Bra Busters of Britain Busted…ATVOD trash 6 British adult businesses whilst probably not preventing a single child from accessing porn

Posted: 30 May, 2014 in ATVOD VOD Censor
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ATVOD with award for service to foreign industryATVOD publishes determinations that 6 adult video on demand services operating across 29 websites had breached onerous censorship rules applying to UK video on demand providers.According to ATVOD, hardcore porn ranging from explicit real sex to BDSM could be accessed by children on the internet services.

The six online video on demand services – Bra Busters of Britain, Hardglam, Madame Caramel, Miss Jessica Wood, One Stop Porno Shop and Speedy Bee were held to be in breach of a statutory rule which requires that material which might seriously impair under 18’s can only be made available to fee paying adults with credit cards (not the more commonly held debit cards).

The services each broke the statutory rules in two ways. Firstly, they allowed any visitor free, unrestricted access to hardcore pornographic or bondage, domination and sado-masochism (BDSM) video promos/trailers or still images featuring real sex in explicit detail or strong BDSM activity. Secondly, access to the full videos was open to any visitor who paid a fee. As the services accepted payment methods  such as debit cards which theoretically can be used by under 18’s, ATVOD ruled that each service had also failed to put in place effective access controls in relation to the full videos.

ATVOD have never presented any evidence suggesting the unlikely occurrence of children actually paying for porn with a debit card.

Four services, Hardglam, Madame Caramel, One Stop Porno Shop and Speedy Bee, which failed to make their services fully compliant in accordance with a timetable set by ATVOD have been referred to Ofcom for consideration of a sanction. Under this sanctions procedure, operators who fail to comply may be fined – Playboy TV was fined £100,000 for similar breaches in 2013 – or have their right to provide a service suspended, as happened in relation to the service Jessica Pressley last year.

Given that most websites which allow UK children to access hardcore pornography operate from outside the UK and therefore fall outside ATVOD’s remit, then it seems highly unlikely that ATVOD’s commercially unviable rules have done anything to prevent under 18’s watching porn.

ATVOD Chair Ruth Evans said:

ATVOD has no power to require services based outside the UK to protect children from hardcore pornography. We will continue to work with policy makers and other stakeholders to investigate ways in which UK children might be better protected from porn websites operating from other countries, which may be unregulated.

Such websites often offer free content as a shop window to attract subscription payments. Over the past year, ATVOD has worked with the UK payments industry — including MasterCard, Visa Europe, PayPal, UK Cards Association, the Payments Council and the British Bankers’ Association — to design a process which would enable payments to be prevented to foreign services which allow children to view hardcore pornography.

The payments industry has now made clear that to put such a process into place there would need to be clarity that foreign websites which allow children to view hardcore porn are acting in breach of UK law. The payments industry has therefore proposed a licensing scheme — similar to that being introduced for foreign gambling websites — as the best way of providing the necessary clarity. ATVOD and representatives of the UK payments industry discussed the initiative with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) earlier this month and DCMS is currently considering the feasibility of the licensing proposal. An Opposition amendment which would introduce such a licensing regime has been tabled to the Criminal Justice and Courts Bill, currently at Report stage.

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