Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales rubbishes porn filters for internet

Jimmy WalesWikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales, one of the most high-profile technology advisers of prime minister David Cameron, rubbished plans for introduction of porn filters through the UK's internet service providers, and dismissed the proposals as "ridiculous" adding that the money would be better spent policing the internet.

Wales, who advises the government on open access to information online, told Channel 4 News yesterday that the planned software would fail.

He said when Cameron used the example of paedophiles who were addicted to internet porn – all that these plans would do was require them to opt in. He added, it was an absolutely ridiculous idea that would not work.

Wales' comments come after the prime minister announced last week that by the end of 2014 every new contract with a UK internet service provider would ask customers to opt in to receive adult content.

According to Wales, existing legislation around criminal activity online, including abuse and credit card fraud, was adequate, it was that policing needed more resources.

Cameron announced last month that he had reached agreement with major internet service providers on new-style filters that would block pornographic sites to new customers unless they actively opted to access them. Cameron also called on search engines like Google to block search terms used by paedophiles hunting for child porn images.

However, Wales said that problems like child porn, hacking of social media sites or abusive and threatening messages would be dealt best with by enforcement of existing laws, rather than the introduction of new legislation.

The Wikipedia founder told Channel 4 News it was interesting that criminal gangs hacking into people's Facebook account was already illegal. He added, he could not think of any new laws that would actually help prevent that. He added what would help was actual enforcement.

There has been a growing clamour in recent days for tighter regulation of micro-blogging website Twitter following high-profile cases of abusive messages, including rape threats, being sent to female users.

According to Wales, when one thought about rules about verbal threats, human society has a long history of rules and laws around this, and those rules and laws are very well thought-out.