Israeli Lawmakers Pushing Mandatory, Default ISP Porn Filtering Because That Always Works So Well

from the perverts:-please-sign-here dept

It looks like Israel wants to take a UK-esque approach to internet porn. The Israeli government is considering mandating site blocking at the ISP level, rather than allowing end users to make their own decisions, as Quartz's Anaya Bhattacharya reports:

On Oct. 30, the Ministerial Committee for Legislation unanimously green-lit a bill that would force internet companies to censor pornography by default. The committee approved the measure in a bid to clamp down on rampant underage access to adult content online, the Times of Israel reported.

"Rampant underage access." That's a hell of a phrase. I wonder if the Israeli government has any stats to back up this assertion. The underlying reporting at the Times of Israel is less than illuminating. The same goes for the reporting at Haaretz, although this one does have a rather useless analogy delivered by a legislator.

“The damaging influence of watching, and addiction to, pornographic and severe violence has been proven in many studies, with great harm to children. Today, it is easier for a child to consume harsh content on the internet than to buy an ice cream at the local kiosk,” said Moalem-Refaeli. “We must prevent such access by making the default of the internet provider to filter such content, unless the customer has asked to be exposed to it,” she added.

So, because internet porn is easier to access than ice cream, ISPs may be forced to stop allowing ice cream to flow uninterrupted through its lines unless customers of age specifically ask to be "exposed to" ice cream. If customers want porn to burst from every digital orifice connected to their ISP, they would need to opt-in via phone call, letter, or through the ISP's website.

Other people, who would just like to have their access to websites less effed up will also have to do the same, considering website filtering/blocking is far from perfect and tends to net a bunch of false positives. Critics of the bill only have to point to all the other times this has happened to provide examples of why this is a bad idea.

In addition, a list of opt-in users would be created because there's no way an opt-in "service" doesn't. I can't imagine why the government might be interested in the contents of such a list, but the fact that it's there means it could be obtained without too much paperwork if "needed." Then there are other outside forces, like malicious hackers, who might find it entertaining to plaster lists of "porn, please!" users all over the internet.

Less damaging to internet users' privacy would be a more voluntary system that allows users to request porn filtering and site blocking, rather than make this the default. But all of these issues are ignored when legislators engage in "for the children" legislation. Simple niceties like an open internet and user privacy are no match for impassioned pleas for all the ice cream-eating 8-year-olds of [insert nation here].

Filed Under: internet, israel, mandatory porn filters, porn, porn filters


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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Nov 2016 @ 8:38am

    Fortunately, it was already blocked
    http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.750211

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    PaulT (profile), 3 Nov 2016 @ 8:41am

    "ISPs may be forced to stop allowing ice cream to flow uninterrupted through its lines unless customers of age specifically ask to be "exposed to" ice cream"

    You joke, but most parents tend to have a system set up whereby the kid has to ask their parents for ice cream, and the parent makes a decision as to whether that's allowed. With the internet, too many of them use the internet as an unmonitored babysitting system from another room, so they can access anything without asking.

    "Less damaging to internet users' privacy would be"

    ...a system where parents actually used the facilities already available to them to stop their kids from accessing porn, so that the rights of adults are not infringed as an alternative?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Michael, 3 Nov 2016 @ 8:53am

    "Today, it is easier for a child to consume harsh content on the internet than to buy an ice cream at the local kiosk"

    Apparently, the ice cream kiosks need a better user interface. If kids can manage to go online and find porn but are unable to go buy an ice cream, I have to wonder why the ice cream vendors are doing such a poor job of making their point of sale easy to manage.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 3 Nov 2016 @ 9:05am

      Re:

      If you weren't being sarcastic: ice cream: child needs money to pay for it, probably permission to go to the kiosk and permission to eat ice cream. Internet: it's all there any time unless the parent bothered to put a filter/block in place or is bothered to manage their own child's internet access in other ways.

      So, because some parents are too lazy/ignorant/busy to bother parenting, the entire country has to be treated like children, damn the consequences.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Great_Scott (profile), 3 Nov 2016 @ 8:53am

    I'd have to consult a Rabbit to be sure, but I'm fairly certain that laws like this aren't kosher... literally.

    Side note: In Judaism, parents are responsible for their children (in every way) until they are adults (at 13).

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Nov 2016 @ 8:55am

    Whenever politicians say think of the children, they are refereeing to their subjects ^h^h^h^h^h^h^t^s citizens

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Jordan Chandler, 3 Nov 2016 @ 9:01am

    Amazing

    Amazing how many modern countries can't move away from censorship.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    JoeCool (profile), 3 Nov 2016 @ 9:17am

    Hmm

    The damaging influence of watching, and addiction to, pornographic and severe violence has been proven in many studies, with great harm to children.

    *Citations needed.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    discordian_eris (profile), 3 Nov 2016 @ 9:22am

    The "problem" is that the politicians refuse to believe that the people they represent have already decided. Decided that they are not going to avail themselves of the options they already have and are not not blocking porn en mass. They simply cannot, or will not, understand that people like porn.

    Rather than believe that their constituents have such a "basic moral failing", it must be due to other influences. So we must protect them from that which they don't want protection from. It doesn't matter what country, many of the politicians have the same problem. They refuse to believe that their people might like something that they themselves consider immoral.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Nov 2016 @ 9:34am

    2 changes in governments everywhere badly needed. 1st, get rid of the 70+ year old members who grew up in times that were so strict about sex, it's unbelievable. when you consider this is the one thing that everyone has in common and is the necessity for reproducing life that keeps the species going. 2nd, stop this attitude of 'We are older and therefore know better than you'! this attitude is a disgrace! it may wash with 5 year olds, but the rest of us should be able to make our own decisions and WE DONT NEED YOU TO KEEP TELLING US WHAT WE CAN AND CANNOT DO!!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Groaker (profile), 3 Nov 2016 @ 10:22am

      Re:

      I am 70, and from what I see there is little difference in the desire for First Amendment freedom by age. It is based more upon religious upbringing and education. To wit, Utah is the biggest consumer of porn in the US.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    btr1701 (profile), 3 Nov 2016 @ 10:15am

    Common Sense

    > "Rampant underage access." That's a hell of a phrase. I
    > wonder if the Israeli government has any stats to back up
    > this assertion.

    It's pretty much common sense. I remember what it was like being a pre-teen boy. We were always trying to sneak looks at dad's Playboy stash or descramble Cinemax After Dark. It's just what boys (and girls, also) do.

    Given the ease with which anyone can access porn on the net, it's absurd to think hormone-driven kids aren't going after it with gusto.

    Not that I support government censorship, but let's be realistic here.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      crade (profile), 3 Nov 2016 @ 10:59am

      Re: Common Sense

      Trouble with your common sense is that
      "Kids like porn, so too many kids must be watching porn"
      doesn't take into account either the current checks that prevent access nor any of the proposed checks.

      The "common sense" assertion has already been used to justify several freedom sacrifices, and since it isn't evidence based at all, we have no idea if they make any difference or not.

      "Kids like porn, so too many kids must be watching porn" would apply equally before this block is in place as it would after the block is in place

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 3 Nov 2016 @ 1:05pm

      Re: Common Sense

      And violence too! You left out violence!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Nov 2016 @ 10:29am

    Good to see the government stepping up and doing a parents job, now if we could just get them to change diapers, nappies.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Padpaw (profile), 3 Nov 2016 @ 12:28pm

    Doesn't it usually turn out in cases like this that those pushing the hardest are generally the biggest pedophiles around, that use their governmental connections to hide the evidence from the public.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Cabinet Minister, 3 Nov 2016 @ 2:10pm

    I have the perfect solution. I'll be giving your kids free ice cream.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Mr Big Content, 3 Nov 2016 @ 2:40pm

    The Only True Democracy In The Middle East

    THIS is the way that a country that respects freedom, democracy and human rights should act! This is how your keep out teh unsavory subversive CRAP while still being true to you ideals!

    Sometimes we in teh USA can learn a lot from other cuntries.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Harry Nonymous, 4 Nov 2016 @ 2:20am

    "Rampant underage access."
    That's a hell of a phrase. I wonder if the Israeli government has any stats to back up this assertion.
    I would take it a step further and add another assertion: that exposure to porn causes harm.
    Has anyone defined the harm? Has anyone show an increase is such harm that correlates with increasing internet use since it was created (This assumes that a fair percent of internet use involves porn).
    Then, one would have to tease out causation, because correlation isn't enough.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Joseph (profile), 4 Nov 2016 @ 4:35am

    While the intent is noble, it will never work. Any teenager who is focused on getting to sites that are questionable will find a way. There is no way you can 100% block it without blocking sites that are not porn but somehow get caught in the filters. Plus, it is the parents responsibility to manage and control it. A better use would be to send the parents a list of sites that have been accessed so they can monitor their kids and take the needed steps to block them on their own, if they so choose. There are many software packages that can do this and it puts the power where it belongs, in the hands of the parents, not in a group of legislators that are looking to make themselves look good by passing a poorly constructed system to solve a problem that the government should not be involved in the first place. Plus you know, someone will come up with a way to bypass it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Dr. Ramon (profile), 5 Nov 2016 @ 8:29pm

    Answer to porn

    At least or that is until the return of Mochiach the answer IMHO is to REQUIRE a credit card for ANY access to all porn. Make it so NOTHING is shown on the site until a member login and a credit card is up front. This won't stop everyone but it may make a huge dent in the porn being surfed by children. As it is one can surf the vilest porn without any hindrances whatsoever, no login, no check for age, nada, zip.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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