porno

UK MP Calls for Mandatory Net Porn Filter

UK MP Calls for Mandatory Net Porn Filter

UK MP Claire Perry calls for a change in regulations to require all ISPs to restrict universal access to pornographic material to only those verified to be over 18, comparing the Internet to other content delivery systems like television, movies, newspapers, and magazines where the govt already limits what citizens can and cannot view.

UK MP Claire Perry led a debate in the House of Commons recently in which she called for the creation of a mandatory ISP-level porn filter of the Internet. Internet users who wish to access porn would have to opt-in and verify that they are over the age of 18.

“As a mother with three children I know how difficult it is to keep children from seeing inappropriate material on the Internet,” she said just prior to the debate. “We already successfully regulate British TV channels, cinema screens, high street hoardings and newsagent shelves to stop children seeing inappropriate images and mobile phone companies are able to restrict access to adult material so why should the Internet be any different? British Internet Service Providers should share the responsibility to keep our children safe so I am calling for ISP’s to offer an “Opt In” system that uses age verification to access pornographic material.”

She cited statistics that report one third of children have viewed online porn and the effects it can have on childrens’ attitudes as it relates to respect for women, and an understanding of sex as related to love as reasons for seeking to prevent them for accessing sexually explicit material.

Perry thinks the current methods available for restricting access to online porn are inadequate because parents are apparently outgunned by their tech-savvy children. Parents need ISPs to do the job for them.

“The current way of controlling access to pornographic material on the internet is via safety settings and filtering software, installed and maintained by users-parents, teachers and carers across the country. Unfortunately, however, through technological ignorance, time pressure or inertia or for myriad other reasons, this filtering solution is not working,” she said during the debate. “Even among parents who are regular internet users, only 15% say that they know how to install a filter. It is unfortunately also the case that our children know better than we do how to circumvent the filters, while the constant changes in internet technology and content mean that they can quickly become outdated.”

I guess she’s unaware that children, which by her own admission are adept at circumventing filters, can access pornographic material by routing their HTTP traffic through one of the many thousands of proxies that exist, via TOR, or a free VPN service , etc..

Perry says she is a “fervent supporter of personal responsibility” has an “innate dislike of Big Brother regulation,” but says that the Internet lacks the sort of content delivery restrictions that other forms of media distribution have. She cites television, magazines, newspapers, and movies as examples of the govt already regulating what people can or cannot view.

“Why should internet service providers be any different from other content providers?” she asks. “Why is the onus on parents, teachers and carers to act as web guides and policemen? Where is the industry responsibility?”

She brushes aside concerns over free speech and costs of implementation as little more than red herrings.

Perry says that it’s “wrong” to suggest that “viewing images of children, men and women being subject to the worst sexual degradation and violence” are the definition of free speech.”

As for costs she says the “deeply profitable” Internet industry, with billions in annual revenue, are more than capable of picking up the tab. I guess nobody’s schooled her in economics 101 in which the costs of providing a service are always passed on to the customer receiving said service.

Perry also insists the govt could accurately define pornography in need of filtering.

“We already have perfectly workable definitions of adult content provided by the Obscene Publications Act 1959, and provided and used by Ofcom in the television industry,” she continues.

The Internet Service Providers Association Secretary General, Nicholas Lansman, criticized the proposal for likely leading to the blocking of legal content.

“Child abuse content, which is illegal and widely regarded as abhorrent, is blocked by the majority of ISPs. Deciding on lawful pornography content to block is less clear cut and will lead to the blocking of access to legitimate content,” he said.

The ISPA says it believes that parents, using the “tools many ISPs provide,” are the best method for preventing children from accessing pornographic material.

The Open Rights Group added to criticism of the proposal by reiterating the need for parents to “responsibility for their children.”

“There is nothing new in this,” says the group’s director, Jim Killock. “The alternative is a nanny state, making increasingly poor decisions on behalf of everyone.”

The problem too, as was illustrated in Australia with its own proposed “mandatory voluntary” Net porn filter, is that establishing a baseline filtering system gives the govt the ability to return in the future to request that additional content be restricted as well.

Australia Broadband Minister Stephen Conroy first proposed an Internet filtering regime as a voluntary effort to “protect children,” but the plan quickly spiraled into an all out attempt by the Australian govt to make it mandatory for ISPs to filter the Internet of all “inappropriate content” and “offensive and illegal material.” It quickly deteriorated from an attempt to somehow safeguard children from things like child pornography to things like legal pornography, gambling, and even P2P traffic, making Australian citizens rightly upset.

Stay tuned.

[email protected]