Poll Finds 37 Percent of Brits Favor Porn Filtering

Aug 20, 2012 9:00 AM PST

LONDON —  A new survey has found that more than a third of U.K. citizens would back the government in forcing ISPs to block porn sites.

Conducted by mobile phone website Recombu Digital, and commissioned by The Telegraph, the poll canvassed 2,000 U.K. adults and revealed that 37 percent were in favor of banning adult content.

The survey also found that less than 25 percent are against the controversial plan that’s currently being considered under a national consultation by members of the British Parliament to decide on whether to adopt the national Internet porn blocking measure.

Only 6.7 percent of the respondents in the new survey said they would opt in to see porn if access was blocked, while 13 percent said they wouldn’t bother. And 18 percent had no comment.

Conservatives, spearheaded by member of parliament Claire Perry, are pushing for the measure in an effort to protect children. Backers want an opt-in plan that would automatically block adult material unless the user chooses to view the content and directly requests porn from their ISP.

The issue was brought to the public for consideration under an online consultation that asked questions about explicit material online, parental responsibilities, cyber bullying and censorship.

But the website had to be shut down by the government at the end of June because of personal information security breaches that allowed respondents to see other participants’ comments and passwords.

Most ISPs however, are against the plan and critics say it would ultimately be useless considering the may numerous technical workarounds available to savvy consumers.

Only one major ISP, TalkTalk – has so far stepped up in support for the country's hot button porn filtering issue.

In what appeared to be a move to appease conservative members of Parliament pushing for full opt-in porn filtering, the company last May announced that it making new and existing customers choose whether they want its Homesafe filter installed.

The move was to force TalkTalk’s nearly 4.2 million Internet subscribers to make a decision annually. But tech watchers said Homesafe was nothing new and was simply dragged out of the closet to appease the government and to get other ISPs like Virgin Media and BSkyB — that oppose forced filtering —to follow suit.

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