HERTFORDSHIRE, United Kingdom, May 28, 2012
UK Prime Minister David Cameron has expressed interest in passing legislation that would require ISPs to provide such filters, which would prevent access to pornographic sites unless the Internet user opts-in to access such sites.
ExtremeTech, a popular technology magazine, estimates that 30% of web traffic is from pornographic websites, and studies have shown that children are increasingly exposed to explicit material at an early age.
However, a representative of Google said at Google’s Big Tent event recently that the search giant doesn’t support Cameron’s idea, saying that the onus should fall on parents to monitor what their children are viewing.
“We believe that children shouldn’t be seeing pornography online. We disagree on the mechanisms. It’s not that easy,” said Sarah Hunter, Google’s Head of UK Public Policy, according to BBC.
“There is a problem about the extent to which we deskill parents by giving them simple solutions.
“We should be making more effort than we’ve done in the past to make sure parents really do know the risks children face online.”
However, one ISP, TalkTalk, already has a plan to allow parents to choose to block pornographic content at the ISP level, even as it opposes legislation mandating the filters. Andrew Heaney of TalkTalk said, “It’s a great way of managing what children can see. We don’t see that as censorship, it’s about choice.”
One problem with this idea that has been discussed is who will decide what should be blocked and what shouldn’t. Open Rights Group has warned that the blocks will affect more than just children, and will also block more sites than are necessary.
Hunter also pointed out that filters have been mistaken before and porn sites have been allowed, while other harmless sites have been banned.