Why The Porn Laws In The UK Are A Bad Idea

Recently, prime minister David Cameron announced his intention to enact several measures to control porn on the internet. These measures contain a law obligating the ISPs (Internet Service Provider) to block access to pornography for their customers and a law which dictates that possession of pornography which contains, simulated or not, violent scenes (e.g. rapes) become illegal. This is in addition to a previous law that dictates that publishing such pornography is prohibited. Where I can understand the reasoning around that last law, I must say that, in my genuine opinion, these measurements are outrageous.

But before I explain, do not misunderstand me, I too believe that rape/hardcore scenes are not healthy for some, let’s say, “weaker minded people”. However, these measurements are the wrong way to protect our society for a couple of reasons.

Freedom

First of all, why Cameron’s ideas shouldn’t continue is because of, very simply put; freedom. None can deny that these actions boil down to censorship. While I thought censorship was a thing of the past or a measure used by dictators. The internet is probably the strongest medium for our freedom of speech. We are able to narrate or view a variety of things without direct consequences. Of course, there are a few aspects that we consider “evil” by humane standards. Those should be taken care of. Porn, on the contrary, is not considered inhumane by the majority (there are some strong religious groups who deem it evil, that is their choice). If we are going to block porn as a precaution, there are over 9000 things that should have been prohibited or limited by using such standards. But we won’t, because we enjoy freedom.

In fact, we should, by humane standards, seize the freedom to educate the children by ourselves. But  if it is up to mister Cameron, it is not the parent, but the government who will decide what is best for a child. What is next in line? No more candy in the supermarkets because it is unhealthy for them? No, it is both your duty and responsibility as a parent to take care of your child and decide when he can eat a candy. So is the duty and responsibility to determine when it is healthy for your child to view porn. That is the burden of being a parent. It is their responsibility, not the government’s.

Privacy

Correspondingly, it will immensely violate our privacy. It is already a bit awkward to tell a stranger that you would like to watch some porn, but to think of that you will be on a “Like to watch porn” list is simply unthinkable. What if the list gets leaked? What if your wife finds out you watch porn? And it will be a great thing for the government, now they can track who watches porn or not. Will the next step be a list of people who have sex? I hope not. Is it truly worth our privacy to “protect” society this way?

Economical

Furthermore, we are in an economic crisis. Is it wise to introduce such costly measures in such extremely difficult times? First of all, the ISPs are required to invest a lot of money in developing and setting up a filter. After that, the filter requires to be maintained. If that isn’t already enough, they are also required to administer all the requests from the citizens. Secondly, are we really going to deliver an impact to the internet pornography industry? An industry worth 3000 dollar a second! Think of all the taxes we could get from it! Think of how unfair it will be for those companies! Please, Cameron, if you really are going to push this law forward, don’t do it at  such a horrific economical time.

Evasion

One other reason, why these laws are senseless, is due to the fact that they are very easy to elude. The famous anonymizer browser Tor is a great example of how easy it can be. Needless to mention the thousands of free proxies that roam freely on the internet. Apart from that we also have those handy VPN connections which we can use. Given these points, there is no way the porn block can work effectively.

Impossible

Lastly, it will be impossible to block everything. So many new sites can pop-up so easily. Or sites can alter themselves to evade such a block. And if the ISP is going to filter based on keywords then I hope you are prepared to find a lot of unnecessary blockings. So blocking all the porn for the UK citizens is a mission impossible for the ISPs.

Conclusion

In conclusion, another abortive law produced by the politics of today which will only damage instead of help the citizens of the UK. Will Cameron realize this on time? I hope so for those poor citizens. For the time being I am going to enjoy my porn lock-free internet here in The Netherlands.

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