Belfast Telegraph

Friday 18 April 2014

Internet firms to offer porn block

BT, Sky, Talk Talk and Virgin will give parents the choice of blocking adult content when they subscribe to internet services

Four leading internet service providers are to offer parents the option of blocking adult content when they subscribe, it has been reported.

BT, Sky, Talk Talk and Virgin will require new customers to specify if they want to view explicit sites, the Daily Mail said.

Subscribers who do not opt in will not be able to view online pornography, the paper added.

The move is expected to be announced on Tuesday by Prime Minister David Cameron as part of a campaign to tackle the sexualisation of childhood.

A new website, called Parentport, is being launched where parents can complain about television programmes, advertisements, products or services which they believe are unsuitable for children.

Ed Richards, chief executive of watchdog Ofcom, told the paper: "Seven UK media regulators have come together to develop a single website with a single aim - to help protect children from inappropriate material."

The latest moves follow a report by Mothers' Union chief executive Reg Bailey, which warned that children's lives were being ruined by internet porn, adult TV and advertising material and suggestive clothing for youngsters.

Mr Cameron said he welcomed recommendations to make it easier for parents to block "adult and age-restricted material" across all media.

Nick Pickles, director of privacy and civil liberties group Big Brother Watch, said: "We should tread very carefully when developing state-sanctioned censorship of the internet.

"Let alone the quagmire of deciding what should be censored, it is a dangerous path to go down to expect technology to replace parental oversight and responsibility. A free and open internet is the basis of Britain's economic future - for the Government to actively intervene on non-legal grounds sets a precedent that could cause irreparable harm to free speech."

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