I’m happy for Chloë Sevigny, but the lesson is not that anyone can get pregnant at 45. Late pregnancies shouldn’t be framed as freakish feats or guaranteed back-up plans, but as stories of chance
‘If anyone knows how to circumvent restrictions, it’s a teenager’. (Image posed by model). Photograph: Getty Images Britain has been a breeding ground for stupid ideas lately. While Brexit may be the biggest and baddest example, the UK government’s plans to implement what has been dubbed the world’s first “porn block” comes a close second. The new restrictions, to be introduced as part of the 2017 Digital Economy Act, will require pornography sites to verify that visitors are over 18. This may involve uploading a passport or driving license to prove your age, or buying a “porn pass” from a newsagent. After long delays the law was expected to go into effect this month, but the government recently announced it has been postponed again. Now, in theory, restricting access to porn via strict age-verification methods seems like a sensible and necessary thing to do. The average age of a child’s first exposure to pornography is just 11 years old; it is terrifyingly easy for kids to access explicit material online. So it is understandable that 83% of parents recently polled by the not-for-profit organisation Internet Matters support age-verification on commercial porn sites. However, things are generally a lot more complicated in practice than they are in theory, and the government’s ludicrous age block seems to have been devised by people who have no idea how the internet works. As Jim Killock, executive director of the UK’s Open Rights Group, put it: “The policy is completely full of holes.” He’s one of many digital experts who have warned that the restrictions are doomed to failure, and liable to do more harm than good. It doesn’t matter how anti-pornography you are: no one in their right mind should support this policy. To start with, the age block will be ridiculously easy to bypass – and if anyone knows how to circumvent restrictions, it’s a teenager. It’s simple to download tools that would let you circumvent the restrictions, such as a virtual private network or the anonymous Tor browser. The government itself has noted in an impact assessment that pushing people towards Tor, which is often used to surf the dark web, may also have the unintended consequence of exposing people “to illegal activities and more extreme material”. Then there are the privacy implications. It is not entirely clear what age-verification technology will be put in place, but one solution might be a service called AgeID, administered by MindGeek, an adult-entertainment behemoth that owns sites such as YouPorn and PornHub. MindGeek reckons about 25 million Brits might want to use its system. Do you really think it’s a great idea for a porn company to have the personal details of 25 million porn users stored in a central database? Because I’m sure plenty of hackers do. Spokespeople for AgeID have, predictably, made lots of reassuring noises about how safe people’s information would be with them, but I’m afraid I have a hard time trusting the Facebook of the smut industry. And even if the privacy implications don’t bother you (although they should), doesn’t it seem rather antithetical to crack down on porn by giving porn companies more power? Whatever your views on porn, Brits should give a XXXX about this very worrying legislation. • Arwa Mahdawi is a Guardian columnist
In children aged five to 15, one in eight have been found to have a mental health disorder. Statistics show that the vast majority of mental health problems are established at a young age and I worry that vulnerable kids like Alex will suffer lifelong problems. What’s more, I worry that the stretched mental health system will leave this new generation of youngsters with no support at all.
To be fair to barmaid and soon to be professional celebrity daughter Dani Dyer, she was given a limited range of options to pick from (a reality with which she is about to become over-familiar). “Are you here for love or lust?” she was asked by host Caroline Flack, in what may also have been the first point at which the viewer was indulged with any meaningful sight of either the front or top halves of Love Island’s five, female enthusiastically bikini’d contestants, whose characters by this point had not been permitted to develop much beyond the ambulant backside stage. It was a further ten minutes after that until Love Island was truly back on our screens in awful, wretched earnest.
On September 9th, one of India’s budding talents, pianist Karan Joseph, died under mysterious circumstances. Karan, popularly known as ‘mad-fingers’ in close circles in Bengaluru, was said to be a musician par excellence. While media reports divulge that Karan was battling depression before he jumped to his death, those close to him refute the reports and await a fair investigation.
There was much of a noise on Facebook and Twitter and the likes on ‘em, this very day last year, surrounding the celebration of yoga internationally. “Are you doing Yoga, today?”, “Are you with the government in their conspiracy?” While my mind was going ‘errrrrrrrrrrrrrr’, someone took it on him to respond on my behalf, “Avantika loves fitness, she’s going for yoga today.