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EU Ruling Dictates UK Porn Filters Are Illegal


The European Union, the political union of 28 member states in Europe, have ruled today that the UK’s porn filters are illegal. While this is the primary effect for our British readers on that side of the pond, the EU ruling will affect the internet in general.

The European Union has been a hot-button topic for a lot of people recently. What quickly began as a referendum pledge from Prime Minister of the UK, David Cameron, has now become a fierce battleground. So fierce, in fact, that Cameron himself has changed tact, as he now warns of the dangers in a future without the EU. The EU regulates and decides a lot of things for its member states, such as the way the controversial migrant crisis is being handled, as well as other aspects of life that some people dislike. For residents of the UK, the decision has been laid out to leave the EU and risk life without the Human Rights Act, or protections the EU affords. Some say it will give greater opportunity and autonomy in running Britain’s affairs while the opposition says it will remove free trade barriers and cost billions.


Sometimes, though, the EU gets it very right and pulls its weight. Earlier today, the EU voted to pass legislation that would render any discriminatory treatment of traffic unlawful. Americans will know this as “net neutrality ”, something which the FCC voted on not too long ago. “The internet is too important to allow broadband providers to make the rules,” they said in February. That really raises the question, though, if corporations can’t decide the rules – why has the TPP gained so much ground? The EU, perhaps using the FCC ruling as a template, similarly stated that service providers must “treat all traffic equally, without discrimination, restriction or interference.” This has mainly been done to cut data roaming charges across the EU, which have increased dramatically in recent years.

The big ramification for this legislation is that Britain’s porn filtering is now illegal. The porn filter was first introduced back 2013, and was described as a “censorship creep” by the Guardian . Essentially, it would force anyone purchasing broadband to “opt in” to porn in order to protect children. Never mind the fact that once opted in, minors would then be able to view content on that connection, customers would need to state they wanted access to hardcore porn. It wasn’t the greatest idea at the time and blocked much more than just porn. It affected drug information websites, sex education resources , and more. They tried to expand things again earlier this year, which would force customers to agree to receive porn in person at their local bank or post office. Once a household was unblocked, however, there’s still the fact that any minor living in the property could freely access the content again. Short of an RFID tagging system, it’s an implausible solution at best.


Anti-porn campaigners and government officials were, unsurprisingly, quite upset at the ruling. A spokesman for Downing Street said that “nothing would change,” and that “we will bring in our own domestic law to retain the existing filtering systems the ISPs have put in place.” At the moment, the ruling is still fresh, so there’s no knowledge of what penalties there will be for failing to adhere to it. A domestic change that would reinforce the draconian laws would still be illegal according to this ruling. There are, of course, exceptions to the rule, as sites that are actually illegal would not be covered. Things have been ruled illegal before and been ignored, such as the GCHQ’s spying or the NSA data collection, which was ruled unconstitutional. Only time will tell what will happen with these laws, but it’s likely that the UK will flaunt them and choose to brush off any potential sanctions.

With English speaking nations growing more and more paranoid, censorship and net neutrality are constantly under threat. It will be interesting to see how this will affect porn, particularly as more legislation is forced through under the guise of child protection , stopping terrorism , or pleasing corporations . The UK has quite a strict stance on porn right now, even going so far as to ban certain sex acts from appearing on porn produced there. This makes life quite hard for producers in the country; one adult group we interviewed stated that the government are “pushing the adult industry out of the UK.” That doesn’t even include the proposed Snooper’s Charter, which would force ISPs to record your daily web usage, including what kind of porn you watch. While the Tories have backed off a little from the most extreme measures, it’s still not a good sign. Well, at least you can still enjoy some anal play with the help of poppers… oh, wait.


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