UK Government Plans to Block All Pornography Websites

Communications minister Ed Vaizey has called in some of the biggest broadband providers in the UK to hash out a plan that would cut off pornography at the source. Instead of opting out, adults would have to opt in to be able to access this kind of material from their home computers. Legislators have acknowledged that a ban would be hard to implement and expensive, but argue that the industry will not self-regulate.

It follows the success of an operation by most British internet service providers (ISPs) to prevent people inadvertently viewing child porn websites. Ministers want companies to use similar technology to shut out adult pornography from children. Pornography sites will be blocked at source unless people specifically ask to view them.

TalkTalk, which includes Tiscali and the British version of Aol.com, is already introducing a new free service early next year called "bright feed," which allows people to control the internet so that all devices are automatically covered without the need to set up individual controls.

Homeowners can either specify which adult sites they want to receive or put a cinema-style classification on their feed to restrict what is received according to age ranges, such as U, 12 or 18. A survey by Psychologies magazine this summer found that one in three children aged 10 in Britain had viewed pornography on the net.

Read the full story at the Sunday Times (behind a paywall; free version available here).

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Nicholas Jackson is a former associate editor at The Atlantic.

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