Online porn to be blocked in the UK, unless you opt in

Porn will be automatically blocked by ISPs in the UK unless account holders choose to opt in, David Cameron will announce today.

Porn will be automatically blocked by Internet service providers (ISPs) in the UK unless account holders choose to opt in, Prime Minister David Cameron will announce today, according to the BBC.

As part of a raft of new measures aimed at protecting "the innocence of our children", search engines will be required to block illegal content, as we reported yesterday . That includes video that depicts rape, the possession of which will be made illegal in England and Wales.

Filters will be applied by ISPs to both new and existing customers by the end of this year. They'll be automatically on if you switch to a new company, but you'll be contacted by your existing provider to ask whether you want to turn it on, reports the Beeb, which has seen an advance copy of the PM's speech.

"I'm not making this speech because I want to moralise or scaremonger, but because I feel profoundly as a politician, and as a father, that the time for action has come," Mr Cameron will say. "This is, quite simply, about how we protect our children and their innocence."

The Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre will be given greater powers, including the ability to examine file-sharing networks, although the exact extent of this surveillance hasn't been announced. A database of banned images depicting the sexual abuse of children will also be used by police investigators to track paedophiles.

A parliamentary inquiry last year recommended stronger porn filters, including opting in to see adult sexual images. "While parents should be responsible for their children's online safety, in practice people find it difficult to put content filters on the plethora of Internet-enabled devices in their homes," said Claire Perry MP.

In theory the move would allow people to stop their kids accessing porn on any device they pay for, as long as it was in the parents' name. Exactly how ISPs and phone networks will decide what is porn and what isn't, and how they'll prevent users from getting around the filters, is yet to be announced.

Do you think an opt-in scheme is a good idea? Is it too easily circumvented? Are you worried about the government snooping on file-sharing networks? Is there a better way of preventing children accessing images they're not ready for? Make your point in the comments, or on our opt-in Facebook page.

Update: You can read the Prime Minister's full speech here.

 

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