Internet Porn Ban: Iceland May Lead The Way

By Alexandra Burlacu email: a.burlacu@mobilenapps.com | Feb 17, 2013 10:43 AM EST

Share This Story

  • Print
  • Email

Iceland may become the first democracy in the western world to ban online pornography, and it could lead the way for other countries to follow suit.

Iceland may be a small country with an openly gay prime minister, but it may also be the first nation to ban Internet porn. According to Halla Gunnarsdottir, adviser to the interior minister Ogmundur Jonasson, police and lawyers working in the field of sexual violence, as well as health and education professionals nationwide strongly support the move. Ministers are now looking at the results of a nationwide consultation.

Follow us

"We are a progressive, liberal society when it comes to nudity, to sexual relations, so our approach is not anti-sex but anti-violence. This is about children and gender equality, not about limiting free speech," Gunnarsdottir told the Daily Mail. "research shows that the average age of children who see online porn is 11 in Iceland and we are concerned about that and about the increasingly violent nature of what they are exposed to. This is concern coming to us from professionals since mainstream porn has become very brutal."

"A strong consensus has been building, with people agreeing that something has to be done. The internet is part of our society, not separate from it, and should be treated as such. No one is talking about closing down exchange of information. We have a thriving democracy here in our small country and what is under discussion is the welfare of our children and their rights to grow and develop in a non-violent environment."

The advisor goes on to say that although some people doubt that Iceland can achieve the ban on porn technically, a political decision is necessary to determine what can be done and how.

Iceland and its prime minister, Johanna Sigurdardottir, place great emphasis on gender equality in the country, and Iceland holds the top spot in the Global Gender Gap Report 2012. Finland, Norway and Sweden follow closely.

An online ban on pornography would add to Iceland's existing law against printing and distributing porn. It would also build on 2010 legislation that closed strip clubs and 2009 prostitution laws that criminalized the customer rather than the prostitute.

Internet and legal experts are considering several plans to ban pornography, including setting up Web filters, blocking addresses, and making it a crime to use Icelandic credit cards to access pay-per-view pornography.

Pornography always sparks controversies, and this is no exception. While many seem to agree that porn is harmful, censorship is usually not well received anywhere. The interior minister and his supporters, however, dismiss claims that restricting access is censorship.

"If we cannot discuss a ban on violent pornography, which we all agree has a very harmful effect on young people and can have a clear link to incidences of violent crime, then that is not good," said Gunnarsdottir.

At a global scale, Iceland may lead the way to an Internet reform. Other countries are keeping a close eye on the Icelandic model, especially amid international concern about the availability and increasingly hardcore nature of Internet pornography. Back in 2007, UK's Internet Watch Foundation reported that child sexual abuse images on the Internet are becoming increasingly brutal and graphic, and the number of images showing violent abuse increased fourfold since 2003 to reach roughly 20 percent of all porn content. A whopping 91 percent seem to be children aged under 12. Attempts to track down and prosecute offenders currently face tough challenges when multiple international servers are in use.

Gunnarsdottir says the Icelandic government is very serious in tackling this issue, and it could add a ban to its statute books this year. According to him, Iceland is "more willing to be radical than other governments," but others will likely follow suit once Iceland makes the first step.

Get the Most Popular Mobile&Apps Stories in a Weekly Newsletter

© 2013 Mobile & Apps All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.

Featured Video : Ericsson Announces World-Leading Launches Ahead of Mobile World Congress 2014

Join Our Conversation

Smartphones
Windows Phone 8.1 Microsoft Windows Phone 8.1 Developer Preview released – Get it now
Galaxy K Zoom unveiling: Samsung sends invites for April 29 event to ‘Kapture the Moment’
Age of Empires: World Domination coming this summer to iOS, Android & Windows Phone (VIDEO)
HTC One M8 headed exclusively to Verizon in Glamour Red avatar?
Tablet / Laptop / PC
Dell Venue 7 and Venue 8Dell unveils Venue 7 and Venue 8 Android 4.3 Jelly Bean tablets
Retina iPad Mini facing delays, may not launch until early next year
Refurbished 128GB iPad with Retina Display now available on the Apple Online Store
Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 – 2014 Edition: Pricing and availability now official
Gadgets
Amazon LogoAmazon reportedly to launch ‘Firetube’ set-top box before 2013 holidays
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and Galaxy Gear India launch: Pricing and availability
Samsung Galaxy Gear Android smartwatch now up for pre-order in Canada
Samsung Galaxy Gear 2 reportedly in the works already, may debut at CES or MWC 2014
OS / Software
HTC LogoHTC reportedly considering Android/Windows Phone dual-booting smartphone as Microsoft pushes for deeper Windows mobile integration
iOS 7 Chrome Incognito mode leaks private searches due to bug
Sprint HTC One Android 4.3 Jelly Bean already rolling out, AT&T, T-Mobile & Verizon to follow
Microsoft Windows 8.1 now available for pre-order
Internet / Social Media
Google DowntimeGoogle blacks out for two minutes, causes 40 percent drop in world’s Internet traffic
Xbox Music web player is live and ready for Xbox Music Pass subscribers
Facebook Android app collected phone numbers even if users never logged in
Firefox 22 brings support for web video calls, 3D gaming, and Unreal Engine 3
What's App
Adobe Lightroom MobileAdobe Lightroom mobile hits the iPad, coming soon to iPhones
Apple updates Mac iWork for iCloud suite – What’s new in Pages, Numbers and Keynote?
Microsoft launches Office for iPad, makes Office Mobile free on Android and iPhones
Twitter adds photo tagging, multiple photo sharing to iPhone and Android apps
Copyright © 2014 Mobile & Apps All rights reserved. mobilenapps