Monday, July 22, 2013

British Gov't to End Kids' Access to On-line Porn

In a major speech, the U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron characterized the modern culture as an immoral cesspool created by the freedom of the Internet, and he proposed myriad government actions to control that freedom for the specific purpose of saving children -- apparently wanting to return to a society of bygone days.

Unfortunately, there are two major hurdles: Technology analysts say there is no longer any means to effectively filter pornography from children, and worse yet, most adults are ineffective at parenting their children (and government is no substitute for parents).

I want to talk about the internet, the impact it is having on the innocence of our children, how online pornography is corroding childhood . . .
I want Britain to be the best place to raise a family. Where there's a sense of right and wrong, and boundaries between them. Where children are allowed to be children.
-- David Cameron, Prime Minister
For background, read Pornography Creates 5-year-old Sex Offenders: British Police Reports

In addition, read Kids Choose Porn as Better Teacher than School and also read Education Experts Say Use Porn in Teaching Sex Ed as well as President Obama Enables Pornographers

-- From "Online pornography to be blocked by default, PM announces" posted at BBC 7/22/13

In his speech, Mr Cameron said 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.

And millions of existing computer users would be contacted by their internet providers and told they must decide whether to use or not use "family-friendly filters" to restrict adult material.

He told the BBC he expected a "row" with service providers who, he said in his speech, were "not doing enough to take responsibility" despite having a "moral duty" to do so.

He also warned he could have to "force action" by changing the law and that, if there were "technical obstacles", firms should use their "greatest brains" to overcome them.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Cameron cracks down on 'corroding influence' of online pornography" by Nicholas Watt and Charles Arthur, The Guardian (UK) 7/21/13

In the most dramatic step by the government to crack down on the "corroding" influence of pornography on childhood . . . changes will be introduced by the end of next year.

The prime minister's speech is designed to answer critics who accuse him of talking tough but failing to take action. . . .

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "UK wants to restrict access to online porn" by Doug Gross, CNN 7/22/13

. . . Not surprisingly, Web freedom advocates and other critics were quick to decry the plan. For one, many say effective Web filters simply don't exist.

"As a technological feat, it would be utterly impossible," columnist Andy Dawson wrote in the Daily Mirror, a nationwide tabloid frequently critical of Cameron's Conservative Party.

"His porn shield speech today, and the proposals that are in it are the deranged ravings of someone who has decided that something must be done, has decided what it is, but doesn't (realize) that it isn't actually feasible. He's got just as much chance of banning (gray) clouds while giving us all access to the nice white, fluffy ones."

Critics say that automated filtering technology inevitably allows offensive material through accidentally as well as creating "false positives" that block inoffensive content. Others, such as BBC technology correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones, say default-on filters can create a false sense of security among parents, who could become more lax in monitoring their children's online behavior.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Protecting children online: David Cameron's full speech" posted at 7/22/13

This is, quite simply, about how we protect our children and their innocence.

The fact is that the growth of the internet as an unregulated space has thrown up two major challenges when it comes to protecting our children.

The first challenge is criminal: and that is the proliferation and accessibility of child abuse images on the internet.

The second challenge is cultural: the fact that many children are viewing online pornography and other damaging material at a very young age and that the nature of that pornography is so extreme, it is distorting their view of sex and relationships.

. . . when it comes to the internet in the balance between freedom and responsibility, we have neglected our responsibility to our children.

[The Internet] has an impact: on the children who view things that harm them, on the vile images of abuse that pollute minds and cause crime, on the very values that underpin our society.

. . . it used to be that society could protect children by enforcing age restrictions on the ground whether that was setting a minimum age for buying top-shelf magazines, putting watersheds on the TV, or age rating films and DVDs.

[But now, for] a lot of children, watching hardcore pornography – is in danger of becoming a rite of passage.

In schools up and down our country, from the suburbs to the inner city, there are young people who think it's normal to send pornographic material as a prelude to dating in the same way you might once have sent a note across the classroom.

. . . the effect can be devastating.

Our children are growing up too fast.

They are getting distorted ideas about sex and being pressured in a way we have never seen before.

. . . I am absolutely clear that the state has a vital role to play.

. . . the search engines are not doing enough to take responsibility.

. . . they are effectively denying responsibility.

[They argue] that the search engines shouldn't be involved in finding out where these [pornographic] images are - that they are just the 'pipe' that delivers the images and that holding them responsible would be a bit like holding the Post Office responsible for sending on illegal objects in anonymous packages.

But that analogy isn't quite right.

Because the search engine doesn't just deliver the material that people see it helps to identify it.

Companies like Google make their living out of trawling and categorising content on the web so that in a few key-strokes you can find what you're looking for out of unimaginable amounts of information.

Then they sell advertising space to companies, based on your search patterns.

So to return to that analogy, it would be like the Post Office helping someone to identify and order the illegal material in the first place – and then sending it onto them in which case they absolutely would be held responsible for their actions.

So quite simply: we need the search engines to step up to the plate on this.

. . . here's an example.

If someone is typing in 'child' and 'sex' there should come up a list of options:

'Do you mean child sex education?'

'Do you mean child gender?'

What should not be returned is a list of pathways into illegal images . . .

Then there are some searches which are so abhorrent and where there can be no doubt whatsoever about the sick and malevolent intent of the searcher that there should be no search results returned at all.

Put simply - there needs to be a list of terms – a black list – which offer up no direct search returns.

So I have a very clear message for Google, Bing, Yahoo and the rest.

You have a duty to act on this – and it is a moral duty.

I simply don't accept the argument that some of these companies have used to say that these searches should be allowed because of freedom of speech.

. . . And there's a further message I have for the search engines.

If there are technical obstacles to acting on this, don't just stand by and say nothing can be done; use your great brains to help overcome them.

. . . You are not separate from our society, you are part of our society, and you must play a responsible role in it.

To read all of Prime Minister Cameron's speech above, CLICK HERE.