House of Lords Debates Digital Economy Bill on Tuesday

House of Lords Debates Digital Economy Bill on Tuesday
Rhett Pardon

LONDON — The House of Lords on Tuesday will go through a second reading of U.K.’s Digital Economy Bill, which would force ISPs to impose blocks on porn sites that don’t include age checks or sites that feature kinky sex acts.

The House of Lords is considering the Digital Economy Bill after it traveled through five stages at the House of Commons.

After Tuesday’s second reading at the House of Lords, the bill will go through a committee stage, report stage and third reading.

After the third reading at the House of Lords, and if the bill has been changed, each house must consider the other's amendments and suggest changes.

Once both houses have agreed on the exact wording of the bill, it receives “royal assent” and becomes law.

Among many of its provisions, the Digital Economy Bill contains measures to bring in age verification for adult sites and withdraws payment services from sites, including foreign ones, that do not comply.

With the bill, the government also has given the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) new powers to enforce rules over the types of sex acts that are distributed over the web.

Filmed sex acts that are deemed by the BBFC to be "non-conventional" — including fisting, female ejaculation and public sex, as well as caning, whipping or spanking that leaves a mark — would be banned outright, if enacted into law. Passage would mean that catalogs of "extreme" adult content from foreign porn sites would effectively become unavailable in the U.K.

The bill also includes numerous other non-adult entertainment-related  measures, including one to improve broadband services and another that would crack down on online ticket scalping.

Tuesday’s hearing at the House of Lords begins at 6:30 a.m. (PST). The Digital Economy Bill is the last item on the agenda. A video broadcast of the hearing will be streamed here.

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