Israeli Politician Drafts Bill to Block Porn on Cellphones, Internet

Israeli Politician Drafts Bill to Block Porn on Cellphones, Internet
Bonnie Elle
TEL AVIV, Israel — Communications Minister Ariel Atias is drafting a bill to block free adult entertainment and websites containing violence and gambling, requiring Israeli Internet service providers to use a screening device that prevents access unless a subscriber specifically requests it.

While ISPs already market content-screening software, Atias claims they are an unsatisfactory solution, saying he doesn't believe families will voluntarily install the software. Instead, he is suggesting content should be screened at the ISP switching centers.

Tel Aviv-based news service Haaretz reported that Atias understands his bill could be an invasion of the subscriber's privacy, as their names would be recorded in the ISP databases.

Secular groups are planning to object to the bill on the basis of invasion of privacy and freedom of expression.

As of last week, Atias was successful in getting cellphone companies in Israel to stop allowing free access to erotic services; now adult subscribers must send a copy of their ID card to the company in order to gain access.

According to Haaretz, Atias' bill on Internet censorship is aimed at silencing claims that he is cracking down only on cellular services.