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].