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Australia is considering mimicking the UK's failed porn block policy

Rex! No, we talked about this…

GOOD NEWS, UK GOV: somebody doesn’t hate your disastrous porn blocking proposals. Take a bow, Australia: the only thing worse than copying bad plans is copying bad plans that still haven’t even been implemented yet.

The Guardian reports that the Coalition has arranged a parliamentary committee to look into why porn sites don’t verify age on arrival. “This is concerning, as research shows that accessing pornography negatively influences young peoples’ attitudes to sex, sexuality and relationships,” said committee chair Andrew Wallace MP, not unfairly. 

According to the report, the committee intends not only to examine how age verification works on gambling sites, but also to look specifically at the UK version from the Digital Economy Act 2017. 

They’ll have to make do with looking at the Act, because the actual policy hasn’t been enacted yet, already missing two deadlines and last seen with the promise of a revised roll out before 2020. Our bet is closer to “the 1st of Never”, but trust whichever source you prefer. 

Despite this, The Guardian notes that the Australian inquiry’s frame of reference includes examining “whether it would impact freedom of expression” (yes), “whether it would potentially lead to privacy breaches (most definitely) and “whether such a system would push adults into unregulated markets” (oh golly, yes).

The UK porn block, for those unaware, has been monstered by anybody with a clue of how these things work, including the government itself, which highlighted an amusing amount of risks before waving it through anyway. Even the public – or those that know about it, anyway – don’t believe it will work, but still think it should be implemented regardless, God bless ‘em.  

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The good news is that the chances of a UK election this year have now gone from “extremely likely” to “damned near certain”. It would be a prime opportunity to quietly take the policy round the back and put it out of its misery. Let Australia have it. µ 

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