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British PM Demands Porn Hosts Restrict Access or Face Closure

Prime Minister David Cameron is demanding online pornographers either ‘voluntarily’ install effective age-restricted controls on their websites or risk legislation that could see them closed down altogether. In a move which will see the state assuming the role of parent in regulating children’s home internet use, the government is also considering setting up a pornography regulator to oversee the process.

In news that surprises nobody, young internet users have been accessing pornography. The Guardian reports a Childline poll that found nearly one in ten 12-13-year-olds were worried they were addicted to pornography and 18 per cent said they had seen shocking or upsetting images.

Although hard to verify, Comscore statistics for May 2015 show that month one in five under-18s in the UK visited an adult site and one in 10 UK visitors to adult sites were children. Kids Online research published in 2013 showed pornography topped the list of online risks named by children, with more than one in five expressing concern. 

The Conservative Party took this as their cue to act rather than leaving it to parents. Just before the general election the then Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Sajid Javid, said a Conservative government would act to ensure under-18s were effectively locked out of adult content. The Conservative Party promised legislation to achieve this.

Now elected, the government will launch an autumn consultation seeking the views of UK-based websites and internet service providers on how best to restrict under-18s’ access to online pornography. The industry will be invited to submit and develop voluntary proposals to block content deemed unacceptable.

The consultation is also tasked with considering legislation in the event that voluntary agreements fail. Any law introduced would make it an offence in the UK to publish pornography online without age verification controls, possibly with a regulator to oversee and enforce the new rules.

Although the global spread of the internet makes it near to impossible to introduce a law that would cover sites both in the UK and internationally, it would not be difficult to find volunteer regulators among the ranks of British politicians. As Breitbart London reported this week parliamentary computers used by British MPs, lords and their staff were used to access porn more than 20,000 times a month on average last year.

The Guardian reports the UK’s top 10 most visited pornography sites have 52 per cent of traffic with next to no controls. Government sources said: “All provide free content upfront and none have robust age verification to protect under-18s in place at present, whilst DVDs containing explicit pornographic content are subject to age controls for purchase in licensed sex shops.”

The government says its aim is to make rules that apply offline apply online, supposedly giving parents the peace of mind of knowing that their tech-savvy children can use the internet safely. Rather than leaving it to parents to educate and regulate their children, PM Cameron says his government will “make the internet a safer place for children.”

Making the internet a safer place for children can, of course, be used to cover a wide range of offences. Although today the government has decided it knows best in relation to pornography, having set the precedent future governments may decide unhelpful literature, racy music and even inconvenient science should be restricted, asking “won’t somebody please think of the children?

Follow Sarkis Zeronian on Twitter: or e-mail to: szeronian@breitbart.com

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