Liberal Democrat Conference: Lib Dems reject Cameron's 'illiberal' controls on internet porn

 

David Cameron’s plans to introduce tougher controls on the internet to block hardcore pornography were rejected on Sunday night by Liberal Democrat activists.

They denounced the moves – designed to make it difficult for youngsters to access explicit sites – as “illiberal” and overwhelmingly demanded a rethink by the Coalition.

Under Mr Cameron’s proposals, internet providers will be required to put in filters requiring households to “opt in” to view pornographic material.

Backing his plans, the former television presenter Baroness (Floella) Benjamin told the conference that family-friendly filters would be a key weapon against the explicit content, which she said created porn-addicted children.

She said: “This motion is about protecting children from online pornography and inappropriate material - it's not about censorship or stopping adults from accessing legal material.”

But a succession of activists denounced the moves.

James Shaddock said: “To lump everything considered pornography or explicit is unfair. It overlooks the variety and diversity of us all and the diversity of content that the internet provides. Don’t let us become the new Puritans of the 21st Century.”

Jezz Palmer said she had relied on the internet as a youngster to find out about sex education.

She said: “Implementing these filters punishes children who are otherwise completely alone.

“I know there are still kids growing up who feel how I did and there will be for generations to come. Don’t take away their only research, don't leave them alone in the dark.”

Faith Ponsonby told the conference that her 13-year-old grand-daughter had been bullied on the controversial Ask.fm social networking site. But she warned against introducing tougher rules for fear of forcing children to use the internet away from the watchful eyes of their parents.

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