Concern for child safety as online porn fight ‘scaled back’

Mon, 18 Feb 2013

Ministers have been accused of failing to follow through on protecting children from online pornography, after a leaked document said work “can be scaled back”.

A source at a group set up to guard children from online menaces, including pornography, said there was “no doubt” the move could have an impact on child safety.

The Mail on Sunday obtained the document, which is reportedly a top-level internal memo.

Protect

In December it was revealed that the Government would be making sure internet service providers prompt parents to install filters to protect their children online.

And David Cameron confirmed that under the system, when people switch on their new computer, they will be asked if there are children in the household.

Those who answer ‘yes’ will automatically be guided through the process of installing anti-porn filters.

But sources at the UK Council for Child Internet Safety (UKCCIS), which works to keep children safe online, are concerned.

Safety

Insiders say the Government might halve the number of civil servants supporting the work of UKCCIS.

One source at the group said: “There is no doubt this could impact child safety.

“The plans are costly, so internet providers will resist. Without staff we will no longer have the muscle to follow them through.”

Labour’s Stephen Twigg, the Shadow Education Secretary, said: “Mr Cameron promised robust child protection online and support for families but this document exposes the truth – Ministers are planning to scale back this work, despite all the Prime Minister’s promises.”

Still working

UKCCIS is a voluntary organisation chaired by Ministers from the Department for Education and the Home Office.

Department for Education sources said UKCCIS was still working on internet safety, but parts of the project had come to a natural end.

The Department did not comment on the leak.

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