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UK Internet Providers Will Soon Require Users to Actively Choose Pornography Access

Four major UK Internet Service Providers are to start blocking pornography as a part of David Cameron’s attempts to crack down on pervasive and easily accessible adult content. When the plans take effect, new users of BT, Sky, TalkTalk, and Virgin will be presented with the option of parental controls which they will have to actively accept or decline.

Prior to all this, the UK government approached Reg Baily, chief executive of the Christian charity group the Mothers’ Union, about conducting a review concerning the “commercialisation and sexualisation of children,” along side the Department of Education. The ISP pornography blocking iniative is thought to be only one of many upcoming policies that aim to make sexualized content increasingly difficult for children to be exposed to.

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A website called Parentport is set to be launched as well, where parents can easily report material they find to be inappropriate for children whether it be TV shows, advertisements, or even products and services. The site is designed to direct the complaints to the various bodies in charge of  regulating those kinds of media. There’s no word on exactly how the complaints would be handled, but considering the lengths that are being taken on the ISP side, it’s likely that they will be taken pretty seriously. The idea for the website was outlined in Bailey’s report along with other measures that very well may be considered, including a ban on the sale of clothes deemed to be “to sexualized” for, but still aimed at, young children — things like underwire bras or t-shirts with particularly suggestive slogans.

Of course, this isn’t universally supported, at least not in its zeal. While the ISPs are requiring users to opt-in to pornography, in a sense, they prefer to call the process “active choice,” as new users will be presented with the choice of “parental controls or not” not “Do you wanna be able to see porn? If you don’t click yes, you can’t.” It’s also worth mentioning that this choice will be posed only to new subscribers, of which there are fewer and fewer.

Still, it seems like there is a big push for sexual censorship coming in the UK. Whether or not that will protect children from an increasingly filthy Internet, or limit the rights of everyone else involved (or both) is going to be up to parents on the whole to decide.

(via The Guardian 1,2)

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