British Banks Set to Punish Porn Sites

November 13, 2013
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Banks and credit card companies have jumped on board the government’s plan to clean up the Internet. The plan is to stop payments to websites that show legal images, but don’t prevent children access to the content. It’s thought to be the first time banks have been asked to police the Internet in such a way.

The British government is hell bent on cleaning up the Internet by almost any means necessary, even if suppliers of legal explicit content will be starved of paying customers as a result.

Miniature nude models pose on a laptop touch pad. Internet pornography concept.
Miniature nude models pose on a laptop touch pad. Internet pornography concept.

Prime Minister David Cameron said the move is intended to address the growing exposure of under-aged children to legal but highly explicit Internet pornography, which he described as “corroding childhood.”

Earlier this year the government proposed that the default setting should be a complete ban of adult online content to every household unless they specifically asked for such access. Critics say a move like this could infringe on the right of freedom of speech and provide web providers with information that could potentially be harmful to individuals.

Most websites require age verification to access adult content, but a large number don’t. The Authority for Television on Demand (Atvod), which regulates UK websites hosting videos, has drawn up plans to act against sites that offer free access to porn without its users authenticating their age.

Atvod’s intentions have already received backing from Damian Green, the minister for policing and criminal justice. Green said: “The government supports the work that Atvod has undertaken. This will explore with UK financial institutions and card companies the possibility of declining to process payments to websites operating outside the European Union which allow under-18s in the UK to view explicit pornographic content.”

Pete Johnson, chief executive of Atvod, said it wouldn’t be appropriate to block websites that provide free hard-core porn because it’s legal for adults to view, but sites that don’t stop children from access should be starved of paying customers.

Why not make a deposit“This free, easy to access content is not being made available as a public service, it is being made available as a business model,” he said and added like a porn site aficionado:  “Essentially you provide a lot of stuff for free, you get millions and millions of people to access your website and then you sell them the premium rate of the service, which has higher quality images, longer scenes, a wider range of content and all the rest of it.”

At the moment it’s hoped that most banks and card companies will join the latest proposal on a voluntary basis, but sources in government speaking to press have made it crystal clear that they are ready to legislate if necessary.

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