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Porn in the United Kingdom to become opt-in

UK coat of arms (government)Not one to let the hyperconservative Australian government walk away with the censorship crown, the UK government plans to make the surfing of Internet porn opt-in. Next month, Communications Minister Ed Vaizey will meet with major UK ISPs to discuss a blanket block of porn. Rather than porn being available to all, UK surfers will have to contact their ISP to be allowed on a 'porn surfing whitelist.'

In customary political masquerading style, this is being pushed through as a "think of the kids!!" measure. It recently emerged that as many as one-in-three children under 10 in the UK has seen pornography on the Internet, and the government, spearheaded by Conservative MP Claire Perry, wants to protect those kids at all costs. The irony is, it's not like 10-year-olds have their own computers and Internet connections -- they are either viewing porn at home, at a friend's house, or at school. If dad, or mom, opts into the porn whitelist, we're back at square one.

Of course, the other option is that mom and dad swear off the porn altogether, for the sake of the children. But is that really a fair system? Isn't that just censorship, dressed up as something else?

"Oh, yeah, we're making alcohol opt-in too. Most children are abused by drunken parents... and you don't want to abuse your kids, right?" While we're at it, how about a special ID card that lets you buy pornographic magazines and DVDs from shops? Why should the Internet be treated differently?

Seriously, the reasoning behind this program is that porn is damaging to children. As in, on a mental health level, children are being scarred by the early viewing of porn. Why porn, instead of violent imagery? Is porn really more perverse than the face-planting, gonad-thumping masochism readily available on YouTube? Will video games be next, and will you have to carry them in brown paper bags?

Tags: government, internet, internet porn, InternetPorn, ISP, kids, net neutrality, NetNeutrality, opt-in, policy, porn, UK, united kingdom, UnitedKingdom, web

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