UK to block internet pornography by default

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Internet providers in the UK have agreed to block pornography on most PCs, tablets, smartphones and public Wi-Fi networks in the coming months, according to Prime Minister David Cameron.

By the end of 2013, the adult content filters will be on by default.

“I’m not making this speech because I want to moralise or scare-monger, but because I feel profoundly as a politician and as a father that the time for action has come. This is, quite simply, about how we protect our children and their innocence,” said Cameron.

Nonetheless, the pornography filters can be turned off by users who can “prove” that they are 18 years of age or older.

The plan is the fruit of a month-long effort by the Prime Minister to regulate access to online pornography. He has met with internet search companies such as Google and urged them to block adult content from kids. Cameron has also appointed MP Claire Perry as the special adviser on this issue.

The plan requires no legislation from the Parliament as tech companies and other internet service providers are taking part voluntarily. Some have already installed the necessary filters.

However, critics and internet freedom advocates point out that the plan is not foolproof.

“As a technological feat, it would be utterly impossible,” said Daily Mirror columnist Andy Dawson.

Moreover, critics explained that automated blocking technology sometimes allows adult content to pass through accidentally and may also filter non-pornographic sites. It could also cause parents to become lax in observing their children’s online activities, added BBC technology correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones.


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