U.K. Porn Stakeholders Protest in Front of Parliament

U.K. Porn Stakeholders Protest in Front of Parliament
Rhett Pardon

LONDON — Stakeholders in the U.K. adult entertainment industry staged a protest outside of Parliament today, campaigning against the risks posed to personal privacy and sexual freedom by the proposed Digital Economy Bill.

On a glorious blue-sky day in London, "obscenity" attorney Myles Jackman and pornographer Pandora Blake warned attendees of the dire effects of the bill that likely could change browsing habits of people who watch porn online and infringe on their civil liberties.

“Not only is the Digital Economy Bill, which is currently going through Parliament, an outrageous attack on our sexual freedoms and personal privacy but because the laws around sex, porn and obscenity in this country are massively overdue for a review,” said Blake, who runs a feminist spanking website.

“And we need to demand review of the Obscene Publications Act and the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) Act on which the Digital Economy Bill relies.”

Jackman and Blake, along with some in the local porn and sex worker communities, advocated in front of protest signs that read, “I reserve my right to English vice” and “Shame on you, we come too.”

The pair organized Monday's event, titled "Backlash Kink Olympixxx," which included speakers from Privacy International, Index on Censorship and the English Collective of Prostitutes.

"While the Backlash Kink Olympixxx was conceived as a playful protest, the Digital Economy Bill poses a serious risk of users' personal sexual preferences being leaked," Jackman said prior to today’s event.

The Digital Economy Bill, opponents say, will introduce compulsory age verification for all adult content without any measures to safeguard the privacy of web users. 

Jackman, who runs Backlash, which defends freedom of sexual expression for consenting adults in the U.K., said the bill will "adversely affect sexual minorities' ability to freely express their sexuality and, most frighteningly, imposes state censorship and surveillance of consensual adult sexual content in the U.K.”

Now being weighed by the House of Commons, the bill could impose financial penalties of up to $250,000 for noncomplying adult entertainment sites. It would even target high-traffic foreign websites for sanctions, which could be levied against U.K. business partners.

Sanctioned sites could find web properties blocked by IP address and de-indexed from search engines, according to testimony made last week at Parliament.

Last week, the BBFC was tapped as the country’s new age-verification regulator that will be charged to implement the proposed new rules.

Pictured: Myles Jackman in front of Parliament