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Google rejects porn filters

Written by James Delahunty (Google+) @ 23 May 2012 20:13 User comments (3)

Google rejects porn filters Google says proposals would be a "mistake."
It took part in a debate in Hertfordshire over whether ISPs should do what mobile networks do with Internet porn; filter it automatically and require that a subscriber opt in to view porn (and prove their age). The UK government is currently consulting with ISPs about the proposal.

TalkTalk, a UK ISP, already offers a porn filter on its network, but subscribers have to opt in to switch it on. The filter is being marketed mostly toward parents, who would rather a network-level blockade of pornographic content to an application they install locally. Symantec maintains the list of "inappropriate" websites for TalkTalk.

"We believe that children shouldn't be seeing pornography online. We disagree on the mechanisms. It's not that easy," Sarah Hunter, Google's head of public policy, said. "There is a problem about the extent to which we deskill parents by giving them simple solutions. We should be making more effort than we've done in the past to make sure parents really do know the risks children face online."

Even TalkTalk is opposed to the concept of an automatic filter on all subscribers. According to Andrew Heaney, TalkTalk's executive director of strategy and regulation, such an automatic filter would be a "slippery slope."

"Certainly do not force them to turn it to default on. We step over this Rubicon into a dangerous world," he said.

Digital rights groups have slammed the UK government's proposals as nothing other than censorship. "We're talking about blocking legal content. Child porn is not the same as blocking legal adult content that is available in our society," said Kirsty Hughes, chief executive of Index on Censorship.

"Who decides what is blocked? Who puts together these lists? This is a form of censorship. We're talking about putting legal communication, information, either out of bounds or something you have to turn on to be part of that free world."

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3 user comments

123.5.2012 22:12

I'm sure this would work about as good as blocking "ThePirateBay" stops piracy.
How many times will these people bang their head against the wall before the figure out that the digital world is NOT the real world. It works differently.

Ok, why wouldn't this work?
Well, for starters it will only work against legit/registered porn sites.
If they try to filter on words then you'll filter out legit sites.
Who gets to decide what is porn and what is not?


This is a whole lotta "Let's LOOK like we care... For the children!"

225.5.2012 9:24

Morons love to create useless laws. The problem with the world's law makers are they don't care if the law works or is good, they just want to appear as if they are doing something. They know the fools that elected them are not smart enough to figure out what they are doing.

326.5.2012 2:19

Originally posted by Mez:
Morons love to create useless laws. The problem with the world's law makers are they don't care if the law works or is good, they just want to appear as if they are doing something. They know the fools that elected them are not smart enough to figure out what they are doing.
The sad thing is that those laws are then used down the road in a case that would never have gone to trial if that idiotic law had not been created. There are enough laws/ways to deal with this, legit laws just need to be enforced and parents need to step it up and start being parents. TV and the internet are not babysitters people! If you don't pay attention to your kids and talk WITH them, as opposed to TO them, of course they could find out the internet 'can' be a dangerous place, but it can also be a great place for kids to learn and grow, with the proper motivation and supervision. And a good firewall/parental software, as needed.

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