Online porn: MP says now is the time to protect kids

Fri, 27 Apr 2012

Now is the time for “commonsense solutions” to tackle online pornography, an MP has said, as pressure mounts on internet service providers to act.

Claire Perry made the comments in the wake of an inquiry into online child protection. It called for a government consultation on a default block on adult content.

But in recent days a government source raised doubts about a default block. And internet giant Google said legislation was a “blunt tool” to tackle the problem.

Children

Writing in the Daily Mail, which is campaigning for an ‘opt-in’ system for online pornography, Miss Perry warned: “Youngsters believe they have to live up to the perfect ‘pornified’ image that is presented online.”

Adding that a curb on pornography would be a “wonderful legacy to give to our children”, she said: “The time for hand-wringing is past and the time for commonsense solutions is here. We have got to act.”

Earlier this week a government source said it would not be right on civil liberties grounds to bring in an opt-in system.

‘Myth’

The source said users should “make that choice” themselves, instead of there being a default block.

On Tuesday it was reported that an executive at Google had said: “The idea that laws can adequately protect young people is a myth.

“Technology is moving so fast that legislation is a blunt tool for addressing these challenges.”

Powerful

But a Labour MP who was involved in the online child protection inquiry hit back. Fiona Mactaggart said internet companies “can’t argue that their industry should uniquely rest outside regulation for the public good”.

She added: “I accept it is not the whole answer, but you can’t say we’re not going to use one of the most powerful tools in the box just because the big players don’t like it.”

Earlier this week it emerged that the technology to make users opt-in to adult content is already being used by mobile phone networks.

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