Feeds

UK obscenity law: Where to now?

Post-Girls (Scream) Aloud, the written word is safe - for now

SANS - Survey on application security programs

What have we learned, children?

Yet it is the latter that has far greater implications for public policy and freedom of speech. There have now been a number of calls, including one from Jo Glanville, editor of the respected political magazine, Index on Censorship, for such decisions in future to be automatically passed by the DPP.

From the other side, no demands yet for an overhaul of the OPA: though recent claims that extreme porn legislation has been used in instances where an OPA prosecution might have been more appropriate must give pause for thought. Is the extreme porn model of "tick box" obscenity more attractive to legislators and law enforcement?

This case highlights one further aspect of OPA practice – which is the way in which one individual was publicly pilloried, tried by the media, then spat back out jobless and with future prospects impaired. It is his hope that he can now put this episode behind him: future employment may, however, now fall foul of the government’s Vetting legislation, which requires the police to make even non-conviction information available to future employers.

What, then, has this case achieved? Although the author took down the story quickly in an effort to appease the authorities, a helpful proponent of free speech appears to have reinstated it not very much later. The story is still online.

The CPS and Police say that they needed to act because the site was easy to access – which is partly true – and because it was easy to stumble upon. The latter was always far less true and a simple familiarity with how Google works might have saved both bodies a great deal of time.

Ironically, the mass of searches and site hits likely to have resulted from the publicity around this trial will have raised this story in the rankings of many search engines, and made it far more easy to "stumble upon" innocently. This is the same issue the IWF hit when they attempted to block access to what they deemed to be a potentially illegal image of a Scorpions album cover late last year.

Does that mean illegal material should not be prosecuted? No. However, the authorities need to keep in mind that an almost inevitable result of such banning attempts will be not simply to increase interest in it – which has always been the case – but on the internet, to increase the likelihood of it being found accidentally. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Putin tells Snowden: Russia conducts no US-style mass surveillance
Gov't is too broke for that, Russian prez says
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Lavabit loses contempt of court appeal over protecting Snowden, customers
Judges rule complaints about government power are too little, too late
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Don't let no-hire pact suit witnesses call Steve Jobs a bullyboy, plead Apple and Google
'Irrelevant' character evidence should be excluded – lawyers
Edward Snowden on his Putin TV appearance: 'Why all the criticism?'
Denies Q&A cameo was meant to slam US, big-up Russia
EFF: Feds plan to put 52 MILLION FACES into recognition database
System would identify faces as part of biometrics collection
Record labels sue Pandora over vintage song royalties
Companies want payout on recordings made before 1972
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.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
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.