UK considers full block on internet porn

Posted by Emma Woollacott

Just imagine the conversation. "Darling... Do you mind if we enable pornography?"

The UK government has come up with a plan to block porn sites altogether unless users specifically request that the filter be turned off - meaning it will be almost impossible to watch porn without your other half knowing all about it.

According to the Sunday Times, (subscription required) communications minister Ed Vaizey is soon to meet internet service providers to discuss the proposal.

"This is a very serious matter. I think it is very important that it's the ISPs that some up with solutions to protect children," he said.

"I'm hoping they will get their acts together so that we don't have to legislate, but we are keeping an eye on the situation and we will have a new communications bill in the next couple of years."

Virgin Media already operates an automatic filter on mobile devices, but other service providers say existing parental controls are perfectly adequate.

The move follows calls for tighter internet controls on porn from members of parliament including Conservative MP Claire Perry, a Conservative MP who has campaigned for tighter controls.

Last month, in a parliamentary debate, she said that 60 percent of nine- to 19-year-olds had found porn online - while only 15 percent of computer-literate parents knew how to use filters to block access to certain sites, she said.

One might think that the legislation would be blocked by MPs keen to engage more effectively with their consituents by seeing them au naturel. But it's worth remembering that many MPs don't use the internet all that readily.

Back in March last year, Home Secretary Jacqui Smith was forced to apologize after it was revealed that she had claimed the cost of two pay-per-view adult movies on her MP's expenses.

The movies cost £5 each, indicating that in one MP's household at least, the internet isn't the first choice for porn.