Feeds

Get a passport, enjoy casual sex with foreigners

Home Office yoof campaign shocks Middle England

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Middle England is none too pleased with a Home Office campaign aimed at "reminding 'holiday virgins' to apply for their passports in good time to avoid missing out on the fun of a first parent-free holiday".

The HO last month launched the initiative, with the Identity and Passport Service's Executive Director for Service Planning and Delivery, Bernard Herdan, explaining: "Of all potential holiday mishaps that could befall you, not getting to go away with your friends in the first place is perhaps the most disappointing.

"Due to changes being introduced to prevent identity theft, fraud and forgery, from this summer first-time adult passport customers are advised to allow six weeks for their passport to be processed. They may also be asked to attend a short face-to-face interview as part of new anti-fraud measures being introduced into the passport application process.

"We want to ensure that those who are going on their first unsupervised trip abroad don't get left behind because they didn't get their passport organised in time."

Fair enough, you might think. However, the HO decided to back its message with an ad campaign with a decidedly yoof flava:

Two Home Office posters backing its 'holiday virgins' campaign

Well, it didn't take the Daily Mail long to start choking on its Coco-Pops when confronted with the "pornographic" advertising campaign featuring the above "sleazy images", which "appear to encourage sex acts with strangers - at a time when another ministry, the Department of Health, is spending millions of pounds trying to reduce Britain's high rate of unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections".

The offending publicity drive - "appearing in magazines such as Nuts, Zoo, Glamour, Heat and Sugar and in clubs, bars and discotheques and which is aimed at young people who are intending to visit resorts such as Ibiza, Faliraki, Magaluf and Lanzarote" - actually features four images, two of which the Mail deemed "far too graphic for a family newspaper".*

Tory MP Julian Brazier duly thundered: "They are nasty and a waste of money. It is amazing that the Home Office can find money for pornography while cutting back on budgets for worthwhile schemes such as prisoner rehabilitation and education."

Michaela Aston, of the charity Life, chipped in with: "Given the latest surge in abortion rates and the epidemic of sexually transmitted diseases in the UK, it is irresponsible of the Home Office to produce adverts aimed at young people which blatantly give the message that holidays are only about sex. These adverts will encourage even more risky sexual behaviour. They also seem at odds with the government's strategy to reduce teenage pregnancies."

The Advertising Standards Authority has apparently already received four complaints about the ads - the work of Rainey Kelly (warning: website may induce Flash overload) - including one which "accuses the Home Office of encouraging holidaymakers to take mobile phone photographs of sunbathers without their consent and show the pictures to friends".

A Home Office spokesman defended: "The campaign may be a bit racier than normal government advertising, but we've taken expert advice on how to get the message across to the 16 to 24 age group."

In case you're wondering to what extent the HO's porno poster shocker could contribute to unwanted teen pregnancies, STDs and general debauchery, its own figures note that just "three per cent of those surveyed lost their virginity on their first holiday abroad (five per cent of males and two per cent of of females)." No doubt next year's totals will, in the wake of the government's Bacchanalia drive, show a marked improvement on these disappointing stats. ®

Bootnote

*And for El Reg too, we should stress. Shocking, just shocking.

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Holy vintage vehicles! Earliest known official Batmobile goes on sale
Riddle me this: are you prepared to pay US$180k?
Criticism of Uber's journo-Data Analytics plan is an Attack on DIGITAL FREEDOM
First they came for Emil – and I'm damn well SPEAKING OUT
'Open source just means big companies can steal your code.' O RLY?
Plus: Flame of the Week returns, for one night only!
'It is comforting to know where your data centres are.' UK.GOV does NOT
Plus: Anons are 'wannabes', KKK says, before being pwned
NEWSFLASH: It's time to ditch dullard Facebook chums
Everything hot in tech, courtesy of avian anchor Regina Eggbert
Hey, you, PHONE-FACE! Kickstarter in-car mobe mount will EMBED your phone into your MUG
Stick it on the steering wheel and wait for the airbag to fire
Bible THUMP: Good Book beats Darwin to most influential tome title
Folio Society crowns fittest of surviving volumes
U wot? Silicon Roundabout set to become Silicon U-BEND
Crap-spouting London upstarts to get permanent road closure
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
How to determine if cloud backup is right for your servers
Two key factors, technical feasibility and TCO economics, that backup and IT operations managers should consider when assessing cloud backup.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Getting ahead of the compliance curve
Learn about new services that make it easy to discover and manage certificates across the enterprise and how to get ahead of the compliance curve.