EU law that could make UK internet porn filters illegal is heading for a vote

Monday, 13 July, 2015 - 19:00

For the past two years, the UK's internet service providers have been operating on an opt-in basis when it comes to certain adult content. Prime Minister David Cameron announced in July 2013 that pornography and gratuitous violence must be automatically blocked by ISPs whose customers then choose to opt-in to view it.

The new law would put an end to the UK "porn filter" as internet service providers would be barred from filtering such traffic from the start. Mobile phone operators in the UK have been using opt-in pornography filters for the past 10 years.

Yet the law may not be as wide ranging or clear cut as it seems, said Cris Chesha leader of the UK's Pirate Party. In the language of the law, "there are clear exceptions for court ordered IP blocks, and 'measures implementing this legislation such as a decision by public authorities', so there is no effect on either IP blocks or the government's objectionable content filters".

He called the new rules just "a small step in the right direction for consumers in that ISPs can no longer throttle connections" to allow preferred content to be delivered faster.

Chesha argued against the law's use of the phrase "net neutrality," stating the EU "should have no right to use the term". While these rules "claim to 'enshrine the principles of net neutrality into EU law'", he said: "That couldn't be further from the truth."

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