"UK Prime Minister David Cameron wants porn filters to come on, by default, in any British houses that have children in them.
"A silent attack on innocence is underway in our country today, and I am determined that we fight it with all we've got," wrote Cameron in today's Daily Mail.
The system Cameron promises will be in the works by February, when British ISPs will have to present plans for how they will present the filter options. Every owner of a new computer will be asked when they log in through their Internet service provider if they have children in the house. If they answer yes, it will immediately prompt them to set up filters blocking content, individual sites, or restricting access at particular times of day, according to the Mail.
If those options just get clicked through rapidly, filters that keep out porn and "self-harm" sites will be "on" by default."
A defeat for free speech, which is not protected by law as unambiguiously in the UK as it is in the US. Never mind that such a filter is impossible to implement correctly, because there is so much porn and non-porn to classify, and because the borderline is ambigious. The reason given is also wrong: porn is not inherently evil and how children should be supervised on the computer is a parenting decision and not a state one. I guarantee both the wrong sites will be blacklisted at some point, possibly even creeping to political speech, and also adults who wish to view that content will be blocked due to technical or clerical error.
With parental supervision and optional parental control software, it's already easy to prevent children accidentally going to the wrong place. But if an under-16 wants to view pornography (and some will want to at the upper end of that range, no question) it will still be easy to access via VPN, proxies, sites that share unblacklisted links and so on. So who exactly is this designed to protect?