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Wikipedia founder: PM's porn plan is "absolutely ridiculous"

The founder of Wikipedia reckons David Cameron's policy on Internet porn is unworkable.

Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales has branded David Cameron's policy on blocking Internet porn "absolutely ridiculous", the BBC reports. It's all the more damning when you consider that Wales has been advising the government on online information since March last year.

Cameron wants to block all Internet porn to "protect our children and their innocence", unless households opt in. "It's an absolutely ridiculous idea," Wales told Channel 4 News. "It won't work. The software you would use to implement this doesn't work.

"Additionally when we use cases of a paedophile who's been addicted to child porn videos online, you realise all that Cameron's rules would require him to do is opt in and say, 'Yes, I would like porn please'."

Wales said that instead of making new laws, it would be better to enforce the existing ones. "For me, what's interesting about criminal gangs hacking into people's Facebook account is that all of that activity is already illegal," he said. "I can't think of any new laws that would actually help with that. What would help is actual enforcement.

"My view is that instead of spending literally billions of pounds, billions of dollars, snooping on ordinary people and gathering up all of this data in an apparently fruitless search for terrorists, we should devote a significant proportion of that to dealing with the real criminal issues online -- people stealing credit card numbers, hacking into websites and things like that.

"Unfortunately we're not seeing a lot of that. We see a lot of flash and a lot of snooping. But this is, at the end of the day, going to take an investment in real, solid police work."

Cameron's plan has been criticised for being difficult to implement, and for omitting peer-to-peer networks, which are more commonly used by paedophiles to distribute illegal material.

Wales also commented on the recent cases of abuse on Twitter. While it should be easier to report abuse -- which Twitter is implementing -- Wales said the service shouldn't be regulated more strictly. There are already laws against threatening people, Wales said, "and people are quite rightly being called up on this."

Is Wales right? Should Cameron maybe listen to someone who knows what he's talking about? Let me know in the comments, or on our Facebook page.

Image credit: Wikimedia Commons