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Cameron targets child abuse websites

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Pity poor David Cameron. No really. The Prime Minister's much-vaunted war on pornography finds the Prime Minister attempting to appease numerous conflicting voices and ending up with legislation that will offer a fudged compromise at best.

Cameron's initial vision of an internet where users had to "opt in" to view porn sites was quickly stymied by service providers who did not want to stigmatise their customers, the majority of whom access "adult" sites on occasion. Cameron was offered a less stringent system whereby all new computers sold from the end of 2013 would have filters set as a default. Cameron claimed this as a victory. Because after all, any adult who wants to access pornographic images is going to be deterred forever by the daunting task of unticking a few boxes aren't they?

"We have to stop the people putting up the images, stop those accessing it and ask the internet companies to do better in stopping access to them," Cameron said. Part of the problem is that Cameron is conflating the very different problems of paedophiles searching for indecent images of children, and curious teens looking for porn sites.

Cameron's claims that his measures will stamp out child pornography on the net is a kneejerk response to the campaign of the Daily Mail, and seemingly oblivious to the fact that these kinds of images are already illegal and that committed paedophiles who want to access them have already developed complex technological ways of encrypting or concealing them.

As for stopping prurient adolescents looking for porn, Cameron had to admit that in households with more than one online computer, it was difficult to find an adequate way to police browsing.

Meanwhile, those who argue loudest against the degrading forces of pornography tend to be hypocritical about other kinds of degrading images. Cameron was clear that he had no complaints about Page Three models. The Daily Mail, the most strident voice in favour of web censorship, has a website stuffed with salacious pictures of celebrities in tiny bikinis.

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