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Last Updated: Monday, 9 February, 2004, 16:04 GMT
Internet porn: What can be done?
British detectives are trying to get police forces around the world, to help shut down violent internet porn sites.

The action has been prompted by the murder in Brighton of the special needs teacher, Jane Longhurst.

Her killer, Graham Coutts, had downloaded hundreds of images of asphyxia and necrophilia before he strangled Ms Longhurst last March.

But many experts believe that it would be almost impossible to stop such sites making their way onto the net.

What should be done about internet porn? Should there be an outright ban?

This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.


The following comments reflect the balance of opinion we have received so far:

Just how much do we want to be a 'nanny state' where decisions are taken out of the hands of the individual? It's not necessarily the porn sites at fault here, but more the individual who actually makes the conscious decision to do these horrible things. To ban porn and violent images from the net would surely mean a blanket ban across TV also? So where does this leave all the 'best films'?
G Kendall, West Yorks, UK

Porn that displays abusive behaviour, such as necrophilia, cutting, rape, non-consensual sex, children under 21 or, homicide should be illegal anywhere it takes place. However, porn between adults consenting to sexual activities, other than the above mentioned should be legal.
A. G. Wells, Denver, Colorado USA

Yes shut this filth down, no matter what you do its getting that bad now with all the sites that pop up even when you don't want them, do something about it please. Our children and grandchildren are at risk.
C Smith, Burnley

It would be easy for ISPs to search for offensive website URLs and ban their customers from accessing them. I don't know why this hasn't already been done.
Lee, Guildford, UK

Internet should never be regulated. Internet is the only tool guaranteeing media freedom and during censorship in Sri Lanka internet was our only means of finding out the real news. I am just concerned that world's governments may use internet porn abuse as their reason to control freedom of speech.
Bala Karunakaran, London, UK

Oh please - pornography is adults looking at pictures of other adults. I find it shocking that people are still so juvenile that they equate it with depravity and filth. It wasn't that long ago that you were all linking all gay people, like me, with paedophiles and rapists. I like porn but I don't drink or do drugs or smoke - are you better than me?
Paul, London UK

The internet is not to blame
David, UK
My goodness, you'd think the internet had invented pornography, IT DIDN'T. People make porn not the web, and the web was created with good intentions. It's just another case of a highly successful medium being exploited by a minority. The internet is not to blame. Police should be hunting the creators and webmasters of this sort of stuff and close them down.
David, UK

It WILL work, if people actually get on with it instead of just talking about it.
S. Pelham, West Country

It is in everyone's interests to ban these sites forever. The rise in porn is yet another indicator of how sexual and degraded our society has become. Where once people's sex-lives were kept behind closed doors and private between two people, you now cannot turn on the TV or go the cinema without being bombarded with images of bare flesh.
Jay, UK

Banning things never works, be it drink, drugs or porn. Banning things creates a desire to see or experience them. It simply goes underground and generates more cash for the providers. That's human nature.
James, Basildon, UK

Don't ban it...tax it. Then it will be acceptable.
Andy, UK

If certain people want to view pornography, then that's their right as long as it's not found to be illegal. It's also laughable that people think it's that easy to 'filter these things out' or 'control/ban/block'. Its far from easy, there are billions of people sending requests for web pages every second, sure they could monitor a tiny fraction of the data travelling across the net, but that's exactly what it is, a tiny fraction. The technology simply isn't there yet.
Rod Mc, Glasgow, UK

Before you can ban "porn" you have to first define it, and therein lies a problem
Martin, England, UK
Before you can ban "porn" you have to first define it, and therein lies a problem. One person's porn is another's harmless erotica. Add to that that different countries have different legal standards, and different definition of what a minor is, trying to impose one viewpoint on the entire web is doomed to failure. Of course, another option is to firewall the UK, and only allow in "government approved media"?
Martin, England, UK

We all know that there was never any violent crime, evil cults, pornography, child molestation and exploitation before the Internet. The Internet is obviously a terrible thing!
Paul Rowlands, United Kingdom

Did sex-related crimes not exist before the internet? Of course they did. The internet does not have the power to turn ordinary people into sex offenders and murderers.
Claire, UK

Why don't we ban everything? The food we eat is too dangerous. Our cars are deadly weapons. Television corrupts and anyone who uses pornography will be killers or rapists at some time in their life! Some common sense please. Disturbed Individuals do disturbed things and always will. Banning pornography will serve no purpose whatsoever.
Adam, UK

Why do people wish to see such things anyway?!? It just makes those with the mentally-weak minds complete psychos, who think they can then go and do what they have seen to anyone they come across without permission!
Victoria, UK

Perhaps the laws should be tightened to prevent people from being exploited in the making of pornographic media. But if someone wants to be in a film acting this stuff out, it should be their choice. The guy has been caught and justice has been seen to be done. End of.
Ben Patient, London, UK

As much as I loathe pornographic websites (particularly those infernal pop-ups that never seem to die when viewing the most innocuous website), others are as free to view them at their leisure as I am to abhor them. What would be helpful, however, is to have a different ending for such URLs. Have a .XXX instead of a .COM or .CO.UK.
J, USA

It must be extremely easy to filter out violent sites and violent sex sites. Firstly, as a user, you have to be registered with an ISP, who links to the web through other ISP's etc. All ISP's in the UK could be set up to block access to certain appalling sites, thus making it unlikely that any could slip through. Secondly, I assume that this material has to be paid for. Credit card companies and banks should just refuse to process payments to the businesses operating these sites; and indeed should not offer them ANY banking facilities. Could Ethical Banking have a part to play?
PJ, W. Yorks, UK

The porn is not the root of the problem here, it is a symptom, treat the cause
Simon, Nottingham
How many of us really believe that removing and banning pictures of violence or anything else for that matter will make people want to do it any less? The porn is not the root of the problem here, it is a symptom, treat the cause.
Simon, Nottingham

Surely no-one has ever been harmed by the taking or looking at a photograph or watching a film. People just need to be realistic and use a degree of common sense when allowing children and vulnerable people to surf the net. Adults should apply their own common sense, which seems to be sadly lacking in some cases. There are enough warnings around.
Alan, Wales, UK

People should be given a choice to see whatever they want. Too much censorship will only create the opposite of our intended results. Philosophy is the only solution to help people to make a 'correct and logical' individual choice.
Garry

Unfortunately, I don't think it's possible to extinguish porn without changing people's attitudes. That can be done by ideological education, particularly in schools. If there is so much sex advertising available to youngsters who don't know the difference between right and wrong anymore, how can you even think of getting people to stop watching porn? Banning porn sites is not the solution, believe me.
Stanley, 15, Norwich

Pornography of any sort is bad. It turns a beautiful thing into an ugly act. In the name of freedom of expression, many publications have sprung up that create disturbed minds. The law should be tough on those who create these images, including the people who appear nude, as well as those who download them. Maximum penalties for those involved.
Arif Sayed, Dubai, UAE

Like with a lot of issues today, education is the key. Maybe if this country was less prudish and sex was less of a taboo, there wouldn't be such a stigma attached to "strange" sexual practises and people like Graham Coutts could speak openly about their sick fetish and seek help to overcome it to prevent tragedies like this from happening again.
Anon, Surrey, England

An outright ban on all forms of porn, starting with internet sites, is needed like never before
Leanne, UK
An outright ban on all forms of porn, starting with internet sites, is needed like never before. It won't reduce internet usage by 75%, as previous comments have suggested, but it might reduce the number of sex crimes committed in Britain by that figure.
Leanne, UK

A ban won't work because the creators of the 'nasty' sites are not the kind of people who respect the law anyway. They are organised criminals and very, very difficult to find and stop and mostly not in this country. Besides - whatever method implemented to ban this would be circumvented in short order.. just ask anyone who gets flooded with Spam despite the newest filters.
Dave Crenshaw, Northamptonshire, England

This is like trying to stop violent crime. You can ban all the weapons in the world but certain people will still figure out how to be violent. Stopping internet porn is like pushing on a rope. Every technical problem has a technical solution and a technical way around the solution. Time of those who want to help would be better spent trying to educate rather than legislate.
Gary Alles, Albuquerque, NM, USA

I thought of one possible way to discourage illicit materials on net. Perhaps software developers including Microsoft should put in their software licence agreements that the use of their software/operating systems for such things is illegal. In this way authority has every right to shut these web sites down. However, I'm not entirely sure software developers would add such clause?
Richard Sweetman, Winsford, Cheshire

I do think that we have to make a world wide law, to protect our children. Using filters is useless there is always a way around it. If people want to see porn okay but they have to register and obtain a password. That way children and people can't get to sex or porn sites because these sites use all kinds of names to get you there. Try to type snow white and the seven dwarfs, and you get a site with porn.
Anja, Bradford

This debate is just like the television debate, if you don't like it, don't watch it. If you don't want porn subscribe with someone like aol and use the filters provided. You cannot stop the websites appearing, some countries will do anything for a buck.
Nick, Poole,Dorset

To paraphrase the late, great comedian Bill Hicks - there is sexual thought, therefore there is pornography and not the other way round. I would have thought that for every person who will act upon their fantasy there will be dozens who are able to satisfy their urges (whatever they be) vicariously through pornography, thus keeping their fantasies in the privacy of their own home. Banning internet porn outright will do more damage than good. Instead, why don't we try to be more open about our sexuality such as many Scandanavian countries who have lower teenage pregnancies, lower number of rape cases and sex crimes. Ever told a child NOT to do something? When will the people of this country stop being so reactionary and try to apply logic to our social issues instead of fear?
Andrew Nash, UK

The killer lived just blocks away from the victim and knew her in real life - what that has to do with the Internet?
Vladimir, London, UK
The killer lived just blocks away from the victim and knew her in real life - what that has to do with the Internet? If not for the Net he would have got the pictures from somewhere else. Or he would have dreamed them up - he was the problem, not the Internet. On the other hand, did anybody research how many potential murderers/rapists/paedophiles etc did NOT kill/rape/molested anybody because they could satisfy themselves with what's available in the Internet?
Vladimir, London, UK

I believe the internet porn does corrupt people as it provides access to any type of porn material that is possible. In the past this was not possible, you could get your top self mags from the newsagent or sex shop. If you had weird fantasies then you had to search purposely with risk of getting caught. Now with internet porn of all varieties, it is easy for perverts or the curious to find anything they might be interested in. But the people that actually commit crimes must have some sort of predisposition to wrong doing. Porn can corrupt your way of thinking or looking at things, but it does not change your feelings of right or wrong that you have had since a child.
john smith, London, UK.

Thought I'd offer another female perceptive from Sadies. I disagree with an outright ban, as it would be near on impossible. And what harm are people doing to others just by looking at "regular" porn. Yes I agree that there is a lot of sick grotesque stuff out there on the web, but the people who look at it will just find another way of getting that material. As for children looking at porn, well here's a novel idea, try supervising them.
Amanda, U.K.

I suggest all computers should be licensed and have an annual check like cars
Adrian Wilson, Cardiff
I suggest all computers should be licensed and have an annual check like cars. A licence would be issued to every computer user on completion of an annual check of their hard drive. If porn was found on a users hard drive they would be subject to the usual legal penalty. Users refusing or neglecting to get a licence would face heavy fines. Like car drivers, users of computers can cause great harm, so both should be subject to annual checks and licensing.
Adrian Wilson, Cardiff

If they did ban all porn sites and Internet usage dropped by 75% I'm sure ISPs and computer / server / software manufactures would soon regret such a knee jerk reaction being made.
Mike Harrison, United Kingdom

Why ban porn from the millions of people that are able to view and enjoy it responsibly for the sake of a tiny minority that aren't? Porn doesn't do this to people anymore than Grand Theft Auto 'makes' people murder. It's something deeper in society causing it.
Rikki Tissier, Essex, UK

Let's put this in perspective. There are many levels and types of pornography but what Coutts downloaded was "snuff" - a particularly nasty form of porn which, as far as I can remember, is illegal in this country. Downloaders of this type of material should be prosecuted in the same manner as somebody caught with child pornography and every effort should be made to shut the sites down and prosecute the operators. If the porn is clean and simply depicts sexual acts between consenting adults then fine, I don't have a problem with that at all. We don't need a knee-jerk reaction which would aim to wipe out internet porn. We just need to knock out the sites which depict suffering, death or abuse for sexual gratification.
Anon, UK

All porn should be outlawed if it cannot be controlled
Steph, UK
The availability of porn on the internet makes me sick to the stomach. Porn can be categorised by degrees or perversion, exploitation, abuse. All porn should be outlawed if it cannot be controlled. There must be a connection between perverted sexual fantasy (even latent), easy access to porn and increased perverted activity. It's a vicious cycle. More interest, leads to more availability. More availability means more actual abuse being carried out to feed this interest and more actual abuse being carried out by visitors to these websites.
Steph, UK

The internet is simply another channel to access information, much the same as magazines, DVDs, videos, etc. Unfortunately, there will always be the demand for such material, however it is accessed. Blaming the internet in this case is identical to blaming a printing company for the production of porn magazines.
Louise, Banbury, UK

Whilst in an ideal world it would be preferable to ban websites with illegal child pornography no one has questioned the problems of email. No the floodgates have been allowed to open millions of computers will have illegal porn images stored on them. Can ISP's monitor emails with illegal porn content?
Mike06, Salisbury, UK

I think we need to be careful not to confuse cause and effect here. This guy actively sought out the material because he was sick, not the other way around.
Alan, Scotland

The price of going forward is that we can't go back again, it is impossible to stop these sites so authorities should look towards offering help programmes to those who look for that type of material.
Helen, Birmingham

We can control/ban/block such things on the Internet as pornography. We have sufficient technologies at our disposal
Andy Timmins, UK
I do believe we can control/ban/block such things on the Internet as pornography. We have sufficient technologies at our disposal to do so; the real problem is the law and the costs/resources involved. Filtering out such content would in some areas of the world break "freedom of speech" acts and various other laws in place. Therefore before things could be filtered/banned/blocked the laws in these areas would need to be modified. On a global scale, this is almost impossible! There are of course a few companies offering blocking/filtering/banning as part of their service agreement but you has to sign up and waiver your rights before they activate it. Until the above is tackled, there's not a hope in hell's chance of anything really being done about it.
Andy Timmins, UK

One cannot 'ban' porn any more than one can ban sex or our obvious fascination with the whole subject.
Susie Saltonstall, Beverley. England

This flies in the face of the widely held view that what we watch does us no harm, and that censorship is totally wrong. Maybe it's time to reconsider. Perhaps it's too late for some.
Bill, UK

Porn sites are a fact of life. Perverts and weirdoes were around long before it, and they will be long after the Internet. Banning average people from looking at porn will not make a jot of difference
Richard Watling, Dartford

How can you ban something that's too big to control? It makes too much money and the only defence against it is responsibility.
Ross, UK

Banning online porn will have about as much effect as the recent ban on spam - ie very little. There are already far more effective filters available, perhaps these should be made more of a standard feature in web browsers for those who want to use them.
Paul, Bristol, UK

I have a healthy interest in porn and I like it clean. I would never seek out anything sick and I always stick to sites that have a zero-tolerance policy against sadistic / under-age material. In time, if porn sites want to survive and make money, they should adopt 'zero tolerance certification' status. That way, uncertified sites and those who access them may be more easily identified.
Jolzon, UK

When will people wake up and realise the world has changed? It simply isn't possible to remove a particular type of information from the Internet. We faced up to this problem when home videos first became available, and we survived. It's time for society to accept that any information is available to anyone, and to create controls over what we do - not what we read.
Toby, United Kingdom

The internet isn't just WWW. If it was possible to ban porn sites (which it isn't), all the content would still be available via the Internet newsgroups and bulletin boards, which are even more difficult to police!
Mike, England

Unfortunately, we live in a global culture that has colluded in the objectification of women and children for sexual purposes. The Internet is just one channel for this and a very democratic and ubiquitous one at that. Formerly pornography was given the respectability of being called Erotica and was the preserve of well heeled men. Nowadays it is everywhere and widely available to anyone with a modem and a PC. The closing of Microsoft chat rooms has done nothing to deter paedophiles and banning porn sites won't work either. I am afraid I don't have any answers.
Carole, Bristol, UK

The internet is not the cause of warped fantasies but access to images can feed them
Lynn, UK
The internet is not the cause of warped fantasies but access to images etc can feed them and seem to normalise them to the viewer. As a woman who has been subjected to sexual assault, I don't want to have to live in a society where these images are freely available to warped individuals on the internet, nor do I want them out there for the unwary to stumble upon. Let's get rid of them.
Lynn, UK

People are just looking for something else to blame because they cannot contemplate such behaviour. Like children watching violent films or games. I have yet to be convinced that there is any evidence that there is a connection to the way you behave and what you watch on TV or the internet.
Stephen, UK

What's wrong with porn? What are your fears based on? Is it the change of tradition perhaps?
Chris, Helsinki, Finland

Content on the Internet cannot be regulated on a global scale. However, if more people were prosecuted for downloading illegal content, this may discourage other people from doing so. Those who download illegal content are never "safe". The ISP always has a record of who has downloaded what. This information is already passed to the intelligence services courtesy of a small black box which, by law, must be installed in the ISP's network. All the police need to do is to maintain a database of illegal content. A simple program which compares the database to each ISP log every so often would catch plenty of offenders.
Ric, UK

Banning all cars would save far more lives than banning all internet porn. It's probably a more realistic goal as well.
Adam, London, UK

Less regulation and more education
Gareth Rippingale, UK
Again we look to solve problems by attacking the symptoms. Cutting the supply of such material will do nothing to hinder the demand for it. If not on the internet, it will be somewhere else. What we need is to discover why people are turning to such fetishes in the first place, and prevent people from falling down that path. Less regulation and more education.
Gareth Rippingale, UK

One of the papers today carries the headline 'Killed by the Internet'. Using this kind of flawed logic, it would be easy to argue that nylon is in fact the culprit. Whilst we need to look at trying to control access to media which contains horrifying and malicious acts of violence, it is not a debate which can be conducted effectively while the media insists on turning the issues into such easily dismissible nonsense.
Brendan MacLean, Birmingham, UK

I feel very sorry for the relatives and victims of these type of crimes but I think the internet has done far more good in terms of allowing the authorities to track down sexual deviants and in bringing these people "out of the woodwork" so to speak. In addition it also gives psychologists a valuable insight into the mind of each offender. I would rather the web sites stayed online but were monitored more thoroughly. Taking the websites down will only drive these sickos further underground.
David Howe, Chelmsford UK

Pornographers don't just make the stuff and put it up for fun; they do it because there is a profit involved. As long as people are willing to use pornography, there will be people willing to make pornography. The only way to stop it will be if everyone decides they no longer want to use it - a 'crackdown' will be futile. It's about time people took a collective responsibility.
Peter Gasston, London, England

ALL pornography should be banned from the internet. You can't control it!
Peter Jackson, Portsmouth, UK

Without material available on the internet to partially sate his lust, who knows how many more people might have died at the hands of Graham Coutts? Who knows how many other people accessing this material have not killed as a result of it being available?
Patrick, Cambridge

Unrestricted access to pornography can be as damaging as any addiction
Andrew, Luton, UK
Pornography is particularly addictive to men because it stimulates testosterone production. Clearly, Coutts got an extra "rush" from associating this with violence. So, it is nonsense to say the Web is blameless here. Unrestricted access to pornography can be as damaging as any addiction. There is nothing to be done about the content of sites, most are in America and beyond the law, but it is easy to limit porn addiction. All that is needed is to make sure that every Web user knows that what they do is not secret.
Andrew, Luton, UK

When will people realise that the Internet is simply a reflection of humanity? The Internet has the capacity to display information about absolutely anything, the sheer number of porn sites tells us a great deal about ourselves. Censorship is not the answer, an effort to move away from a greed-driven society and create a happier world to live in is.
Stuart W, UK

I know...Let's have an inquiry. They're all the rage these days.
Bob, UK

The human spirit does not react well to repression. Alcohol and pornography are easily found by varying age groups throughout Italy. In deep contrast with repressive Britain, Italy has no where near the violent sexual offences registered by the UK or the alcohol abuse problems. Does repression work? I'm convinced we need greater transparency.
David Boiardi, UK

I think online porn companies should be taxed and that money used to control illegal material. After all they seem to be the only ones making money on the Internet, it's only fair for them to give some back!
rss, London, UK

The biggest problem is that this evil material is submitted and uploaded onto the Internet in the dark behind closed doors
Bob Lucas, Gosport, England
The biggest problem is that this evil material is submitted and uploaded onto the Internet in the dark behind closed doors. Those who profit from it are part of an evil which defies creation. Pornography is one of the richest, fastest growing empires on the planet. Only when good men do something about it will it be torn down. It only takes good men to do nothing for it to spread like a vile cancer.
Bob Lucas, Gosport, England

There is now the need for an International Treaty to protect the innocent.
Hyder Ali Pirwany, Okehampton, England

It's terribly naive to suppose that you could "cure" the evil of this world by removing a few porn sites from the Internet. I'm certain that whilst these sites may have fuelled this man's fantasy, they couldn't have initiated it. Furthermore, even if it could be proved that these sites were indeed the catalyst for his reprehensible behaviour, does it necessarily follow that anyone who views such material will likewise become a deranged killer? I trust that I wouldn't. I trust that I have enough education, compassion and plain social-awareness to know where to draw the line between fantasy and reality. Like everything else in life, the problem cannot be solved by simplistic, knee-jerk reactions.
Alan Colquhoun, Livingston, Scotland

As someone who makes a living from a website I get a little annoyed with the constant barrage of media stories blaming the internet for a multitude of crimes committed. The internet is merely a tool. People kill others while drink driving every day. It doesn't mean to say that the motorcar should be banned. We are all responsible for our own actions. The web isn't corrupt or sick. Its the people that use it for illegal acts that are.
Rob, Southampton

Its quite simple - ISP's can and should shut down illegal sites. even better, these people should have a little more self control and self respect and not visit these sites!!! And people who have the slightest concern about their partners can always install a net nanny to block access to the sites they choose
Em, UK

he Internet is not evil... like any gathering of humanity it shows us for what we are
Mark Edwards, Bristol
Banning anything on the Internet is a fruitless goal. Closing down a site that is "offensive" merely causes it to move elsewhere. The definitions of what are offensive vary radically from one judicial domain to another. What we deem offence in the UK might be considered daily fare in Scandinavia. Or what is acceptable to us is considered outrageous by Iran or Saudi Arabia. The only global consensus for tracking down sites is with regard to child porn sites, largely because the global legal definitions do not differ too much. The Internet is not evil, it is a bunch of wires connecting computers and people. Like any gathering of humanity it shows us for what we are. Human nature and evolution is what we should be concerned with here, not the technology that highlights it.
Mark Edwards, Bristol

Interesting to see that so far it's all men who have responded. A complete ban on cyberspace pornography SHOULD be implemented. There are a thousand publications out there for the type of person who seeks self-gratification so let them go buy their magazines instead. It's hard to look around anywhere these days and not see some form of porno practically shoved in our faces.
Sadie, London

This kind of knee-jerk reaction won't solve the problem - there were gruesome sexually-related murders long before the internet arrived! Perhaps we could collate user data from these sites and use it to solve the psychological problems of such people before they offend.
James, Windsor

Internet porn is an affliction we will have to bare
Isen, UK
The internet cannot be controlled, full stop. In the same way that the internet cannot be completely turned off. There is no way in which you can police it as this would require the cooperation of all countries hosting servers... and this we know is impossible. Unfortunately Internet porn is an affliction we will have to bare, in the same way as hackers and spammers are. Free will and free speech come at a cost.
Isen, UK

I read recently of 'honeypot' sites designed to catch those looking for illegal images. If ISP's were to co-operate, traffic destined for an illegal site could be directed to one of these honeypots. If people know there is a good chance of being caught they are less likely to try accessing these sites.
Paul, England

With both the cannibal and the asphixiator insisting that they murdered during consensual sex, it's becoming more and more difficult to differentiate between what is and isn't a crime. Perhaps soon we'll all be signing sex contracts!! Sex should be between two people who are happy with what they are doing - keep it all off the internet, which is so badly monitored. Keep porn in sex shops where entry is for over 18s/21s which would also cut down on the risk of a child coming across it.
, UK

Our films are vetted by a census body and graded, or banned, accordingly. Our news and magazine content is censored for acceptable levels, but the most readily media access has no restrictions to the most violent & obscene material. These sites should be closed immediately until an acceptable standard is formulated.
Alex Groves, Cramlington, UK

The Internet is no more the cause of pornography than video tape, film or paper
Andrew Thomas, Moreton-in-Marsh, UK
The Internet is no more the cause of pornography than video tape, film or paper. It is simply a communications medium. Pornography has been the driving force behind every method of communication since cavemen started painting on walls. Apart from the fact that a ban on Web porn could never be achieved, is there any evidence that porn in any form actually makes people go out and commit crimes? Do police web sites make people become policemen?
Andrew Thomas, Moreton-in-Marsh, UK

While it is not possible to stop people providing content, it is possible to stop people accessing it. This already happening in the likes of China and North Korea who have a policy that you can see nothing except the content specifically defined by the state. I personally deplore this method of state control, but it is the only way a state would seriously be able to deal with such sites.
Darryl Paterson, New Malden, Surrey

How many porn websites? Millions. How many people actually end up acting out these sick fantasies? Half a dozen a year? Lets put this into perspective before spending millions trying to combat an invisible and impossible enemy!
Andy Green, Plymouth, UK.

There should be a way to identify all adult websites with a .porn or .adult suffix. An outright ban would only push everything underground and there would be less chances of regulating it. Porn does have its uses, all we hear about is the downside to porn.
Andy, Poole, Dorset

Imposing legislation to prohibit people downloading such images is a dangerous solution
John B, UK
There can never be an outright ban for the simple reason that a site cannot be bound by the laws of a state that does not host the server. When laws of two countries differ a web site will drift to the more liberal regime if they have an interest in doing so. Imposing legislation to prohibit people downloading such images is a dangerous solution unless it is thought through very well on the basis it is still very easy to stumble unwittingly into this material, and I imagine it is safe to say nobody wants to see the innocent surfer who took a virtual wrong turn punished while those who actively seek this stuff out hide behind human rights legislation and an army of publicly-funded lawyers.
John B, UK

Should there be an outright ban on internet porn? No, of course not. If adults choose to be photographed and if people choose to look at those photographs then that is their business and nobody else's. Ban child porn and anything that's actually illegal, of course, but anything else would just be another example of our nanny state going too far.
James, Coventry, England

The only way to stop the rise of internet porn is to enforce global legislation regarding the internet, otherwise these sites will end up being hosted on servers running in some obscure country somewhere that doesn't fall within the law. ISPs and web hosts could do more to prevent this sort of thing, after all it's their servers that these sites are hosted on.
Rich, UK

People are naturally interested in sex. It is a drive controlled by the set up of a man. Therefore it cannot be controlled by legislation or law enforcing. It is better to leave it on its own and if any control is exercised that should be on the forms that have been described in criminal laws like necrophilia and equivalent things. Anything that could be seen as normal in rather wide sense should not be either controlled or banned.
Istvan Hunanui, Moldova

Stopping these sites will be like trying to nail jelly to a wall
Dan, UK
Stopping these sites will be like trying to nail jelly to a wall. Instead the focus should be on tracking those found with downloaded images of sexual violence.
Dan, UK

There is absolutely nothing that could be done to prevent people accessing such websites, nor the websites themselves being hosted. All that it requires for such content to continue to be available is one country (and there will certainly be more than one) without the laws, resources or inclination to close down a website hosted on its territory.
Filtering at the UK end is equally impossible. The computing resources required simply don't exist. And even if they did, who is to make the judgement on what is permitted and what is not? Would we really want to put in place mechanisms that could examine the content of every last piece of data passing across our electronic borders?
Steve Jones, London

The authorities have been trying since the web became popular to close down child pornography sites and I think I'm right in saying they haven't been successful. I think its a good idea to try and ban these sick sites, I'm just not sure its possible.
Richard, UK




SEE ALSO:
Man guilty of teacher murder
04 Feb 04  |  Southern Counties
Phone call to a killer
04 Feb 04  |  Southern Counties


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