Talk, Not Tech – 81% of Liberal Democrat members oppose opt-out internet censorship

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)

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