In terms of internal party discussion, one of the more controversial points at the current Liberal Democrat Conference is motion F17, “Protecting Children from Online Pornography“. This calls for opt-out filtering of the internet to protect children from “porn”, something I’m quite opposed to. It’s attracted criticism from mainstream internal groups as well as anti-internet-censorship campaigners – a conference update mailing from Liberal Reform supported calls to vote against this illiberal policy.
Thus was spawned the Talk Not Tech campaign against this motion. And in a survey out today, 81% of Liberal Democrat members agree: only 16% are for opt-out internet filters.
There is an amendment to the motion that would seem to support the most popular option, opt-in filters, but this amendment also calls for pop-up messages if you visit a “bad” site. (For some value of bad that usually includes news, support and political sites on issues surrounding mental health, sexuality and gender) A widely-supported motion that was more liberal in nature was unfortunately rejected by Federal Conference Committee.
As a result, we are asking for delegates to vote to refer the motion back. This is a little bit procedural, but we believe sends a better public message than rejecting the motion overall. We do want policy in this area, just not this policy.
If you are a voting representative, please head to the main hall for 5pm today (Sunday) for this important debate.
(The full breakdown of survey results: 16% opt-out filtering, 39% opt-in, 33% for education instead of filtering, 9% didn’t believe any change was needed, 2% don’t know)