UK government wants to block all Internet porn

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The UK government has plans to ask ISPs to block all pornography from home Internet connections by default, in order to ensure that children are not accidentally exposed to sex while using the Internet. Under the plan, customers would have to ask their ISP for access to pornography. Homeowners would either specify which adult sites they want to be able to view, or pick a classification for their connection to restrict what is received according to age ranges, such as U, 12, or 18.

The UK's largest ISPs, including BT, Virgin Media, and TalkTalk, will be called to a meeting next month to discuss the idea. Instead of using parental controls to stop access to pornography by opting out, the goal is to kill off access to pornography in the first place, and then allow adults to opt in. Most British ISPs prevent users from inadvertently viewing child porn websites but ministers want companies to use the technology to block pornography sites unless people specifically ask to view them.

"Unless we show leadership, the internet industry is not going to self-regulate," Claire Perry, a British Conservative Party politician and the Member of Parliament for Devizes, said in a statement according to The Sunday Times. "The minister has said he will get the ISPs together and say, 'Either you clean out your stables or we are going to do it for you'. There is this very uneasy sense for parents of children that we do not have to tolerate this Wild West approach. We are not coming at this from an anti-porn perspective. We just want to make sure our children aren't stumbling across things we don't want them to see."

The government is pushing for this despite the fact that Internet Services Providers' Association in the UK has found that such a complete block would be expensive and technically difficult. Frankly we think the argument should still be around how effective it would be if it were implemented in the first place.


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