Sample academic reading 3 : automatic pornography filter?

porn-banIn 2012 in Britain, there was some debate about pornography on the Internet, and the possible danger of children being exposed to it by accident, or having access to it. Some people said “the government must do something!” Some people suggested a filter should be placed in computers and Internet software that would  automatically block pornographic websites in every computer in Britain.  If people wanted to watch pornography on the Internet, they could ask for the filter to be removed. Other people, however, opposed this idea.  One person who opposed it was Dr. Sean Gabb.

On 19th December 2012, he was invited to express his opinion on BBC radio. Below is a summary of what he said.

  1. It is and should be the responsibility of parents to decide what their children can access on the Internet, just as it is the parents who decide (and should decide) what books or magazines their children read or what they see on television on in the cinema or on DVD. The Internet is not different.
  2. People who want this automatic porn filter assume that the politicians who will create the legislation share their values and opinions. For example, some who want this filter are Christians, and they assume that politicians who also want this filter must either be Christians or have Christian values. This is not necessarily true, says Dr. Gabb, and it is a mistake to make this assumption. When you ask the government to impose a control, you are trusting people whom you have never seen and do not know and who probably do not share your values. In addition, in the future, this control may be used in surprising ways, ways that you did not intend.
  3. If access to pornography is automatically filtered, what will come next? Once this law has been passed, it will create a precedent: it will make it easier for other kinds of filters to be put in place. We should therefore be very careful what we ask the government to control.

In general, Dr. Gabb says that there should be no controls on the production or distribution of any sexual imagery that is created by and for consenting adults.

Read the original article here: There is also an audio of the original radio broadcast.

What do you think? Do you agree with Dr. Gabb? If not, why not?

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