News: Porn For all or Save us From the Corruptions of the Net?

I love government do-gooders. Mr Cameron’s latest brain child. Apparently porn on the internet is bad, very bad! So much so that we must make it harder to access. Not prohibit it, just make it difficult to access.

It’s a tricky subject to discuss in general terms. Hypothetically speaking, I wouldn’t want to admit whether or not I might take a cheeky look on occasions and I certainly don’t like to be told what I can and can’t watch. But looking past that and any social and moral issues, what’s going on here? Who is it we are protecting?

If it’s with good intentions the government wants to protect young eyes, then okay, I’m all for that. If parental control at home is not sufficient already to filter out adult content however, I’m not convinced a simple opt-in/opt-out tick box is going to be of any help. We also have the question of the broad description of “adult content” which would normally include gambling and violence. I wonder if all the well-wishing parents who tick what they think is the ‘No Porn’ button realise that they might not be able to stream the latest “18” certificate film, have a flutter on the National or play cards or bingo.3505349701_af34ebecdd_b

I’m struggling to see what’s driving this and, in a world of economic and social turmoil, why this is so high on the agenda. If it is a priority, why this half-hearted, lack-lustre approach? Does this mean Sky’s Babe Station and other similar channels are going to be shut down? Maybe the government doesn’t consider that porn?

There are various definitions for the term porn: ‘Television shows, articles, photographs, etc., thought to create or satisfy an excessive desire for sexual content.’

Well when you put it that way, I guess it does sound like something unhealthy.

It’s at this point I did a complete about-face on this subject. I started writing this firmly believing I didn’t want the nanny state telling me what I could and couldn’t see and then I did a quick, relatively innocent image search on Google for what I thought would be a witty picture for this post. Do you remember Calendar Girls? A light hearted film in which aged WI woman stripped off for a calendar and strategically placed buns to hide their modesty? So I typed in the search terms ‘calendar girl buns covering’.

Now as you’d expect the top searches were broadly what I wanted but as I scrolled down the page, the porn drifted in. I experimented with search terms and do you know what? In this world of ours it seems someone somewhere always twists something innocent to sexualise it, or adds an innocent search term to an adult image.

My children are still young but I mentally wound on a few years and imagined them doing homework in bedrooms and innocently typing in some random search term. I wouldn’t want them exposed to this kind of result, but is this what Mr Cameron has in mind?

It appears to me that this is proposal is a cross between a moral vote winner for the government and a knee jerk reaction to recent events – revelations that have emerged of sexually motivated child killers having previously viewed pornographic material. Don’t even get me started on the alleged correlations between screen violence and real offences. I’ll leave Geek and the Mary Whitehouse brigade 😉 to deal with that one because I do not advocate the level of censorship that she did. I simply don’t believe there is any evidence to back it up.

The depiction of criminal sexual acts, rape or anything involving children etc., that’s just an obvious no-no isn’t it? Why isn’t the focus on forcing ISPs to filter this content out?kids-computer

The big ISPs out there can accomplish what they want. Don’t be fooled by the excuse ‘It’s a huge task’ or ‘it’s impossible to filter out all that content’ They can police what they choose to easily. Why then is this not a law strictly banning the ISPs allowing  ‘criminal’ sexual content in the UK? Instruct the ISPs to enforce it on pain of hefty penalties or even a loss of licence in the UK.

If I cut through the veneer of this subject I see a typical well-meaning, Big Brother approach that’s become so watered down and toothless that it will be useless. If not useless it will target the wrong people and perhaps drive some things that may have been relatively harmless, underground. Once in that shadowy domain, who knows what it will become and what harm it might do.

In the meantime, if you’re a parent of young or teenage children children, I suggest you brush up on your internet security and perhaps look for a product that will allow you to filter content from your ISP. If you rely on your ISP or the government to do this and still want to enjoy ‘all’ aspects of the internet, I think you’re in for a rude awakening.