Iceland plans to ban pornography on the web

Iceland could become the first Western country to completely ban web pornography using a Chinese firewall-style device to block online content.

The move, which some critics say it unfeasible,is being considered in response to the effects, the government says, online porn has on children and women.

Iceland interior minister Ogmundur Jonasson said that restricting access to pornography online was not censorship and has said that the issue must be discussed as it was having a detrimental effect on children.

He said the government was now actively working on legal measures to try and stop access to all forms of online pornography.

Jonasson, of the Left Green Movement, said this would mean young people would not be able to see unsuitable content that was now accessible through computers, games consoles, and phones.

“We have to be able to discuss a ban on violent pornography, which we all agree has a very harmful effects on young people and can have a clear link to incidences of violent crime,” he said.

The government will now consider its options about blocking online access, including making it illegal to use Icelandic credit cards to access pay-per-view porn.

“There is a strong consensus building in Iceland. We have so many experts from educationalists to the police and those who work with children behind this, that this has become much broader than party politics,” said Halla Gunnarsdottir, political adviser to Mr Jonasson, referring to a general election to be held in April.

Previous studies in the country have looked at rape cases in the courts and concluded violent material freely accessible on the internet increased the number and ferocity of sex attacks on women.

Jonasson said that child safety is his priority and there are clear links between hardcore porn and violent crime.

However, Pröstur Jónasson at the Association of Digital Freedom in Iceland has branded the proposal to block online pornography unfeasible. He said as all content goes through a filter this means ultimately someone will have the role of deciding what is suitable and unsuitable.

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