The Future of Porn in the UK

If British prime minister David Cameron has his way, by the end of 2014 a black screen is what porn surfers will see unless they "opt in" to porn with their ISP (Internet Service Provider). Under the guise of protecting children, the government will require ISPs to enable automatic "porn filters" that won't just block child pornography, but all kinds of legal pornography as well.

The problem with David Cameron's opt-in filters is that they won't work on so many levels. Many already consider The Sun's page three topless pictures of women pornographic, but Cameron assures citizens that those would still be available online, but a site like Playboy would be blocked. So why does The Sun's brazen display of breasts get a pass? A naked tit is a tit, isn't it? Can't a child walk into any store in Britain, throw 2 pounds on the counter, and walk out with The Sun?

And this is the first problem with filters: a human being has to decide what is to be filtered. Who are these people? And what if they decide that gay bum fucking is next on the list of offensive material that British citizens shouldn't see.

Several years ago, filters set up on hospital computer networks had to be turned off when it was discovered that doctors couldn't access information on breast cancer.

And we've all heard about filters that have prevented gay and lesbian teenagers from accessing basic information about coming out or dealing with their homosexuality, information that is not pornographic, but gets filtered out anyway because of its use of explicit language.

Some schools have used filters to prevent students from accessing Facebook during class time, but students quickly figured out that using proxy servers (technology that hides your IP address) prevents filters from doing their job. And this is the other reason that filters won't work - there's always a way to circumvent them and those who want to get around them will find a way.

So David Cameron's plan will place a huge financial burden on ISPs to create, implement, and maintain filters that in the end won't prevent the most industrious of surfers from accessing whatever they want. And parents will be lulled into a false sense of security, thinking that their children are now safe. And paedophiles will continue accessing their garbage because they've always skirted the law anyway.

Cameron's anti-porn legislation will arrive just in time to usher in the 2015 general elections in Britain and provide a smoke screen for larger, and potentially more important issues - the economy is in the trash bin and inflation rates continue to rise, that as of May 2013 2.51 million British citizens were still out of work, and that one EU nation after another continues to teeter on the edge of bankruptcy - but Cameron will be able to pat British citizens on the back and say, "There, there, but we have protected the children."


Photo courtesy of Huffington Post's David Cameron's Porn Crackdown.

We should be concerned about the exploitation of children. Children should be protected from this kind of abuse and adults should not have access to this kind of material. Period.

But the fact is that non-pornographic, social media sites like Facebook and Twitter are already being used by paedophiles to lure children, paedophiles aren't finding children to abuse on pornographic sites. Most companies working in the legitimate side of the adult business already shun this kind of content and behaviour. They support organizations like The Association of Sites Advocating Child Protection (ASACP) which has since 1996 dedicated itself to protecting children online through its CP Reporting Hotline and its Restricted to Adults RTA Website label that helps parents screen age-restricted material from their children's computers.

American porn producers are required by law to maintain records verifying the ages of their performers, and non-American producers who want to do business in the United States also maintain these records, including all British porn sites that I know of. So there's already quite a lot being done to protect children.

Paedophiles looking for their offensive material mostly aren't finding it through Google and other search engines. Paedophiles already have well-established underground, peer-to-peer networks that are hidden from the prying eyes of parents and citizens who really care. In fact, law enforcement agencies around the globe spend billions finding and breaking into to such networks to shut them down while dozens more pop up. And opt-in porn filters aren't going the prevent paedophiles from accessing this content because they're already very good at circumventing the rules.

Cameron's new plan doesn't just include opt-in filters blacking out porn sites, but the new laws will also mean stricter rules about videos streamed in the UK regardless of where they originate; search engines are being told to introduce further blocking and filtering technology to censor what the legislation deems inappropriate and illegal; and the legislation also widens the powers of the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Center to include looking at file-sharing networks.

The basic problem with Cameron's plan is that none of his ideas or recommendations deal with the root problem - the people who are creating child pornography and the customers who buy it. But his plan does punish the 99% of British citizens who just want to see a bit of cock and ass or titties and pussies.

Cameron repeating talks about the impact pornography is having on the "innocence of our children." Cameron obviously hasn't taken the look at a teenager's Facebook page lately. My own 15-year-old niece's page is littered with the most foul language and pictures of my niece and her friends doing bong hits and getting drunk. I'm afraid today's youth has already lost their innocence and it has little to do with watching a couple of naked people fucking on the Internet. And when I complained on my niece's Facebook page, she simply blocked me so I couldn't see or monitor her it and her parents just shrugged: "Oh well, that's kids now days."

David Cameron, and politicians like him, don't understand the InterWeb. They lack the basic understanding that it is called the Web because it's like a spider's web - every strand of silk is linked to other and another, and not all of those stands are located within a particular's country's borders or jurisdiction. Cameron's opt-in porn filters will not solve the problem of children pornography, it will simply send it scurrying off to some safe haven in some other part of the world.

Before David Cameron's snowball starts sliding down this slippery slope, please contact your Member of Parliament and express your opposition to this short-sighted plan. Let your MP know that you're seeing beyond David Cameron's smoke screen and you'd like them to focus on far more serious issues challenging British citizens.

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