The ghost of Mary Whitehouse lives on

Today a petition will be handed in calling for the Government to abandon its current position on internet safety and to instead enforce a ‘default block’ system.

The Coalition for a Digital Economy have summarised five reasons why this is a bad idea, while Christian blog Crimperman outlines the serious parenting and freedom of speech issues involved.

As we’ve previously argued, default blocking is a dangerous system that risks lulling parents into a false sense of security, while being trivial to avoid for youngsters. That’s why two independent Government reviews have rejected it and said it should be parents who decide what their children see. It also requires a major intrusion into our privacy, only working with a system of total surveillance.

The Government should be listening to the experts and looking at the evidence of how asking parents to turns filters on works. That’s exactly what it has done so far and I hope they do not abandon this reasonable and evidence-based position.

It is becoming clear those calling for a default block are motivated not by protecting children but making a moral judgment on what we should all be able to see online. It is not for the Government to decide what legal content should be available, nor for religious groups to dictate to parents how people should raise their children.

Denying access to legal content for moral reasons can only be described as one thing: censorship.

The spirit of Mary Whitehouse is alive and well in this petition.