Watching porn on public transport should be banned say MPs

Also among the list of suggestions were calls for train operators “to have a robust policy on preventing and tackling sexual harassment” and to block access to pornography.  Bus regulations should also be amended to prohibit sexual harassment and viewing pornography on buses, MP’s suggested.They added: “Policy needs to take account that public transport is not an age-restricted space; any pornographic material viewed in this space is therefore potentially seen by children.” “Yet, it is so everyday and routine that it is often invisible to those who don’t experience it. I am therefore delighted that the Government has accepted our key recommendation that this should be robustly tackled through its cross-government violence against women and girls strategy.” The committee said that the Government should enact this by forcing train operators to block pornography through public wi-fi on public transport and ban this activity through individual internet connection “so that all passengers can travel comfortably and safely”.It also urged the Department for Transport to direct bus companies to fast-track amendments to the Public Service Vehicles Regulations 1990 to specifically prohibit sexual harassment as defined by the Equality Act 2010, and to ban viewing pornography on buses.The suggestions have been welcomed by women’s charities. Sam Smethers, chief executive of the Fawcett Society, said: “We fully support this proposal. Pornography and the objectification of women have no place in our transport network.”In response to the report, Maria Miller, the committee chairman, said: “We heard from a large number of women, from the police and other agencies as well as researchers, who told us that sexual harassment in public places pervades the lives of women and girls, whether it is cat-calling in the street, upskirting on public transport, misogynistic abuse online or sexual assault in pubs and clubs or at university. A pornography ban should be rolled out across public transport operators to prevent women from being sexually harassed, an MPs’ report suggests.The Women and Equalities Committee said that advances in technology and widespread use of mobile phones means that viewing pornography on public transport “has developed as a new form of sexual harassment in public”.As a result, rail and bus companies should block access to passengers wishing to view pornography on public WiFi, MPs said.Their suggestion, published in a report on Wednesday, comes as the UK plans later this summer to introduce unprecedented restrictions on viewing pornography of a kind never before seen in the world.The Government is planning to stop children being damaged by watching adult content by stopping anyone from doing so unless they go through a “rigorous” age verification process. Meanwhile, some private companies have already taken their own initiative. In November, Starbucks announced that it would block customers in all US stores from using its free Wi-Fi to watch pornography.The MPs’ recommendations were made in October however the report, entitled Sexual harassment of women and girls in public places, now contains the Government response to the suggestions.These include: introducing a new law on image-based sexual abuse to criminalise all non-consensual creation and distribution of intimate sexual images on the basis of the victim’s lack of consent rather than perpetrator motivation and insist on a smoking-style public health clampdown on pornography, and for strip clubs to consult local women’s groups and sexual violence specialists when deciding on licencing venues. She added that while the government has responded positively to many suggestions, “this is just the start of the journey” and government departments, public bodies and local authorities need to collaborate to make public places safe for all women and girls.In response, the Government spokesman said that it “accepts in full the principle behind this recommendation”.Yet he added that all three equipment providers of WiFi on board trains already provide filtering protection against inappropriate content, which includes pornography.Meanwhile the Rail Minister has asked the Rail Delivery Group to seek a national commitment from train and station operators to sign up to the Friendly WiFi scheme – a government-initiated safe certification standard for public WiFi which confirms a service meets minimum filtering standards.The Railway Byelaws and Public Order Act offences already prohibits watching sexually offensive material in a public place. However officials added that while the Public Service Vehicles (Conduct of Drivers, Inspectors, Conductors and Passengers) Regulations 1990 provide on-board staff and police officers with the means to challenge inappropriate behaviour on buses, officials are considering how legislation  might be amended to prevent the inappropriate use of electronic media. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. read more