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UK government: No porn please, we're British

Certain sex acts could be banned from being shown on the internet in the UK.

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Look away now if you find banning internet pornography a little tawdry for your tastes.

The British government is seeking to prohibit internet users in the UK from viewing videos portraying an array of sex acts online. That proposed ban is part of a bill working its way through Parliament.

The ban forms one clause of the digital economy bill, which also includes measures to enforce age verification checks that would prevent minors from accessing adult websites, and it would allow internet service providers to block websites not complying with the rules.

"The Government is committed to keeping children safe from harmful pornographic content online and that is exactly what we are doing," said Karen Bradley, secretary of state for culture, media and sport. "Only adults should be allowed to view such content."

But the bill could also result in adults not being able to view certain types of pornographic material -- all showing acts that are legal between consenting adults. Sex acts that are already banned from being shown on DVDs and through on-demand porn sites would be censored across the internet in the UK.

In order to be banned under the rules, videos need to contain content that would not be certified for commercial DVD sale by the British Board of Film Classification, which has been tasked with regulating age verification and obscene content in porn.

"In making this assessment, we will apply the standards that we apply to pornography that is distributed offline," said the BBFC in a statement to the Guardian. "If a website fails on either of these tests then a notification of non-compliance will be sent to the site."

The rules would likely force pornography sites around the world to make whole sections inaccessible to audiences in the UK. It could also affect mainstream sites like Tumblr and Reddit where pornography also appears.

"This equates to censorship of legal content -- potentially affecting tens of thousands of websites and millions of people," according to Open Rights Group, a rights organization campaigning against the measures. "Blocking websites is a disproportionate, technical response to a complex, social issue."

The BBFC and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport did not immediately respond to requests for comment.