In a badly needed (in American too) move, British Prime Minister David Cameron today proposed a crackdown on online pornography and made near revolutionary
In a speech, Cameron proposed steps that would (1) stem the tide of child pornography and (2) protect young children from early exposure to internet porn.
Read the complete speech here.
Here is how the liberal British newspaper reported the news:
In the most dramatic step by the government to crack down on the "corroding" influence of pornography on childhood, the prime minister will say that all internet users will be contacted by their service providers and given an "unavoidable choice" on whether to use filters.
The changes will be introduced by the end of next year. As a first step, customers who set up new broadband accounts or switch providers would have to actively disable the filters by the end of this year.
I know the news of a new heir to the British throne will knock this news off the front pages, but this is important news for both civil libertarians and child advocates, who sometimes clash over this issue. Some civil libertarians will decry the details as too much intrusion on personal choice, if not opening the door for Big Brother's intrusion into homes. Such organizations a rape crisis centers and feminists--who see porn as as "objectivication" of women--also should welcome the news.
I have personally encountered the argument that we shouldn't clamp down on pornography involving children because it might be "beneficial" because it would satisfy the perverse cravings of child sex abusers. Whatever the merits of that argument, it completely misses the most important point: Child pornography is made with children. What happens to children caught up in this situation? How does it affect their outlook on life? Will they become child sex abusers.
We should welcome Cameron's thoughts as an important opening for a similar debate in our own country.