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Internet Porn Block Coming? U.K. Conservatives Propose 'Opt-In' To Protect Children

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Conservative British lawmakers want Internet service providers to automatically block customers' access to pornography websites.

Designed to protect young children from accessing mature content, a block on porn would require customers to "opt in" (request access) to illicit websites, British communications minister Ed Vaizey told The Sunday Times, according to PC Pro.

Broadband firms like BT, Virgin Media and TalkTalk are reportedly willing to cooperate with such a proposal and are among several major Internet service providers that will meet with Vaizey "in the near future," The Guardian reports.

"I'm hoping they [the providers] will get their acts together so that we don't have to legislate, but we are keeping an eye on the situation and we will have a new communications bill in the next couple of years," Vaizey said, according to The Guardian.

Conservative MP Claire Perry, who favors more stringent Internet controls, has indicated a disparity between the percentage of children who have accessed pornography and the percentage of parents who know how to restrict their child's access to such sites, The Guardian says.

Writes Mashable,

It's a slippery slope the British government will be navigating here. Who will decide precisely what porn is? Will ISPs be required to install bare-skin-detecting software, and if so, who will pay for that? Will instructional videos such as breast-feeding demonstrations be considered porn? And how will British residents feel about adding their names to a list of people who specifically asked for access to pornography?

Indeed, ISP Timico's chief technology officer, Trefor Davies, told the BBC that this measure would not be practical or cost-effective. Furthermore, Davies said, "If we take this step it will not take very long to end up with an internet that's a walled garden of sites the governments is happy for you to see."

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