WAR ON PORN: UK flicks switch on 'I am a pervert' web filters
No sex please. We're British
Prime Minister David Cameron will today gaily announce that Brit adults will be forced to ask their ISP for permission to view web grumble flicks.
The system will also ensure people typing in "abhorrent search terms" for stuff online will receive a "warning" along with some helpline numbers - although a former child protection boss has characterised this as a "pop-up that paedophiles will laugh at". And blocking arbitrary search terms, just like hardline Chinese authorities filter out "Tiananmen", is arguably pointless.
In a speech to be delivered today to National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, the prime minister - following a well-choreographed PR blitz - will set out a scheme to limit the "corroding" influence of pornography on the hearts and mind of young Britons.
Britain's 19 million interweb users will be "contacted by their ISPs" which will be tasked with ascertaining whether a Brit wishes to watch naughty movies or not.
In extracts of his speech published yesterday, Cameron said: "By the end of next year, they will have contacted all of their existing customers and presented them with an unavoidable decision about whether or not to install family-friendly content filters."
New subscribers will have these so-called "family-friendly filters" automatically enabled by default. As one might expect, access to websites deemed by the Powers-That-Be to be pornographic on a broadband connection with filtering enabled will be denied by the ISP, presumably at the network level. Such filters may be as simple as DNS nobbling, which are easy to circumvent.
Cameron said the new "opt-in" scheme will give all internet users the "unavoidable" choice of whether to use filters on their connection. Quite what will happen to the lists of adults who disable the filters is not clear.
And the premier said web companies have a "moral duty" to limit access to the most extreme types of material, such as child abuse and simulated rape.
However, Cameron's web nanny plans were attacked by the former head of the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre, who said paedophiles would "laugh" at the plans.
Cameron will announce the scheme during a speech at the NSPCC today.
The Daily Mail was given the text of the speech ahead of time, as the newspaper has run a long campaign to force internet providers to install web porn filters that are "default on". Last week, a letter to ISPs about the plans was leaked to journalists that revealed the political pressure on ISPs to obey Blighty's premier.
In the speech, Cameron plans to say:
When someone sets up a new broadband account, the settings to install family-friendly filters will be automatically selected.
If you just click 'next' or 'enter', then the filters are automatically on.
And, in a really big step forward, all the ISPs have rewired their technology so that once your filters are installed, they will cover any device connected to your home internet account.
No more hassle of downloading filters for every device, just one-click protection. One click to protect your whole home and keep your children safe.
Now once those filters are installed, it should not be the case that technically literate children can just flick the filters off at the click of a mouse without anyone knowing.
The Coalition government will also look to ban vile rape porn and "extreme" pornography, which the Prime Minister said "normalise sexual violence against women and are quite simply poisonous to the young people who see them".
'I have a very clear message for Google, Bing, Yahoo!'
The Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) will also draft a list of "abhorrent" search terms, which will be used to trace and tackle paedophiles. Anyone typing in these terms should be shown a warning telling them they risk losing their jobs, families and liberty if they watch them, the Prime Minister has said.
Cops will build a database of child porn images, which can be referenced and used to "close the net on paedophiles".
There will be smut filters installed on new mobile phones, a ban on accessing filthy flicks through public Wi-Fi and new powers given to industry watchdog Ofcom, which will oversee the ISPs.
Cameron also demanded that the big search engines do their bit to tackle the scourge of online filth and the "sick" people who seek out the most extreme footage.
He added: "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, don't just stand by and say nothing can be done; use your great brains to help overcome them.
"You're the people who have worked out how to map almost every inch of the Earth from space; who have developed algorithms that make sense of vast quantities of information. Set your greatest brains to work on this. You are not separate from our society, you are part of our society, and you must play a responsible role in it."
Feminist campaigners welcomed the move. Fiona Elvines of Rape Crisis South London said: "We are heartened by the government's announcement that it will close the loophole in existing extreme pornography legislation.
"The government today has made a significant step forward in preventing rapists using rape pornography to legitimise and strategise their crimes and, more broadly, in challenging the eroticisation of violence against women and girls."
Holly Dustin, of the End Violence Against Women Coalition, added: "We are delighted that David Cameron has responded to the call by experts and women’s groups to ban pornographic images of rape that promote and eroticise violence against women.
"The Coalition Government has pledged to prevent abuse of women and girls, so tackling a culture that glorifies abuse is critical for achieving this.
"The next step is working with experts to ensure careful drafting of the law and proper resourcing to ensure the law is enforced fully."
However, former Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre boss Jim Gamble told the BBC the plans would not "get to the root cause" by catching the worst offenders. CEOP's latest report (PDF) shows predators use "the hidden internet" - P2P networks and file storage services - to communicate and swap indecent images and use instant messaging and social networks to contact and groom their victims.
He added: "You need a real deterrent, not a pop-up that paedophiles will laugh at." ®
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