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United Kingdom Porn Blocking Challenged

According to Anthony Cuthbertson of the International Business Times, previously existing blocks on pornography in the United Kingdom may be challenged as part of European Union proposals. Used as a method of protecting children, these blocks are often viewed as network discrimination. If successful, these changes may reinvigorate a level of pornographic freedom in the UK that hasn’t been seen in a few years.

Prime Minister David Cameron announced in 2013 that internet firms in the UK would have to introduce an opt-in system for customers wishing to see explicit content, sparking criticism from libertarians about the issue of internet censorship.

Anthony Cutherbertson c/o International Business Times

United Kingdom and Network Discrimination

Internet censorship and discrimination has been a long battle. In this decade, network neutrality debates have consumed the world, and the media. In the United Kingdom, network discrimination in regards to pornography is rampant, forcing individuals to publicly admit to their viewership in order to be allowed the privilege of viewing porn.

Cutherbertson comments that a growing number of sites have been blocked by these filtering methods. He reports that 20,000 sites could be affected, according to his sources at the Open Rights Group.

The UK government will not support any proposals that do not allow us to maintain our child protection policies or bring forward new similar policies…

UK Culture Department  c/o International Business Times

Censorship At Any Cost?

The real argument, however, is how effective is this censorship program, and at what cost to freedom does it exist?  At what point are individuals trading their freedom for the hope of protecting innocent eyes? And is it acceptable to force viewers of pornography to be potentially ridiculed for requesting access to mature content?

David Cameron United Kingdom Prime Minister Copyright Zasitu
Copyright © Zasitu. Some Rights Reserved. Via Wikimedia Commons.

Cameron’s conservative party, when it was ushered into power within the United Kingdom, made a bold statement that it would crack down on pornography in favor of child protection. These proposals may be small and considered to be incapable of forcing change, but there’s always a chance that discrimination could be overturned.

In the United States, there are levels of restrictions and requirements for creating and dispersing pornographic content, like the 2257 regulations. As of now, there are no major federal restrictions that force viewers to jump through various hoops in order to avoid network discrimination and censorship.

Some might argue that this is a question of parenting, rather than a question of restriction. Does regulation exist to replace the authority and responsibility of parents? It will be interesting to see how the United Kingdom handles these laws in the future, and whether the European Union’s proposals will result in any forced changes. In the mean time, our neighbors across the water may wish to peruse other means of procuring fine pornographic content, such as a VPN.

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