Online pornography to be blocked by default, PM announces
Most households in the UK will have pornography blocked by their internet provider unless they choose to receive it, David Cameron has announced.
In addition, the prime minister said possessing online pornography depicting rape would become illegal in England and Wales – in line with Scotland. The new measures will apply to both existing and new customers.
In his speech, Mr Cameron said family-friendly filters would be automatically selected for all new customers by the end of the year – although they could choose to switch them off.
And millions of existing computer users would be contacted by their internet providers and told they must decide whether to use or not use “family-friendly filters” to restrict adult material.
The filters would apply to all devices linked to the affected home Wi-Fi network and across the public Wi-Fi network “wherever children are likely to be present”.
Customers who do not click on either option – accepting or declining – will have filters activated by default, Tory MP Claire Perry, Mr Cameron’s adviser on the sexualisation and commercialisation of childhood, told the BBC.
The UK’s biggest internet service providers have agreed to the filters scheme meaning it should cover 95% of homes.
Other measures announced by the prime minister included:
- New laws so videos streamed online in the UK will be subject to the same restrictions as those sold in shops
- Search engines having until October to introduce further measures to block illegal content
- Experts from the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre being given more powers to examine secretive file-sharing networks
- A secure database of banned child pornography images gathered by police across the country will be used to trace illegal content and the paedophiles viewing it
Mr Cameron, who has faced criticism from Labour over cuts to Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre’s funding, insisted the centre’s experts and police would be given the powers needed to keep pace with technological changes on the internet.
According to some experts, “default on” can create a dangerous sense of complacency, says BBC technology correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones.
He says internet service providers would dispute Mr Cameron’s interpretation of the new measures, insisting they did not want to be seen as censors.
What do you think ? Will the PM’s announcement work?