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UK to Ban Possession of Certain 'Violent' Pornography 557

Backlash writes "Massive surveillance? Check. Building a DNA database? Check. Laws against thought crime? Not yet, but coming very soon. The UK government is soon to pass legislation that would criminalise possession of certain types of 'violent' pornography, even if it was part of a consensual session between two adults. Lord Wallace of Tankerness pointed out an ideological schism during last week's debate in the House of Lords: 'If no sexual offence is being committed it seems very odd indeed that there should be an offence for having an image of something which was not an offence. ... Having engaged in it consensually would not be a crime, but to have a photograph of it in one's possession would be a crime. That does not seem to make sense to me.'" Combine laws like this with widespread computer ownership, and it makes a whole lot of (Orwellian) sense.
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UK to Ban Possession of Certain 'Violent' Pornography

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  • Ban bread? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kandenshi ( 832555 ) on Tuesday April 29, 2008 @10:41AM (#23237902)
    From FTA: "Five years ago Jane Longhurst, a teacher from Brighton, was murdered. It later emerged her killer had been compulsively accessing websites such as Club Dead and Rape Action, which contained images of women being abused and violated."

    I agree that a substantial number of rapists and molesters and whatnot probably do get off on "violent" porn. But so do quite a few very normal people who will never rape someone. Consensual kink is a gorgeous thing, an expression of incredible trust. The fact that some rapists get off on it is insufficient to justify banning it, after all, last I heard quite a few rapists drink water and eat bread.

    Of course, this parallels some sex laws already enacted where I live. It's legal to have sex with someone who's 16, provided you're not in a position of authority over them... But have a picture of you having sex with your 16 year old girlfriend? Not a wise move.

    I think that both laws are ridiculous personally. If it's not illegal to do, then it shouldn't be illegal to represent digitally with a bunch of 1s and 0s.
  • Why stop there ? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by garett_spencley ( 193892 ) on Tuesday April 29, 2008 @10:42AM (#23237914) Journal
    If fictionally depicting someone being raped or abused is a crime then surely horror flicks must be banned as well. Oh and the Die Hard movies too because they can be training tools for terrorists.

    It's like the printing press all over again. We need to stop people from having access to "dangerous" information.

    *rolls eyes*
  • Re:Ban bread? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MozeeToby ( 1163751 ) on Tuesday April 29, 2008 @10:50AM (#23238036)

    The fact that some rapists get off on it is insufficient to justify banning it, after all, last I heard quite a few rapists drink water and eat bread.
    Did you just compare rape porn to bread and water? I understand your point but... c'mon really?
  • by MightyYar ( 622222 ) on Tuesday April 29, 2008 @10:52AM (#23238064)
    Agreed, but I thought the line should be "when your activity infringes on the natural rights of another person".

    It's hard to see how possession of photos taken between consenting adults fits into that mold.
  • by sm62704 ( 957197 ) on Tuesday April 29, 2008 @10:59AM (#23238154) Journal
    The Clint Eastwood movie Sudden Impact [] has a violent rape scene; and in fact the movie is about the rape victim's search for vengeance.

    So if any of you UK residents have any Clint Eastwood movies your best bet is to get rid of them NOW before your thought police come for you.

    I guess here in the US we're next. You had the Big Brother CCTV cameras first, but we have them now, too. Our legislators never funded the "Big Brother Is watching" posters, have yours?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 29, 2008 @10:59AM (#23238158)
    Not this stupid debate again.

    Look, the United States of America is actually unusual in having protected ownership of guns. Most western and Asian countries now strictly control gun ownership. If you want to know, I won't say it. It'll only kick of the same retarded g*n c*ntr*l threads you get over the whole damn internet.
  • by cayenne8 ( 626475 ) on Tuesday April 29, 2008 @11:13AM (#23238376) Homepage Journal
    I just don't get this. Why the fsck is any government getting into what a person can look at? I understand the current bans on images taken where a crime is being committed against a person, like with child porn using real kids. I can see why snuff films are illegal....someone really gets killed.

    However, something like this ban where it may be a film of consensual 'violent' sex...maybe simulated rape....just isn't right. What if you take the people out of it completely....and use computer generated images for rape, snuff or kiddie crap. If someone wants to create and view those images, aside from someone having morality crime has been committed, and therefore what is the problem with people creating, owning and viewing such content if they are adult?

    This brings up something I see coming...with the seeming 'rash' of young teens today, filming themselves beating the shit out of other teens, or even older people....when will we see a ban on these types of video content? Sure, it isn't sexual, but, someone is being hurt...seriously in some cases. Will we see bans on that, or is it not sensational enough since it didn't involve any ones naughty parts?

  • Good luck trying to overthrow your corrupt government with those arms you're allowed to bear, Jim Bob.
    I dunno, a minority of Iraqi's seem to be giving us a hard time with AK47s and IEDs...
  • by NeutronCowboy ( 896098 ) on Tuesday April 29, 2008 @11:18AM (#23238486)
    Not this crap again. Ayn Rand hasn't gotten anything right with her objectivism theories, and she didn't get anything right with this "we want to rule innocent men" crap either. This supposes a level of sophistication, organization and strategic thinking that is just absent from any politician. I mean, they can't even think beyond the next election cycle, can't balance their own budget, and now they're supposed to be some long-term evil geniuses bent on re-creating feudalism?

    No. This is basic human nature at work. Politician's are professionals, and as such, their #1 interest is to keep their job - which they do by being reelected, not by throwing people into jail. Politician's also tend to attract people who believe that they're better than everyone else, love power and/or need the public spot light. None of which has anything to do with competence, and in fact self-selects against honesty, long-term thinking and integrity. The end result is that the people who make laws are among the least qualified to do so.

    That's what behind shit laws like these - that, and stupid people who keep voting these idiots back into office. Not some kind of evil genius.
  • by QCompson ( 675963 ) on Tuesday April 29, 2008 @11:18AM (#23238490)

    I am playing devil's advocate here, but the government has a job to maintain a safe and working society. There are laws that restrict personal freedoms because they have a bad effect on society. For example, guns were banned. Again I'm not saying any individual action is correct, but they do have that power. A logical argument could be made that consensual acts in private by a small number of people does not have the same negative impact on society that wide distribution of depictions of those acts would. So, the importnat questions here are: are there things that the UK government _cannot_ restrict in the interest of protecting society? Is the material in question one of those things? Are the materials really harmful (and, according to who) to the extent that they need to be banned? If you are going to make an argument either pro or con regarding banning, you need to answer questions like these.
    Instead of (simulated) violent pornography in the form of pictures or video, consider it as the written word. Then ask yourself, do you really want to give the government the ability to ban books?

    People are *ahem* desensitized to the idea of making certain videos or pictures illegal, because of the widely approved ban on child pornography, but in matters such as this, where consenting adults are involved in the production of the material, I can't see there being any distinction between laws like these and a government ban on certain books.
  • by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Tuesday April 29, 2008 @11:20AM (#23238538) Homepage

    Is an idiot, and this is the reason. We have a major problem in Europe with the abuse and exoploitation of women, many effectively slaves brought in from the former Soviet Union and China

    But, why don't you ban people from the Soviet Union and China? Or, women?

    Seriously, this is the debate between correlation and causation that happens around video games. It's just in a different guise.

    Rapists often use violent porn, but does violent porn cause rape? Much crime is committed by people under the influence of alcohol, but does alcohol cause the crime? People who have gone on shooting rampages have obsessed over violent video games, but did the games cause the violence? The list goes on -- nobody is seriously making the claim that by making these things illegal, all of these problems go away. (OK, some people are, in fact, making that claim. They're idiots.)

    See, it's very difficult to selectively pick things in which there is a correlation but no evidence of causation, and start banning them. There a lot of things which could potentially end up on that list.

    Yes, all of these nasty things you describe happen, and they are crimes. They should be treated as such. Nobody is saying rape, or human trafficking, or child abuse, or any of those things is a good thing and should be protected.

    But, as the summary points out -- if it was a consensual act between adults of sound mind, how could having an image of it then be a crime? You end up demonizing everyone who has a different view of sexuality than yours. Some of the things they're talking about banning could be as simple as spanking. Some of it, while not to either of our tastes, is completely consensual. Heck, if you want to spend your weekend getting flogged, have at 'er. If you want to abduct someone and do it to them against their will? You're a criminal. The gap between those is huge.

    That is why, to my mind, even though it may be of limited effectiveness, it is right to make possession of this material illegal.

    You can't strip away the rights of people to engage in consensual acts, and photograph them if they so choose, on the basis that someone, somewhere, is having crimes committed against their person. It's completely irrational.

    You're advocating a blanket ban on a behavior by everyone on the basis that some people are criminals. A lot of lawmakers in the UK are pointing out that this is a very over-broad law with no real thought put into making sure that you preserve the rights on individuals. If you remove the right to photograph it, you might as well out law the act. And then you're criminalizing the behavior of people on the basis that it might have some commonality with actual crimes.

    And, let's face it, people in Britain (and everywhere else) have been spanking and doing otherwise strange things to each other for hundreds of years. It's a little late to start backing up that bus.

  • by sm62704 ( 957197 ) on Tuesday April 29, 2008 @11:23AM (#23238602) Journal
    When pornography and violent images are outlawed, only outlaws will have violent pornography.

    Oh wait that's no analogy. OK, pornography is like photos of feet. How's that for a bad analogy? Well, it really isn't, and in fact is not an analogy at all! I shall explain:

    Define "violent". Define "pornography". Ok, let the dictionary do it:

    pornography [] Audio Help /prngrfi/ Pronunciation Key - Show Spelled Pronunciation[pawr-nog-ruh-fee] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation

    obscene writings, drawings, photographs, or the like, esp. those having little or no artistic merit.

    [Origin: 1840-50; Gk pornográph(os) writing about harlots (porno-, comb. form of pórné harlot + -graphos -graph) + -y3]
    Ok, now we have two more problems: defining "Obscene" and more importantly "art". I commented earlier that some of my journals were obscene, and I would argue that they have "little or no artistic merit" as well.

    obscene [] Audio Help /bsin/ Pronunciation Key - Show Spelled Pronunciation[uhb-seen] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation
    1. offensive to morality or decency; indecent; depraved: obscene language.
    2. causing uncontrolled sexual desire.
    3. abominable; disgusting; repulsive.

    [Origin: 1585-95; L obscénus, obscaenus]
    I know a fellow (the one in Dork Side of the Moon [], the one who committed the attempted murder that he spent two weeks in the county jail for) who has a foot fetish. A woman with small feet excites him sexually. By the dictionary definition I just quoted, pictures of feet are then obscene.

    Obscenity is in the mind of the beholder. This law makes every writing, painting, photograph, drawing, print, and sculpture against the law. Better close your museums!
  • by MMC Monster ( 602931 ) on Tuesday April 29, 2008 @11:24AM (#23238618)
    All you need to do is email photos of violent pornography to people in parliament. (Best to do this from an account overseas) Then send anonymous tips to the police that they have those images on their computers.
  • by feepness ( 543479 ) on Tuesday April 29, 2008 @11:36AM (#23238840) Homepage
    The point of the story isn't that there is an evil genius running it. It's that government exists to create criminals. Exposition doesn't work as well if it's done by faceless processes of human nature.

    Also, there is the idea that politicians who get into office certainly don't do anything to fix it. If they see it and have the power to change it, are they any less responsible?
  • by MalleusEBHC ( 597600 ) on Tuesday April 29, 2008 @11:38AM (#23238876)
    Also, thank fuck for the House of Lords. There are few elected representatives who'll speak out on an issue that's got the word 'pornography' stuck to it.

    I wish I had mod points. Whether it's the House of Lords or the Supreme Court, history has shown that having part of the government be virtually unaccountable to the whims of popularity is vital. You need people with the power and freedom to stand up and voice unpopular opinions.
  • The House of Lords (Score:3, Insightful)

    by damburger ( 981828 ) on Tuesday April 29, 2008 @11:40AM (#23238926)

    It actually pains me that the unelected house is the only thing keeping the governments nastiest instincts in check now. British people have become so politically impotent that we rely on the munificence of aristocrats to safeguard our liberty.

    That said, there is probably no legislative body on Earth so qualified to stand up for deviant sexual practices.

  • by lisaparratt ( 752068 ) on Tuesday April 29, 2008 @11:42AM (#23238962)
    This law dosent affect soft stuff like bondage, it just affects the stuff that would be illegal to do to another person.

    Yes it does, that's the whole problem. The wording is so vague that anything that isn't missionary position can land you in the slammer.
  • by Anne Thwacks ( 531696 ) on Tuesday April 29, 2008 @12:02PM (#23239314)
    sexism and societies uncaring attitudes towards men

    In the UK, men are generally portrayed as a problem. Yes it does have highly negative consequences. For example, its very hard to get men to teach in primary school, as they would be facing a huge risk of being attacked as paedophiles because they are "in the playground with children". This means that many children grow up with a very negative image of men, and hence a viscious circle.

    Anti-male propaganda is probaby causing a considerable amount of pain and death, but the women's movement can not be confronted publicly.

    Thought crime is a major problem in the UK. Especially if judged by the amount of resources which are spent on investigating it. Knife crime in the steets is far less of a problem of course, because far fewer people commit it.

  • by sm62704 ( 957197 ) on Tuesday April 29, 2008 @12:06PM (#23239386) Journal
    "Secure beneath the watchfil eyes", holy shit. Orwell WAS an optimist!
  • by pandrijeczko ( 588093 ) on Tuesday April 29, 2008 @12:25PM (#23239786)
    We have an ineffectual police force that only has an interest in producing pretty graphs that can be passed to the government to show how well they are solving crimes. Less police patrol our streets, more are sat in nice warm police stations sat behind computer or CCTV monitors.

    Additionally, what this means is that the seriousness of a crime has little or no relevance any more over here. And since someone driving at 7mph over the speed limit is deemed to be committing a "crime", it's far easier for our police to sit in the backs of their cars with speed cameras in the middle of major roads catching "criminals" than it is to put the large amount of detection resources to solve a rape or murder.

    Likewise, our glorious government has chosen to put CCTV cameras everywhere which means that someone who drops a piece of litter can be fined but a mugger in a hooded sweatshirt won't be identifiable on camera. They've done this because despite grossly high taxation here, there is a huge waste of public money in this country with our own Members of Parliament being able to put in unlimited expense claims for anything from decorating their own houses, employing unqualified members of their own families and, yes, even claiming for widescreen TVs on expenses.

    So now we have cameras just about everywhere, our government wants to exercise more control over us. Quite clearly, trying to scare us that there are millions of paedophiles prowling the Internet and every street corner hasn't worked because, in practice, there has been no real change in the number of sex crimes against children. Consequently, despite playing the "terrorism" card against us all, they can still find little or no justification to monitor what everyone does on the Internet as they would really like to do.

    Therefore, the solution is to turn more of the easily-targetted "great unwashed" into criminals by extending the pornography laws as above - this allows them to continue with their "Internet is dangerous" arguments in the hope of gaining control of it.

    Incidentally, I have no personal interest in that type of pornographic material but I am a firm believer (like the judge) in that anything that goes on between consenting adults is up to them - so if they're into violent sex and want to film it to sell it to someone else, then let them get on with it if they all agree to it.

  • by ultranova ( 717540 ) on Tuesday April 29, 2008 @12:26PM (#23239806)

    That is why, to my mind, even though it may be of limited effectiveness, it is right to make possession of this material illegal. Anything you can do to destroy or disrupt the market is attacking the revenue stream that makes the criminals do it in the first place. If you cannot persuade people that they should not pay other people to abuse, rape and beat strangers for their entertainment - then more stringent sanctions are needed.

    Yeah, it's just like the drugs: after they were made illegal to possess, the profits of drug traffickers plummeted in freefall.

    Making violent porn illegal will simply serve to drive the profit into the hands of criminals. Want to make a legitimate BDSM porn film by having the actors, well, act ? You can't. But the Mafia can. Only the Mafia might decide to skip getting actors, and just have their sicker members torture some poor bastard to death in front of a camera.

    Basically, if sick porn is legal, people will fake it, with acting or 3D computer graphics or pen and paper. Since the stuff is available for free in the Internet, few people will buy it, making it insufficiently profitable for organized crime to bother. But make it illegal, and thus hard to get, and it becomes extremely profitable for the Mafia to get into it. And, like I already said, Mafia has no reason to play nice and fake it.

  • by 1u3hr ( 530656 ) on Tuesday April 29, 2008 @12:27PM (#23239814)
    I don't see that it's a stupid debate at all. Yes, it is a stupid fucking debate to be having when it has nothing to do with TFA. And in general it's a stupid fucking debate because NO ONE WEVER CHANGES THEIR MINDS. You just throw your talking points at each other for 400 posts and destroy the forum for anyone who wants to discuss anything else.
  • by alexgieg ( 948359 ) <> on Tuesday April 29, 2008 @12:43PM (#23240090) Homepage

    I have to ask, why does Britain outlaw guns? What problem was there they were trying to solve?
    You're way offtopic, eh? But I think there's a weird link between your question and TFA, in the form of an Hegelian piece of dialectics:

    a) First, someone appeared with the thesis: "Guns kill people!!! Let's outlaw them!1!!11!1!"

    b) Then the gun owners came with the antithesis, shooting their own foot with a well (mis)placed: "Guns don't kill people!!! People kill people!11!!!1!!"

    c) Enters then the British government with a synthesis of its own: "You both are right!!! We must ban guns AND make people stop killing people!!! And what's the best way to accomplish this? To forbid everyone from seeing any violence at all, ever!!!111!1!"

    And thus the lamb nation model is born. Next in line for implementation: violent movies, violent games, violent cartoons, violent books, violent news, textbooks mentioning violent events, people talking about violence in public...

    Now, do you know what's most funny in all of this? The fact that this whole discussion is millennia old. In fact, Plato started the thing by criticize arts (such as theater) that depicted bad emotions by arguing that they increased the propensity of those watching them to emulate those same emotions. To which Aristotle countered with his wholly new concept of catharsis, saying that no, in fact the effect is the exact opposite, with those watching bad emotions in fiction feeling fulfilled with those and not pursuing them in real life.

    2400 years later, we still didn't reach a conclusion. Go figure...
  • by Coryoth ( 254751 ) on Tuesday April 29, 2008 @01:12PM (#23240506) Homepage Journal

    Good luck trying to overthrow your corrupt government with those arms you're allowed to bear, Jim Bob.
    I dunno, a minority of Iraqi's seem to be giving us a hard time with AK47s and IEDs...
    They are hardly at the point of overthrowing the government, or defeating the US military. Sure, US forces may soon be vacating Iraq, but that's far more to do with a lack of will to send US troops abroad to occupy a foreign country. I doubt you'd find similar antipathy toward combatting "terrorism at home" (and make no mistake, that's what it would immediately be branded). If you want a revolution what you really need is popular support -- and you won't get that by taking the violent approach that results in collateral civilian deaths.

Loose bits sink chips.