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Internet porn block ‘not possible’ say ISPs



/ 6 years ago

Government plans to block pornography “at source” are unlikely to prove effective, say ISPs.

The proposal to cut off access to pornographic material was floated by Culture Minister Ed Vaizey in an interview with the Sunday Times.

The government is talking to ISPs to set up a meeting at which the proposal will be discussed.

But, say experts, technical challenges mean any large scale filtering system is doomed to failure.

Legal issues

A spokesman for the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills, confirmed Mr Vaizey’s plan to talk to ISPs about setting up an age verification scheme to govern access to pornographic sites.

“This is a very serious matter,” said Mr Vaizey. “I think it’s very important that it’s the ISPs that come up with solutions to protect children.”

“I’m hoping they will get their acts together so we don’t have to legislate, but we are keeping an eye on the situation and we will have a new communications bill in the next couple of years.”

In response to the government proposal, Nicholas Lansman, secretary general of the Ispa industry body, said: “Ispa firmly believes that controls on children’s access to the internet should be managed by parents and carers with the tools ISPs provide, rather than being imposed top-down.”

Mr Lansman said its members provided parents with many different means of controlling what is accessible via the computers in their homes.

“Online safety is a priority issue for the internet industry and ISPA will be discussing the options available to protect children with Government,” he said.

“ISPs currently block child abuse content which is illegal and widely regarded as abhorrent,” said Mr Lansman. “Blocking lawful pornography content is less clear cut, will lead to the blocking of access to legitimate content and is only effective in preventing inadvertent access.”

BT, the UK’s largest ISP, said it would be “happy” to take part in any discussion of the issues, but added: “There are many legal, consumer rights and technical issues that would need to be considered before any new web blocking policy was developed.”

Source: BBC News

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