Former British Home Secretary Proposes Porn-Funded Sex Education

Sep 9, 2011 9:00 AM PST

LONDON — Britain’s former Home Secretary has proposed a plan to Parliament that would help online porn companies battle piracy and at the same time help fund sex education for children.

The Telegraph reported that Jaqui Smith’s “quid pro quo” plan would have ISPs institute a porn opt in mechanism that would have to be activated before users could access adult material.

Addressing Parliament’s Public Inquiry into Online Child Protection, Smith reasoned that the filter would help block free tube sites and bolster legal adult companies’ profits, allowing them to then use the money to fund sex education programs.

She said that the online pornography industry “is not illegal, and it is being impacted by free and unregulated content on the Internet.”  Helping legitimate porn might “provide some leverage,” Smith said, in order to address the increasing sexualization of children.

“What I argue is that there is a quid pro quo. If there are restrictions put on to what people can see, that will have a beneficial effect on the industry. If government or ISPs put in place restrictions that does enable the mainstream industry to [recover economically], that would be the point at which you could apply pressure,” Smith told the Telegraph.

Smith stressed that she wasn’t proposing porn censorship of any kind but that she wanted to make sure only people who were allowed to see it could do so. “I genuinely don’t think mainstream pornographers want young people to see their material because it risks limiting what they can make for adults."

She did however admit that the financially suffering adult industry would unlikely be able to fund education programs right now, and that although the chances of her proposal being accepted are  “not great,” “there are reasonable people in the porn industry."

She also conceded that her proposal might be technically challenging.

The Inquiry committee said that Smith’s proposal would rely on the adult industry’s sense of corporate social responsibility. It will hear from ISPs next month.

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