The Prime Minister has been doing the rounds on television and radio programmes talking about a raft of pornography reforms, the most controversial being the fact that every householder connected to the internet will have their access to online porn blocked unless they ask to receive it. David Cameron said that family-friendly filters would be automatically selected for all new customers by the end of the year – although they could choose to switch them off.Millions of existing computer users will be contacted by their internet providers and told they must decide whether to use or not use the ISP “family-friendly filters” to restrict adult material.The UK’s largest internet service providers have already agreed to the filters scheme meaning it should cover 95% of homes. The Prime minister was at pains to point out that this is “not censorship” but about how online pornography is corroding childhood. And how, in the darkest corners of the internet, there are things going on that are a direct danger to our children, and that must be stamped out.”
So what’s the problem? Children are protected from seeing inappropriate sexual images, even if their parents are too irresponsible to put parental filters on their computer. Those who want to watch internet pornography are still able to do so and it is allegedly quick and simple to turn off the filters.The killers of April Jones and Tia Sharp had accessed legal pornography before moving on to images of child abuse.It is this sort of reasoning which David Cameron has been expounding all day, the child abuse argument is of course very emotive and persuasive-to argue against the new legislation is tantamount to condoning child abuse it seems.
But of course it is far more complicated than that. I am by no means a fan of the porn industry which is misogynistic and the cause of many body image problems, but I am not against porn per se and I vehemently oppose any restrictions on adult freedom to look at any legal images on the internet or otherwise. Child porn is already illegal and as one commentator put it,”This is just the thin end of the wedge for Mr Cameron getting the infrastructure in place for state control of the internet.”
As Benjamin Franklin said in the 18th century, “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” This really says it all,the ex chief Jim Gamble of CEOPS, the Child Exploitation and Protection Service said today that only 1% of all pornography online is illegal,(Child abuse or Rape Porn) ergo 99% of all pornography online is legal.This is the nub of the counter-argument. He also said that every child abuse image is a crime scene and rather than drive it further into the dark web with peer to peer sharing, (the current modus operandi of the child abusers) it is the criminal acts that must be stopped. This quick fix is headline-grabbing but completely irrelevant in the fight against these sick people. The Prime Minister must resource CEOPS adequately with sufficient manpower and funds to investigate all acts of child pornography downloads and arrest the perpetrators. In 2012 only 198 arrests were made, out of a total 5000 paedophiles who downloaded child abuse images. Paedophile rings operating within communities by persons of standing are still by far the biggest threat to our children. Only today, another Catholic priest and a children’s home manager have been charged with child abuse. Never mind the internet, worry about who is mentoring or looking after your children.