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Will UK’s proposed online porn filters be extended to include gambling?

TAGs: censorship, David Cameron, Internet service providers

david-cameron-uk-internet-porn-filterWhile the vast majority of UK residents are apparently ignorant of any event that doesn’t involve a future heir to the UK throne’s soft-spotted skull emerging from Kate Middleton’s nether regions, Prime Minister David Cameron is using the distraction to debut his purported plan to protect all UK youth from the scourge of online pornography. Cameron says his plan, the first steps of which will be in place by the end of this year, would require all new internet connections to actively choose to enable their computers, smartphones and the like the right to view boobies. Existing internet subscribers will be sent notices sometime in 2014 asking whether they wish to enable these filters after the fact.

Critics have already dismissed Cameron’s move as not only unworkable as far as its ability to scrub the internet of questionable content but also as so much window dressing, designed to buttress his party’s ‘traditional values’ image while it continues the not-so-slow dismantling of the nation’s social safety net. The Independent obtained a letter Cameron’s staff wrote to UK internet service providers acknowledging the fact that, for existing internet users, the porn filters were not the ‘default on’ variety, yet Cameron’s staff told ISPs that “the Prime Minister would like to be able to refer to your solutions [as] ‘default on.’ Can you consider how to include this language (or similar) in the screens that begin the set-up process?”

Cameron claims his anti-porn plan isn’t intended “to moralize or scare-monger,” but civil libertarians are already wondering where Cameron’s definition of ‘pornography’ begins and ends, and how long it will be before other so-called means of “corroding childhood” will earn Cameron’s ire. Indeed, Cameron has given the Daily Mail credit for having “campaigned hard” for such online restrictions, and the Mail has routinely suggested that online gambling was designed with the express purpose of parting UK kids from their lunch money.

The hypocrisy of giving any weight to the Daily Mail’s campaign against online porn while it simultaneously publishes any and all examples of celebrity ‘side-boob’ have already been widely and deservedly mocked. And the hypocrisies don’t stop there. Challenged as to whether he would seek to expunge the topless ‘Page 3’ girls from noted Tory supporter Rupert Murdoch’s right-wing Sun newspaper, Cameron suggested this was “an area where we should leave it to consumers to decide, rather than to regulators.” For the record, there are currently no prohibitions on children purchasing newspapers in the UK. Seems someone doesn’t give a crap about the children…

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