On July 22, British Prime Minister David Cameron announced that  the U.K. was waging war against online pornography and that they were implementing unprecedented strict anti-pornography measures. Their main goal is to protect children from pornographic content. Reviews are divided on the decision.

Every family, community and country have to face the problem of pornography as the Internet has now made ​​it quick and easy to access for everyone, even for underage users. Several countries – including Canada – already have strong laws for owning and circulating certain types of pornography. While the Canadian government’s most recent attempt to control online porn usage through the Protecting Children from Internet Predators Act (Bill C-30) was killed due to opposition from the public, in the U.K. every household will have its access to porn blocked by default at the beginning of next year. People will have to ask their ISP provider to opt out of this block. This means that about 19 million Internet-using British households will have to request pornographic contents individually in writing. The question is how many will dare to ask for it.  Also “extreme” pornography which involves violent scenes or simulated rape is going to be outlawed completely as it is already illegal in many countries, such as Scotland.

Hundreds of thousands families and child safety organizations celebrated and supported the new regulations which in theory protects innocent and underage users from having easy access to pornographic content as viewing it not only can cause “trauma” and is said to be a causative factor in child-on-child sexual abuse.   Even still not everyone shares this opinion.

Critics say that banning of pornography is nothing other than censorship and it won’t turn out well as there is only a narrow line between regulating morality and restricting one’s freedom of speech/expression. Others say that it shouldn’t be the government’s responsibility to protect children from online porn, these are family matters. Moreover, there is a real risk that banning  “extreme” pornography  will not make it go away, but send it underground where it can be harder to control. Some people even say that porn is now an integral part of young people’s sexual education and it does have the potential to teach those who see it about how they should and should not behave when it comes to sex.

Internet providers naturally protested against the regulation saying the U.K. Prime Minister doesn’t understand how the Internet works and a variety of filters such as IP blockers are already used to get around restrictions. Also British Prime Minister David Cameron clearly stated that there is no place to protest or negotiate on the part of the Internet providers and if they won’t take responsibility voluntarily, they will be forced to block porn.

The main question is, should Canada follow Britain’s lead in blocking online pornography as Joy Smith Conservative MP of Kildonan-St. Paul recommends or follow in what Pierre Elliot Trudeau said “Government should not be in Canadian bedrooms”?

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