South Africa follows UK with proposal to block porn by default

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South Africa it on track to follow the UK’s example by implementing an online porn block. In a report released last month by the South African Law Reform Commission (SALRC) titled Pornography and Children, provisional recommendations were made to block all digital pornography. However, while the UK is approaching things by requiring websites to verify the identity of users, the SALRC proposal suggests “all devices (new and second hand) be issued or returned to a default setting that blocks inappropriate content.”

The proposal also emphasises that anyone who uninstalls or works around the default block setting, allowing a person under the age of 18 to access adult content, would be guilty of offence.

The suggestion coincides with the upcoming UK Digital Economy Act changes, an age verification system that will come into action July 15 in the UK. The UK Government’s Department for Culture, Media and Sport has taken several years to come up with an Age Verification solution, which was ultimately outsourced to the British Board of Film Classification, and has thrown up many concerns regarding data protection.

The SALRC not only proposes rules around default settings on devices, but also seems to seek to emulate the UK, where all major adult porn sites are blocked and there is an opt-in option for proof of age, either via uploading your ID or retrieving a “porn pass” from a public store.

Whatever the outcome of the South African ‘porn block’, there seems to be a misguided consensus that blocking adult content is the solution for protecting those under the age of 18, with the UK as the guinea pig. In reality, these blocks will only make the situation worse.

Comments 3

  1. “a porn pass from a public store”
    This is outrageous, another tax on the British and probably now the South African tax payer.
    Just imagine the extra financial burden for a family of five, unless there are family passes, or it’s half price for kids under 12 and free under 5.
    And what about Benjamin Button? Does he get an adult pass for life or will you ask for his ID every year?

    It is incredible that in this day and age, we are not able to design HTML standards that provide us with some form of secure identity and a way for sites to offer content suitable to these identities, like based on age.

    Some sort of porn ban is necessary for kids, but letting each country define their own standards and rules or laws, or uploading personal IDs, is a sure recipe for disaster. Ideally, sites should tag each article for specific ages (not necessarily the whole site), and HTML should handle the viewing permissions dynamically without any other maintenance required.
    The black list should really exist only for sites that don’t play by the rules.

  2. The majority of male infants have an erection immediately after birth. They should be arrested and charged with obscene behavior. Doctors tell me that the male fetus has erections as well in utero. I think the mothers should be arrested for sexually arousing an underage boy.

  3. Why id there a desire to block porn ? It can not be to protect those under some age, such as the USA 18. May be it is some attempt to keep us all as a bunch of stupid and ignorant children. As If.

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