Feeds

Govt uses Obscenity Law to stuff up cartoon sex loophole

We Need To Talk About Lisa

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

The second area for concern is the way in which this proposal further embeds in English Law the idea that possession of various materials should, in and of itself, be an offence. The law follows the model of that on extreme porn, and possibly throws light on some of the thinking that went into that law. Once again, the government have preferred to reject the Obscene Publications Act definition of obscenity, preferring instead the phrase "grossly offensive, disgusting or otherwise of an obscene character". Pictures will need to be produced "for sexual purposes".

They were also clear, at the consultation stage, that imagery covered by this new offence is intended to sit, in terms of seriousness, above the level already covered by "indecency", but – according to the proposed penalties – below that covered by Obscene Publishing.

It is not clear whether this is because the OPA definition is too subjective or, as government lawyers have argued, because it would not make sense to apply the "deprave and corrupt" test to an individual who is self-evidently already thoroughly depraved.

The proposal omits any minimum standard of realism, almost certainly out of necessity: if we are to pass such legislation, we should seek to avoid interminable courtroom arguments about how real something appears. An image will therefore be treated as an image of a child where "the impression conveyed by the image is that the person shown is a child". We may have laughed when an Australian was convicted and fined for making indecent pictures of the Simpsons, but the same could soon be happening here.

The government have also come up with a definitive answer to the question of "how can one tell?". This Bill will cover images where "the predominant impression conveyed is that the person shown is a child despite the fact that some of the physical characteristics shown are not those of a child".

That could be bad news for inhabitants of some of the seedier reaches of Sadville, in which, despite policy warning against taking child avatars into "mature" play areas, it remains possible to have poseball sex with players who share several characteristics with children (or even cats, puppies or horses).

Ultimately, this is not trivial either as issue or proposal. The government recognised as much at the consultation stage, acknowledging that the criminalisation of wholly fictitious material was a serious step. Whether you are for or against this proposal, it deserves serious debate. ®

SANS - Survey on application security programs

More from The Register

next story
EU: Let's cost financial traders $400m a day, because EVIL BANKERS. Right?
Wait 'til this one hits your pension fund where it hurts
Systems meltdown plunges US immigration courts into pen-and-paper stone age
Massive outage could last four weeks, sources claim
Lavabit loses contempt of court appeal over protecting Snowden, customers
Judges rule complaints about government power are too little, too late
UK.gov chucks £28m at F1 tech for buses and diggers plan
Well, not really F1 but who's heard of LMP and VLN*?
Don't let no-hire pact suit witnesses call Steve Jobs a bullyboy, plead Apple and Google
'Irrelevant' character evidence should be excluded – lawyers
Record labels sue Pandora over vintage song royalties
Companies want payout on recordings made before 1972
Edward Snowden on his Putin TV appearance: 'Why all the criticism?'
Denies Q&A cameo was meant to slam US, big-up Russia
Ex-Tony Blair adviser is new top boss at UK spy-hive GCHQ
Robert Hannigan to replace Sir Iain Lobban in the autumn
Judge halts spread of zombie Nortel patents to Texas in Google trial
Epic Rockstar patent war to be waged in California
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.