Two things this week features one of the most FUN-looking sex tech events I’ve ever seen, as well as a worrying development in the Digital Economy Bill saga, which looks set to royally fuck almost all of us. In a bad way.
The good: sex tech hack
I don’t even know if this has ever been done before, but I hope it’s the first of very many sex tech focused hack days. Dr Kate Devlin (perhaps best known for asking the interesting questions about sex robots) is running a sex tech hack day on the 17th/18th December this year. From the website:
“The aim of the 24 hour hackathon is to explore and innovate in the area of sex tech, working on the themes of intimacy, companionship and sexuality, as well as the challenges of hardware, interfaces and apps. The hackathon is deliberately cross-disciplinary and will be attended by a wide range of experts and enthusiasts: developers (hardware and software), psychologists, designers, philosophers, artists, sex writers, nanomaterial scientists, and musicians.”
I included the latter bit because, as a non-techy but super-interested person, I’ve often wanted to attend various hackathons but wondered if I might stick out like a sore thumb when it turns out I can’t code. They’re explicit in this one though: no code required. Just passion.
The bad: Digital Economy Bill proposed block
Regular readers will be up to speed on the terrifying Digital Economy Bill, which could see all ‘adult’ websites (never properly defined, so it’s never fully clear exactly who and what will be affected) forced to implement expensive age verification measures. Until recently, the proposal was that sites which did not implement them would be subject to a fine. Last week the government decided that yes, non-compliant sites would be blocked.
“According to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, the rules will give the BBFC the power to issue a notice to internet service providers, and those that cover mobile network operators, to prevent access to websites that have no or inadequate age verification for pornography. The details of the amendment are still being worked out.”
If you’re not sure why this is a bad thing, here’s some further reading:
- My summary of the Digital Economy Bill and why it doesn’t matter if you know how to get round a porn block
- Pandora Blake and Myles Jackman – written evidence submission to the bill committee
- Alex Muffett’s in-depth overview of proposed age verification solutions