It may come as no big surprise the level of media attention UK Prime Minister David Cameron’s recent proposals and planned crackdown on online pornography has been and will continue to be given. In a speech on July 23rd 2013 the ambitious government leader called out to major Search Engine providers such as Google and Bing, stating that they have a “moral duty” to inhibit internet users from searching for and subsequently accessing websites offering content that involves rape or child abuse. Both companies stated that they already actively hunt for and instantly remove any such listings within their search results and that they are in agreement with the overall mission.
Cameron proposes legislation that will compel UK ISP’s such as BT, Sky and Virgin Media to apply “porn filters” to their customers’ accounts. It is proposed that ISP’s absorb the costs, although it is likely that consumers’ monthly bills will rise in response to the technological requirements of this new demand. Current customers will be contacted by the end 2013 and required to make a decision, stating whether they wish their “porn filters” to be turned off or on. All newly created broadband accounts will be created with these filters switched on. This means that a new consumer would then have to contact their ISP in order to actively request access to “pornography”.
The idea to remove or block content displaying or involving child abuse, rape or any other unlawful and otherwise dangerous content for children to see or hear is obviously highly commendable and incredibly important. However attempting to achieve this goal by simply mandating all ISP’s to create, implement and manage pornography filters is clearly not the ideal way to achieve the intended result.
One of Cameron’s top technological advisors Jimmy Wales himself recently stated that these proposals were “ridiculous” and that money could be better spent in other areas. He also stated, “When Cameron uses the example of paedophiles that are addicted to Internet porn – all that these plans would do is require them to opt in,” he said. “It’s an absolutely ridiculous idea that won’t work.”
One very important factor that cannot be overlooked is how this UK “porn filter” proposal is a radical, audacious and major step towards the implementation of full-blown censorship of the Internet. It is clear that the worlds leading nations are no longer afraid to cross the line when it comes to infringing on the rights and freedoms of its law abiding and tax paying citizens if in their eyes it’s for the purpose of “national security” as we have seen with the recent NSA Scandal in the Unites States that involved collecting or mining metadata of communications made via a few top service providers.
The good news for all of us morally centered citizens who would rather not have ISP’s and the government decide what content we have access to is to utilize the fully legal security and anonymity services out there such as VPN’s or Virtual Private Networks. Using a VPN is simply the easiest and most practical way to view any content you wish, as it changes the ip address not only of your browser but your entire Internet connection, offering you a fully encrypted tunnel to the outside internet, Along with avoiding these future “porn filters” a VPN has additional benefits that can improve anyone’s overall web browsing experience. A good example would be to allow the viewing content that is intended to be restricted only to residents of a particular country or geographic region, or accessing government censored sites such as The Pirate Bay or Newsbin2.
The world is changing at an exponential rate and its leaders are scrambling to adapt to both the security and technological challenges they are faced with. We can expect an increase in efforts on the part of our world leaders to slowly but surely strip away paramount rights and freedoms we are supposed to have and depend on. Subscribing to a quality VPN service is one sure way to ensure you stay informed and have unhindered access to all the information available on the Internet.