Canada Asked to Block Porn

Nov 20, 2013 4:00 PM PST

LOS ANGELES — If a couple of Canadian women have their way, Canada will soon follow in the footsteps of the U.K. by requiring Internet providers to automatically block any and all pornographic material.

Kristine Smith-Podeszwa and Amanda Hatt have decided that Canada should adopt the example of the U.K. in blocking Internet porn by default, saying that it is a necessary step for protecting children from becoming addicted to pornography.

“[The U.K. is] forcing the Internet service providers to block all pornography so it’s the default,” Hatt states. “Then, if an adult within the household wants it unblocked, he can call and have it unlocked.”

Hatt draws a real-world correlation between “flashers” and unwanted Internet porn.

“If you’re walking along the sidewalk in Halifax and someone exposes themselves to you indecently, that’s illegal,” Hatt added. “But if you’re on your computer in the privacy of your own home and someone exposes themselves to you, that’s not illegal, and we’re seeing a discrepancy there.”

Research into this unwanted exposure to porn, say the petition’s promoters, indicates that children as young as 10 years old are addicted to pornography after seeing adult pop-up ads and then clicking them out of innocent curiosity. The source of this “research” was not forthcoming.

Smith-Podeszwa conflates what she calls “pornography users” with alcohol and tobacco addicts, citing these afflictions as justification for a porn prohibition affecting consenting adults in the privacy of their own homes, simply because parents are not doing their jobs.

“[Porn is] not just affecting the user or the actors in the videos, it is affecting society in general,” Smith-Podeszwa stated. “In an ideal world, every parent would be making sure their kids aren’t drinking and smoking, but clearly that’s not happening. That’s why we have those laws.”

The petition, posted on the website, states that “We are requesting that the Canadian government require all internet providers to automatically block any and all pornographic material (videos, pictures, etc.) from Canadian households.  If an adult in the home wishes to have this content unblocked they are free to contact their internet provider and authorize them to do so.”

“We are requesting this action be taken as soon as possible, as to protect children from these damaging images.  The horribly addictive effects of pornography on children and our society is becoming increasingly evident and we demand that the Canadian government take immediate action against it,” the petition concluded.

It is not a far stretch to imagine calls against having any opt-in regimen, with an outright mandate that Internet providers automatically block “any and all pornographic material.”

David Fraser a privacy lawyer based in Halifax worries that filters would be more extensive than needed, blocking legitimate websites, and disagrees with the notion that someone would be required by the government to opt into freedom of expression and access to information — and wondering what would happen to that list of people who do.

“That list will exist,” Fraser says. “Could it be used for marketing purposes? Perhaps. Could it be something that the police would be interested in? Perhaps. So just collecting that sort of information in one place, with those sorts of characteristics, [is] troublesome.”

Currently, 8,357 of the required 10,000 signatures have been obtained, with the balance of 1,643 a near certainty, given the attitudes expressed in the petition’s comment section.

“Until the Internet came along, you had to work to access p0rn. Now you have to work to avoid it,” Mark Peters of Kitchener, stated. “P0rn should be opt-in, not default-in.”

If Canada agrees, it will be Britain all over again.

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