POLITICS

Conservative MP supports opt-in system to view pornographic websites

07/23/2013 05:45 EDT | Updated 09/22/2013 05:12 EDT
TORONTO - A Conservative MP is supporting a British plan to put blocks around pornographic websites, saying the intrusion is a reasonable price to pay to better protect children online.

On Monday, British Prime Minister David Cameron called on Internet service providers to implement an opt-in system to access online pornography. Customers would have to tell their ISP that they want access to the adult content, otherwise it would automatically be blocked.

Joy Smith, MP for the Manitoba riding of Kildonan-St. Paul, called the plan a "common sense approach" to making pornography more difficult to access for kids.

"Surely, unchecking a box cannot be too much of a price to pay when it comes to protecting and nurturing our children," Smith said in a statement.

"However, since expressing my support for Britain's plan, I have been astounded at the immediate, uninformed accusations of censorship, anti-freedom, government surveillance made by people who have not taken time to actually understand the issues being addressed and the solutions being proposed."

A search for tweets sent to Smith's Twitter handle @MPJoySmith shows a number of users taking issue with her position.

A push for a Canadian plan similar to what's being proposed in Britain would likely face opposition from ISPs, which have argued that parents can install software on their own computers and mobile devices to block adult content.

Tom Copeland, chairman of the Canadian Association of Internet Providers, said on Monday that the idea of instituting blocks for porn websites has been bandied about for years but never got any major traction.