2 British submariners reportedly asked Theresa May to make it easier to download porn while at sea

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Prime Minister Theresa May outside 10 Downing Street after returning from Buckingham Palace on June 9, 2017, in London, England.
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Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images

Modern advances have made it so many of life’s creature comforts can be found at even far-flung military outposts.

For submariners plying the ocean depths, austere conditions remain the name of the game, however.

But two British submarine crewmen reportedly asked UK Prime Minister Theresa May to help them get some relief.

According to The Times of London, the two sailors encountered May at a reception for LGBT community members held at the garden of the prime minister’s office on Downing Street. (May was criticized for holding the event after making a deal with the conservative hardliner Democratic Unionist Party.)

May reportedly spoke with the submariners about improving day-to-day life while at sea. They raised the issue of poor internet bandwidth. May replied that it was something “we can certainly look into improving.”

“Thank you,” one of the submariners said, according to The Times, before his friend offered an explanation that may have gone too far.

“The problem is we can’t download any porn,” the seaman explained. “We have to take it with us on our hard drives.”

May quickly moved on, The Times said, and what impact the revelation will have on British submarines’ internet speed remains to be seen.

UK submarine

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HMS Astute, the first of the biggest ever hunter-killer submarines ordered by Britain’s Royal Navy, sails into the River Clyde and up the Gareloch to her new home at HM Naval Base Clyde in Faslane, near Glasgow, November 20, 2009.
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David Moir/Reuters

The US military has its own formal policy regarding pornography access for service members. The Pentagon has a board of military and civilian officials who review the material to determine whether it’s “sexually explicit,” as it’s illegal for hardcore pornography to be sold or rented on US military bases.

The US military doesn’t ban all material with nudity – just material that presents nudity in a “lascivious” manner. That term is left open to interpretation, and critics have said the board, which costs the Defense Department $5,500 a year, is a waste of resources and legally questionable.

In the UK, the government is pursuing a controversial policy to limit access to online pornography.

In July 2013, the “Homesafe” system proposed by then-Prime Minister David Cameron to block access to internet pornography was found to be run by a subsidiary of Chinese company Huawei, which allegedly had ties to that country’s government. Intelligence committees in the US have labeled Huawei a threat to national security.

The UK said this month that plans to put online pornography behind an age-verification wall would be “fully in place” by April 2018.