Scotland to Enact 'Extreme' Porn Ban in January

Bob Preston
GLASGOW, Scotland — Starting in January, the Scottish government will put into effect a set of laws that would criminalize the possession of certain forms of “extreme” pornography.

The move comes as a surprise, because when the law was originally passed in May, it appeared to only apply to England, Wales and Northern Ireland. But the Scottish government later said that it would pass legislation that would "modernize and improve the criminal justice system."

The original law in question was the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act, which included sections that criminalized the possession of pornographic material that depicted extreme violence, bestiality and necrophilia. Other taboo acts include "rape and other non-consensual penetrative sexual activity, whether violent or otherwise."

The law has raised the specter of censorship as it raises the ire of free-speech advocates on the island nation.

"This is nothing more than the SNP using legislation as a sop to buy support," said a spokeswoman for Consenting Adult Action Network Scotland. "The SNP has already given way to the Catholic Church on denominational schools. This is just more in the same vein, based on the calculation that few people will risk standing up in public and arguing for pornography.

But the Scottish government argues that this legislation will "help ensure society is protected from exposure to pornography that depicts horrific images of violence."

In any event, pundits across the pond worry that the new law may complicate the lives of citizens who travel and commune between Scotland and other nearby countries.

"Whilst this measure may not - yet - see different filters on your PC according to whether you live north or south of the border, it does raise the question of whether the day might come when material legally downloaded onto a laptop in London could lead to your arrest and imprisonment in Edinburgh," said John Ozimek of the The U.K.'s Register.

Related: