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"Would someone please think of the children!" UK officials argue

These days free adult entertainment is just a click away for most with internet access in the U.S. and Europe.  Some argue that sexual liberation is a sign that society has at last overcome its shame over what is an essential biological function.  Others argue it's a sign of moral degradation and a terrible corrupter of youth.

I. Britain Prepares to Disrobe Anit-Porn Plot

British Prime Minister David Cameron, leader of the UK's Conservative Party, is reportedly siding with those who argue that porn is a "nasty, bad, naughty" social apparatus.  The UK-based Guardian, the second most read English-language online newspaper in the world, is reporting that PM Cameron will announce plans to whack unfettered access to porn off the net.

The politican-cum-activist borrows his anti-porn agenda from a report by UK-based nonprofit Mothers' Union.  As one might imagine this "moral conservative" group is upset about sexualization of society and hopes to return the nation to a more platonic, repressed era.

Elements of its proposed plan, which PM Cameron plans to put, at least partially, into law includes:
  • Age restrictions on music videos (akin to ESRB ratings on video games).
  • Bans or quotas on teen-aimed clothing with "sexually suggestive" messages.
  • A new website -- Parentport (to be launched at www.parentport.org.uk) -- which allows parents to directly complain about internet content.  Suggestions will be forwarded to the UK's Advertising Standards Authority, The BBC Trust, Ofcom, the Press Complaints Commission, British Board of Film Classification, and other censorship affiliated organization, which may opt to censor the internet comment, denying UK citizens access to it.
  • A mandatory opt in for adults to view pornographic content.
II. Replacing Parenting With Gov't Censorship

The mandatory opt-in is a particularly thorny issue.  BT (BT), Sky Broadband, TalkTalk (LON:TALK) and Virgin Media, Inc. (VMED) -- some of the UK's largest ISPs -- have reportedly agreed to participate in such a scheme.  It is unclear whether existing subscribers would be required to opt in, or merely new ones.

The plot is the culmination of years of lobbying by close colleague of PM Cameron, Conservative Member of Parliament Claire Perry.  Ms. Perry, a mother of three, argues that parents should not have to put the effort in to police their childrens' internet use.  Rather she feels that the government should thrust itself into the role of playing parent.  She argues that censorship has benefited many other aspects of British society, and censoring internet porn fills an important hole in the nation's comprehensive censorship legislation.

MP Claire Perry
Conservative Party MP Claire Perry [Source: BBC News]

She states, "As a mother with three children I know how difficult it is to keep children from seeing inappropriate material on the internet.  We already successfully regulate British TV channels, cinema screens, High Street hoardings and newsagent shelves to stop children seeing inappropriate images and mobile phone companies are able to restrict access to adult material so why should the internet be any different?"

III. America Next?

The idea of America's former colonial master censoring the internet may seem offensive to many Americans, but some in America are making similar arguments in favor of beating back the sexually liberated nature of modern society.

Prominent Republican "Tea Party" politician Christine O'Donnell has long suggested that masturbation is a sin, commenting, "The Bible says that lust in your heart is committing adultery. So you can't masturbate without lust."

Christine O'Donnell
Prominent Republican "Tea Party" politician Christine O'Donnell has argued for banning sex ed in the U.S. [Source: Getty Images]

She supports banning sexual education in schools, suggesting it leads to children being sexually abused.  She comments, "[Sex ed] breaks down the natural modesty that exists within children to protect them.  Then suddenly talking to that stranger with candy on the playground is not so creepy."

And anti-pornography efforts have some support from corporate America.  Late Apple, Inc. (AAPL) executive Steve Jobs bragged of his crusade to offer i-device owners "freedom from porn".

Clearly many fundamentalist U.S. Christian "moral conservatives", like their old world peers, feel that pornography is sinful.  And many of these individuals have already effectively argued that the U.S. should be a theocracy, governed by Christian laws and politicians.  Thus it might not be surprising to see moral conservatives in the States in the next few years follow in step with the Old World's anti-pornography crusade.

Source: Guardian



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Opinion
By p05esto on 10/11/2011 8:02:22 PM , Rating: 0
I've been building web sites for over 15 years and completely beleive in FREE SPEECH. However, I do NOT think porn should be easy to see online. Minors should NOT be able to view porn under any circumstances. As a parent I shouldn't have to install various filtering software that only partially works and is easy to get around. There needs to be checks and balances in place so that adults can easily view porn if they desire but that kids can't get to it no matter what. I'm in favor of ALL porn being under an .XXX domain extension and then as parents it would be easy to block all such web sites, maybe it could even be done at the ISP level if a custom chooses.

Porn also ruins marriages. It's too easy for a guy to view that crap online and mess with his mind and the expectation of woman - it is degrading, no question. Again, I believe in free speech and don't think we should censor anything, but on the other hand there needs to be ways for couples and families to EASILY keep porn out of their house if they choose. Certainly any rational person would agree that we simply need the choice and ability to keep it out of our home if so desire. It's like the parental lock on your Xbox or cable, same thing we need for the internet - that simple.




RE: Opinion
By Philippine Mango on 10/12/2011 2:37:17 AM , Rating: 2
Btw, assuming my other reply didn't post, I have to ask two questions... One, why do you think porn is degrading? Two, don't you think you're suffering from cognitive dissonance when you say you believe in free speech yet feel the need to limit such speech? Free speech believe it or not does not entirely encompass things you agree with but also things you may find abhorrent and objectionable to say the least....

Back to the first point.... why do you think porn is degrading? Is it because that's the kind of porn you're into? I don't know about you, but if anything, I think porn is a medium that accentuates the flattering and desirable characteristics of women while ignoring the undesirable ones. Just think, instead of porn, replace it with "political speak" where "P.C people" feel the need to point out the good characteristics of 'protected classes of people' while dismissing or flat out denying the existence of negative characteristics of said protected class.


RE: Opinion
By foolsgambit11 on 10/12/2011 4:30:58 AM , Rating: 2
I'm not going to bother arguing ideologically here. I'll just look at the practicality of your ideas:
quote:
I'm in favor of ALL porn being under an .XXX domain extension and then as parents it would be easy to block all such web sites, maybe it could even be done at the ISP level if a custom chooses.
In order to do this, there must be an actual definition of pornography. This definition would vary from country to country (even from region to region within countries). No global system for regulating the domain names of porn could ever be introduced. For instance, are photographs of topless women porn? Totally naked women? Videos of 'sexual acts' (which then has to be defined explicitly by law) which don't show actual penetration, but which imply it? Maybe in Saudi Arabia, even scantily-clad women could be considered pornographic material (I don't know exactly what their laws are, I'm just going on the popular opinion of how things seem to work there).

So you see, your solution is impracticable. In fact, many of these objections apply to any censorship system, including the one suggested in this article, although the variance in definition of 'porn' is probably smaller in a single country than worldwide.


RE: Opinion
By cjohnson2136 on 10/12/2011 12:34:14 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
Porn also ruins marriages


No the guy does that. My wife and I watch it together so we can experiment and try new things. Porn can be used to spark that light back in the fire. Just like most things porn can be used for bad or good but it ultimately lies in the hands of the user how it turns out.


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