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Porn site xHamster is very worried about the Investigatory Powers bill

IPBillPetition.png

The recently-passed Investigatory Powers Bill will become law in the UK in early 2017, and it’s got xHamster moaning, groaning, and sweating profusely in anger. At least, I think it’s anger.

The bill (also known as the IP Bill, or the more apt Snooper’s Charter) is a particularly dangerous piece of legislation. It gives the UK’s security services (and a whole host of other government bodies) unprecedented powers to surveil and monitor the British public.

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Buried in the pages and pages of legal text, it gives ISPs a mandate to track the sites their customers visit, and all data must be retained for a year. It also allows the security services to hack devices at an industrial level. The bill contains zero exemptions for journalists, although members of parliament are exempted.

In short, it’s one truly fucked up law, and its passage represents a nail in the coffin of privacy and freedom in the UK. And if you think that sounds histrionic, I recommend you read Wired’s exceptionally-thorough coverage on the law, and listen to what the Open Rights Group (the UK’s version of the EFF) has to say.

As a porn site, xHamster has a vested interest in fighting the IP Bill. After all, most people watch porn under the cover of secrecy, most commonly through a private browsing tab. How many people would change the way they consume erotic material if they knew that not only was the government watching, but they were keeping a record of it for a year?

So now when you visit xHamster from the UK, you’ll see a pop-up asking you to sign a petition to repeal the IP Bill. At the time of writing, it’s attracted 162,602 signatures.

Sadly, Parliament has decided not to debate a repeal of the IP Bill, making this move pretty pointless. But it does raise awareness to the fact that this toxic, wrong-headed, idiotic, and dangerous bill exists — and is about to come into force.

The IP Bill passed without very much media coverage. It’s almost understandable, really, given the Brexit– and Trump-shaped catastrophes that have struck this year. Hardly anyone knows about it, or why it’s bad.

If xHamster can shine a blacklight onto this grubby piece of legislation, more power to them.

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