August 26, 2013
CANADIAN CATHOLIC NEWS
Conservative MP Joy Smith has called for Canada to follow Britain's lead getting Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to block pornography in order to protect children.
On July 22, British Prime Minister David Cameron announced his government would require ISPs to block pornography sites from all users unless an adult customer specifically requested access.
"I applaud Prime Minister Cameron for his bold approach to work with Internet Service Providers to develop solutions to protect children," Smith said in a July 23 statement.
"In this massive fight against child exploitation and the sexualization of our children, every step we take makes a difference."
"Eliminating the easy access to pornography by children should be a common sense approach," said Smith who has led the fight against human trafficking in Canada.
The Winnipeg MP outlined some of the research that shows the harmful impact of pornography on children, noting the average age of first exposure is 12.
Not only does viewing pornography "rewire the brain," she said, but also it is "a causative factor in child on child sexual abuse."
"British ISPs have developed a filter to block legal adult pornography and this will be applied to all customers unless they choose to turn it off," said Smith. "And turning it off will be as simple as logging into your ISP account and unchecking a box. "
Home-based filters are available but the software only works on the computers in which they are installed, she said.
"In an age of wireless home networks, when many children have smartphones, and friends with smartphones, having an anti-pornography filter installed on your home computer is useless."
Cameron's plan has drawn much criticism from civil libertarians and columnists concerned about censorship and government control of the Internet.
Smith challenged the perception the UK plan is "an example big government intruding on industry."
"Rather than imposing regulations on the ISPs, the filter was a product of consultation and partnership between the government and UK's biggest ISPs to develop a means of protecting children from being exposed to adult content online," said Smith.
"That is what I would like to see in Canada: partnership and consultation between the federal government, Internet service providers and stakeholders. It is a conversation that is truly worth having."
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