TL;DR: United Kingdom obscenity lawyer Myles Jackman wrote a briefing to the country’s legislative body, the House of Commons, regarding the Digital Economy Act, passed back in 2010 but partially renewed in 2017. He openly worried about provisions in the bill effectively requiring license to view pornography, measures to be employed under the rubric of protecting children. News reports claim such porn identification laws will be enforced as of April this year, and Jackman was keen to point out such a framework could be easily applied to social media. Considering his and lawmakers’ lines of reasoning, it isn’t too hard to imagine similar cryptocurrency regulations could follow.   

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April 2019, UK Porn Sites Require ID

“From April, all porn sites in the UK will require ID such as credit cards – and social media sites could be next,” a regional news outlet claimed. It follows recent cryptosphere scandals involving debate around how permissionless blockchains should remain, though this particular issue doesn’t yet involve crypto explicitly.

For projects such as Bitcoin SV (BSV) and allegations of child porn (CP) uploaded to it, along with potential violations of intellectual property and copyright infringement, the issue hits close to home. BSV insisted it will be “government friendly,” and its leadership has threatened lawsuits, tattling to regulators, and jailing those who come near to their interpretation of lawbreaking. When CP was found, businesses associated stressed they’d monitor content on their end, and as a result, combined with vague proposals about BSV’s permissioned mining, worries have surfaced about licensing and permits eventually needed to use BSV at some point — not to mention BSV’s adoration of patents, a virtual cuss word in an industry derived from open source.

The spectre of children has often been thought a last refuge of scoundrels. They’re easy to reference for sympathy, and politicians are especially keen to use them as pretexts in pursuit of whatever piece of legislation. Metro.co.uk quotes Jackman as explaining, “Porn sites will offer three or four choices of age verification system, with one being that you show up with your passport at your local corner shop or Sainsbury’s and get a card with a one-off unique identifying number.” He goes on further to explain how lawmakers view licensing “as a simple way forward to cure all the ills allegedly caused by social media.”

For tech savvy surfers, virtual private networks (VPN) might be a solid way around legal constraints. And while that’s true enough now, it’s not too far of a stretch to assume VPNs could easily be the next target of politicians. Licensing is also a blunt instrument in the quest to determine what ranks as porn, and how a rating system could be fair. Nevertheless, the UK is pressing ahead, as Metro explains how there are “likely to be several companies offering age verification systems, including 60,000 shops in Britain will offer Age Verification cards (based on shopkeeper’s assessment), which should be on offer before April. Users who attempt to access adult content will instead see a page asking for proof of age, which will redirect them to an age verification service.”

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