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Mumsnet quickly abandons support for opt-in porn filter

Posted by malcolm on Thursday, February 10th, 2011 at 12:03

The politically influential online community Mumsnet has withdrawn support for a campaign to make ISPs block access to all adult content unless the customer specifically asks the ISP to let them see it. The campaign, started by Claire Perry MP with the backing of morality in media activitists SaferMedia, has received a sympathetic hearing from Ed Vaizey, the Minister for the Internet.

Mumsnet site admins assumed their community would happily support a campaign that claimed to protect children and make the ISPs take responsibility for Internet content, and established a “campaign page” on the website. But the campaign was met with robust criticism from within the Mumsnet community that the proposal was technically unworkable, an illiberal censorship that would quickly lead to blocking Wikileaks, and that it was dangerous to shift blame to ISPs for bad parenting.

The Mumsnet campaign page in favour of Internet blocking has now been deleted, leaving only a 300-entry discussion thread and write-ups by Mumsnet bloggers to document the policy blunder.

Where this leaves Claire Perry’s campaign for Internet blocking is unclear. But if she cannot count on the support of the UK’s biggest online family community, increasing attention will focus on Safermedia, her main collaborator.  Safermedia, formerly known as “Mediamarch” before it managed to obtain charitable status as a organisation promoting the advancement of religion, was founded by longterm Christian campaigner Miranda Suit.

Safermedia describes its mission as to work “in accordance with Christian values to minimise the availability of potentially harmful media content displaying violence, pornography and explicit sex, bad language and anti-social behaviour and the portrayal of drugs”.

This is an explicitly religious calling: on a page entitled “Our faith”, Safermedia quotes Ephesians 6:12:

“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

Update: See also report by The Daily Telegraph.

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