Peter Dawe, who resigned from the Internet Service Providers Association and immediately set up net-monitoring organisation Safety Net, is not a suitable man for the job according to two industry figures.
Larry Bloch, MD of Net Benefit, the UK's largest Domain Name host, believes Safety Net should be headed by someone who is both "committed to protecting the rights of children, and qualified to do so".
Bloch's remarks come just weeks after Safety Net was set up at an Internet Developers Association meeting in London where Dawe's proposals were attacked by a number of invited guests including Avedon Carrol, author of several books concerned with censorship. "I agree Dawe is not the man for the job for exactly the same reasons as Bloch's. His credentials, or lack of them, are not what you'd expect from a man leading an organisation concerned with protecting children and users."
Bloch said: "Safety Net's a marvellous idea, but we are only going to get one chance to unite the ISP industry and I think Dawe's presence may prevent some people from working with the scheme."
Cliff Stanford, MD of Demon Internet and a close friend of Dawe's, defended the latter's role: "Peter will not be doing the censoring himself - he knows he's not suitable to run the show, we all do. He's just putting in the money and the infrastructure."
Dawe responded to the criticisms, saying: "Obviously there's a lot of envy in the industry because I set it up. It amuses me that people can make these comments without doing any research." He added: "By far the most important issue here is to obey the law. It was obvious to me that if someone didn't do something about the porn stories people would think about the Net in the wrong terms."
As PC Week went to press, Dawe revealed Safety Net will be run by David Curr, a former civil servant and race relations specialist.
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