Hilary White, Rome Correspondent

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UK gov’t moves to restrict all Internet porn to protect children

Hilary White, Rome Correspondent

LONDON, December 20, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The UK’s coalition government has announced it will ask internet service providers (ISPs) to help restrict access to pornographic web sites to protect children.

Communications minister Ed Vaizey said he would meet with BT, Virgin Media and Talk Talk, Britain’s three largest internet providers, “in the near future” to discuss ideas.

“I’m hoping they will get their acts together so that we don’t have to legislate,” he told The Sunday Times, “but we are keeping an eye on the situation and we will have a new communications bill in the next couple of years.”

The plan is to have porn sites blocked and made available only on specific request.

But Nicholas Lansman, head of the Internet Service Providers’ Association (ISPA), claimed that the attempt would lead to the blocking of legitimate content.

Lansman said the plan would only be “effective in preventing inadvertent access.” It could, he said, lead to blocking photography sharing sites like Fickr which can contain some “adult” material, or blog platforms like Tumblr which contain pornographic blogs.

Lansman said online safety was a priority for the ISPA, which already blocks child abuse content, but “blocking lawful pornography content is less clear cut.”

Recent research has shown the extent of the pornography crisis in the developed world. According to a recent study, a third of children under ten have seen pornographic materials on the internet. The report, published by Psychologies magazine, also found that four out of five children aged 14 to 16 regularly sought access to explicit photographs and footage on their home computers.

Fully half of content use on the internet is pornographic, according to Enders Analysis, a media watchdog.

Critics of the plan have said that previous attempts, and current attempts within the industry itself, to create porn filters have run into technical problems, and could lead to privacy and free-speech issues.

But the move was applauded by Dr. Judith Reisman, an expert in media forensics, who has studied the effects of pornography in depth. She told LSN, “It has long been possible to eliminate what American law had recognized as toxic media from the internet.”

The wave of child sex abuse revelations around the world, Riesman said, is increasing awareness of the damage the porn culture has done. “Children raping children and even little infants are the realities of these atrocities against families, children, women, and the civil society.”



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