Report – Mitt Romney Campaign Vowed to Crack Down on Internet Porn

Report – Mitt Romney Campaign Vowed to Crack Down on Internet Porn

The American election campaign seems to have been crossing over into Internet rights recently. This latest development involves Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney. A report has surfaced that says that there was a promise to “vigorously” crack down on pornography.

It was just the other day we were talking about Mitt Romney getting hit with censorship by copyright on YouTube. Today, we are hearing that the Romney campaign is, ironically, promising to find ways to censor the Internet when it relates to pornography. The Daily Caller reports:

Trueman, the president of Morality in Media, contacted the Romney campaign earlier this year about the “untreated pandemic” of Internet pornography. “They got back to us right away,” he said.

Bob Flores, another former Justice Department official who prosecuted pornographers, accompanied Trueman to an hour-long meeting with Romney foreign and legal policy director Alex Wong, Trueman said.

“Wong assured us that Romney is very concerned with this, and that if he’s elected these laws will be enforced,” Trueman told TheDC. ”They promised to vigorously enforce federal adult obscenity laws.”

Trueman said he would like for Romney to speak publicly about cracking down on porn, but believes Romney avoids the subject because he “saw that Rick Santorum got beat up in the mainstream press for being so forthright.”

Since we here at ZeroPaid tend to have a bird’s eye view of Internet rights around the world, such calls to censor pornography including Internet pornography may seem like a strange idea, but it’s not entirely unprecedented. For a few years leading up to 2010, we covered Australia trying to filter out “inappropriate” content from the Internet. While it was a strong push to make the policy mandatory for all ISPs and users, it ultimately ended with two ISPs voluntarily filtering the Internet last year.

While it’s entirely possible to make high profile takedowns of domestic websites, going after foreign sources isn’t just difficult, it’s probably impossible. When we followed the debate about Australia’s experience with Internet filtering, one of the biggest problems was trying to filter out content on non-HTTP based sources like file-sharing. It’s one thing to block a website, it’s quite another to filter out content flowing through Usenet (especially on an encrypted connection) for instance.

Personally, I think that an attempt to crack down on porn is only going to both shut down a number of businesses and restrict numerous other businesses in the US. It’s going to raise a number of free speech issues and it’s going to get dragged through the courts as well. That’s about the extent of any possible success such a policy is going to make. Beyond that, the policy is simply going to get high centered with the tires spinning every time the accelerator gets pressed down. Such a policy is only going to cause more damage than anything else.

Internet porn crackdowns would only end up looking a lot like the file-sharing cases of today and yesteryear. There would be high profile takedowns, sure, but it’ll also end up being just another whack-a-mole game with no end in sight.

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