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Auto porn filters to hit UK web

British prime minister, David Cameron, has announced that in the near future, British households will have an automatic pornography filter implemented by internet service providers, which will block explicit images by default; though there will be an option to turn them off.

Those signing up to new accounts with ISPs, will have the filter automatically enabled, whereas existing customers will likely be contacted to find out whether they want the filter to be enabled or not. If the response is indecisive, or one is not received, the filter will again be automatically turned on.

Of course the reason behind all this is the children of Britain, who according to Mr Cameron, are being irreversibly corrupted by online porn. He uses this fearful idea to explain away the online restrictions, “”I’m not making this speech because I want to moralise or scaremonger,” he said, “but because I feel profoundly as a politician, and as a father, that the time for action has come. This is, quite simply, about how we protect our children and their innocence.”

Perhaps nobody pointed out to Mr Cameron that schools already implement filters and that households can do the same with their own 3rd party filter.

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Other measures being proposed include a crackdown on those viewing what is described as “rape porn,” though it’s not explicit as to whether that involves simulations of rape, or footage from real crimes (the latter of which is presumably quite rare). Search engines will also be complicit in blocking content, with Mr Cameron suggesting they have a “moral duty,” to restrict illegal porn. Searching for anything considered to be against the law, will also pop up helpline phone numbers.

But my own sarcastic derision of this isn’t the only criticism being slung in the PM’s direction; others have been complaining too, from both ends of the spectrum. Ex-head of the Child exploitation and online protection centre, said that this doesn’t go far enough and that paedophiles and those viewing illegal content, are unlikely to be deterred by a pop-up helpline number.

ISPs aren’t happy either, since they don’t want to be forced to censor their own customers – though of course, many of them already have, with the introduction of ineffective court ordered blocks of sites like The Pirate Bay.

Others still, have highlighted that this sounds more like a measure for governments to block content that they do not deem fitting for public viewing. With a system like this in place, they say that it would be easy for the authorities to censor anti-government materials or websites.

KitGuru Says: It seems such an odd thing to have a supposedly right leaning party getting so involved in the affairs of families. Not only is it making it illegal to view very subjective and contextually specific adult content, but it’s so vague that the final interpretation is impossible to predict. It will be illegal to “posses internet pornography depicting rape.” The first question is of course, how dooes one possess internet pornography?

And does that mean it would be illegal to watch Irreversible? That movie where Monica Bellucci is the victim of a brutal (and reasonably graphic) rape?

[Cheers BBC]

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