EU rules UK's 'porn filters' are illegal

Ruling, part of the EU legislation on data roaming charges, will come into effect at the end of the year

The European Union has voted through legislation that will require all internet providers to treat online traffic “without discrimination” – effectively ending porn filters established by David Cameron.

The ruling, which has been greeted with dismay by anti-porn campaigners, will come into effect by the end of the year and is part of a broader move by the EU towards “net neutrality.”

It will require the removal of filters that prevent people from viewing online pornography, unless they have specifically “opted in.”

Watch as David Cameron defends porn filters:

Part of the EU ruling designed to cut roaming charges across Europe, the legislation states internet firms must “treat all traffic equally, without discrimination, restriction or interference” regardless of the “content accessed or distributed”.

It also says online companies cannot block access to specific content, although exceptions are made for illegal websites.

The legislation places the control back with the individual browser, giving them the right to “access and distribute information and content… via their internet access.”

The UK introduced adult content filters in July 2013. Internet users were required to “opt in” in order to view pornographic material or content showing gratuitous violence, otherwise such sites would be automatically blocked.

A Downing Street spokesperson insisted on Tuesday night “nothing would change.”

In a statement to the Daily Mail, the spokesperson claimed: “This means that if we need to we will bring in our own domestic law to retain the existing filtering systems the ISPs have put in place.”

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