21/11/2013 09:23 GMT | Updated 25/01/2014 16:01 GMT

David Cameron's Child Porn Battle 'Win' Will Only Make Things Worse

David Cameron recently praised Google and Microsoft in their announcement to block child abuse images from their search engines in perhaps the most brilliant display of a politician not really having a clue what he's doing. Crimes committed against children are perhaps the most horrific crimes of all. Whenever we hear about crimes involving children as the victim, most will find themselves reacting with revulsion, directing visceral rage toward those responsible for such crimes. It is right then that those in power work tirelessly to put an end to an underworld industry that thrives on the abuse of children and bring those responsible for orchestrating such abuse to justice. That is, however, entirely dependent on those in power knowing what they're doing.


When I first heard about the announcement many months ago of Cameron meeting with Google and Microsoft execs over blocking child abuse images, my initial reaction was 'ugh, what an idiot'. This isn't because I enjoyed the ease by which I could simply Google 'child porn' and be presented with a plethora of images and websites that such changes would make almost impossible to find, it was because I know that such underworld criminal gangs do not operate on the internet as you or I generally do. Just like you wouldn't see a drug dealer opening up a stall in your town's local market, you won't see child abuse websites showing up on Google. If it were all that simple, all the child abusers would be in prison, the paedophiles who hadn't abused children would be receiving psychological treatment, and the world would be a utopia by now.

Of course, those who actually know what they're doing have spoken out about the fatuous steps taken by the PM on this issue, though of course you will never hear Dave admit that he got it wrong, he will only look for another non-solution to appease his Daily Mail reading voter base. Perhaps there are too many brown people in your local village, no longer will Dave be calling for people to 'Hug a Hoodie' his next campaign will be 'Fight a Foreigner'.

To a certain extent, I expect some may be willing to praise Cameron on simply trying; after all, it's the thought that counts, right? That's all well and good if he isn't making what is already a rather troubling problem much worse. In his efforts to have Google and Microsoft, as well as other search engines block such search results, he has distracted from a number of core problems that underlie it. The focus of tackling the problem should be on the roots of the problem.

The problem of paedophilia and, by extension, child abuse, does not stem from Google or Bing, but from a poorly understood psychological issue, as well as an underground criminal network that facilitates and distributes such material. In promoting this non-solution by Google and Microsoft, he is distracting efforts from targeting the parts that matter and will make a real difference. While Dave probably think the 'dark web' is just a few naughty websites that any person can stumble upon those who actually make, sell, download and share such material are laughing their arses off.

Perhaps it's my inner paranoia, but it seems to me that Dave's 'success' in the battle against child pornography is just a cloaking measure in an attempt to justify the government's incremental regulatory control over the internet. Because, after all, what better way than to justify the government's control over the world wide web than placing it under the guise of protecting the children?