Iceland's Interior Minister, Ogmunder Jonasson, is drafting legislation that would prevent pornography from being accessed on computers, smart phones and other electronic devices. If the law is passed, Iceland will become the first Western democracy to censor the Internet.
Although it will be difficult to block specified Internet sites it will not be impossible. It would involve the use of filters currently used by other countries such as China to prevent its citizens from seeing what their government does not want them to see. Also being considered is a law that would make it illegal for an Icelander to use a credit card to pay for access to pornography sites.
According to CNN
, because Iceland is remote and has a relatively small population (322,000), blocking Internet sites will be easier than it would be in a country such as the United States.
As The Telegraph
reports, Iceland already has strict laws governing morality. Currently it is illegal to make and distribute printed pornography but that law has not been changed to keep up with current technology. And two years ago, Iceland banned strip clubs on the grounds they violated the rights of the women who worked in them and because they were generally harmful to society.
The purpose of the proposed ban is to protect children. Halla Gunarsdottir, an adviser to the Interior Minister says
simply allowing parents to prevent kids from seeing what they consider inappropriate content is not sufficient. Children access the Internet on smart phones and at other places outside of their homes. She says, "We say protecting our children is a task for the whole society."
The Daily Mail
reports the idea to censor the Internet began in 2010 when the government consulted with law enforcement officials, teachers and those who work with abused children. The consultations concluded violent material found on the Internet led to an increase in sex crimes. And children who watched this violent porn showed signs of trauma, similar to that seen in kids that have actually been abused.
Not everyone is pleased with the idea of censorship of the Internet. As pointed out in Gizmodo
, other "temples of democracy" such as Saudi Arabia, Iran and Yemen also censor the Internet in order to protect women and children.