The proposed blanket ban on internet porn in the UK, part of a campaign launched in May to bring about a law forcing internet service providers to block access to online sexually explicit content, has been dropped. The move was intended to protect children from viewing inappropriate materials online,
After carrying out a public consultation, the government has decided that such a move would not be widely popular, finding that only 35% of those questioned on the proposed ban were in favour of it. 15% were in favour of a content filtering system, with the option of turning on a complete blocker, but a majority of 50% were against the web censorship in all its forms.
The ban would have seen ISPs forced to block online porn for all customers, with those wanting to access the materials needing to contact their service providers over the phone and request the ban be lifted – a potentially very embarrassing phone call indeed.
However, the NSPCC (National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children) suggested that the poll didn’t accurately measure the voice of parents up and down the country, with only 757 of the 3,500 people who made up the consultation having children. The rest were childless members of the public, or academics, charities and communications companies.
Claire Perry, the Conservative MP for Devizes in Wiltshire, expressed disappointment at the outcome, but accepted that the British public had spoken:
“[I’m] obviously disappointed that the opt-in option has been rejected,” she said.
“Clearly that was not the preferred choice of the 3,500 people who responded to the consultation and we have to base policy on what’s been received not what we want.”