GETTING PORN SITES INVESTIGATED FOR DATA MISUSE

Porn websites have avoided scrutiny for far too long. 1.4 m children access porn online each month, some as young as seven years old and many parents and guardians have no idea of the scale of this problem.”

Vanessa Morse, CEASE CEO

In Summer 2021 we threatened to take legal action against the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) for failing to protect children’s data from misuse by porn sites. This inaction exposes children to more hardcore and harmful content. 

Vanessa Morse, CEO

We must ensure that porn sites aren’t targeting children’s data because 30 years of research has shown that porn has a profound impact on children’s social, emotional and cognitive development. Pornography breeds harmful attitudes towards women and girls, particularly among boys. It also increases sexual harassment against girls, objectification of women and regressive gender role attitudes. 

Pornography harms children’s mental health and wellbeing as it increases the chances of high level distraction and risk of loneliness, depression and anxiety. Pornography also increases the level of social maladjustment amongst children. 

The excuses the ICO has given for its failure to fulfil its regulatory duties are legally and factually flawed. What’s more, it has left children exposed to a profit-hungry industry which is intent on drawing children back again and again to watch violent and abusive pornographic material for its own financial gain.

I was shocked and dismayed by the Information Commissioner’s reply to me in which they refused to act against porn sites which were collecting and processing children’s data on a large scale. If the data protection laws weren’t designed to protect children … I am sure a lot of parents will wonder just what they were designed to do.

John Carr, Secretary of the UK’s Children’s Charities’ Coalition on Internet Safety

CAMPAIGN UPDATE

Thanks to you, we raised nearly £5000 towards legal fees in connection with this action. This is a huge achievement and we are so grateful for your support.

On our lawyers’ advice we are now filing official complaints about porn sites’ data misuse to the Information Commissioner’s Office. Through these civil society complaints we are urging the ICO to investigate the porn industry for ongoing failure to protect kids from porn. 

We will need your help. We’re a small charity taking on the vast, global industry. Porn companies are well resourced to defend their shady practices, and we must be too. Please donate to support our ongoing work to hold porn companies to account and to ensure that public bodies like the ICO don’t give them a free pass.

Share your story

If you or your family has experienced the harms of pornography as a child and would be willing to share your story with us, please contact us on [email protected].