You'd think that the prime minister of the United Kingdom had better things to do, but alas - David Cameron is going to tackle pornography on the web with a set of measures that can only be described as clear cases of totalitarian censorship, in which internet service providers, technology companies, and individuals are forced to block pornography.
The general idea is simple: all pornography will be blocked from the web in the UK by default, and if you want access to it, you will specifically have to tell your ISP to unblock it. This will instantly create a nationwide database of people who want access to pornography, but as we all know, government databases are never abused and are never leaked and are never hacked.
That's not all, though. Cameron wants to take all this a step further, and certain internet search terms will be made illegal - they will be blacklisted and not turn up any results. Google and other search engines will apparently be forced to comply, which essentially amounts to the UK government imposing UK-wide censorship.
This obviously raises loads of questions that a simple politician cannot answer. What happens when researchers at a university are conducting research into any of the matters covered by the censored speech? For that matter, which speech will be made illegal? Can we still search for Lolita? What about Vladimir Nabokov? The Police's "Don't Stand So Close To Me"?
The possession of "extreme pornography" will become illegal. What exactly constitutes as "extreme" will be determined by the government, and this, too, raises a whole load of questions. What about regular films about extreme sex acts? What about erotic novellas? Who - and what - will determine the boundaries? Will they be explicit and clear, or - more likely - implicit and vague?
Lastly - and get this - the UK police will create a huge database of child pornography which can then be used "close the net on paedophiles". While I'm all for catching those people, I get incredibly nervous whenever a government is building databases, since governments have shown to be about as competent at IT security as Microsoft is about selling Surface RT tablets (*).
This just seems like a terrible, terrible idea. The goal of fighting child pornography is obviously a noble one, but I doubt any of this will help the UK achieve said goal in any way, shape or form. Combating regular pornography is idiotic, stupid, senseless, and void of any understanding of human nature.
It's the parents' job to protect children from pornography. In fact, a study by the UK government conducted only last year among parents found that "respondents very clearly said that children's online safety is the responsibility of parents or a shared responsibility between parents and businesses". Why does someone who I would guess received a proper education dismiss simple science?
Elections aren't until 2015, so what's going on?