Who Should Keep Kids from Porn: Parents or ISPs?

To what extent should our desire for Internet freedom allow the industry to operate outside of laws that are meant to protect the public good. Whose responsibility is it to protect children? 

What's the Latest Development?


A British public policy analyst who works at Google has said that parents are often complicit in their children's search for sex online and that, due to the rate of technological change, legal solutions to such a problem are largely ineffectual. Some in the British government are calling for an 'opt-in' system "which would mean users would be automatically excluded from accessing internet pornography unless they specifically indicated they wanted to view them." The Google analyst, Naomi Gummer, said "the idea that laws can adequately protect young people is a myth."

What's the Big Idea?

While the battle for Internet freedom has wide support among the public, and obviously among Internet companies, to what extent should the industry rest outside of laws that aim to protect the public good? Besides pornography, legislators want to keep children from accessing sites which promote self-harm and extreme violence but, they say, laws currently on the books are inadequate. Speaking on Google's opposition to an 'opt-in' system, Fiona Mactaggart, a member of the British government said: "You can’t say we’re not going to use one of the most powerful tools in the box just because the big players don’t like it."

Photo credit: Shutterstock.com

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