Britain's Prime Minister Proposes New Porn Filtering Plan

Dec 20, 2012 8:00 AM PST

LONDON — After British citizens soundly rejected government forced opt-in porn filtering just last week, British Prime Minister David Cameron is now asking for a new plan that prompts parents to state if there are children in the house when buying a new computer in an effort to shield them from adult material.

The new move is apparently a softball approach in pacifying conservative critics who felt the government didn’t keep its promise to enforce mandatory porn filtering from ISPs.

Cameron however claimed that having "default on" filters for new computers wasn’t suitable because it could also block non-porn sites, leading parents to turn the protection off in frustration.

The Prime Minister penned an article in the Daily Mail — the country’s most staunch supporter of porn filtering, that launched an aggressive pro-filtering campaign — and said the new proposals were designed to act against a "silent attack on innocence" and shield children from the "worries and complexities of adulthood.”

Under Cameron’s new plan, parents would be asked to set up filters when they buy a new computer.  If no options were chosen, then the strongest filters would be automatically activated. ISPs will be asked to verify that the users setting up the filter are over 18.

The Prime Minister is asking ISPs to submit a detailed proposal by February.

Cameron described the proposals as "kind of default on for houses with children; it’s just that it adds much more control for parents about exactly what is restricted.”

Conservative Minister Claire Perry has been tapped as Cameron’s adviser for the new push and is being charged with implementing a new web filtering system. Perry spearheaded the original opt-in porn filtering movement with a fervent media campaign and petition.

Perry said, "I am absolutely delighted that the Prime Minister has asked me to be his adviser on preventing the commercialization and sexualization [sic] of childhood. I am very much looking forward to helping the government introduce more robust filters for Internet content in our homes, working to improve age rating information on music videos, helping to improve education for parents and children about online safety and making sure the other excellent recommendations of the Bailey Report are implemented.”

But critics are decrying, “here we go again,” maintaining it's another form of government intrusion and that web filtering simply doesn’t work, citing the daunting task of applying the blocks to myriad types of operating systems and devices, and the ease of bypassing restrictions with tech workarounds or by simply finding passwords.

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