What’s Up at Quib.ly – UK Internet Porn Blocking

This week’s deep dive on a Quib.ly question.

News broke this week that UK Prime Minister David Cameron will require Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to force users to opt in to have the ability to view porn on their home computers and devices. In addition, porn including rape and violence, and all child porn will be banned regardless of filter settings. These new measures are to be adopted by the end of the year.

The fine community at Quib.ly, a question and answer site focused on parenting and technology, tackled the question this week in the form of three related user posted questions:

Thoughts on Cameron’s announcement – cracking down on online pornography and ensuring an “unavoidable choice” on whether to use filters?

And

Will a default porn filter make children safer?

And

Should ISPs take more responsibility for protecting children?

 

Screen Shot 2013-07-09 at 8.26.03 AMOn a site such as Quib.ly, the questions can be as informative as the answers, and it bears noting that more than one person has posed the question. The answers on Quib.ly are mixed, and more or less mirror opinion I’ve seen in the mainstream press.

Parents for the most part are happy with extra protections for their kids. Anti censorship folks are wary of any actions that may be a first step in limiting freedoms.

What is our take on the pros, cons and conventional wisdom being espoused?

This is a good thing for parents. Agree. Children and teens are curious, and search engines are very powerful. It is very possible for minors to come into contact with porn or other inappropriate content accidentally, and many or most probably have. If only these instances are limited by new default filtering, it will be a positive.

The move could lull parents into a false sense of security. Bad argument. Forbes makes this argument, but we don’t give if much weight. Some defense is better than none, and a default filter should in no case lead a parent to believe that his supervision responsibilities are satisfied.

Freedoms are being limited. Disagree. Under the proposed rule, the head of household will retain the right to remove the filter. It’s a simple opt-in, or opt-out depending on your perspective.  If, in making this argument, you are defending your right to view child porn, we can’t agree with that stance.

Could be a first step in an internet freedom assault. Possible but unlikely. The heads of household are voters, and Cameron or anyone else using this as a Trojan Horse to take away freedom would find reelection almost impossible.

Not effective since people will get around it. Inconsequential. Sure, some people, and even some minors, will be able to get around the filter. CNBC has a quick piece on available workarounds here. None of this means that the default filter is a bad idea.

The proposed rules have an added benefit that we like a lot: the filters will apply to all devices in the household. Even if I am closely monitoring my kids’ devices, it is very easy for a friend to bring over his computer or phone and access content that I do not want my kids seeing. Problem solved, at least under my roof.

Child pornography and minors accessing inappropriate content are both real societal problems. Working toward some kind of solution is both noble and constructive. We see the pros strongly outweighing the cons in this measure. The best way to avoid improvement is to wait for a perfect solution.

 

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