EU To Fight Insane British Plan To Censor The Internet


EU To Fight Insane British Plan To Censor The Internet

British PM David Cameron fancies himself just the man to "clean up the internet". Such rhetoric, which pulls on parental heartstrings, seems to have worked for his last election campaign where he suggested that access to porn on computers and mobiles should be blocked by default unless users specifically requested access to it.

Such an unfair opt-in system was mentioned frequently in the run-up to the election as UK Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Sajid Javid assured people that the party "will age restrict online porn".

Yet such a scheme amounts to censorship and violates net neutrality, is there is no hard and fast defintion for what is 'porn' and what is not. Given the difficulty of telling which is which there is also a problem for the decision process: if a site is misclassified, how can it be removed from the list.

Further, in the UK, which already runs such a list, it has quickly expanded to include a whole host of sites deemed unsavory despite being nothing to do with porn.

The list, as it turns out, has become good old fashioned censorship, where the government simply control what people can access and what they cannot.

And then there is the small problem of Europe. A leaked EU Council document shows that plans are afoot to stop Cameron's plans in its tracks. Yet with the UK on the verge of trying to get a better deal for itself within Europe, the Prime Minister doesn't seem strongly positioned for negotiating on the issue.

Cameron has a fight on his hands, if wants to deliver on his "we need to protect our children from hardcore pornography" promise.

Specially, according to documents seen by The Sunday Times newspaper, the EU could make it illegal for ISPs and mobile companies to automatically block access to obscene material.

Rather than implementing a default block on pornography, the Council of the European Union believes in an opt-out system, precisely the opposite to the way Cameron would like things to work.

The subject of censoring the internet is written about in a document on the topic on net neutrality.

In order to preserve net neutrality users would to explicitly ask their providers to block access to content, and would retain the ability to "withdraw this consent at any time".

David Carr from the advisory board of the UK council on Child Internet Safety reacted to the document by stating: "The risk is that a major plank of the UK’s approach to online child protection will be destroyed at a stroke".

Hopefully we are so lucky.

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