A committee of MPs has announced a new inquiry into online child safety.
The Culture, Media and Sport Committee, chaired by the Conservative MP for Maldon John Whittingdale will examine how to best protect underage eyes from adult content, filter extremist material, including child abuse imagery, and how to curb abusive and threatening behaviour on social media.
In a statement, the Committee said: “Despite technological innovation and an increase in public understanding of dangers, the online world continues to pose hazards – from images of child abuse to trolling.
“These dangers are the correlation of the immense benefits provided by unimpeded communication and free speech, so any attempts to mitigate harms have to be proportionate and, where possible, avoid disadvantageous consequences.”
Read Recombu Digital’s guide to Parental Internet ControlsThe Online Safety Bill is currently being debated and David Cameron is working on getting the UK’s biggest ISPs to introduce filtering of adult content by default.
On top of this there’s plans to give the IWF (Internet Watch Foundation) and CEOP (Child Exploitation and Online Protection) more teeth. These organisations will, thanks to funding from BT, Sky, Virgin Media and TalkTalk, be able to be more proactive in their missions to identify and take down child abuse imagery.
Debates around filtering and the separate but related Communications Data Bill have focussed on as personal privacy and technical feasibility. Its expected that the Committee will discuss these issues in length and is asking members of the public for advice.
Anyone who wishes to contribute to the inquiry can do so in writing. The Committee will also be taking submissions online from Tuesday, August 27.
Hopefully lessons have been learned from last year’s debacle when it emerged that the Department for Education had leaked the personal details of contributors to a debate on adult content filters.