Today's news contains an exciting announcement about the internet in the UK.
The UK government plans to legislate to make households "opt in" to be able to access porn on the internet. ISPs are expected to put some kind of registration, age-related classification and/or filtering mechanisms in place.[From Racingsnake - Robin Wilton's Esoterica: UK Govt plans to "turn off" internet porn]
Well, this is excellent news: someone has discovered how to read and interpret the contents of internet traffic so that ISP can filer out porn. But I'm curious as to why porn is the only category for blocking: what about Islamist hate sites and anything to do with the X-Factor? Surely the government's commitment to protecting the children should extend to bomb-making instructions, Facebook pages connected to gang crime in South London and political parties espousing demonstrably harmful philosophies, such as socialism.
Sounds like a joke? Of course: no such filter exists, the ISPs will just have list of IP addresses to block. Will we get to vote which IP addresses go on this list? Will the police compile it? Or Mumsnet? And another thing. I'm not being facetious, but what's special about porn? I already have my own filter at home, which blocks porn and a variety of other categories of sites (eg, gambling). I'm far more upset about the Daily Star being on open sale in the local newsagents (typical front page: paparazzi shot of the knickers of some soap actress falling drunk out of a cab), because I have no control over that.
You can understand the government's desire to have some control over the material reaching the ill-educated masses, but I guarantee it will only be a matter of time, once this magical filter is in place, before you'll have MPs calling for Wikileaks and Frankie Boyle's blog to be banned as well.