Iceland Gets Cold Feet On Internet Porn

We all know that the internet is for looking at porn, but (sadly for some) that may no longer be the case in Iceland if the country’s Interior Minister gets enough support for a proposal to use internet filters to prevent viewing or downloading ‘naughty’ content.

Iceland’s government is mulling over a controversial new law that, if enacted, would see it become the first western nation to ban all forms of pornography on the internet. Interior Minister Ogmundur Jonasson is reported to be looking at new legal measures that would make it virtually impossible to access porn online, reports the Daily Mail.

Should the ban come into force, Iceland would thus become the first western nation to start censoring the internet – kicking off yet another round of debate on the merits and viability of such measures. Proponents of the law claim that the harsh measures are justified because banning porn would prevent children from accessing ‘violent’ or ‘extreme’ pornography. In addition they claim that the ban would reduce harm suffered by women and children.

”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,” insisted Jonasson.

But how would Iceland implement such a ban, you ask? It would be extremely difficult to do so, and would likely mean that Iceland has to build something similar to the Great Firewall of China, which is used by China’s leaders to block all manner of sites including those hosting XXX-rated material and many that criticize its government. In addition to blocking certain URLs, Iceland could also take steps such as making it illegal to use credit cards to pay for access to premium pornography sites.

There is a precedent of sorts, because porn is actually illegal in Iceland in print form anyhow. Other countries have acted to block pornography online as well. Last July, Indonesia restricted access to more than one million adult sites, while Egypt announced similar plans late last year. Meanwhile, in the west, the UK tried but failed to implement a different strategy that would have seen customers receive a filtered version of the internet by default – with persons over 18 being given the opportunity to “opt in” if they wished to view adult content.

Despite these precedents, it’s unlikely that Iceland would be able to completely block all access to pornography, no matter how secure its ‘great firewall’ might be. As we’ve seen before, when the UK attempted to block Pirate Bay, these things are easier said than done. Even in China’s heavily censored internet there are still ways to get around the firewall using such things as Onion routers or VPNs.

Surprisingly though, proponents of Iceland’s anti-pornography law insist that the proposals have strong support in the country:

“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,” says Halla Gunnarsdóttir, an advisor to the country’s Interior Minister.

About Mike Wheatley

Mike Wheatley is a senior staff writer at SiliconANGLE. He loves to write about Big Data and the Internet of Things, and explore how these technologies are evolving within the enterprise and helping businesses to become more agile. Before joining SiliconANGLE, Mike was an editor at Argophilia Travel News, an occassional contributer to The Epoch Times, and has also dabbled in SEO and social media marketing. He usually bases himself in Bangkok, Thailand, though he can often be found roaming through the jungles or chilling on a beach. Got a news story or tip? Email Mike@SiliconANGLE.com.