Google Opposes On by Default ISP Content Filters

(Ping! Zine) – One of the most controversial topics regarding the world wide web was recently discussed in the public arena. According to a Wednesday report from the BBC, tech giant Google openly opposed the idea of forcing online subscribers opt in with their ISP providers in order to view adult content on the web.

The idea builds off a concept where internet service providers could oversee lists of adult-related content and enact filters, something that’s already been implemented by some companies. Google’s opposition to the idea was made public by Google Head of UK Public Policy Sarah Hunter during a debate held in Herfordshire, UK.

Meanwhile, Hunter said that other methods to avoid the viewing of inappropriate web content were available. “We believe that children shouldn’t be seeing pornography online. We disagree on the mechanisms. It’s not that easy,” the company’s Public Policy Head stated in the BBC’s report.

Hunter noted that simply providing such solutions could “deskill parents.” However, simply operating network filters doesn’t seem to be the main cause of the controversy. It’s the idea of having them turned on by default and forcing subscribers to opt in, an issue that creates questions regarding online free speech.

“We’re talking about putting legal communication, information, either out of bounds or something you have to turn on to be part of that free world,” commented chief executive Kristy Hughes of Index on Censorship in the BBC’s report. Index on Censorship is a free speech news website.

Google currently maintains its own adult content filter of sorts, offering site visitors a SafeSearch option, helping users avoid content they would otherwise find objectionable.