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ISPs to include porn filters as standard in UK by 2014

Published on: 23.06.13
Source: heise online

Parental filters for pornographic content will come as a default setting for all homes in the UK by the end of 2013, says David Cameron's special advisor on preventing the sexualisation and commercialisation of childhood, Claire Perry MP.

Internet service providers (ISP) will be expected to provide filtering technology to new and existing customers, with an emphasis on opting out, rather than opting in. "[In the UK] we will have filters where if you do nothing, the parental filters will come pre-ticked," said Perry, speaking at a Westminster eForum on 14 June.

The move is part of a government effort to force ISPs to make filtering a standard option across industry, and to make the technology easier for consumers to use. As ISPs are voluntarily rolling out filtering technology, it will require no new legislation or regulations. It had previously been feared that the government would force ISPs to block access to pornographic content unless a consumer specifically requested it.

Perry said parents were "complacent" about the risks of online pornography, pointing out that only four in ten parents use some kind of internet filtering at home.

Features such as time-limited deactivation of filtering and email updates when filter settings are changed are expected to become widespread. "We will have automatic put on, so if you turn the filter off at 9pm, it turns on again at 7am," said Perry.

That said, restrictions on the content available to young people via mobile networks have been in place for a number of years. Access to pornographic images via peer-to-peer networks, sites like Reddit and Imgur, and also to pornographic content created by young people themselves, is unlikely to be affected by this intiative.

As expected, the government is pushing ahead with ensuring that all public Wi-Fi spots are free from adult content, Perry confirmed. Perry also urged internet companies to take up an active role in restricting young children from accessing hardcore pornography, saying, "the analogy I've used with these companies is, 'you've got yourself into a situation, by default, where you are peddling [pornography] to kids in a way that you never intended'". Culture Secretary Maria Miller recently summoned major tech firms and ISPs like Google and BT to a meeting on 17 June to discuss the policing of illegal content online, a separate issue to underage access to pornographic images.

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