Sex & Censorship

The End of the UK ‘Porn Block’? Explaining the background to today’s government decision

Jerry explains the background to the governments decision to scrap age verification

Published Sun 23rd Feb 2020
By Jerry Barnett / Sex & Censorship

The End of the UK ‘Porn Block’? Explaining the background to today’s government decision


Today, it was announced that the UK government’s plans to introduce age verification for online porn, and to block any content that did not comply, were being shelved.

For me, it all began about 12 years ago. I was running Strictly Broadband, a British streaming porn movie rental site, which was one of the UK’s best known porn outlets. I began to hear that the British Board of Films Classification (the BBFC – formerly, and more accurately, known as the British Board of Film Censors) were investigating the idea of classifying online streaming movies, in the same way they already did for cinema and DVD releases. Given that porn was heavily restricted on DVD (and completely banned in cinemas), this was worrying for the British industry, which would have to heavily cut content to conform to British standards.

We were already beginning to suffer from the effects of free content from the newly-launched ‘tube’ sites such as Youporn.com, so this was unwelcome news for an industry that was already struggling.

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