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Internet service providers to block porn in UK households


by Joseph Earnest  July 24, 2013


Newscast Media LONDONInternet providers will automatically block access to porn sites in UK households, unless they opt to lift default filters. But critics say the measures won’t workand they restrict people's rights.

In an emotive speech earlier this week, British Prime Minister David Cameron warned that access to online pornography was "corroding childhood" and said Internet service providers were "not doing enough" to take responsibility for this issue.

Under his plans, filters will be imposed on all new Internet customers by the end of this yearunless they choose to "opt out." Millions of existing customers will also be contacted by their Internet providers to ask whether they want to restrict adult content.

"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," he said.

Cameron also announced additional measures to clamp down on sex offenders, including making possession of pornographic images of rape illegal. And he gave child protection authorities more powers to examine secretive file-sharing networks used by pedophiles.

But the proposals have been strongly criticized by anti-censorship groups. They warn that sites about sexual health or sexuality could get caught up in the ban. Jim Killock, Executive Director of the Open Rights Group, which defends freedom of expression on the Internet, explained why he's opposed to the measures.

"We're going down a very dangerous path with this kind of attempt to just block lots of content and think that solves problems. It doesn't - it throws up new ones."

He said his own site had already been blocked by certain filters because it discusses issues relating to pornography. Filters, he said, often mistakenly sweep such sites into their net, including sites that are there to provide support for abuse victims or sex education advice to teenagers.

John Carr, however, defended the proposals. "Nothing in life is 100 percent certain, or 100 percent safe 100 percent of the time, and that's absolutely true when it comes to the Internet. So there are no technical solutions that are going to solve every single problem. But you can make it harder and more difficult for people to access child abuse images. You can make it harder and more difficult for children to be exposed to age-inappropriate legal pornography," he said.

"The Internet's a global medium," agreed John Carr. "We need to get more and more countries on board if we're going to get this to work in the best possible way."

According to Carr, David Cameron is set to bring this subject up at forthcoming G8 and G20 meetings. So the new policy in Britain could be taken up further afield. Many governments will be watching the UK closely to see how effective the measures really are.   Add Comments>>

 Source: Radio Deutsche Welle








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