UK Porn Ban: Prime Minister Declares War on Adult Content

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David Cameron, the Prime Minister of the UK, has announced today that he plans to crack down on internet pornography and focus on making the internet a safer place for children and families. In his speech delivered today, Cameron made it very clear that he is passionate about his crusade against sexually illicit material, particularly pornography that involves children or rape.

Cameron's plans for a more child-friendly internet experience include deals with four of the largest internet providers in England; regulations include "family-friendly filters" that would automatically block pornography and other adult material in millions of people's homes, filtering material from all land lines, WiFi connected devices, and even in public areas where children are likely to be present. Families and individuals would have the ability to opt out of the filters; they would simply need to check a box on a form or inform their internet provider that they wish to have pornography unfiltered and available.

Other measures include stricter video restrictions and laws, pressure for search engines to offer more tools for barring content, and an increase in the legal action and monitoring abilities available to the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre and police when searching for sources of illegal material and in tracking down pedophiles. Cameron also called for the immediate blacklisting of certain "horrific" terms, meaning that they would not show any results when searched on Google or Bing.

The crack down against pornography is not purely Puritanical, however; much of the action aims to reduce violence against women and children (an unfortunate theme mixed in with much adult content), as well as children's access to legal, but none the less graphic images meant for adult eyes. Cameron wants to make pornography depicting rape illegal, as is the case in Scotland. He also claims that his crusade for "family-friendly WiFi" and increased filtration is to stop the "corroding of childhood" that free access to pornography has allowed for.

Concerns have been raised by many people from all walks of life, ranging from politicians to internet commentators to your everyday Jane and John Doe. Some have fallen victim to the slippery slope that comes with fear of loosing access to supple, naked bodies on the internet, going on to tweet out their dissatisfaction. (Warning: Some of the tweets displayed below may be triggering or upsetting to some, due to both content and language. Please be cautious when viewing.)

There is much discussion that contributes to the debate in a civil and informative manner, such as the former Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre boss, Jim Gamble, who was quoted as saying, “You need a real deterrent, not a pop-up that pedophiles will laugh at.” However, tweets and reactions such as those seen above are, unfortunately, what many see and hear, especially on internet forums and social media.

It is important to look at this issue in an informed and appropriate manner, since the subject is incredibly sensitive. After all, whether people want to admit to it or not, pornography is most certainly wound up in misogyny, sexism, and the male gaze, all of which correlate with abuse, rape, and assault. Perhaps attempting to monitor access to graphic material and banning truly harmful material, such as that which depicts rape or children, is not such a terrible thing as the slippery slope might imply.