Tuesday, 23 July 2013


There could be no more (in)appropriate a place to take the picture for this blog than Necronom VI.
On the news yesterday, it was announced that the Prime Minister (of the UK) David Cameron has plans to block online pornography. He is also bringing England in line with Scotland and making the creation and possession of pornography depicting rape illegal. These measures come in the wake of the murder of April Jones, and, as I understand it, seek not only to make it more difficult for children to access any form of pornography, but also to get a better handle on child pornography and make it easier to track down those who make and use it.

If it goes ahead - and it appears that it will - internet service providers will be applying 'family friendly' filters to their services as standard, and if you wish to access pornography online, you must ask for the filters to be removed. Existing customers will be contacted and asked if they would like the filters applying or not, and if no answer is given, they will be applied anyway. In conjunction, ISPs will also be adding certain search terms to a blacklist, meaning that when they are typed into a search engine, they will pull up exactly zero results. Google have been quoted endlessly by the BBC as saying they have a 'zero tolerance' policy to child abuse pornography (alternating, of course, with the news of the Royal Baby).
Obviously, there is opposition to this. The idea of censorship of the Internet immediately raises some peoples' hackles, and I think it raises questions about the taboo nature of pornography and what that does for those who use it and their ideas about sex. If it is more difficult to get hold of, will it become more desirable? The Labour Party has spoken out against the idea of giving existing internet customers the option regarding the filters, and think that the blanket opt-out approach should be for everyone. 
I don't think anybody, truly, is complaining about the illegality of rape pornography. I'm always weary of the idea of censorship, and the idea of David Cameron, but I think he is right about this one. Whilst rape and rape fantasies are not, at all, the same thing, I sincerely doubt that rape pornography makes that disclaimer at the start, or takes the time to discuss and thus highlight those the differences. Nor do I think those viewing it have much interest in taking the time to consider such in that moment. Personally, the idea that rape might turn somebody on is abhorrent, and I fear for young men and women growing up and being aroused by those images and thinking that that is how sex should be. I'd imagine that such is immeasurably damaging to the anti-rape message. 

So let's go back to the filter.

Some internet service providers already have the aforementioned family friendly filters in place that can be removed upon request. The problem with these is that the filters are a little over-zealous, and tend to judge Facebook to be a threat (which is telling, no?). Half the country would ask for the filters to be removed the day they were put on because they wouldn't be able to go online and look at pictures of their best friend's dog's cousin's latest hilarious anecdote about...I don't know...trains. If Facebook is banned by the filters, I wouldn't have a hope in Hell of being able to access Second Life with them switched on. I wouldn't even be able to access my own blog.

A little disappointingly, as I told Carmine Chris what I was blogging about today (just as I had finished writing the above paragraph), he informed me that an article on the Independent (an important UK newspaper) had basically announced that Cameron's plans are, well...brutally fucked. If you'd like to read the article, click here - here! It outlines what I was kinda of saying, only much, much better.

After reading that article just now, I'm inclined to think that Cameron has given up a little easily. There are definitely issues involved here, but I think we need to do something. Of course this kind of topic is difficult, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't engage with it. Hmm.

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