ISP Level Porn Filters – The Best Protection

Recent articles in both the Daily Mail and Sunday Times in the UK have taken another look at the impact of pornography on children and it’s prevalence in society today. There is now clear evidence that exposure to porn changes the way we view each other, what we expect out of relationship and how we approach sex. On the whole, much of the evidence suggests that the results are mostly detrimental.

However, to date we have been put in the position of having to fight this material out of our homes. The responsibility been on monitoring computer use in the home, applying filters etc on computers and keeping an eye on what is being looked at.

But why should this burden be pushed upon us? Is it possible to ask for control over what the internet service provider (ISP) pumps into our homes in the first place? We all know that access to porn is but a few clicks away, and filters can all be worked around.

So, what can we do? Industry and parliament will only sit up and take notice if we keep demanding it. Let us not wait until a tragic, and horrific death, caused by a child who has watched porn, shocks and shames us to take action. Let us do so now. You can:

  • Contact and register with SaferMedia and join their campaign, and follow them on their blog.
  • Write to your MP.
  • Follow Family Safe ISP on Facebook and share with your friends.
  • Tweet this blog, share it on Facebook or link to it.
  • Write a letter to your paper. Recent articles have appeared in both the Daily Mail and Sunday Times newspapers.

The usual objections raised include restriction of freedom of expression, cost and technological capability. Well, lets have a look at these:

Freedom of Expression – I suggest that ISP level filters are applied as ‘on’ as standard, and that the account holder is able to request the filter to be turned off if they wish. This then does not infringe on freedom of expression at all, and should therefore not be objected to by the industry or civil groups. Indeed, they should support it as a more effective way of protecting children. The ISP level filter could even include the ability to manage specific websites / URLs, much as PC based filters currently do, and could even have a watershed time option built in.

Technological – BT and other UK based ISP are already required to filter out child pornography websites. BT does this using it’s CleanFeed filter. Therefore, it is possible to apply ISP level filters. The technology already exists. It just needs extending and adding a little flexibility to give the account holder control over the content allowed through. PC based filters like SafeEyes already give URL specific filtering options, so to suggest this can not be done is illogical.

Cost – This, then, is the last complaint. Well, it would be easy to apply an ‘on’ as standard and then charge the customer to be able to either manage the filter or have it removed. This is what what happens to sex channels on TV, why not the internet too? It would cover the cost of the filter.

The reality is that ISP level filters are possible, already applied in the UK for some things. The costs can be recouped by charging for access to the mature content. It is the safest way of protecting children and allow control of what comes into our homes (bar not having internet at all).

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