The United Kingdom Is Trying To Block Porn By Default

Aug 09, 2013

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The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, David Cameron, recently announced that by the end of the year, all internet service providers will be required to provide default-on porn filters to all of their customers, basically meaning that pornography is banned in the UK unless you opt to turn the filter off. The problem with a default on filter is that a lot of people will just skip right past it when setting up their internet service, without bothering to read what it actually does. And it’s not only porn that is being blocked. There are other categories that are being blocked as well, such as violent material, extremist and terrorist related content, anorexia and eating disorder websites, suicide-related websites, websites that mention alcohol or smoking, web forums, and esoteric material.

The filter is on the router level, meaning that it’s a one-size-fits-all solution for the whole house. You can’t adjust the settings for individual devices. And some categories are perfectly innocuous for adults, but children don’t need to be exposed to them. You may not want your child to see websites with people drinking alcohol or smoking, but you’d personally be fine with it as an adult. But the porn filter makes you choose whether to block such sites for the whole house or not. No individual devices. A nationwide block on porn is a good idea in theory, but in practice, it is very hard to carry out.

Parents should monitor what their own children do online. A government-mandated porn filter will only give them false reassurance that their children are protected when the filter itself will likely be largely ineffective for their individual circumstances. The idea is good. The execution, not so much. While blocking porn is a commendable thing to do (we here at Net Nanny highly recommend it), this sort of one-size-fits-all approach helps no one. Parents need to take responsibility for their own children’s online safety, and not rely on the government to do it for them.

I work for Net Nanny and all opinions are my own.