White House petition to opt in for porn follows UK's lead

White House petition to opt in for porn follows UK's lead

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WASHINGTON, D.C. — A movement to require Internet subscribers to opt in to be able to view porn is gaining some traction with a petition on whitehouse.gov.

The petition aims to make porn something people have to choose to unblock instead of being a "standard feature." The move follows the United Kingdom's recent decision to block porn unless people opt in with their Internet providers.

"We are asking that people who are interested in porn should have to seek it and choose it," the petition reads. "They should have to 'Opt In' for it by making arrangements to receive it with their Internet Service Provider. Everyone else should be free from it and assumed 'Opt Out.'"

The petition was created by M.G. of Greenbrae, Calif. and has gained some traction, but is still short of the 100,000 signatures required by Nov. 23 to get a response from the White House.


A policy to block porn by default was implemented in the U.K. in July. Prime Minister David Cameron said in a speech that unregulated Internet has made it difficult to protect children.

"People's — most often parents' — very real concerns get dismissed," Cameron said. "They're told the Internet is too big to mess with; it’s too big to change. But to me, the questions around the Internet and the impact it has are too big to ignore."

A quarter of children reported seeing pornography that upset them, Cameron said. The White House petition claims simple searches can bring up unwanted porn, so more protection is needed.

To see the petition, click here.

"The average person, even children, can type in the word 'cat' or 'home' or 'soup' and instantly be inundated with offensive and disturbing pornographic images," the petition reads. "Parents and individuals have to go to great lengths to install Internet filters that often don't weed out all porn."

Search terms deemed "horrific" have also been blacklisted so they won't bring up results on search engines like Google and Bing in the U.K. About 95 percent of homes in the U.K. are now covered by the filters, according to the BBC.

When people in the U.K. sign up for Internet service, their settings automatically block porn on all devices. Those settings can only be changed by an account administrator, according to The Guardian.

A similar petition in Canada is also receiving support on change.org.

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Natalie Crofts


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