Feeds

Anti-smut Baroness sent to solitary

But is government turned on to her ideas?

New hybrid storage solutions

The likelihood that possession of extreme pornographic writings is about to become a crime dipped yesterday, as the Conservative Party officially distanced itself from a notion floated by one of its own peers.

This is a rebuff for Conservative peer Baroness O’Cathain, who thought up the idea – but anti-censorship campaigners will be watching the Lords very carefully this afternoon to see whether her proposal attracts even tacit support from Government or Opposition front benches.

Tory Justice spokesman Edward Garnier MP yesterday responded to the Baroness’ proposal by politely disowning her. "Lady O’Cathain’s amendment is her own and not put forward by the Conservative Front Bench Justice Team," he said. "She is not speaking for the Conservative Party but, as she is perfectly entitled to do, as a Back Bencher well known for her interest in such issues."

He also pointed to his own statements in recent debate on Government proposals to criminalise the possession of "Dangerous Cartoons". He argued then that while the majority of the population might be revolted by some of the ideas depicted, the matter should continue to be dealt with as it is now: where any evidence of direct harm to individuals can be shown, the police should intervene.

Otherwise, the law should concern itself with policing publication and distribution: individuals who created cartoon images for their own use should not be criminalised. It would be undesirable to make simple possession a crime where no other harm can be shown to result.

This point of view is unlikely to find favour with Baroness O’Cathain, who has a fine track record of taking a "socially conservative" view on matters of sexuality.

She has spoken against gay adoption as well as IVF for lesbian couples. She is in favour of stricter rules to govern sex changes, worrying that some individuals may too easily rearrange their gender and then regret having done so.

In March 2007, she was arguing against an extension of civil partnership schemes to Northern Ireland on the grounds that there were "very few homosexual couples" in Northern Ireland.

(To be fair, she was also pointing out that the social and cultural background in Northern Ireland was different from the rest of the UK, and that this had previously been recognised in respect of laws relating to gay relationships.)

Those interested in following this issue more closely should tune in to the Lords at around 5pm today, when the Committee stage of the Coroners and Justice Bill moves on to debate the Baroness’ amendment.

El Reg spoke with Lib Dem Baroness Miller, who had previously opposed legislation on extreme pornographic pictures. She agreed that there was little appetite on the Tory side to extend the legislation in this way. However, she warned that the government was so far into "Daily Mail-pleasing" mode, that it was not impossible they might look favourably on this measure.

Also to look out for are any favourable noises emanating from the Opposition Front Benches.

Watch this space for further updates. ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Found inside ISIS terror chap's laptop: CELINE DION tunes
REPORT: Stash of terrorist material found in Syria Dell box
Show us your Five-Eyes SECRETS says Privacy International
Refusal to disclose GCHQ canteen menus and prices triggers Euro Human Rights Court action
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Heavy VPN users are probably pirates, says BBC
And ISPs should nab 'em on our behalf
Former Bitcoin Foundation chair pleads guilty to money-laundering charge
Charlie Shrem plea deal could still get him five YEARS in chokey
NORKS ban Wi-Fi and satellite internet at embassies
Crackdown on tardy diplomatic sysadmins providing accidental unfiltered internet access
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile
Data demand and the rise of virtualization is challenging IT teams to deliver storage performance, scalability and capacity that can keep up, while maximizing efficiency.
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.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.