I breathed a sigh of relief today – the UK government is scrapping plans for automatically blocking porn.

When this came up it felt very much like a “Won’t somebody please think of the children?” move.helen-lovejoy

That is to say the organisations supporting the move were so focussed on the idea of implementing such draconian measures that they seemed to lose sight of the bigger picture.

Furthermore very few seemed willing to actually question whether there was another way we could be going about protecting children. All or nothing, as it were.

I despise the concept of filtering on a national level. I experienced it when I was in Dubai and ugh, no thank you.

If we really wanted to protect our children why can’t resources be put towards filtering on a household level using simple, open software, ideally running on the router?

Given how cheaply we can make low power devices (such as the Raspberry Pi) there seems to be no reason we couldn’t create software to run on routers that would be easy for parents to use. That way it wouldn’t matter which device was used the connection would be filtered at its source.

Running nanny software seems like a lot of trouble and as such doing it this way would bypass that and mean that all new devices would work just fine. That is to say a new game console wouldn’t need dedicated software to be kept secure as it’d still be going through the secured connection.

That said the software would need to be well tested and easy to use. But more than that we’d have to establish a culture that accepts and talks about these things. The government’s “Five A Day” programme has become quite accepted from what I can see, even if we don’t all actually abide by it. Similar things happened with the stigmatisation of drinking and driving – it can be done.

So if we make it easier and couple it with a campaign to make it the sensible and acceptable thing to do then I see no reason why we can’t have our cake and eat it. That way those of us without children can be as depraved as we want without fear of having our toys censored away from us!

In closing I’d like to add that during the consultation period for this legislation I did more than just moan – I actively took part in the study to voice my disapproval of such ridiculous blanket measures. The problem isn’t black and white; in protecting children we need to see the world in more complex terms.

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