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Should we have to ‘opt in’ to view porn online?

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Should computers automatically block websites that feature adult content?; Credit: Matthew T Rader/Flickr

Let’s say you like porn…a little too much. Would it help to have a company block your access? What if that was a country-wide mandate?

That’s what’s happening in the UK, where Prime Minister David Cameron wants internet providers to block access to porn in all homes unless customers opt in. Such a move would probably never happen here in the United States where personal choice is seemingly sacred. But more and more, companies that provide porn blocking technology, originally aimed at protecting children, are finding a new market in adults.

There’s even a lawsuit against Apple by a man who wants the company to “sell all of its devices on ‘safe mode,’ with software preset to filter out pornographic content.” Chris Sevier, who blames the failure of  his marriage on his “addiction” to porn, plans to seek damages “due to the content he accessed through the Apple products,” which he says led to a downward smut spiral.

But is the company really to blame for his porn problems? Who should be liable if exposure to porn destroys one’s life? For addicts, does carrying an iPhone make it as hard to quit porn as carrying a pack of cigarettes would make it hard to quit smoking? How helpful are voluntary porn blockers?

Guest:

Tracy Clark-Flory, staff writer for Salon.com; freelance writer for Elle, Marie Claire, Women’s Health, San Francisco and the yearly “Best Sex Writing” anthology

 Should we have to opt in to view porn online?  photo

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