Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Tilting at windmills

A lot of people like me like to buy stuff online, it's cheaper (usually) and you can often track down stuff that is simply impossible to find in the local high street. What a lot of people don't realise is that the safe and secure credit transfers weren't invented by the banks or shops, they were actually invented by the sex industry to get customers to pay for access to their sites. One of the things the internet is responsible for is the massive increase and access to porn in peoples lives, not all of us look at it, but at times it is unavoidable and most adults (and teens too) are aware at least that it's out there. Some aspects of it are illegal to watch and do, but these sites are often enough in countries that have different standards and/or don't care what their ISP's get up too.
Which is why Labour's Geraint Davies MP for Swansea West is wasting his time along with 40 other MP's who want to fine pre paid debit card user companies if their users access child pornography.

Credit and debit card companies should face fines if their products are used to buy child pornography on the internet, an MP has said.
Raising the issue in Parliament, Labour's Geraint Davies said he wanted an end to anonymity for pre-paid credit cards used to pay to download images.
Card firms such as Visa and Mastercard had shown "no appetite" to deal with the matter and MPs "must act", he said.
Visa said it did not allow any of its cards to be used for such a purpose.
Mr Davies put the case for new controls on the use of pre-paid cards in a Ten minute rule Motion - a type of motion designed to highlight an issue which rarely has a realistic chance of becoming law.
New threat
Pre-paid cards could be bought for £100 at shops and service stations, he told fellow MPs.
The buyers remained anonymous, he said, and could simply use the card to access the "growing" number of sites showing indecent images of children.
He said it was "the new route for users is to hide their identity".
"All the buyer has to do is put in a name and address - say Donald Duck and Buckingham Palace - and away he goes."
Citing firms such as Visa and Mastercard, he said pre-paid cards were also being used by children to buy knives and alcohol.
'Money involved'
While action had been taken to stop credit and debit cards being used in this way, he said "this horse had now bolted" as offenders were now using pre-paid cards.
People buying a pre-paid card should have to provide proof of identity such as passport or driving licence details, he argued.
In addition, he said credit card companies should be liable for penalties when their cards were used to download abusive images.
Now I doubt this foolish MP will be successful, the government has got far too much to do without getting involved with private members bills. However it does expose the kneejerk sort of reaction prevalent in many MP's who have to be seen to be doing something, even if it means closing down a legitimate credit transaction process for everyone, not just the few who abuse it. I have a pre-paid credit card myself, I often load it up for my booze cruises to France and I use it to occasionally surprise my good Lady with presents and trips away, as there is no paper trail or statement to spoil the surprise. Yet because some idiot MP sees a self promoting (for the cheeldren!!) moment without giving adequate pause for the entire ramifications of what he's doing there's a possibility that the debit card companies will decide that this is a service they aren't prepared to offer just in case one of their customers lands them with massive fines. It really isn't the business of a debit card company to check for criminal tendencies on the part of its customers other than in the very narrow field of credit rating, after all what control have they over what there customers use the cards for? Yet Geraint Davies is using the usual sledgehammer and nut approach to dealing with a problem, he's prepared for no-one to have a card (though he may not see it that way) rather than a crime be committed. Julia, Obo and Mark Wadsworth also have their take on the matter too.
What it boils down too other than another Labour attack on peoples freedom is that there is always a way around these things be it pre paid credit cards, pay pal or whatever is next on the market. This industry wants your money, it will find a way to get your money, it recognises that you may wish to be anonymous about handing it over and so will find a means to do this without the "Madame Fifi's house of pain" appearing in bold on your statement. Geraint Davies is wasting his time, he's wasting Parliaments time too on an approach that simply will not work, the only good thing to come out of this is that we'll have the names of about 40 bansturbating, authoritarian feckwits to keep an eye on in the future.

1 annotations:

James Higham said...

Think I'll sit this one out.