Feeds

Sex in the Noughties: How was it for you?

Politically correct mainly

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

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.

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
I'll be back (and forward): Hollywood's time travel tribulations
Quick, call the Time Cops to sort out this paradox!
Musicians sue UK.gov over 'zero pay' copyright fix
Everyone else in Europe compensates us - why can't you?
Megaupload overlord Kim Dotcom: The US HAS RADICALISED ME!
Now my lawyers have bailed 'cos I'm 'OFFICIALLY' BROKE
MI6 oversight report on Lee Rigby murder: US web giants offer 'safe haven for TERRORISM'
PM urged to 'prioritise issue' after Facebook hindsight find
BT said to have pulled patent-infringing boxes from DSL network
Take your license demand and stick it in your ASSIA
Right to be forgotten should apply to Google.com too: EU
And hey - no need to tell the website you've de-listed. That'll make it easier ...
prev story

Whitepapers

Driving business with continuous operational intelligence
Introducing an innovative approach offered by ExtraHop for producing continuous operational intelligence.
Why CIOs should rethink endpoint data protection in the age of mobility
Assessing trends in data protection, specifically with respect to mobile devices, BYOD, and remote employees.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
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?
Protecting against web application threats using SSL
SSL encryption can protect server‐to‐server communications, client devices, cloud resources, and other endpoints in order to help prevent the risk of data loss and losing customer trust.