All Sections

MPs’ say ISPs should make XXX material opt-in only

Internet service providers need to do more to protect children from pornography, according to a cross-party Parliamentary report published yesterday.

The Parliamentary Inquiry into Online Child Protection is pushing for access to adult content to be made ‘opt-in’ from one connection, similar to how it is on mobile phone networks such as O2.

The Inquiry is supported by over 60 members of both the Commons and the Lords and received oral evidence from of ‘Dear’ Deidre Sanders, Agony Aunt for The Sun, Jerry Barnett, MD of Strictly Broadband (the UK’s largest on-demand video porn site) and former Home Secretary Jacqui Smith. The full report can be read here.

UK ISPs need to do more to protect children against porn, says Parliamentary Inquiry

As well as arguing for a single account network filters to protect against adult content, the report seeks to protect children against “other forms of disturbing internet content including cyber bullying, extreme violence, self-harm, suicide and pro-anorexia websites.”

Research found that six in 10 adults would support “opt-in” filters on home connections with 77 per cent of women in favour compared to 37 per cent of men.

Parliamentary Inquiry into Online Child Protection: Access to porn should be opt-in

The report and its findings has been criticised by Nick Pickles, director of privacy and civil liberties campaign group Big Brother Watch: “Technology is not a substitute for parenting or a quick fix for social problems.

“This kind of proposal is a sad sign of yet another politician who doesn’t understand how the internet works and believes it is for bureaucrats to decide what we can and cannot see online.”

A customer wishing to view adult content would have to opt-in, requesting permission, in a sense, to look at pornography.

“Are internet providers are also expected to spy on their customers to check they are not looking at something they should not be?” said Pickles. “This is a crazy plan and I hope the Government does not hesitate in saying so.”

Similar plans drawn up in the Online Safety Act 2012 Private Members Bill were criticised by Adrian Kennard of AAISP: “the block is [at the single account] network level so affects a whole household. Even if the block was 100% effective, if the parents want access to pornography then the block will not stop the kids accessing it via the same Internet connection.”

We’ve contacted the main ISPs for comment on the proposals and are waiting to hear back. In the report, written evidence was received from TalkTalk and O2. Private meetings were also held with representatives from BT, Sky, TalkTalk and Apple.

Comments