Trending >

David Cameron is an idiot and his online porn filter is doomed to fail

David Cameron
David Cameron
Dawes: “No one is in favour of making it easier to make and distribute child pornography. There are already laws in existence to deal with those and other types of crime. But that is not what David Cameron’s clumsy crusade is about. It’s about establishing the impression of control over “the Internet” by parading a clumsy and unworkable law in which all citizens’ eyelids are decreed closed, excepting those who opt to keep them open.”

Online consumption of pornography in the UK will, according to a speech by David Cameron, become an opt-in experience, forcing everyone with an internet connection to agree that they’d prefer to live without an anti-porn filter blocking their connection.

Additionally, pornography which “depicts rape” will become flat-out illegal in England and Wales, as it already is in Scotland. Cameron’s rationale for proposing such a filter is that pornography is “corroding childhood”. What’s more, he proposes the blacklisting of particularly horrific terms on Google, Bing, and other search engines.

“I’m not making this speech because I want to moralise or scaremonger, but because I feel profoundly as a politician, and as a father, that the time for action has come,” he said in a speech defending his actions. “This is, quite simply, about how we protect our children and their innocence.”

Cameron envisions this fight as one of appealing to the “moral duty” of online search engines, and he is clearly prepared to use the bully pulpit of his office to cow them into accepting some measure of “responsibility” for protecting children. He has evidently already gathered the support of the UK’s biggest service providers, which have agreed to institute the “family-friendly filters” on approximately 95% of the UK’s home networks. The system, as negotiated by the ISPs and the government, will be called “Active Choice +”. People often say in these moments that “Orwell would be proud”. He would more likely be horrified.

“The Daily Mail has campaigned hard to make internet search engine filters ‘default on’. Today they can declare that campaign a success,” Cameron added. The tabloid he mentions, which has built an empire on hyperbolic headlines and lascivious takedowns of celebrity bikini bods, accepted the Prime Minister’s congratulations in a triumphalist editorial. Simultaneously disparaging the moral decrepitude of English people (“chavs” and their “entitlement society”) as well hollering about immigrants has been a specialty of the Daily Mail’s in the decades since it published editorials endorsing both the Nazis and homegrown Blackshirt Fascists such as Oswald Mosley. Obviously, cleaning up the internet is integral to their struggle.

 

The insanity of this scheme is obvious. It seems just possible that he timed the announcement to be drowned out by the birth of a royal child, so as to either implement it as noiselessly as possible or to sweep it under the carpet when it fails. Unlike everything else on Youtube, the video of Cameron’s speech will not be made funnier by the addition of Benny Hill’s beloved anthem, Yakety Sax.

 

Prime Minister Cameron, in his speech, mentioned some additional measures related to his anti-porn proposal, including making the streaming of online videos subject to the same laws as for those sold in shops, issuing new powers for the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre to monitor file sharing (while simultaneously reducing its budget), and the creation of a secure child pornography database to help monitor child pornography and the pedophiles who watch it.

The insanity of this scheme is obvious. It seems just possible that he timed the announcement to be drowned out by the birth of a royal child, so as to either implement it as noiselessly as possible or to sweep it under the carpet when it fails. Unlike everything else on Youtube, the video of Cameron’s speech will not be made funnier by the addition of Benny Hill’s beloved anthem, Yakety Sax.

In 2003, musician Pete Townshend was arrested for using his credit card to access online child pornography. He stated at the time that it was for “research” purposes, and that he was writing a book on the subject. (His old rock opera, Tommy, foregrounded obvious themes of child abuse.) His fingerprints were taken, along with a DNA sample, which were added to Scotland Yard’s sex offenders register for a period of five years.

The difficulty of proposing a new legal framework for creating an opt-out filtering system for the internet is easier to bypass in the UK than it would be in the United States, which has a written constitution featuring a First Amendment that expressly prohibits “abridging the freedom of speech”.

But as with all previous technological threats to the UK’s moral climate in the past, the attempt to destroy the problem (the pornification of childhood) looks set to establish a degree of intervention by the state into the online life of its citizens that would impose maximum inconvenience and reduce freedom while allowing the original problem to continue more or less unabated (cf. Terrorism).

It feels pointless to bring up the ancient debates about “Who decides what pornography is?” or “Are you going to block Page 3?” or “What’s next?”

No one is in favour of making it easier to make and distribute child pornography. There are already laws in existence to deal with those and other types of crime. But that is not what Cameron’s speech is about. It’s about establishing the impression of control over “the Internet” by parading a clumsy and unworkable law in which all citizens’ eyelids are decreed closed, excepting those who opt to keep them open.

 

It is incredible that the Daily Mail, who have published thousands of editorials lamenting the poor manners and shoddy upbringing of modern youth, and David Cameron, an acolyte of old Maggie Thatcher, Mrs. Personal Responsibility herself, simultaneously believe that the best approach to raising children is to deny parents the responsibility of bringing them up themselves, opting instead to place that trust in the hands of militantly controlled internet service providers.

 

It is obvious that Cameron’s solution to sexualising the lives of children will not work. What might work is an evidence-based approach that was actually built to reduce harm to victims, rather than a reactionary and punitive smokescreen designed to thwart the open nature of the internet and the potential benefits of increasing access to information rather than constricting it and trusting that people in general have sufficient critical faculties to differentiate between right and wrong. It is this inability to tell right from wrong, after all, that the Daily Mail, in sneering editorial after sneering editorial, believes ails English society more than anything.

Cameron and the Daily Mail’s campaign employs a call to punish everyone in the name of protecting children, demanding a top-down form of censorship on this particular matter coupled with an imperative to “personal responsibility” when it comes to every other aspect of life. It is incredible that the Daily Mail, who have published thousands of editorials lamenting the poor manners and shoddy upbringing of modern youth, and David Cameron, an acolyte of old Maggie Thatcher, Mrs. Personal Responsibility herself, simultaneously believe that the best approach to raising children is to deny parents the responsibility of bringing them up themselves, opting instead to place that trust in the hands of militantly controlled internet service providers. No, they’ll speak of the opt-out filter scheme as a “tool” in the “fight against” a huge, amorphous and ultimately unconquerable enemy.

It is possible that Cameron and the Daily Mail have achieved exactly the right balance between smut and liberty in their own lives and are merely waiting for the rest of us to catch up. It is also possible that Cameron knows that the filter scheme is unworkable and is in it only for the optics, sensing an opportunity to armour himself in moral crusader gear for incredibly cheap political reasons. In any case, they contradict themselves and each other at everyone else’s expense.

More Cantech Society

  •  
  •  
  •  

About The Author /

Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

RELATED POSTS

Access Expert Stock Picks for free

CLOSE

Get Stock Picks From The Pros

Sign up for our newsletter to get timely Canadian stock picks from expert financial analysts.