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Universal Porn Filter Coming to the U.K.

| 22 Jul 2013 16:05
David Cameron

Pornography on the internet will soon be universally blocked in the U.K. unless users specifically ask their service provider to disable the filter.

U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron has announced that virtually every home in the country will have access to online pornography blocked at the ISP level unless a request to remove the block is made. Cameron said that by the end of 2014, the country's largest internet providers have agreed to contact their existing customers with an "unavoidable decision about whether or not to install family friendly content filters" - unavoidable because customers who fail to respond for any reason will have it switched on by default. New customers will also be required to indicate whether or not they want to access adult content when they subscribe.

The filter will be put into place on mobile phone networks and on the U.K.'s public wi-fi network "wherever children are likely to be present." The government is also looking into creating a "Family Friendly Wi-Fi" symbol for retailers, hotels and other companies who want to let their customers know that their wi-fi network is filtered.

Cameron called upon Google, Bing and other search engines to blacklist sites provided to them by the government, implement pop-ups in place of disabled "child abuse sites" warning viewers that they risk losing their jobs, their family and even access to their children if they persist in their behavior, and to provide "clear routes... to legitimate sites on the web" when potentially illegal searches are conducted. If search engine companies haven't come up with acceptable voluntary solutions by October, he warned that legislation to "force action" will be put into place.

"I want to talk about the internet, the impact it is having on the innocence of our children, how online pornography is corroding childhood and how, in the darkest corners of the internet, there are things going on that are a direct danger to our children, and that must be stamped out," Cameron said in his speech. "I'm not making this speech because I want to moralize or scare-monger, but because 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."

Cameron also said that new laws will impose the same restrictions on streaming videos on the internet as those sold in retail outlets, give more power to the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Center to investigate "secretive file-sharing networks," create a secure database of child pornography that will help police trace illegal content and the people who look at it, and criminalize the possession of "rape porn."

Source: Government of the United Kingdom, via BBC

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