OffBeat

The UK will block pornography by default starting later this year

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Porn is about to become a bit harder to access in the United Kingdom.

UK Prime Minister David Cameron announced today that, starting later this year, UK ISPs will block pornography by default. Customers who want to be able to view porn will have to explicitly tell their ISPs that that’s the case.

Cameron’s justification for the move isn’t particularly novel: Pornography, he says, is a big danger to children — not just because of child porn, but also because of the danger exposure to it poses to the developing minds of young ones. According to Cameron, the UK has failed to address the issue from both sides.

Alongside the new ISP measures, Cameron also announced that the UK will completely outlaw possession of “extreme pornography”, which includes scenes of simulated rape.

For Cameron, the measures are part of a larger view: Lawmakers should police porn online the same way they police porn offline. The Internet, he says, is just as “real” as anything else we interact with every day.

“People feel they are being told the following: ‘an unruly, un-ruled Internet is just a fact of modern life, any fall-out from that is just collateral damage. You can as easily legislate what happens on the Internet as you can legislate the tides,’” he wrote in his prepared remarks.

Cameron also called on search engines like Google and Bing to go further in their responses to child porn, which he says they have a responsibility to help curtail.

“I have a very clear message for Google, Bing, Yahoo, and the rest. You have a duty to act on this – and it is a moral duty. If there are technical obstacles to acting on [search engines], don’t just stand by and say nothing can be done; use your great brains to help overcome them,” he said.

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