xHamster is asking UK users visiting its site whether they’ve heard of (or care about) the Investigatory Powers Act, which among other measures calls for the enforcement of a government-orchestrated registration system for accessing adult content.
That clearly sounds like a disaster waiting to happen, as well as an expensive waste of time. Bans. Don’t. Work. Indeed, they can often make the situation worse.
To highlight exactly how pointless such a registration system will be, xHamster released some stats about countries where the site is banned. Most notably, India, which is the site’s fourth largest market, after the UK. This year alone, that’s more than 660 million visitors in India access xHamster. It’s a similar story for Thailand, Russia, Turkey, China and others too. Hundreds of millions of ‘banned’ visits each month.
That’s not to say there’s no effect, xHamster says that traffic often drops fairly dramatically in the three months following a ban being put in place, but then steadily returns as people find a way around it.
This push to get UK visitors to sign the petition is hardly selfless – as the third largest market for xHamster, it has a lot to lose (at least in the short term), if an entire country suddenly becomes ‘opt-in’. The government is also pushing to put new laws in place to entirely ban ‘non-conventional’ sex videos, none of which are criminal acts.
2016, the year when it took a porn tube site to push for basic privacy rights of UK citizens. Roll on, 2017.
At the time of writing, the government petition had more than 174,000 signatures.