EU to debate Europe-wide ban on pornography

With all the laws relating to the internet that have been in the news in the past year, you have almost all the ingredients needed for a drinking game. This time piracy isn't the big concern, but what you're watching on-screen.

Kartika Liotard's "Report on Eliminating Gender Stereotypes" is the focal point of the argument. While the concept seems noble, there's more to it, and it involves banning pornography across the European Union. That such a controversial idea is being discussed in Strasbourg this Tuesday means it hasn't been binned instantly.

There has been plenty of opposition, with people emailing Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) to show discontent with the possibility. According to Christian Engstrom of the Pirate Party, "the European Parliament is silently blocking all or most emails that contain the word ‘gender'". Whether true or not, we can't say, but there must have been a lot of email added to inboxes regardless.

If you've been reading Neowin for a while, you'll remember SOPA (and its second and third incarnations) and PIPA in the United States. Both were useless, according to the RIAA themselves. Nevertheless, they both attained a great deal of coverage for they were considered Orwellian measures of exerting control over the net.

Source: Independent | Image via Tumblr

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57 Comments

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You people read waaay to much ahead. This is will be debated because some members thought it was worth debating. It will simply NOT pass.

Two things:

Might as well ban the internet since "The internet is for porn!" -Avenue Q

How do you tell what is and isn't porn? "I know it when I see it." - Justice Stewart

Would never happen. This would just force porn into the underground where a) income from it couldn't be taxed and b) conditions for workers in the industry would be even worse and more degrading.

Decriminalize everything. Education is the key.

Shannon said,
Would never happen. This would just force porn into the underground where a) income from it couldn't be taxed and b) conditions for workers in the industry would be even worse and more degrading.

Decriminalize everything. Education is the key.

That logic always works always changes the minds of politicians. Just look at drugs.

I think ideas like this will force more people to use the "hidden Internet", e.g. Freenet, I2P and not the public WWW part. Would this be better?

You could say that but then you wouldn't have anything else to do you might as well ban drinking too. Look at those radical nations with suicide bombers and constant fighting? Don't you think they should be punished more servere than banning porn?

Nazmus Shakib Khandaker said,
Porn should definitely be illegal. It's evil, filthy, and a disease. It needs to go.

WTF is wrong with you man?

Nazmus Shakib Khandaker said,
Porn should definitely be illegal. It's evil, filthy, and a disease. It needs to go.

Following your reasoning, you should also be illegal.

tomasse said,
You can try, but you will fail EU.
YOU CAN NEVER BAN PORN!
Also as we are at it, let's ban sex too!

It's ok, when I grew up, we found many a time wild porn magazines growing at the edges of fields under the trees. Kids will harvest them as nature intended.

If such a thing were enacted this would lead to the ironic and absurd situation that the EU would contain jurisdictions that had legal prostitution (Germany and the Netherlands) but not legal pornography. (I'm not taking a position either way on whether it's OK that the former is legal, just the odd situation that would arise).

From a practical standpoint I don't see how such a position is workable - who decides precisely what is, and what isn't pornography? Plenty of mainstream films depict substantial nudity and sex, albeit faked. From a libertarian standpoint I don't see that it is the state's place to be issuing diktats on what adults do with their bodies to entertain others - beyond specific regulation of the industry and safeguards (a decent welfare system seems like it ought to form a big part of that to try and avoid economic coercion into sex work). It also seems like if you drive pornography underground you make it much more likely it will be produced in the worst possible ways by criminal elements.

"...involves banning pornography across the European Union"

...as good a reason as any for the UK to leave the European Union(!)

Who decides what is or isn't pornography though? I'm guessing the EU member states of Turkey and Italy will have very different definitions of what constitutes pornography.

Pygmy_Hippo said,
Who decides what is or isn't pornography though? I'm guessing the EU member states of Turkey and Italy will have very different definitions of what constitutes pornography.

Just for clarification: Turkey is NOT a member of the EU...

MFH said,

Just for clarification: Turkey is NOT a member of the EU...

Hehe, that'll teach me not to try and look clever on the Internet!! They've applied but not been admitted yet.

Pygmy_Hippo said,
They've applied but not been admitted yet.

I can think of a few countries that would immediately cast a vote against Turkey. Especially considering the implications that would result in having Turkey as a member of the EU...

Women (and I use that term loosely) working (real hard *cough*) in the industry are one of the best paid folks, especially considering their education and brain-to-tits ratio. Banning the thing will only increase the income disparity and also damage the economy.

As you can see, I like to present a fully researched and rational argument here, unlike all these horny *******.

Sometimes it just sucks to be Dutch.. (pun intended here..)

Some people will do anything to get attention I guess

McKay said,
In breaking news 27 Countries leave the EU.

A referendum on quitting the EU would become a single-issue election.

This will never go anywhere. Politicians would be mad to support something like this. Probably won't even get 10% of all votes to pass it.

Went to her Wikipedia profile, a "former" socialist, and by her looks bat**** crazy, does Ms Crazy have a plan on how you would stop the "evil" pron from entering the EU while still keeping the Internet open and not slow?

z0phi3l said,
Went to her Wikipedia profile, a "former" socialist, and by her looks bat**** crazy, does Ms Crazy have a plan on how you would stop the "evil" pron from entering the EU while still keeping the Internet open and not slow?

hehe. you're funny
.. oh, you weren't joking?

Crazy people like that, usually don't have a clue about the technology that they're trying to remove and they'll use what ever means and measures they can to ensure their thoughts are pushed onto others.
As a result, she could convince the EU that porn is bad but in the exception its a need, citing the pirate bay being blocked for example and how well that's cut down on piracy (I know right), but the EU could be swayed by the benefits they get out of it more then actual blockage of porn. They'd get pretty much access to all ISPs in Europe with what ever means they feel is needed to keep up with the filtering.

And it won't just stop at webpages, we'll have emails filtered (ok might be a good thing for penis spam) but for the most part, we'll never really know what's been seen, monitors, filtered out or and this is probably the most scary part for me, added into our internet.

We live in an age where we try to protect our privacy and while most people are happy to share their live away with facebook, they don't expect facebook (even though they do, in part) to sell their details on with full disclosure of who you are. But, think for a moment where the government stores everything you do, search (think medical issues or even just factoids such as how nuclear bombs work and what goes into them) and even who emails you, what games you play online building up a profile.. you might even be part of a fetish forum that you'd really prefer to keep private. Imagine how much fun the tabloids, or activist hackers, could have with that information if it was leaked.

OK, so i'm taking that to a bit of an extreme. Lets take a few steps back. The EU mandates everyone has to opt in to view porn and nothing else was monitored or filtered. That surley wouldn't cause too much of a problem, right?
Activists leak details of some high profile people; Mr Cameron has opt in view porn online. Imagine the scandal it'd turn into. Or nursery worker, has opt into view porn, police officers, medics, high profile business workers... or even someone who employs you, who doesn't like porn finds out you're part of the leaked details.

It's a very nasty state to be in just for the perception of people who look at porn, in the same way we see adult toy stores as seedy back ally shops only visited by scruffy pervy old men. While that does happen, it's not everyone and its a perception that gets branded across the board.

qdave said,
About time! Time to rid the world of this filthy business!

Rid you of this world, weirdo. Go troll somewhere else g00f.

What can one expect from people who live in countries with no higher morals...
I guess its nice to spend time in a basement instead of do something useful for society

qdave said,
About time! Time to rid the world of this filthy business!

"I don't like this harmless concept, so I'll stop other people from enjoying this harmless concept." Is that the philosophy you're following qdave? If you'd like porn to not exist, does that mean you'd like sex to not exist? Are you against sex? After all, porn is just sex in front of other people. The concept of porn isn't harmful; some people may use it in a harmful manner or some stars may be treated terribly, but that isn't down to the concept of porn, it's down to how certain people are using the concept.