Man of Steel, or Man of Steal?
Online pornography is to be blocked by default in the United Kingdom, with Prime Minister David Cameron stating that access to such materials 'corrodes childhood'. Customers will have to choose to 'opt-in' with their ISP, should they want to see anything explicit.
The ban is meant to come into effect before the end of the year, with family-friendly filters affecting new and old customers alike. Internet search terms Cameron described as 'horrific' are on a list of things to blacklist (what kind of debauchery remains to be seen). Below are the changes in a nutshell, via ISPreview:
- Adult content filters to be enabled on all new mobile phones (this already happens for most people).
- Adult content banned from public Wi-Fi services (some public hotspot operators already do this).
- It will be a criminal offence to possess pornography that depicts rape.
- Videos streamed online in the UK will be subject to the same restrictions as DVDs and BluRays sold in shops.
- Google, Bing and other major internet search engines will have to block any results/sites and specific search terms blacklisted by the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (i.e. this mostly relates to child abuse content). It should be said that Google and the like already remove related sites once they’ve been notified.
- The Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) will also gain new powers to examine P2P (internet file sharing) networks for child abuse content and to hopefully help trace their users (working alongside the police).
- People whom attempt to access websites that contain child abuse content will also be met by a strict warning about the risks of doing so.
- The country’s largest broadband ISPs (BT, Sky Broadband, TalkTalk and Virgin Media) will all need to enable automatic network-level filtering of adult websites (i.e. Active Choice+), although you will be given a choice to opt-out (though the opt-in “Yes” box will stay pre-ticked if you ignore it).
Somewhat ironically, former head of the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre Jim Gamble told BBC's Radio 4 that it was important to "get to the root cause of illegal pornography". In other words, make shutting down the origins a greater priority.
Unsurprisingly, images depicting rape are to be banned, bringing UK law in line with that of Scotland; although an apparent loophole in the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008 means it's not currently a crime. Experts have suggested that UK ISPs will be reluctant to act out of an unwillingness to become censors.
Pity they couldn't censor the royal baby news.