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Cameron’s porn filters could theoretically block games too

David Cameron has been quite vocal about his plans as a dad and prime minister to make the internet more child friendly. To him that means blocking child pornography – pretty sure most search engines do that already – but in the same breath, he said he also wants ISPs to block normal pornography too, unless customers opt out of the system. While this is bothersome and probably a bit embarrassing for some – who’s betting some people will just do without rather than admit they use it? – there’s potentially much further reaching problems too, namely, gaming could be a threat.

The problem comes from Cameron’s fanboy love of TalkTalk’s current optional internet filter for customers. It’s run by Chinese firm Huawei – which should throw up red flags for those worried about internet censorship – and it has various settings for parents to choose from. That’s actually great, I applaud that. In its current optional form, that’s an excellent way for parents to help keep an eye on their children – the emphasis being their children, not everyone’s.

However, where this becomes a problem, is when it’s applied to the country as a whole, as Huawei’s filter has a gaming filter too. That means no online flash games, potentially no gaming related sites (our own games.kitguru.net might suffer there) and potentially no online connected games either if the filter is able to detect that sort of traffic.

cameron
Oh look, it’s a boob. Block it. 

While there’s no guarantee that Cameron’s enforced filtering is something that would block gaming too, there is certainly potential there since this is his favourite filter.

And that’s the problem with this whole thing, it’s so vague that we just don’t know. “Illegal pornography will be blocked.” That’s fine, it’s blocked in most instances by search engines anyway and taken down by the police when they can. Rape porn will be made illegal though, but it doesn’t tell us if this is videos of actual rape (already illegal) or simulated, which when between two consenting adults doesn’t hurt anyone and could be as simple as involving being tied up, or more complicated with full on role play of the scenario.

Then there’s the problem of what is pornography? Will the Cameron-Porn Filter prevent educational nudity? What about artistic nudes? What about sexual health websites? What about breast feeding? What about nudist camps? What about topless videos? Can men be topless on the internet but not women? What about adverts that show someone’s nude arse?

See? This is why we need to be more militant about preventing this from coming about. David Cameron is not only legislating morality when he tells us that blocking pornography is for the good of all children, he’s telling parents how to police their own family’s access to potentially not just pornography, but games and vast swathes of educational content. And to make it all worse, he’s forcing it on us, because otherwise he feels we wouldn’t be grown up enough to decide for ourselves.

KitGuru Says: Stop treating us like children Mr Cameron. Put a porn filter on in your house if you want, but I don’t have kids and no children are allowed on my desktop when they come to my house, so why exactly do I need a porn filter? Parents are more than educated enough to make these decisions for themselves. You worry about your kids and let the Big Society you talked about worry about theirs.

[Props to MCV for its take on this]

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