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Porn-User Face Scans: Australia Thinks of the Children


The Australian government has a cunning plan: It’s going to protect kids from pornography—by taking photos of users’ faces. Yep, you read that right.

What could possibly go wrong? The Department of Home Affairs in Canberra appears to think everything is defo dardy, so long as they’re protecting fair-dinkum ankle biters from nuddy Sheilas.

Bloody oath, Bruce. In today’s SB Blogwatch, we think of the shark biscuits.

Your humble blogwatcher curated these bloggy bits for your entertainment. Not to mention: gay pirate assassins.


Rack Off, Ya Mongrels

What’s the craic? Finbar O’Mallon reports that the government “suggests porn viewers be subject to face scans”:

 The Department of Home Affairs has suggested using face scans to confirm people’s age before they watch online pornography. … The United Kingdom this month abandoned plans to introduce a nationwide age verification system for online pornography, after years of … concerns from privacy campaigners.

[It] would piggyback off a separate proposed facial recognition scheme being pursued by the federal government, [in] a contentious plan to permit government agencies, telecom companies and banks to use [the] technology. … Under the laws, driver’s licence, passport and visa images would be stored by the Home Affairs Department in an “interoperability hub.”

Wait, what? Claire Reilly jests—“Proving that you’re old enough for online porn could get a lot more awkward”:

 Australia is going all-in with a new proposal that could require internet users to verify their identity in a face-matching database. … The first phase of the Face Verification Service launched in 2016 with a database that included citizenship images, accessible by government agencies.

However, the Government has proposed expanding the Service to include drivers’ license photos to capture a larger part of the population. … The proposal comes at a time when the issue of age verification is being keenly debated, with religious groups calling for the protection of minors and civil liberties groups raising concerns about … privacy and security.

Yikes. ryanja tries to draw parallels:

 Wow, I thought it was bad when Amazon gave Ring footage to authorities without a warrant. This is literally the government wanting access to view cameras inside your house because “think of the children.”

And to what end? Pat Gunn comes right out and says it—“Children should have access to porn”:

 Age limits … seem like a senseless hassle for an incomprehensible end. It’s not like it was hard for people in earlier times to get access to porn.

But is that really what they’re trying to do? A_Very_Tired_Geek is suddenly wide awake:

 This is less about keeping porn away from kids, than it is keeping adults away from porn. … It’s a back door towards censoring porn sites without saying they’re actually doing that.

Then you get the slippery slope argument: first porn, then…?

What could possibly go wrong? omnichad counts the ways:

 1) Data gets MITMed and used for blackmail
2) Pictures of faces – like the actual one on the ID photo will probably work fine
3) Giving any personal information to an untrusted web site … is a problem if you’re required to match up info with the face
4) Access would be limited only to devices with cameras, which is bizarre on its own
5) False positives could be associated with a different person
6) Government has a database of this activity
7) Yeah, I’ll quit now – there are too many.

But something must be done! thekaj suggests something else:

 I’m certainly not advocating that parents actually promote that their kids watch porn. But it’s Children 101-level stuff to know that the more you do to tell a kid that something is forbidden, the more they’re going to want to see/do it. One only has to look at the inverse relationship between abstinence-only sex education and teen pregnancy rates to see that.

OTOH, Collective Shout—“A grassroots campaigning movement against the objectification of women & sexualisation of girls”—is campaigning for exactly this:

 It’s touching to see how many men suddenly become champions of women’s rights, so concerned about women’s ‘freedom’ to be objectified & degraded for men’s entertainment. Their attempts to frame men’s sexual use, abuse & exploitation of women as women’s freedom are transparent.

It’s about objecting to misogyny and the view that women and girls exist to be objectified, demeaned and exploited for men’s sexual gratification.

Bit by bit, we are changing a culture that tolerates sexist and pornified representations of women as ‘normal’ and acceptable. We will continue to campaign for porn age verification to prevent Australian kids from being exposed to porn.

Meanwhile, Hallux-F-Sinister thinks of ways around it:

 Very funny, Australia. … What are they going to do about kids downloading a picture of an adult [Australian citizen’s] face from the internet, printing that out or just displaying it on another device, then holding THAT up to the camera?

Good luck with all that, Australia. The kids definitely will never find a way to circumvent the things preventing them from looking at what they want to look at.

And Svip thinks of whose face to download:

 I predict government data will soon show that Scott Morrison [the Prime Minister] consumes 80% of all porn.

And Finally:

Consumer VPN services suck; Tom Scott piles on

Previously in And Finally


You have been reading SB Blogwatch by Richi Jennings. Richi curates the best bloggy bits, finest forums, and weirdest websites… so you don’t have to. Hate mail may be directed to @RiCHi or sbbw@richi.uk. Ask your doctor before reading. Your mileage may vary. E&OE.

Image source: @ScottMorrisonMP





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