Iceland Porn Ban: Minister Says Pornography On Internet Must Be Blocked To Protect Children

02/14/2013 05:21 pm ET | Updated Feb 14, 2013

It looks as if Iceland is about to get a little colder.

Iceland's government is considering a sweeping ban on Internet pornography that would prevent its people from viewing or downloading x-rated material.

The legislation, being drafted by Interior Minister Ogmundur Jonasson, aims to block the effects of pornography on young people by filtering access to pornographic images and videos via smartphones, computers and game consoles, according to the Telegraph.

Sidestepping cries of censorship, Ogmundur, who is affiliated with the country's Left-Green Movement, a left-wing political party, pointed at the larger social problems he claims porn causes, stating that "violent pornography... has a very harmful effect on young people and can have a clear link to incidences of violent crime."

A law forbidding the printing and distribution of pornography is already on the books in Iceland, but Ogmundur's proposal would extend the ban to the Internet, according to the Telegraph. Methods for the ban being considered include enacting laws making it illegal to use Icelandic credit cards to purchase porn, and filtering out pornographic IP addresses.

"If we can send a man to the moon, we must be able to tackle porn on the Internet," Halla Gunnarsdóttir, political advisor to Ogmundur, told The Daily Mail. Despite what the denizens of Internet's seedier quadrants might think, Halla claimed that the proposed legislation isn't anti-sex.

"It is anti-violence because young children are seeing porn and acting it out. That is where we draw the line. This material is blurring the boundaries for young people about what is right and wrong," Halla said.

Iceland has already outlawed strip clubs, a move which led The Guardian to proclaim Iceland a global leader in feminism in 2010.

While Icelandic politicians clearly have their reasons for seeking a ban on online pornography, Gizmodo used the Nordic country's prospective distinction as the first Western democracy to ban Internet porn as pretext to include it in a less-than-laudable league of nations: "By banning access to internet porn, Iceland will join countries like Iran, Saudi Arabia, Yemen and other temples of democracy widely known to protect women and children rights."

However, Mashable provided some counterbalance to censorship arguments, tapping Gail Dines, a professor of sociology and women’s studies at Wheelock College in Boston, Mass., who chimed in support for the ban.

"It is looking at pornography from a new position — from the perspective of the harm it does to the women who appear in it and as a violation of their civil rights," Dines told Mashable. "It also approaches porn from the point of view of children who are having their sexuality hijacked at a young age by brutal sexual imagery."

This isn't the first time Ogmundur has taken a stance on a controversial issue. In fact, since returning to Iceland's cabinet in 2011, after having resigned as health minister in 2009, Ogmundur has championed the banning of online gambling and has accused Israel of genocide against Palestinians, according to English-language Icelandic new site Grapevine.

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