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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.

[Alt-Text]


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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