Big BrotherI found a post on Informed Consent by “eleventh hour” recently which has a few things to say on the subject of the UK governments attempts to bring this law onto the statute books.

The discussion, which the post describes was entitled “The New Sex Crimes: Electronic Obscenity and Censorship“, and took place on 19 Jan 2008 at The Institute of Contemporary Arts in London.

The law speaks for itself. The wording is an attempt by the government to apply its understanding of the perceived “problem” with some “extreme porn”, and in so doing somehow legislate against fruit loops like the Graham Coutts (who murdered Jane Longhurst), by arguing that his “obsession” with “Viloent porn” led directly to Jane Longhurst`s tragic murder.

It is the wording that is at the centre of the controversy surrounding the act. Surveys have shown that across British society, in both the BDSM and vanilla sections of our society, the vast majority of people are in favour of legislating against non-consentual and genuinely abusive activities and their dissemination via any means including the Internet. What they do object to is a criminally (no pun intended) badly constructed law that would lead to the potential for any number of law-abiding citizens in close, caring and private BDSM relationships to be locked up.

Three notable absentees from the original panel were representatives from the BBFC and the online porn channel Strictly Broadband.

Eleventh Hour reports that “[it was] pointed out that although the necrophilia and bestiality clauses are problematic, the most worrying one, because the most potentially far-reaching, is the prohibition of pornographic imagery of “an act which threatens or appears to threaten a person’s life”. He said that this could easily cover any bareback sex, or sexual acts without a condom because it would ‘appear to’ carry a risk of HIV infection (we might also add any act that draws blood, on the same basis).”

This is the sort of problem the act seems designed to create – define “harm” if you can.

Another worrying opinion voiced by Feona Attwood (principal lecturer in media at Sheffield Hallam University) ” … past experience suggests it will not be used against large, mainstream producers of pornography with heterosexual content, but against amateurs with minority sexual interests.” Which seems at odds with a society which prides itself on polytheism and the rights of the individual.

There seems to be a feeling that the bill is part of a move to claw-back some of the civil liberties and achieved by and since the Wolfenden Report.

The post winds up on the possibility that the reason for the withdrawal of representation from the BBFC was because the organisation didn`t wish to be speak in support of the dissenters to the bill and therefore be accused of “leniency” when it came to classification and censorship of films being submitted for UK release.

You can, and should read the whole article here. Learn about the opposition to the act here.