The Regulation of Pornography and Child Pornography on the Internet
47 Pages Posted: 30 Apr 1997
Date Written: February 28, 1997
Pornography has been the most controversial topic arising from the use of the Internet in recent years. Its availability on the Internet has caused fear and a "moral panic" among the government, law enforcement bodies such as the police, prosecutors and judges together with the media in general. There is no settled definition of pornography in a multi-national environment such as the Internet and cultural, moral and legal variations all around the world make it difficult to define "pornographic content" in a global society. This article will discuss two different issues within one context, the Internet: the regulation of harmful content such as pornography and regulation of illegal content such as child pornography. These issues are different in nature and should not be confused. Any regulatory action intended to protect a certain group of people, such as children, should not take the form of an unconditional prohibition of using the Internet to distribute certain content that is freely available to adults in other media. The production and distribution of child pornography is illegal in the UK and in many other countries. This also applies to the Internet. This article will discuss these issues and will examine the current initiatives to regulate the availability of illegal and harmful content on the Internet. The article will propose a multi-layered solution for the regulation of pornographic content on the Internet. This may involve the on-line users, Internet Service Providers, codes of practice, self-regulatory bodies, technical solutions, the Government, and the European Union in the near future.
JEL Classification: K42
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation