Coffee House

Cameron tackles internet porn with more government

11 October 2011

12:28 PM

11 October 2011

12:28 PM

David Cameron is taking his woman trouble seriously. He will unveil plans to curb internet pornography at a meeting with the
Mothers’ Union later today. The government will force internet users to opt in to view pornographic websites when they initially chose their internet providers. The government will also clamp
down on sexualized advertising and a new website, Parentport, will be established to allow parents to report inappropriate images, articles of clothing, TV programmes etc.

This is a fairly blatant pitch for the wandering female vote, which is exercising Cameroon minds at present. It’s a clear attempt to say: We’re going to help you to protect your
children. The policy is an expression of Cameron’s social conservatism, which has been much in evidence of late. His conference speech was at its strongest when he spoke of rescuing children
from care and yesterday’s immigration speech included firm passages on forced marriages and sham weddings. And, all the while, the rumours about recognising marriage in the tax system
persist.

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But, perhaps Cameron has been a little too keen to display these credentials, especially where the internet is concerned. I’m told that internet service providers have not yet met to discuss
the proposals announced today, which implies that the government is very keen to be seen to be doing something. When the service providers do meet, they’ll have little to say because most of
them already offer opt-in parental controls and site-blocking software is already available for domestic use.

So, there will be those who ask if government is really necessary here. The means to protect children from sexual images online already exist; so perhaps the government’s emphasis should be on
educating parent groups and ensuring that companies market their products more effectively. This appears to be the archetypal Big Society issue, rather
than something that requires yet more centrally authored regulation.

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Show comments
  • Eric Baggs

    Isn’t Cameron the one who was shagging around on his wife. His porn was live I believe or is that why he left her?

  • Matthew

    Another announcement to tackle something nobody really cares about – classic Cameron tactics.

    Still no word on *that* referendum though.

  • John Bowman

    Carrier bags, Internet porn – glad to see there are no more pressing crises to distract the Prime Minister from going about such important work.

  • Verity

    Rhoda Klapp – Quite. Cameron is greedy and empty and hops around looking for displacement activity.

    Scary Biscuits … excellent analogy!

  • Rebel Saint

    Cast-iron Dave is a snake-oil salesman like Bliar before him. Granted. But lets just examine the analysis of this proposal:

    “Only women are concerned about the content that’s readily accessible to their children?” I must have a fairly well developed feminine side then. I applaud this idea. I’m a man. I’m still not going to vote for the conservatives.

    “It’s pointless coz some will work away around it”. Yeh, it’s pointless having laws or standards or taxation … there’s always some who break them / ignore them / avoid them.

    “Why don’t they treat us as adults?”. They are … by making you pre-actively CHOOSE to receive unfiltered content and reminding us of our adult RESPONSIBILITIES towards children. Water company do the same … or would you rather they provide unfiltered water into your home so you filter the s**t out yourself before you let your kids get themselves a drink.

  • Ruby Duck

    Pathetic, ignorant, and pointless.

    If you’re scared of the internet, don’t use it, or better still, ask the nearest 9 yr old.

    If there is one thing that schools do successfully, it is train children how to protect themselves on the web. I was castigated by my grandchildren for having my address publicly available via whois.

    I’ve been using the internet for the best part of 20 years without taking any particular precautions over content. I’ve never ended up on a porn site, and only rarely, when knowingly researching a potentially dangerous topic, hit anything that gave me any security concerns.

    The target audience of this sort of nonsense is those that can’t be arsed to find out about it. Presumably the same sort of people that happily shove a pushchair into the road before checking for traffic.

  • James

    Is this the same satellite dish-faced politician who was talking about the ‘enemies of freedom’ and implored that government should “treat adults as adults”?

    Fortunately, this proposition will be quietly forgotten after a while – just like every other proposition he puffed out his chest with. A prime minister bereft of substantial ideas.

  • fergus pickering

    Suppose, ex-conservative, that the porn you wish to watch. is violently sadistic, or involves minors. Oh, you didn’t mean THAT sort of porn? So your position is rather more nuanced than you admit. Only nice porn, eh?

  • Heartless (Romantic) Perry

    Q1. Solve the following equation for x :

    x = c(MU + H2B)/ U

    where MU = Mother’s Union, c is the PR constant, and U is the speed of U-turning in a PC environment.

  • Scary Biscuits

    Chocolate Orange, anyone?

  • In2minds

    Big government, I knew Cameron would get there in the end.

  • Oddity

    If this is aimed at women voters it will backfire big time. Women watch porn too.

  • TomTom

    If he blocks Ineternet Porn he will have the Whips Office besieged

  • Pot Head

    If Dave comes after your porn just download this:

    http://hotspotshield.com

    Also works for watching the Daily Show & Hulu

  • normanc

    The day a computer savvy horny 14 year old allows an ISP block like this to block access to porn we may as well close the doors, the future of the UK will be finished.

    I worked 2 years in the UAE where there are strict (due to Islamic laws) restrictions on what can and can’t be displayed and the locals there got round it easily.

    This makes for a good headline (if you like censorship) but will have zero practical use.

    Look at the recent Newzbin case, fruitlessly pursued at a cost of millions, and they’ve (Newzbin) released a standalone app using a modified TOR browser (presumably that’s what they’ve done) that was knocked up in a couple weeks to completely bypass all protection.

    And there are a dozen other ways it could also be bypassed.

    This will be no different.

  • It doesn’t add up…

    When are we going behind the Great Firewall like China?

    It is but a small step from this to censoring more widely. It’s far better simply to encourage people to be their own censors, especially where children are concerned. I suspect this even as it stands will produce unintended consequences: family breakups that start over disputes as to whether to opt in or out.

  • Jayu

    What about the men? Think of all those who will now be forced to reveal to their partners, their predilections for porn, or even worse, man-on-man porn. Will no-one think of these men?

  • alexsandr

    waste of time. you can never block everything. Some will get through.
    Its parents responsibility to monitor their kids usage. No computers in bedrooms so you can keep an eye on what they are doing.
    Anyway, the kids will just go to a friends house where there are no controls.

  • FvH

    Yet another lovely, lovely speech from #talkthetalknotwalkthewalk

    a) people can already do this
    b) the internet providers have not yet met never mind agreed to whatever Cameron is saying
    c) looks like the Big Society is dead and buried !!

  • rosie

    Is this a blatant pitch for the wandering female vote, or the instinct of a responsible father?

  • Mr. Green

    As you said David, the means to block sexual images is already available, but only if the web-site registers itself as one which contains sexually expicit content. Otherwise these web-sites are policed merely by you and me.

    Having all sexually explicit material available, but behind a Firewall which can be accessed on request, is an excellent idea. It is no different to placing an “18” certificate on a film.

  • Ex-conservative

    Whether I choose to watch porn or not is my business and no-one else’s. Simple.

    The next obvious question is what then happens with the data. I’m sure there are elements of the government machine that would love to get their hands on a list of people who like porn so there will inevitably be a register somewhere that covers this. And we all know how reliable the civil service is with data.

    Far from rolling back the state Cameron is showing his true colours as just another meddling Social Democrat and not someone who is concerned about personal freedom and liberty.

  • Judy

    I love the implication in this post that it’s only women who really care about the corrosive impact of pornography and about media sexualization of young children and would want government to take action to curb it. I remember hearing an interview with Cameron where he described getting hot under the collar about his schoolgirl daughter listening to what he regarded as suggestive song lyrics. He didn’t mention his wife being concerned about it.

  • Freddo

    More regulation?
    They deserve a meddle.

  • Rhoda Klapp

    Yeah, wake me up when he actually does something about an actual problem. Mr Blackburn’s instincts on this one are correct. Is it merely more displacement activity? How many more speeches tailored to what he thinks the audience wants ro hear before consulting with anybody who know a damn thing about it? Or maybe it’s an attempt to get ahead of forthcoming EU internet censorship and make it look like it is his choice. Jeeeeez.

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