.net/ as well so you have some confidence in it doing the job OK. As an additional benefit you side-step a lot of the RIPA snooping and get "targeted adverts" in Swedish (other liberal countries are available...).

    1. benoliver999

      Yeah I think they are about to get a lot more business.

    2. steviebuk Silver badge

      And watch out with NordVPN. From testing, it looks like the double VPN option leaks the first connection it goes through. Normal VPN is fine and doesn't leak DNS. But if you use double VPN option, it appears to leak the first connection it makes but not the 2nd connection.

      1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

        For most things (e.g. the all-important pr0n access) you don't need any fancy VPN arrangements, just one to a non-UK server (and sensibly not one in a country with restrictive laws either).

        I recently tried Ubuntu 18.04 and, of course, the plonkers behind systemd have made it leak DNS even if you set the usual firewall rules to block it. Fix for me was to use dnsmasq as covered here: https://askubuntu.com/questions/1065568/block-outside-dns-fix-dns-leak-ubuntu-18-04

        Needed a reboot though. Various VPN providers offer their own clients but they often suck as much as the default NetworkManager, just in different ways. Was trying 'Eddie' from AirVPN but was quite disappointed to not see any Iron Maiden images or music clips on connection, etc.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "Was trying 'Eddie' from AirVPN but was quite disappointed to not see any Iron Maiden images or music clips on connection, etc."

          IIRC AirVPN named Eddie after the manically cheerful computer on the starship Heart of Gold in Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy.

    3. Velv
      Boffin

      And do some research on the "best" country to point your VPN at.

      Switzerland for example has some very strict privacy laws that prevent access to your data, including IP addresses.

    4. caffeine addict

      I don't know enough about how internet traffic is monitored by anyone other than the website, but I really hope that someone is monitoring traffic levels to adult sites and traffic through VPNs.

      I'd be delighted if UK adult traffic drops to bugger all and VPNs simultaneous spike massively.

      I mean, I'm sure it will happen. I just want to see the stats that show it...

    5. chivo243 Silver badge

      Just try Opera browser with built in VPN. Works about 3/4 of the time, not bad for free?

      1. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge

        Yeah, not bad for free. Other than of course, the highly detailed collation and sale of everything you've ever looked at online, and your browsing habits, to nefarious 3rd parties that you don't even know exist. Other than that, yes... I'm sure it's fine, if you like your privacy being raped.

        1. GruntyMcPugh Silver badge

          That's only really an issue if you already use Opera, but if folks don't, and only use it to access the pr0n, don't login to social media etc, all Opera get are the pr0n logs.

          1. LeahroyNake Silver badge

            The Opera is for porn

            The Opera is for porn, so grab your tits and VPN for porn porn porn....

            This was posted via Firefox mobile, they don't seem to have broken any of my add ons / extensions.... Yet.

        2. katrinab Silver badge

          Which, as far as Opera is concerned is a mix of porn and bittorrent sites, + a mail.com email address in the name of a fictional character, with absolutely nothing else. They know what type of porn I like, and what sort of stuff I download, but nothing else.

  3. yossarianuk

    Bloody big state Tories

    Tories are and always have been far worse in regards to direct state intervention in citizens personal/sex lives than even new Labour, they have no qualms whatsoever.

    Tories are only the the party of the 'small state' when it comes to helping others/protecting rights/the environment

    1. Velv
      Headmaster

      Re: Bloody big state Tories

      The Conservative Party

      HELLO!

      1. Swiss Anton

        Re: HELLO

        I don't think anyone heard you

    2. }{amis}{
      WTF?

      Re: Bloody big state Tories

      regards to direct state intervention in citizens personal/sex lives than even new Labour

      Cough: ID Cards

      Cough: RIPA

      Cough: Laundy list of terrorism legislation

      No government reduces oppression without a revolution first.

      1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

        Re: Bloody big state Tories

        Cough: Spanner

        Which was a curious case involving consent. If consenting adults want to nail their balls to the floor, why interfere with Darwin's plan?

        But such is history. We've gone back to pre-Victorian views on energy generation, why not also apply Vicorian views to morality and energy expenditure.

        1. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: Bloody big state Tories

          "Vicorian views to morality"

          Which were "anything goes" for the most part.

          The age of consent was 12 years old and only raised to 16 due to a moral panic over child prostitution (it was felt that younger girls could pass for being 12, but it's harder to pass for being 16)

          If you didn't pay your bills, it was commonplace to hire a "cutter" who would hunt you down and do as the job title suggested - usually to your face - as a warning to others.

          And the rich lived in terror, behind 12-foot high walls topped with broken glass/razor wire.

          1. LeahroyNake Silver badge

            Re: Bloody big state Tories

            You can probably add hanging homossexual males to that list as well if the latest BBC drama Gentleman Jack is anywhere close to factually correct.

            Yes it's getting repetitive but it is nice to see them trying and giving a very strong female lead character that still has feelings. I can only see it ending badly though.

            1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

              Re: Bloody big state Tories

              You can probably add hanging homossexual males to that list as well if the latest BBC drama Gentleman Jack is anywhere close to factually correct.

              Did they have Naomi Wolf as historical/technical advisor?

              Yes it's getting repetitive but it is nice to see them trying and giving a very strong female lead character that still has feelings. I can only see it ending badly though.

              We're living in a post-truth world, so it's about feelings, not facts. See Chernobyl and praise for Emily Watson's character. What better way to represent women in science than create a role like that. Or as the writer put it Mazin's interest in creating the series originated when he decided to write something that addressed "how we're struggling with the global war on the truth right now". So a docudrama where the 'science' delivered so passionately was very far from the truth, or science. If the objective however was to reinforce the message that nuclear energy = nuclear weapons, then I suppose it hit it's mark.

              But Victorian values again. Gentleman Jack could have been about lovers fighting against the evils of coal mining, whilst trying to keep wind power and prevent the Industrial Revolution. Romanticise stuff with artistic licence, as the Victorians did. London's having a bit of a resurgence in Victorian values after all.. Ban pron, and overlook the resurgence of razor gangs. I somehow doubt it'll lead back to allowing the public to carry sword canes, or pocket pistols however.

              1. opaque

                Re: Bloody big state Tories

                At least at the end they say she wasn't a real person but is a pity they felt they had to do that when everything else is pretty accurate.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Bloody big state Tories

            "The age of consent was 12 years old and only raised to 16 due to a moral panic over child prostitution (it was felt that younger girls could pass for being 12, but it's harder to pass for being 16)"

            Given that was the reason, why not just make prostitution under the age of 16 illegal rather than raising the age of consent for everyone else as well?

  4. steviebuk Silver badge

    Lets hope

    There is a big breach and lots of Tory members end up being on the "leaked list" then the law will be scrapped.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Lets hope

      You weren't thinking of Hatt Mancock were you?

    2. MyffyW Silver badge

      Re: Lets hope

      Honourable members may well find their seats exposed

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Lets hope

      Bojo seems to get away with almost Trump-like disregard for morality - and the Tory party members will still make him favourite for PM. Apparently that is also the view of enough General Election voters too.

      Frankly I don't understand what has afflicted the thinking processes of a large swathe of the UK population.

      1. Swiss Anton

        Re: Lets hope

        "... I don't understand what has afflicted the thinking processes of a large swathe of the UK population."

        "Thinking", what were you thinking of?

  5. Jamie Jones Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Huh?

    "MindGeek's AgeID [...] has said it expects 20-25 million UK adults to sign up for its service in the first month."

    There are about 52 million adults in the UK [ https://www.ons.gov.uk/aboutus/transparencyandgovernance/freedomofinformationfoi/projectedukadultpopulationfor2018]

    So, almost *half* of all UK adults:

    1) Watch pornub

    2) Are willing to give up anonymity to register for porn. (instead of using VPNs / giving up / going elsewhere)

    3) And will do so using the Mindgeek service.

    4) And will do so in the first month!

    I know the UK is full of wankers, but there's some mistake there!

  6. Rich 11 Silver badge

    MindGeek's AgeID ... has said it expects 20-25 million UK adults to sign up for its service in the first month.

    And how many UK children? If the offline PortesCard method can be used to register five devices at a cost of nine quid, I can see a ready market in secondary schools of 18 year olds buying one and selling access to five kids at a fiver each.

    1. Velv
      Pirate

      ID?

      From AgeID:

      The PortesCard is available to purchase from selected high street retailers and any of the UK’s 29,000 PayPoint outlets

      In my experience many of these PayPoint outlets are corner shops that already have no qualms selling alcohol and tobacco to anyone with cash and no ID, so why would these vouchers be any different

    2. Suricou Raven

      Or they could fall back to the ancient tradition of loaning around a USB stick.

      1. DJV Silver badge

        But will they leave the USB sticks around in bushes in the local park like they used to leave the magazines?

        1. Rich 11 Silver badge

          Eugh! You won't know where it might have been.

        2. Suricou Raven

          At this point, I wouldn't be surprised if someone buys a thousand of the sticks, ties them to helium balloons, and lets them float all over the country just as a way to stick their middle finger up at the government.

  7. mark l 2 Silver badge

    I quick test using an EE mobile plan where adult sites are normally blocked at the DNS by EE. I was easily able to bypass the filtering by enabling DNS over https in Firefox. So if the BBFC are using similar blocking techniques it wont even require a VPN to get around them.

    1. Paul Johnson 1
      Facepalm

      Not done with DNS

      That's not how its going to work. The planned scheme won't use DNS blocks. You will get to the website, but if it detects that you are in the UK then it will put up the verification wall. If the website fails to put up the verification wall then the operator is liable under UK law (at least, if the UK.Gov know who they are and they ever come within UK jurisdiction).

      The method of detecting that you are in the UK is presumably going to be based on IP address, which is why foreign VPNs are the obvious workaround.

      1. Christoph

        Re: Not done with DNS

        "If the website fails to put up the verification wall then the operator is liable under UK law (at least, if the UK.Gov know who they are and they ever come within UK jurisdiction)."

        Is that how they are doing it? So if a national of a foreign country is running a website in that country, they are required to design it in accordance with UK law?

        That seems rather prone to major problems if the government of that country dislikes the idea. And it would mean that operators of UK sites in the UK would be required to run their websites in accordance with the laws of all other countries. How about no photos of women with faces uncovered, or receiving an education?

        1. quxinot Silver badge

          Re: Not done with DNS

          Why can't kids just get torrents for their porn, the old-fashioned way?

          1. Admiral Grace Hopper Silver badge
            Windows

            Re: Not done with DNS

            Oh for the innocent days of the soggy copy of Razzle found under the hedge at the local park. Kids today, eh? Don't know they're born.

            1. Alister Silver badge

              Re: Not done with DNS

              Kids today, eh? Don't know how they're born.

              TFTFY!

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Not done with DNS

            Jacob Rees-Mogg will be unaffected. He's only just upgraded from Rubens woodcuts to daguerreotypes of racy ladies showing their ankles...

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Not done with DNS

          Is that how they are doing it? So if a national of a foreign country is running a website in that country, they are required to design it in accordance with UK law?

          There's no legal requirement, as a foreign website isn't subject to UK law. However, if they don't age check UK visitors, the assumption is that their website will be added to the list of pirate websites that the larger UK ISPs are required to block.

          1. Alan Brown Silver badge

            Re: Not done with DNS

            "There's no legal requirement, as a foreign website isn't subject to UK law."

            Long arm statutes, "doing business in or with residents of" - where the latter condition seems to be easily fulfilled even if the access is "free"

            That's how the USA's being handling that kind of thing for, oh, at least 100 years - and they _can't_ challenge UK or EU courts invoking long arm statutes as it would undo decades of precedent on both sides of the Atlantic.

            This is why the GDPR laws have an effect despite potentially offending data handlers being entirely based offshore. It's perfectly feasible for data privacy commissioners to sue them anyway.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Not done with DNS

          "Is that how they are doing it? So if a national of a foreign country is running a website in that country, they are required to design it in accordance with UK law?"

          A bit of both really. Basically someone (BBFC?) will be keeping an eye on grumble sites and those which aren't complying (ie offering age checks) will be added to the block lists that ISPs use for torrent sites etc. So you'll (maybe) be able to visit non-compliant sites using your DNS trick (but probably not, the blocking works at IP level).

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Not done with DNS

            "So you'll (maybe) be able to visit non-compliant sites using your DNS trick"

            The legal exclusions allow sites like Twitter to NOT do any verification. They have apparently taken on a multitude of users who left Tumblr because of their new ban on sex/nudity.

        4. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Not done with DNS

          "Is that how they are doing it? So if a national of a foreign country is running a website in that country, they are required to design it in accordance with UK law?"

          without getting into morality or whether I agree or not with the system...

          It seems to have worked for a significant number of US websites who decided that rather than looking into GDPR and how they may be affected, just blocked the entire EU from accessing their sites. You see, the result for them isn't that they may get fined because their answer to that, if they have no EU presence, is to stick two fingers up or simply block access. In the case of porn sites, they WANT the viewers so they either comply or they get blocked by the ISPs who are inside the UK and obliged to follow UK law. If they don't care about all the free viewers and those who convert to pay viewers, then they don't need to do anything. UK ISPs will do the blocking for them. If they DO want the pay viewers who upgrade from free, then they will invest in complying with UK laws.

      2. rg287 Silver badge

        Re: Not done with DNS

        That's not how its going to work. The planned scheme won't use DNS blocks. You will get to the website, but if it detects that you are in the UK then it will put up the verification wall. If the website fails to put up the verification wall then the operator is liable under UK law (at least, if the UK.Gov know who they are and they ever come within UK jurisdiction).

        Wasn't that rather the point though?

        If a US operator decides "You know what, we don't need the UK market" and refuses to implement AV, then - with no judicial recourse against a foreign enterprise operating outside the UK - the BBFC will be able to add them to the naughty list, which UK ISPs (the big ones anyway) will have to block outright. If they use DNS blocking for that, then it will indeed be trivially easy to bypass even without a VPN.

        VPNs are needed for the ones which actually try to abide by UK law and prompt for AV, where UK netizens will need to pose as dirty furriners looking to get their mucky kicks!

        1. Rich 11 Silver badge

          Re: Not done with DNS

          where UK netizens will need to pose as dirty furriners looking to get their mucky kicks!

          I plan to brush up on my sweary Italian so that I can pass as an Italian wanker.

          "Va fanculo!"

    2. Alan Brown Silver badge

      "I quick test using an EE mobile plan where adult sites are normally blocked at the DNS by EE."

      That would be the same EE whose adult site blocking nobbled access to the Sarracens Rugby club in Watford? I know about rugger buggers but that's a bit over the top (especially seeing as the Sarracens' site is the only way to know about the availability of certain public parking spaces on match days)

  8. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "We want the UK to be the safest place in the world to be online"

    Simple : do not let children go online without supervision. Do your bloody job as a parent, instead of using a screen to do your child's education.

    And can someone tell me why, for the love of all that is holy, an age verification scheme is voluntary ? Let's be logical : if there is a law that says that age verification is mandatory, then there should be a mandatory scheme to verify age that is compliant with the law.

    Get your ducks in order.

    1. Skier Boris

      Re: "We want the UK to be the safest place in the world to be online"

      "Simple : do not let children go online without supervision. Do your bloody job as a parent, instead of using a screen to do your child's education."

      Frequently said by someone without children! While I agree with the statement, given the prevalence of screen availability (smartphones, friends smartphones, school, friends home etc) - good luck with monitoring their internet usage 24/7

      Yes as a parent you can teach them the rights and wrongs but most teens with rampaging hormones are going to find porn at some point - there's enough floating around on sites which won't even require age verification. Let alone what goes on on the likes of SnapChat

      1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

        Re: "We want the UK to be the safest place in the world to be online"

        Yes as a parent you can teach them the rights and wrongs but most teens with rampaging hormones are going to find porn at some point

        And this is entirely the point. Stopping teenagers from seeing something is like a big neon flashing sign saying, "something interesting here." Sensible parenting involves educating your children about porn and explaining to them that it isn't a realistic depiction of sex. That way you don't end up with 15 year-old girls who think there is something wrong with them because they aren't into A2M.

        1. MyffyW Silver badge

          Re: "We want the UK to be the safest place in the world to be online"

          Right on @Loyal Commenter - it's about keep a dialog going with your offspring, not wrapping them in cotton wool.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: "We want the UK to be the safest place in the world to be online"

            Amen. My kids saw porn well before 18 and I'm perfectly fine with that. Had to catch them at it and give them "the talk", of course, which was fairly uncomfortable but has to be done.

            "The talk" includes:

            It's done for the camera rather than pleasure or comfort.

            Pregnancy and diseases do not happen in porn but you are in Real Life.

            Arse to anything is a fast track to some truly disgusting diseases.

            Porn caters to an increasingly jaded audience. You do not have to go to extremes to have a good time.

            ...and so on. I researched it before catching them and had it all more organised than this post. T'was a while ago.

            1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

              Re: "The talk"

              Comparing pr0n sex with real sex via food analogies (probably NSFW but actually very good):

              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q64hTNEj6KQ

        2. TheProf Silver badge

          Re: "We want the UK to be the safest place in the world to be online"

          A2M?

          Is this something an elderly gentleman like myself should know about?

          I would g**gle it but my ISP is blocking anything saucy.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: "We want the UK to be the safest place in the world to be online"

            Arse to mouth, probably. Seemingly desirable in porn, less so for multiple reasons in RL.

      2. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: "We want the UK to be the safest place in the world to be online"

        "but most teens with rampaging hormones are going to find porn at some point"

        By the time they get to BE teens you've had plenty of time to instill into them an idea of "right and wrong", plus ensure that they KNOW that if shit hits fan they _can_ talk to you. The ones who don't have this and feel they have to hide everything from (usually control-freak) mumsy and dadsy are the ones who end up being victims.

        I know when I was that age I knew that some jazz mags were ok and some were best avoided. Then again I could talk to my parents about most things. A lot of my friends weren't so lucky.

      3. Cynic_999 Silver badge

        Re: "We want the UK to be the safest place in the world to be online"

        "

        ... but most teens with rampaging hormones are going to find porn at some point

        "

        And? Is there any evidence that that is likely to cause the slightest harm to a normal teen?

        Besides which, as you point out, they WILL find porn regardless of what legislation the gummint puts in place. Much of which is these days produced by the kids themselves.

        1. BrownishMonstr Bronze badge

          Re: "We want the UK to be the safest place in the world to be online"

          Like a lot of things on the Internet, I would say depends what it is.

          Anything depicting rape or anything else which is illegal is very obviously out. As well as anything too far out of the ordinary.

          I wonder if it's best to allow some porn through the filter, but only the ones you've approved. That way they think they''ve gotten away with it but in reality they're most likely seeing the ones you prefer they watch.

          As a newish parent, you want what is best for them and I remember thinking differently before she was born. It's easy to blame parents, but shit creeps up on you. Like fucking quick.

  9. Jamie Jones Silver badge

    "A spokesman from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport said: [...]"We want the UK to be the safest place in the world to be online, and these new laws will help us achieve this."

    "In addition", he added, "to keep these children "safe" from road accidents and drownings, we've decided to make new laws requiring people to have ID before crossing roads, or going to the beach. We may be slashing education budgets, reducing community policing, and generally screwing our kids futures, but when we want a draconian law passed, you can always count on us to "think of the children".

    1. Alan Brown Silver badge

      > but when we want a draconian law passed, you can always count on us to "think of the children".

      The best response to that is "After all, your friend Jimmy Saville always did."

    2. Graham Cobb Silver badge

      And who asked the people whether they wanted to live in "the safest place in the world to be online"? I have heard people say Singapore is the safest place in the world to live -- nice place to visit but I don't want to live there. Some say Riyadh is actually safer still -- not even a nice place to visit.

      If Brits valued safety and security over freedom we wouldn't have gone to war against Hitler -- that was what he offered the German people. I know current voters are pretty stupid but blocking porn (or a couple of big porn database privacy breaches) will soon make even Tory voters realise there is a pretty obvious balance to be made between freedom and safety.

  10. Cuddles Silver badge

    Doesn't seem relevant

    "As it stands, the BBFC cannot fine or discipline providers that fail to protect people's data"

    Why would they need to? Data protection is already covered under GDPR. There's absolutely no point giving the BBFC, a body with absolutely no experience in this area, additional powers to cover things that are already covered by other bodies and regulations. Of all the many issues this silliness has, the BBFC's lack of data protection powers is not one of them.

  11. Arthur the cat Silver badge

    World firsts

    The introduction of mandatory age-verification is a world-first

    At some point someone will try shaving their head with a chain saw. It'll undoubtedly be a world first, but that doesn't make it sensible.

    1. Anonymous Coward
    2. Holtsmark

      Re: World firsts

      Not exactly a chainsaw, but close enough:

      https://youtu.be/ZjMO3PVCjvU

  12. tiggity Silver badge

    nasty breaches ahoy

    Given that these sites would want some major PII (passport, driving licence, credit card)

    And would verify real DOB (as available from passport etc) it's a real bad idea.

    1) Possible leak of high garden data entry.g. passport, driving licence, CCard

    2) Even if data in 1 deleted ASAP, they have real DOB, key PII for nasty use (no websites have my real DOB, only people who have real DOB are things that need it easily.g. HMRC, bank etc) - I know lots of people like to spaff their DOB around for fun, but I don't.

    I think, far from MindGeeks expected signups, they will just see UK use (as based on Geo IP) fall as people don't bother or use VPN or similar.

    Given MindGeek history of breaches, why would anyone with a clue reuse their services?

    All seems pointless to me, if kids want CTO find pr0n they will, it's the zero tech skills adults (so no VPN etc) likely to suffer (via data breaches) from this

    1. Dr Dan Holdsworth
      FAIL

      Re: nasty breaches ahoy

      As the recent spate of "We know your password, pay us bitcoin or else" extortion scam emails demonstrate, the average internet extortionist does not actually need actual dirt to make a small profit. All such criminal vermin need is a vaguely plausible story to try to convince the marks that they are genuine.

      So, picture this scheme a few months in. The Do-It-Yourselfer's Register now has a few hundred thousand people on it, most of whom are the dimmer sectors of society who don't know about VPNs. A story goes round about how this roster has been leaked, in part or toto. Given the reputation of UK civil servants for hamfisted incompetence and knuckle-dragging stupidity and subversion of sensible rules (encrypting data, and writing the password onto the encrypted disk), hardly anyone will believe assurances that this honeypot of data has not been leaked.

      So off we go again with the extortion emails: "Greetings, $NAME, you do not know me but I know you, and I know that you have signed up to the one-handed-typists register. Pay me 25 magic beans (instructions on how to do so here) or I will tell everyone you know about your solitary exploits in front of the computer".

      Now, I'll grant you that this is implausible on many levels, but extortion scammers play the averages. Send the message to enough people, and sooner or later you strike lucky.

    2. caffeine addict

      Re: nasty breaches ahoy

      More for reasons of being a git than for being data secure, most websites think my DoB is 29th Feb 1976.

      When someone who needs to know asks for my DoB I actually have to think about it to be able to give the right one.

    3. Lusty
      Facepalm

      Re: nasty breaches ahoy

      Well, thanks $DEITY$ your date of birth isn't on public record or you'd have wasted an incredible amount of time. Oh, wait...

      1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

        Re: nasty breaches ahoy

        Actually, I very much doubt that you will find the DoB for a "C. Addict" on public records. Almost no web sites know who you are, beyond the fact that you are the same person you were yesterday.

        1. caffeine addict

          Re: nasty breaches ahoy

          If we're talking about me personally...

          This is the only site I use Caffeine Addict or it's associated email address on.

          Facebook has a fake name and an unconnected email address.

          My twitter accounts have names not used elsewhere.

          My imgur account uses a unique username and email address

          My Reddit account uses a unique username and email address (although that's only because someone else got my imgur name)

          Stack overflow uses a unique username and email address

          Metafilter has multiple unique usernames and email address

          You get the idea.

          And, until I worked for a PR company about 5 years ago, none of the uses of myfirstname mylastname were actually me, despite there only being about 30 entries for mylastname in the phonebook UK wide. Thanks to that PR company, there are now 3 photos of me that come up on the second page of google image results for my name.

    4. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: nasty breaches ahoy

      "Given MindGeek history of breaches, why would anyone with a clue reuse their services?"

      Do you really need an anwser to that?

      Given TalkTalks history of breaches, why would anyone with a clue reuse their services?

  13. alain williams Silver badge

    Think of the children, what else can hurt them ?

    Maybe there ought to be age verification on the other following activities:

    * watching broadcast TV after the watershed (many kids have TVs in their bedrooms)

    * visiting the local fat laden fast food joint

    * visiting religious organisations' web sites (that tell you how evil are those: of other religions; gay; don't pray enough; ...)

    * facebook has a minimum age requirement of 13. I know kids under 13 with a facebook account

    Please add your own suggestions ...

    1. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge

      Re: Think of the children, what else can hurt them ?

      Why so? It's not illegal for an under 18 year old to be provided with any of those services.

      1. DuncanLarge Silver badge

        Re: Think of the children, what else can hurt them ?

        Well facebook is.

      2. alain williams Silver badge

        Re: Think of the children, what else can hurt them ?

        Maybe not illegal, but they can still be bad for the kids.

      3. Kabukiwookie Silver badge

        Re: Think of the children, what else can hurt them ?

        If alcohol and pr0n should ve age restricted, religion should be as well. Sure that religion is respnsible for more deaths in human history than pr0n and alcohol combined

        No religion before the age of 18 would probably fix a lot of problems.

        1. arctic_haze

          Re: Think of the children, what else can hurt them ?

          "No religion before the age of 18 would probably fix a lot of problems."

          No sex at any age would fix all our problems within less than a 100 years.

        2. Suricou Raven

          Re: Think of the children, what else can hurt them ?

          Religion does tend to get a free pass. It can get away with things that would be considered completely unacceptable to any other social organization. Who else is entitled to surgically alter babies to give them a life-long brand as a member of the club?

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What if the website operator is outside UK jurisdiction ?

    Are we looking at ISP level blocks then ?

    1. Arthur the cat Silver badge

      Re: What if the website operator is outside UK jurisdiction ?

      Are we looking at ISP level blocks then ?

      I think they've said that's a possibility. The alternative is that Her Majesty's Government will be very cross with them.

  15. Andy The Hat Silver badge

    Slippery slope

    First stage in viewer tracking and censorship I tell you. Next perhaps politically 'extreme' sites like RT or China Daily, then sites that don't promote "British values", then religious sites then ...?

    Nothing to do with child protection (the various ISP filter systems are there for that purpose and could be strongly implemented under the control of the BBFC for instance) or censorship of unlawful material (which by definition should be blocked/removed) but everything to do with another step of creeping state control.

    I'm surprised Her May-jesty hasn't yet recommended an obvious solution to potential id theft - a special card issued by the Government to provide easy age verification and access to all services - we could call it something like an "id" card ...

  16. Jellied Eel Silver badge

    Nothing to do with child protection (the various ISP filter systems are there for that purpose and could be strongly implemented under the control of the BBFC for instance) or censorship of unlawful material (which by definition should be blocked/removed) but everything to do with another step of creeping state control.

    Implementation means prizes! Especially if you can avoid liability and just flog Onan the Barbarian a 5-pack of adult certs with a free pack of Kleenex when you subscribe. Then watch your bank account swell, until people figure out the system doesn't really work, and doesn't justify time limited certs other than for milking renewals. But it's one of those things where if you have to do it (tax pron!), then have the IWF do it given they're already heavily involved and have contacts with ISPs and law enforcement.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Repeat, repeat, repeat

    "We want the UK to be the safest place in the world to be online!"

    Repeated over and over.

    I still dont see whats unsafe about little humans seeing other humans having nooky nooky.

    Surely to make the internet safe youd want to stop little humans seeing someone have their head chopped off?

    Yet, who are "they" to say whats safe? Maybe in a few decades the little humans have had their own little humans and those little humans will be protected from dangerous words that call into question the integrity of the government at that time? Or maybe from memes, images that can be used to promote an idea, such as used to insult Trump today. But tomorrow maybe those bad thoughts will be seen a dangerous.

    I'll start early. All hail the powers that be. 2+2 equals whatever you say it does. Chocolate rations have not decreased from 30g per week to 25g per week, that is fake news. In fact chocolate rations have increased from 15g a week to 25g a week due to the valiant efforts of our soldiers in our war with <insert country here> that with which we have always been at war no matter what you think you remember from last week.

    Oh and further good news! The new dictionary has finally been published. All citizens are required to read the new leaner version and help purge the horrific words removed since the previous one. Do your duty. England prevails.

    England is the safest place to access the internet, everything vetted, everything approved. Every word, every post, every photo of every person. Rejoice in the safety. Remember North Korea, the example of failure as they overthrew their ruling protectors and discovered the unfiltered world. Remember the horror of them changing their society, their behaviors. The horror of them seeing nooky nooky online.

    Oh god why is this so easy to write. Surely it has to be fiction?

    1. TimMaher Bronze badge
      Big Brother

      Re: Repeat, repeat, repeat

      Up vote for that @AC.

      And just think. It was only last week that the literary world celebrated the publication of....

      .... something put out by the Ministry of Truth....

      Or not.

  18. Alan Brown Silver badge

    It's not just this side begging for a beating

    The self-appointed policemen of these things (who then managed to be delegated authority) are operating without oversight or auditing of anything they do - and have been caught adding any groups which attempt to analyse their politics and procedures to the blacklist regardless of actual illegal content.

    Imagine Mary Whitehouse having actual control of the switch - and deciding she doesn't like sites that criticise the way she operates.

    Because use of these filters is _not_ voluntary, there are reasons that such things _must_ have public oversight, else they become the stealth path to a Great Firewall.

    Of course in the medium term Elon's Satellite Cloud(tm) is going to blow this entire filtering concept apart as the authorities start playing Whack-a-mole - they will be forced to concentrate on the sources rather than the viewers. I can't see making using Musk Internet illegal going down well amongst those people who can't get broadband services. More to the point I can't really see how using it will be detectable.

  19. arctic_haze

    The chances of anything coming from BBFC are a million to one, he said.

    Paraphrasing the quote has a long tradition but here it seems about right.

    1. Suricou Raven

      Re: The chances of anything coming from BBFC are a million to one, he said.

      And yet, they... well, not if the BBFC has anything to say about it, they don't.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A lot of people are getting really red in the face, beating off about this.

  21. RedCardinal

    >>and to grant the BBFC powers to require reports and penalise non-compliant providers

    given that 99% of providers aren't located in the UK, good luck with that....

  22. steviebuk Silver badge

    Will we see an update today from the reg?

    This has been delayed indefinitely due to legal reasons from the EU :)

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