Photo Credit: Concord95
(illustrative)

A bill to censor pornography on the internet by default has passed unanimously in a vote on Sunday by the Ministerial Committee for Legislation. It was sponsored by Bayit Yehudi MK Shuli Mualem-Refaeli, who said she is “not interested in blocking a campaign for breast cancer awareness,” but rather wants to be sure that local websites clearly tag content in a way that assists the filters.

The bill forces Israeli internet service providers (ISPs) to censor pornography by default, and requires users to notify their service providers either in writing, by phone or via the ISP website in order to opt out of the censorship.

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The measure is aimed at knocking out underage access to online adult content.

“In the balance between the private individual and society, we take a wide view,” Mualem-Refaeli said. “We are calling to create a society that protects itself from things for which we pay a heavy price. A person who is interested in these sites needs to understand that at the moment Israel is in a process, that he is an individual but part of a whole society.”

The measure now heads to the Knesset to begin the process of final approval in the Knesset plenum.

Israeli ISPs are required by law to notify their customers that they provide internet filters they can use without charge. But lawmakers say many parents and other adults are not aware the option exists, making it clear that ISPs either do not notify their customers, or provide the notification in such a way as to make the option difficult to understand.

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