Israel’s internet users are celebrating the defeat of a bill submitted by MK Shuli Moalem-Refaeli, from the Orthodox-nationalist Jewish Home party, that would have forced all of Israel’s ISPs (Internet service providers) to block pornographic content by default. Anyone wishing to view pornographic content would then have to notify their ISP, through phone or a web form, and indicate that they would like their porno filter turned off. Even though the bill was problematic and didn’t designate any body to designate what would be blocked by default and filtered, Israel’s porn bill had some support from other MKs including Karin Elharrar and Eitan Cabel and was still moving its way through Israel’s legislative process up until late Monday.
Ministry of Communication shoots down controversial Israel’s porn filter
In response to building discussion around the proposed law, the Ministry of Communication voiced disapproval, quickly causing the bill to be withdrawn. The Ministry of Communication told Israeli media source, Haaretz:
“The position of the ministry was and remains that no content on the internet should be pre-filtered, and that the various ISPs are obligated to inform the customer of the existence of offensive content online and to supply customers with filtering programs for free.”
Israel’s porn blocking bill has been blocked before it even reached the proverbial senate floor. After all, access to an Open Internet is a human right, according to the UN. Maolem-Refaeli promises to bring back her porn bill; though, it will instead aim at increasing the awareness of porn filtering programs that Israeli ISPs must offer for free. Even though the offending blanket porn filter iteration of Israel’s porn bill is no more, its mere blip of an existence lets us conduct a thought experiment.
Would you rather ask your ISP for access to porn or bypass them entirely?
Willingly entering yourself and your government-issued identity into a database, which will in turn be shared with the government, which has the stated purpose of marking your pornography viewing preference might sound insane to you: And that’s because it is. One of the other politicians supporting the porn blocking bill, Eitan Cabel, even told reporters that he felt that the possible privacy implications of forcing every Israeli netizen to ask for porn access were “proportional” in comparison with protecting the children. As the Ministry of Communication has stated, the government’s existing stance already endeavors to provide filtering programs to those that need it. PIA applauds Israel’s Communications Ministry for their acknowledgement that no content on the Internet should come pre-filtered.