Debating Britain’s online porn filters

02 Aug

Earlier this week, I took part in a lively discussion of Britain’s upcoming filtering of online porn on Al Jazeera’s The Stream program. The producers asked me on after reading my recent analysis piece in The Globe and Mail, in which I expressed hope that the filters might actually work, in which case they would ultimately lead to more innovation and awareness around encryption tools. With governments increasingly spying on their citizens, the time for the mainstreaming of these tools is just about here.

Also on the show were Fiona Elvines, the operations coordinator at Rape Crisis South London, feminist blogger Zoe Stavri and Leigh Porter from UK-based Safer Media.

It was a fun discussion that covered many angles, from the unlikeliness of the filters working and the intricacies of rape culture to freedom of speech and the protection of children. For some good weekend viewing, check it out above.

1 Comment

Posted by on August 2, 2013 in censorship, internet, sex


One response to “Debating Britain’s online porn filters

  1. Michael Elling (@Infostack)

    August 2, 2013 at 6:27 am

    A good discussion. Highlights the issues of individual vs societal rights as well as the socio-political-economic challenges of trying to minimize risk. In this case the horrible murders in the UK. We had similar issues in the 70s and 80s that led to the formation of MADD and raising the drinking age to 21, which created a host of societal maladies including drug use, youth unemployment and ballooning tuition costs (if you’re under 21 and want to drink, go to college).

    The lines of cause and effect and complexity pretty much argue that government can’t restrict anything and intervention typically results in counter-productive and negative externalities elsewhere.

    I like your “counter-intuitive” approach wrt to filters. Paradoxes, the law of unintended consequences need to be addressed and causality need to be addressed. Fiona had real problems talking about the latter. I written about all 3 as regards net neutrality, your other favorite topic this week here and here

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