Leaked EU Statement Challenges U.K.'s Online Porn Block

May 26, 2015 7:00 AM PST

BRUSSELS, Belgium — The U.K. government’s mandate to establish a national online opt-in porn filtering system is getting serious pushback from the Council of the European Union (EU).

According to reports, a leaked net neutrality policy document from the organization proposes that the opt-in parental controls should be allowed only if the “end-user” has given consent and that he or she has the “possibility to withdraw this consent at any time.”

If the EU Council has its way, it would essentially make it illegal for ISPs and mobile companies to block adult material.

The International Business Times reported that a study by the Open Rights Group revealed that 20 percent of the 100,000 most popular websites in the U.K. were already blocked by at least one filtering system including porn sites RedTube, PornHub and XHamster, along with non-adult sites caught up in the filter.

Despite the reports, the Brits are apparently standing their ground.

"The U.K. government will not support any proposals that do not allow us to maintain our child protection policies or bring forward new similar policies,"  said a spokesperson for the U.K. Culture department.

"The U.K. has played a leading role in shaping the EU proposals on net neutrality and made sure that the current draft text allows Internet service providers to continue to implement family-friendly Internet filters."

But the challenge comes at particularly sticky time for Cameron as the prime minister is currently in discussions to push for concessions from the EU regarding a promised referendum on his country's EU membership.

"The risk is that a major plank of the U.K.'s approach to online child protection will be destroyed at a stroke," government adviser John Carr warned.

"The prime minister and children's organizations have been campaigning for it, and the industry have been willing to do it. It seems incredible that an obscure measure from Brussels could bring all this to a halt."

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