Polygraph Screening for Sex Offenders: Bad Science, Even Worse Policy

Of the many variations on Martin Niemoller’s famous ‘First they came for…’ speech I’ve seen kicking around the Internet none, so far as I can recall, has ever started with the line ‘First they came for the sex offenders”. As population sub-groups go, it’s difficult to think of […]

Harriet Harman, the BBC and Those ‘Disappearing’ Female Presenters

A little over a month ago you may recall that there was a bit of a short-lived furore over claims that female TV presenters routinely disappear from our screens once they reach the age of 50. The source of this claim was a Labour Party policy review group […]

How Big Is Online Porn?

I’ve spent quite a bit of time over the last three weeks or so debunking a variety of spurious claims about online porn. Amanda Platell claimed to have watched a child porn video she found using Google, but that proved to be an old commercial porn video in […]

Google and Child Porn-Related Search Engine Traffic

Warning: May contain actual evidence. Three weeks ago, I published a couple of articles in the space of two days that conclusively debunked Amanda Platell’s claim that it was easy to find child pornography online using nothing more than Google proving, first, that a porn video she described […]

Sex, Lies and Porn Statistics

The latest newspaper to jump on the burgeoning anti-porn bandwagon is the Sunday Times, which recently put its name to a “symposium” on the “dangers to children of online pornography” in conjunction with the Tory Think-tank Policy Exchange: The Sunday Times is organising a symposium on the dangers […]

Have 1.5 million adults really “stumbled across” online child porn?

Having parked its [septic] tanks on Google’s lawn, the media’s efforts to generate a full blown moral panic around the existence of online pornography continued this morning with an appearance on the BBC’s Breakfast News programme by Susie Hargreaves, tbe current CEO of the Internet Watch Foundation. To […]

Online Child Porn – What the Papers Aren’t Telling You.

In the wake of the convictions of Stuart Hazell and Mark Bridger for sexually motivated murders of children, the papers are awash with speculative commentaries on online child pornography. The Daily Mail (of course) wants to know ‘What WILL it take for Google to block child porn?’ even […]

Statistics Laundering, Online Pornography and the Daily Mail

For this article I’m going to return to a subject I covered yesterday, that of ‘porn statistics’ or, to be more precise, statistics published widely on both the internet and by newspapers and other media organisation which purport to show that large numbers of children and young people […]

Marriage Equality, Conservative Politics and the Religious Right

Ahead of today’s House of Commons debate on the Marriage (Same-Sex Couples) Bill and the raft of wrecking amendments tabled, for the most part, by Tory MPs, I think that it’s well worth reflecting on exactly where opposition to equal marriage is coming from and, particularly, how that […]

Step Away from the Statistics, Harriet…

In just the last week or so we’ve seen Iain Duncan Smith publicly rebuked by the UK Statistics Authority for making claims about the government’s policy of capping benefits that were “unsupported by the official statistics published by the department” and Michael Gove caught using unscientific polls commissioned […]