Feeds

Sex in the Noughties: How was it for you?

Politically correct mainly

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

Have you got a license for that Sir?

Who could possibly doubt that the "noughties" have been a decade of unparalleled sexual license?

In fact, the list of doubts is long and growing longer. Following a particularly gruesome murder in 2003 – the Graham Coutts case – the government determined that many social ills could be tracked back to the internet. Nasty (pornographic) stuff was entering the country, and there was little the authorities could do about it: so the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008 made possession of "extreme porn" a criminal offence.

Whilst Ministers talked of this being about worst cases – the "aberrant" and the "abhorrent" – it represented a widening in English Law of a principle only previously claimed in one supposedly exceptional case: the possession of material depicting child abuse.

This Act was followed shortly after by the Coroners and Justice Act 2009, which applied the same principle – of criminalising possession – to cartoon material.

The latter, of course, was ostensibly about "protecting children", which has been a second consistent theme for the decade: whenever the government had qualms about civil liberties, just appeal to public paranoia about the predatory paedophile – and the scope for opposition and counter-argument automatically diminishes.

Thus, possessing certain images was first introduced as criminal offence – by Labour – in the Protection of Children Act 1978 (pdf). Few would object to that principle: although in recent years, there has been increasing debate about whether making such possession a "strict liability" offence has contributed to child safety – or simply made society increasingly nervous about looking at images that a previous generation would have considered perfectly innocent.

That protection took tangible shape through the Internet Watch Foundation. The IWF flourished through the noughties, suffered brief embarrassment over an attempt to block an image already widely accepted culturally, and now, as the web becomes a less useful means to distribute child abuse images – the slack is being taken up by P2P and virtual networks - is mellowing into distinguished establishment respectability.

Still on "children": the SOA 2003 also extended the definition of a child to “under 18”, making it, for the first time ever, a criminal offence to possess an image depicting an act that is not itself criminal.

A further massive threat to liberties is the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006 (the "Vetting Act") which, through the aim of "protecting children" gives the state unprecedented powers to bar individuals from working in a third to a half of jobs in the UK.

Opponents have cited two wholly objectionable aspects of this legislation: first, that whether one is fit to work with the vulnerable now depends largely on one’s NOT participating in "inappropriate" sexual activity; and second, the fact that the underlying database will include third party reports and unsubstantiated allegations when it comes to evaluating sexual conduct.

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
'Cowardly, venomous trolls' threatened with TWO-YEAR sentences for menacing posts
UK government: 'Taking a stand against a baying cyber-mob'
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Sysadmin with EBOLA? Gartner's issued advice to debug your biz
Start hoarding cleaning supplies, analyst firm says, and assume your team will scatter
Zippy one-liners, broken promises: Doctor Who on the Orient Express
Series finally hits stride, but Clara's U-turn is baffling
Don't bother telling people if you lose their data, say Euro bods
You read that right – with the proviso that it's encrypted
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
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.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.