UK Begins World's First Experiment in Public Wi-Fi Censorship

UNITED KINGDOM—The United Kingdom has begun what The Mirror is calling "the world’s first scheme to stop hardcore porn being accessed in public wi-fi areas," which the paper also takes credit for instigating, following "a Mirror investigation [that] revealed a quarter of public networks allowed people to view explicit images and videos."

More specifically, the article adds, "In November, The Mirror tested 129 free Wi-Fi hotspots around the country and found 32 of them did not block access to, a website where thousands of hardcore pornographic videos can be viewed for free."

As AVN reported at the time, The Mirror survey found that "Places where children could access the site through free Wi-Fi included Waterstones bookshops in Birmingham and Southampton, The Cardiff Story museum, the play area at the At-Bristol Science Centre, the Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art, Coffee Republic and Esquires Coffee House in Doncaster and the Odeon cinema at the Liverpool One shopping centre."

According to today's article, those findings led to the formulation of the idea for the current "Friendly Wi-Fi" hotspots "by the "Registered Digital Institute (RDI) who were approached 12 months ago following David Cameron’s 2013 NSPCC speech on online safety.

"Then," continues the article, "the Prime Minister called for an industry-recognized and trusted symbol, which businesses could display to show customers that their public Wi-Fi is properly filtered."

As a result, beginning today, "Parents who see a 'Friendly Wi-Fi' sign in cafes, restaurants, hotels and museums will know their children cannot access explicit content," reported The Mirror, which proudly listed Tesco, Starbucks and Samsung as having signed up for the "scheme."

Communications Minister Ed Vaizey expressed his pleasure with the launch of the censored Wi-Fi, remarking, “The ‘Friendly WiFi’ logo will make clear to parents which cafes, restaurants and other businesses have internet access that is safe for their children to use.

“It will help these firms ensure that families feel comfortable and make it clear to parents they are choosing a safe online environment," he added.

Now, as the rollout proceeds, The Mirror can continue its campaign of shame by outing public places that fail to implement the new program, though it's doubtful the paper will expend similar resources looking into why the government's "overzealous" porn filters are blocking 20 percent of all websites. But no surprise there. From its consistent rhetoric, it would appear the paper's editors believe that what the kids might see online will surely hurt them, but what they don't (or are unable to) see will not. Ignorance, in that sense, is a Brit's form of bliss.

In related news, Prime Minister David Cameron's former senior advisor on internet porn filters, Patrick Rock, appeared in crown court earlier this month, "charged with three counts of making indecent photographs of children and one count of possessing indecent images of children," according to RT. "The offences, said to have been committed last summer in the US, relate to more than 60 images, all described as category C—the lowest on the scale."

In other words, he served in an official government capacity in his own country to implement nationwide censorship of legal content, but flew to the colonies to engage in the production of "indecent photographs of children." Nice.

Rock was released on bail and will return to court in early October. The article added, "The offence of making indecent images of children carries a maximum sentence of 10 years’ imprisonment under Section 1 of the Protection of Children Act 1978. Possessing child abuse images has a statutory maximum of five years’ imprisonment under Section 160 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988."