UK government is making a blueprint to come up with radical laws which will compel Internet service providers to block all adult content. Internet users will be able to access pornographic content only when they opt for it.
UK Prime Minister David Cameron stressed on the moral duty towards protecting users, especially children from unwanted exposure. Search engines like Google and Bing are already told to make their search results in accordance with family filter settings. He also mentioned specifically on how this would work.
All new customers would automatically get selected with family filter settings, but they would have the option to switch them off. All existing customer would require to be contacted by their current Internet service provider to decide on whether they need family filter or not. They would be specifically asked to decide whether they want to view adult content or not. Once these filter settings are affected at service provider level then all devices using the relevant Wi-Fi would not be able to access adult content. As an example if a house has a family filter setting enabled, then anyone using internet on laptop or through LAN connection or on mobile phone on the same internet connection would not be able to access adult content on his device.
Besides, all public networks like the one in major offices, malls or airport would get preset with family filter settings wherever children are likely to be present. Prime Minister was very clear that their government has to protect their children and their innocence.
But various anti-censorship groups have criticized the move. As per them, internet is a very complex thing. There is a big possibility that the websites about sexual health or sexuality or websites discussing the subject of pornography could get blocked by internet service providers. This would be against the freedom of expression on the internet. There may be a case of websites providing support to sexual victims or providing sexual advice may also get blocked.
This also gives lot of freedom to government to bring down websites which bring up the matter of healthy debate.
Besides, search engines already block the illegal content. Google already have a zero tolerance policy on child sexual abuse content. The Internet Watch foundation, an independent body searches the web for child abuse. It sends such links to major search engines who remove them on regular basis from their search index.
Everything is not so easy to understand on internet. There may be websites which hide from Google or other mainstream search engines and do not let search engines crawl them. They can operate within their limited circle. The Internet is even deeper than Google or Bing.
Whether the step would yield desired results or not, but it is a step with the good intention. Nothing can be 100% right but it is going to make it tougher for offenders. But there must be a view from technologists who can give relevant guidance to make sure that genuine websites are not affected.