For immediate release.
David Cameron has today announced a crackdown on free pornography sites. In a statement he says that free porn "could be shut down within months" and "I want to see age restrictions put into place or these websites will face being shut down".
Cameron will likely use the same filters that were sold to the electorate as being there to prevent the distribution of images of child abuse. These were subsequently, almost immediately repurposed on behalf of the copyright lobby to prevent the free sharing of information on sites such as The Pirate Bay. In yet another case of scope creep that was predicted by Pirate Party UK, they are now being repurposed again to prevent access to mainstream pornography.
Expecting internationally hosted sites to bend to the will of the UK is short sighted at best. As the experience of countries with the most oppressive internet censorship shows, this simply won't work. China has had a "Great Firewall" for over a decade, and has failed to prevent access to any sort of information. Notably, if a teenage kid wants to view pornography, there has never been anything the government can do to stop it happening. If even the Chinese regime can't censor porn effectively, what can the UK government hope to achieve?
This is yet another ill-considered attempt at policing thought in the UK, and Pirate Party UK believe it is destined to backfire.
Pirate Party Leader Cris Chesha said:
"Yet again we see David Cameron trying to police thought in the UK, under the banner of 'protecting children'. It's time we stop trying to enforce good parenting at a national level, and educate parents in how to maintain effective parental controls for themselves. It has already been shown that national filters do not work, and that parents are less likely to properly moderate their childrens' Internet usage as a result of them being in place.
In the worst cases, we have seen blocks actually preventing teens from accessing important and potentially lifesaving information about bullying, suicide, sexuality and gender identity issues - amongst many other things.
What David Cameron clearly does not seem to understand is that it is easy to circumvent the national blocks using international VPN services, if one chooses to. In the case of The Pirate Bay, it became a case of playing whack-a-mole with proxy services, and only a few users migrated to VPN services.
In the case of pornography, however, my suspicion is that this change is likely to cause VPN privacy services to become mainstream. Ironically, this could turn out to be a good thing: more people encrypting their communications would be a back-handed win for us!"