Survey Shows A Third Of UK Backs Opt-In Pornography Scheme

UPDATE: It has been brought to our attention that the Mail erroneously reported two-thirds of respondents being in favour of an "opt-in" ban by default. In fact, two-thirds said they would like to see ISPs "offer a service that filters internet sites and automatically blocks pornographic sites", the key word being "offer" and not automatically impose a block on users by default. In fact, only 36 per cent were in favour of an "opt-in" system.

The Daily Mail is throwing its weight behind a campaign to ensure ISPs employ an "opt-in" system when it comes to viewing online pornography. And today's headline is that two-thirds of the public back the paper's stance on the matter - although that headline is erroneous, as noted above, and the real figure is actually just over a third.

The survey conducted by YouGov found that 36 per cent of people supported calls for an "automatic ban" on adult material. Opt-in means that porn would be banned by default, and the user would have to contact the ISP to enable it.

All this stems from two weeks ago, when a cross-party committee of MPs pledged its strong support for an opt-in filter system, citing that "many children" are now easily accessing porn, and that it's having a negative effect on their views on relationships, sex and body image.

We don't doubt that's the case, but as many ISPs and rights groups pointed out, an opt-in filter is a dangerous step down the censorship road when it comes to the web. And parenting is what's really required here - proper supervision, the set up of parental controls, and awareness of what kids can get up to on the net.

At any rate, the government has apparently given the nod to an "active decision" system, an opt-out scheme whereby an ISP asks the account user whether he or she wants to filter adult web content, or not.

The Mail argues that this "less stringent" system isn't enough. The paper states: "Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt proposes requesting that the four major internet service providers offer new customers the chance to opt out. But critics argue it would take until 2017 before the proportion of households to have been asked whether they would like to have porn blocked reached 90 per cent."

It also notes that the opposition shadow ministers for media and justice, Helen Goodman and Jenny Chapman, have come out in support of the opt-in scheme.

The Mail is urging the government to initiate a consultation on whether opt-in should be adopted, with a final reminder of a London School of Economics study that shows most parents have no idea what their children are looking at on the net. Well, perhaps they should...

Source: Daily Mail