Politics. The cause of innumerable problems. Embedded, personal politics aside, they don’t often come up here, at least in any kind of overt fashion. In fact, and if I remember correctly, the only time it’s ever been explicitly questioned was in the comments section of our infamous review of the third Transformers film. But alas, the UK’s Prime Minister-by-luck, David Cameron, instigated the early stages of a policy that will directly affect Hope Lies at 24 Frames Per Second, and I wanted to use this week’s Editorial to explain how.
In brief, the government is toying with the idea of making “adult content” an opt-in service for a customer wishing to purchase an internet plan. The term “Adult content” is where the root of the problem lays; it’s a catch-all term that in-theory stands for pornography, both legal and illegal, but in practice it’s not quite as clear cut as that. A number of internet providers already offer such a service. My own mobile network provider, O2 insist that a customer must opt-in and prove their adulthood before accessing certain material on their network, and to do so they must give O2 details from a credit card to prove that they’re over 18 years of age. This is an unusual request anyway, given that one must be 18 years of age to sign up for a mobile phone contract, and that not everyone will have access to the material necessary to lift this “ban”, while the comments section below O2’s own (lengthy and quite patronising) explanation of what it is they do, and why they do it, confirms that there are numerous problems with this “service”.
But herein lies the real problem. While barring websites containing illegal matter is all well and good, these systems are not perfect. They’re far from it. Hope Lies at 24 Frames Per Second is banned by a number of these providers. We don’t offer pornography. We don’t celebrate anything illegal. I operate within the laws of the land, and the terms and conditions of WordPress. It’s the job of the law to make sure that others do too, not for the government to implement and enforce restrictive and ill-thought out legislation that punishes the innocent and the naive. As a result of someone else’s half-baked plan Hope Lies at 24 Frames Per Second is directly losing readers.
All of this could be solved not at this end of the online spectrum, but by the parents of any one underage who will be using the internet. Hundreds of solutions are out there to parentally control what a child can view on the internet, they just need to be switched on. They’re simple to use, and even come as standard with 99% of computers. Similarly with a mobile phone contract; if a parent is purchasing a plan on behalf of a minor then attach the age verification censor thing at that point. The onus ought not be on anybody else. The internet is a wonderful tool, and to see it purposefully restricted at the behest of a personal responsibility is staggering really.
Adam Batty – Editor-In-Chief
* It’s actually questionable as to whether the Daily Mail, with it’s sidebar of shame, wholesale soft-nudity and unhealthy obsession with young girls (Suri Cruise is a favourite target of theirs), would actually past any government test of decency in itself.
It’s Page Three, Not Online Porn That Is The Greatest Threat To Young Women’s Health And Happiness. Laurie Penny on the subject.
The CriticWire Survey is back! In the wake of Matt Singer’s defection to The Dissolve we went without a survey for a couple of weeks. Alas, it is back, and given that this week’s survey is a reboot of sorts we’ve been encouraged to tell our own origin stories.