Government eyes 'opt-in' online porn plans

4th May 2012 | 09:51

Government eyes 'opt-in' online porn plans

Blocking sites is the new black

The government is currently consulting on its plans to make ISPs ask people to opt-in to access adult content online in the UK.

At the moment, web users have the option of setting up filters to block porn and other shady websites – usually known as parental controls – which is effectively an opt-out set up.

Prime Minister David Cameron, is set to meet with ISPs to talk about the measures after pressure from campaigners who say it's too easy for children to access top shelf material on their phones, tablets and computers.

The internet is for porn

Shadow culture secretary Harriet Harman described the mooted measures as a form of website blocking – a worrying terminology that puts the forced opt-in action on a par with the recent court-ordered Newzbin2 and The Pirate Bay blocks.

She said, "We need to work closely with the industry to develop blocking technology which is easy to use and effective so that parents have the control they need to protect their children."

While the plans wouldn't fall under the broad heading of censorship per se (Virgin Media, for example, sees it simply as a way to make parental controls more explicit), it does mean potential embarrassment for anyone who wants to opt-in to the adult content – and it has not yet been made clear exactly what the threshold is and how what is blocked and what gets through will be decided.

The Open Rights Group has concerns too. Jim Killock, executive director of the group, said, "We welcome a consultation but default filternets are awful. They block a wide range of innocent material; and nobody should be advocating broader and simpler censorship.

"All the independent evidence has pointed to giving parents simple tools and choices. There is no need to create network level censorship in the name of a porn opt-in."

What's more, who's to say parents themselves won't want to pop down to the online red light district once in a while? Although, if The Pirate Bay's experience is anything to go by, getting around the blocks won't be too difficult at all.

Via BBC

porn internet ISPs website blocking
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