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Online Porn to be banned in the UK?

According to a Downing Street source, PM David Cameron will consider requiring UK ISPs to block access to pornography websites.
Porn block 05 04 2012Enlarge
Computer users are pictured in an internet cafe in Istanbul on September 3, 2009 where governmental censorship has banned websites including the video sharing site YouTube. Prohibited since 2007 YouTube remains in the top five most visited internet sites in Turkey. (AFP/Stringer/AFP/Getty Images)

Just days after a UK high court ruling that forced British ISPs to block access to file sharing site The Pirate Bay, UK lawmakers are now considering blocking access to pornography websites. 

If a law is passed, the UK would join the ranks of China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Yemen and other countries that block their citizens’ access to pornographic websites.

A source at Downing Street told The Times of London that Prime Minister David Cameron is planning to investigate possible laws for internet porn. The ban would act as a default ISP block with users having to “opt in” to have their ISPs allow access.

“But no options are ruled out when it comes to keeping children safe — so as part of our dialogue with industry, we will explore their views of the use of 'default on' filters as part of active choice,” the source told the Times.

The campaign to force customers of UK ISPs to “opt in” to access online pornography is part of a campaign led by Conservative Party lawmaker Claire Perry. The campaign has been backed by The Daily Mail. 

More from GlobalPost: British court rules ISPs must block access to the Pirate Bay

"There is a 'hands off our internet' movement that sees any change in how access is delivered as censorship," Perry said. "We are not being prudish, but we just think the current method of blocking that material is broken."

The campaign is aimed at protecting children from pornographic content online. The Daily Mail claims that research suggests that as many as one in three children under the ages of 10 have seen pornography on the web, while four in every five children between the ages of 14 and 16 admit to regularly accessing pornography on their home computers. 

An opt in ban on pornography could cause UK teenagers to step back in time, forcing them to scour their neighborhoods for a coveted pornographic magazine, just as the quaint teenagers of yesteryear did so long ago. 

Other UK conservatives claim that access to pornography should be blocked because of the “dangerous” effect that sexual content has on relationships between young boys and girls. 

"The duty is on those who make extra profit from this sort of material to do all they can to protect under 18s," said Baroness Howe, another conservative lawmaker.

Should the ban be put in place, the extra profit taken from pornography companies could fall to neighborhood kids smart enough to use a VPN or Proxy to circumvent the ISP block. As it was in the early days of the internet, the first 15 year-olds on the block with internet connections raked in profits selling single pictures, sometimes gouging customers for $1 each— the new porn black market?

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/the-grid/online-porn-ban-uk-cameron

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