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David Cameron promises crackdown on porn and proposes default filters

22 Jul 2013
David Cameron at the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos 2010

Online pornograpy could be blocked by default under a new policy due to be announced by prime minister David Cameron today. In a speech that was released to the BBC, Cameron will also outline a policy, which will render online pornographic content depicting rape illegal.

ISPs will have to allow users to make an "active choice" as to whether they provide them with adult content or not, either through an online tick-box or via the telephone. New customers will have adult content filtering turned on by default until they express otherwise. Cameron warned that easily accessible pornography was "corroding childhood".

To combat this illegal content, the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (Ceop) would be given greater powers to investigate secret file-sharing networks.

The new laws would also see videos streamed in the UK under the same restrictions as those sold in shops. Furthermore, Cameron will ask for pop-up warning pages listing helpline numbers to be displayed whenever users search for illegal content.

Search companies such as Google would be given until October to introduce further measures to block illegal content, which the PM said they had a “moral duty” to do. Google said it would continue to work with the government on issues of content blocking.

“We have a zero tolerance attitude to child sexual abuse imagery. We use our own systems and work with child safety experts to find it, remove and report it. We recently donated 5m dollars to groups working to combat this problem and are committed to continuing the dialogue with the Government on these issues,” the firm said.

On Sunday, the prime minister asked internet companies to do more about online abuse images. "There's no one single silver bullet," he said. We need to make sure police have the resources. We need to make sure the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) can do more. We need to get the companies to do more."

Last week, a leaked letter sent to UK ISPs from the Department for Education (DfE) showed that the providers were being put under increasing pressure from the government to donate money to as yet unknown campaigns to assist in the fight against online abuse images. "I know that it will be challenging for you to commit to an unknown campaign but please can you indicate what sum you will pledge to this work that the PM can announce," the letter asked.

Many ISPs have already donated towards this cause, with BT, Sky, TalkTalk and Virgin Media announcing donations to the IWF of £1m in June.

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Michael Passingham
About

Michael Passingham joined V3 as a reporter in June 2013. Prior to working at V3, Michael spent time at computing magazine PC Pro. Michael covers IT skills, social media, tech startups and also produces V3's video content.

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