U.K. Proposes Ban on Extreme Online Adult

LONDON — It took Liz Longhurst almost two years of campaigning, gathering signatures, speaking with public officials and crying silently on national television, but her dreams of seeing new anti-pornography law enacted in the United Kingdom are very close to coming true, according to official statements from the British Government Tuesday.

Under new proposals announced by Home Office minister Paul Goggins, all forms of violent or obscene pornography “acquired electronically” will be illegal in the United Kingdom. The law looks to fill what many in the country consider a loophole in efforts to combat extreme pornography. Though producing extreme adult websites has been illegal in Britain for years, viewing such sites has not — something Goggins hopes to change with his new proposals.

"The fact that it is available over the Internet should in no way legitimize it,” Goggins said. “These forms of violent and abusive pornography go far beyond what we allow to be shown in films or even sold in licensed sex shops in the U.K., so they should not be available online either."

In accordance with British law, Goggins published a consultation paper Tuesday that government officials will study and write opinions on until Dec. 2. The feedback will determine whether or not the law is deemed necessary.

Goggins’ proposal would amend the United Kingdom’s Obscene Publications Act of 1959, which covers all other forms of “obsessive” or “violent” pornographic content, but was enacted long before the Internet came into existence. Goggins said the law would not affect anyone who accidentally came into contact with illegal content, but only people who “download it and make active steps to access it.”

Longhurst, whose daughter, Jane, was strangled in 2003, believes sexually violent images are to blame for her daughter’s murder. Police say her assailant, Graham Coutts, was propelled by an obsession with necrophilia and asphyxial sex when he strangled the 31-year-old special needs teacher with a pair of tights. At the trial Goggins admitted to having a seven-year addiction to online violent pornography. He was sentenced to life in prison for the murder.

Since the case, Longhurst has been collecting signatures in support of her campaign to combat extreme Internet pornography, visiting the United States last year to push for similar legislation in Washington. Longhurst also wants governments and Internet companies to block access to extreme sites, ensure better international cooperation, and act against credit card companies who deal with providers.

“I have worked hard to change the climate of public opinion [on this issue],” Longhurst told the press in a prepared statement Tuesday. “With the help of many friends we have lobbied the government, and I am hopeful of reaching a target of 100,000 signatures by Spring."