Can ISPs Really Block Porn And Do We Want Them To?

I don’t think so but it seems that some people do.

UK Prime Minister David Cameron has a meeting today with a group from Mothers’ Union, a Christian charity, who have concerns about kids’ lives being ruined by “commercialisation and sexualisation” of children on television, the web and other forms of advertising. I agree that this is a valid set of concerns and that, if anything, the problem seems to be getting worse all the time.

Some of the proposals put forward sound good too:

  • banning certain types of billboard advertising near schools
  • only allowing older children to watch steamy pop videos
  • having shops put covers over maazines which have sexualised images on their covers

But what about blocking porn on the internet?

Can ISPs Really Block Porn And Do We Want Them To?

Of course it is a good idea, blocking that sort of material from minors, but can it really be done? And what about those who have reached the age of the consent? Should the government have the right to censor what we can view on the internet? If they do, its a slippery path from there…

Now that may not be what is being proposed right now but it is quite feasible that we are heading toward an internet that is censored and controlled by those in power. Think China at this point! Not good.

4 ISPs to offer protection from porn

Where we are right now is that 4 of the largest ISPs in the UK – BT, TalkTalk, Sky and Virgin Media – are all expected to offer adult content blocking for computers and smart phones for those who do not wish to view such content. So, for now, customers would appear to be able to opt out of the ability to have adult content appearing through whatever type of internet connection they may have. But how long might it be before the customer isn’t even afforded that choice? Should ISPs police and censor the net or should they just simply supply the connection and allow the customer to choose what they do with it?

And if ISPs are blocking adult content how are they going to do it? I will certainly be interested to find out because we all know how computer savvy the average kid is these days. And if they want to watch porn on their computer then there is every chance they’ll find a way to work around any web filters.

Do you think that having ISPs put a block on adult content, even if it is optional at this stage, is a good idea or do you worry about where such controls may take the internet in the future?

About Lee Munson

Lee's non-technical background allows him to write about internet security in a clear way that is understandable to both IT professionals and people just like you who need simple answers to your security questions.

Comments

  1. As a father and as a christian I strongly believe that we should NOT have those above us decide this sort of thing.

    History is a great teacher in this aspect – did book burning by the Nazi’s work? Did prohibition achieve anything? And so on. The point being is that those in power are there to ensure we all have a fair and equal access to life, health and liberty but try to restrict those things too much and eventually they will bite you back.

    What we should do is ensure certain simple & obvious restrictions are adhered to – stuff like if the film is rated 15 then don’t allow under 15’s to watch it. Equally stop allowing sexual and violent content to be pushed through as a PG. The rating is there for a reason, stop cheapening it.

    That is the bottom line for me – and society is to blame really – the cheapening of our moral standards “because it suits”. Goverenment are just trying to bolt the stable afterthe event and that never works.

    • “History is a great teacher in this aspect – did book burning by the Nazi’s work? Did prohibition achieve anything?”

      I think one of the main points here, especially if you relate it to kids and adult content, is the fact that telling someone they can’t have something makes it infinitely more desirable than it was before. Block content on the internet and people will find a way to access it any way,

      As you say, its about enforcing existing guidelines rather than out and out control of what we do.

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