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Prime Minister backs calls for ISPs to block adult content online
Monday 06 June 2011 18:33:19 by John Hunt

The Prime Minister (PM), David Cameron, has backed proposals that will enforce ISPs to block adult content on the Internet from being made available to children. The report from Reg Bailey, Chief Executive of Mother's Union, a Christian Charity, looks at ways to help stop the commercialisation and sexualisation of children.

The report looks at all aspects of media and society in which the sexualisation of children is apparent, and encourages industry and regulators to act to help stop this from occurring. This ranges from stopping the sale of inappropriate clothing to changing advertising and access to adult-material. In a letter to Mr Bailey, the prime minister pointed out three specific recommendations which he welcomes.

  • make public space more family-friendly by "reducing the amount of on-street advertising containing sexualised imagery in locations where children are likely to see it."
  • ensure children are protected when they watch television, are on the internet or use their mobile phones by "making it easier for parents to block adult and age-restricted material" across all media.
  • stop the process where companies pay children to publicise and promote products in schools or on social networking sites by banning "the employment of children as brand ambassadors and in peer-to-peer marketing."
Letter from David Cameron to Reg Bailey

There are various ways in which ISPs could filter content, including a full network level monitoring system such as the new HomeSafe system from TalkTalk, but something like this can be costly to implement. Many ISPs already filter content that appears on the IWF 'watch list' which contains a list of sites which contain child sexual abuse content and blocking adult material could be done in a similar way. There will be concerns about sites being incorrectly blocked however, and ISPs will need to provide an option for customers to make a decision at the point of purchase over whether to be filtered or not.

A website is also to be set up which will set out what parents can do if they feel TV programmes, advertisements or a service is inappropriate for their child, and the PM backs this as an easy thing to implement, whilst being able to provide feedback over where work is needed. This would be used at a summit to be held in October which the PM will attend, along with people from the relevant industries to check on the progress of this work. The full report, Letting Children be Children can be read at the Department for Education's website.


Posted by acpsd775 over 6 years ago
so basically just another way for religon and the government to say what is and is not right for people to do if people want to stop there kids watching inappropriate things set a pin up on TV and install parental controls on there pcs instead of trying to control everyone
Posted by c_j_ over 6 years ago
"A website ... TV programmes, advertisements or a service is inappropriate for their child"

A regulatory body for broadcast content on TV? What a concept. Oh hang on, Ofcon already do this. Or not. An alternative is needed, though whether this will be any more effective is doubtful.

"ISPs could filter ... a full network level monitoring system ... can be costly to implement."

Metronet did it for free as part of the basic service (using an open source caching filtering datacompressing proxy, if I remember rightly). Dunno what's happened to it now BT Sheffield are in charge of the remains.

Posted by drteeth over 6 years ago
Parents should filter and not the govt or ISPs. The PM is full of it.
Posted by chrysalis over 6 years ago
the british firewall is under construction.
Posted by themanstan over 6 years ago
This theBritish Firewall that will cost billions, have the deliverables changed continuously interfering ministers and in the end deliver something that doesn't work and finally gets binned?
Posted by AndrueC over 6 years ago
Well that's all right then. I'm glad the government has something useful to occupy their time :-/

I'm sure that setting up a committee or employing some more civil servants will be the answer.
Posted by fibrebunny over 6 years ago
So lazy parents will neglect their kids even more, believing it to be everyone else's responsibility. Considerate parents will continue as normal, not entrusting their childs welfare to Government or ISP's. The rest of us will just pay for it all.
Posted by rian over 6 years ago
I hope that British gov is not going to build a firewall or filtering system just like one of the biggest Asian country.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 6 years ago
At the local library as a child one was directed to the childrens area by your parents, but as one grows older you are allowed more freedom.

How different is the internet? Masses of information (some good/some bad)?
Posted by Cammy over 6 years ago
A library is different from the Internet by the very fact that it has a children's area! On line, it is all too easy for the children to stumble onto an inappropriate site even though I have restricted them as best I can with and SafeSearch (and yes I do still supervise their usage).

If you actually read what David Cameron said, he said wanted to make "it easier for parents to block adult...material" so it's not the government deciding what is appropriate, nor is it a British firewall - it is about facilitating what responsible parents are already doing.
Posted by Talk1968 over 6 years ago
The last time the conservative party was in power they brought in the Video Recordings Act and we suffered excessive censorship all in the name of "protecting the children" - Now here we are again with the same thing but this time they want to control the internet.
Posted by Talk1968 over 6 years ago
Cammy - I have seen this before, they start off by saying they just want to give parents some power to block unsuitable material for their children but then they start censoring what adults can watch, it always starts with good intentions but ends up with adults being told what they can and cannot watch.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 6 years ago
While I accept some parents who have not embraced the internet themselves need help in understanding how to police internet usage for their children.

There is a danger that the outrage we pour on other countries over civil liberties, makes the UK appear to have double standards.
Posted by otester over 6 years ago

Governments love censorship and any way to increase they're power.

First it will be voluntary then mandatory, just look at China...
Posted by otester over 6 years ago
Also I had uncensored net as a kid, you only find bad things if you look for them :)
Posted by liondog over 6 years ago
Just better educate the parents in the use of parental controls.
Posted by Talk1968 over 6 years ago
The other danger is that any system they implement might start by filtering adult material but then be used to censor things like "Super Injunction" stories on Twitter or anything the government or politicians decide they dislike.

They start blocking material like Rihannas harmless S&M song not because its too adult but because the words imply it is and get politicians and moralisers all upset. What worries me is the people making these decisions impose their moral standards on everyone.
Posted by Drefsab over 6 years ago
The biggest problem I see with this is the stink that gets kicked up when someone finds little timmy has been watching 2girl1cup or something such line once the blocks in place, never mind that little timmy ssh tunnelled his traffic to a server not restricted to see such content, never mind that the parents only noticed or looked into what he was doing after it was far to late.

The blame will land on the ISP's because they should have stopped it its all their fault their evil and not doing the job properly,
when the only way they could realistically stop them is to turn off their connection.
Posted by tommy45 over 6 years ago
Why should any isp block adult content? So they have destroyed the unions and privatised most of the country wasted millions fighting wars over oil (not people)and created a housing boom that we are still paying the price for, now they want to kill the internet
Posted by tommy45 over 6 years ago
Just one more nail in CAMorons coffin come election time
Posted by otester over 6 years ago

Privatization is a good thing, but in our case bad because it implemented badly.

Also don't you forget that the top 2 parties are just as bad as each other.

Conservatives = Cut back on socialism (hand it over to the corps) while increasing taxes.
Labour = Spend loads & implement socialism.

This becomes a very destructive cycle as you switch between the two over a long period of time.
Posted by tommy45 over 6 years ago
Another thing is what if there are no children living at or with the subscriber? not everyone has kids do they, but no doubt this censorship would still prevail,which IMO would be a infringement of my human rights as browsing sites with adult content isn't illegal yet or is it?
Posted by TGVrecord over 6 years ago
What concerns me most about this report is the fact it is sponsored by the Mothers Union. There is no way that the report can be described as impartial. I think the Conservatives will rue the day they lent their support to this report.

Having listened to the arguments on the Today program when this report was announced, it was clear that the supporters of the report had no actual evidence to prove their point. It seemed to be an entirely emotional argument.
Posted by TGVrecord over 6 years ago
I dare say David Cameron will declare this is 'common sense' and as such must be acted on! This is the same 'common sense' that is currently wreaking peoples lives thanks to the crazy spending cuts and tax increases.
Posted by tommy45 over 6 years ago
Yeah i read that on the "THE REGISTER" they don't have a case imo,It's the responsibility of the parents, not the government or isp's, if they feel that they can't ensure the kids don't access adult content then maybe they shouldn't be given access to the net unsupervised, they also may learn more and be healthier if they used books,and were out playing instead of sat in front of a computer
Posted by lelboy over 6 years ago
TGVrecord & tommy45 seem to have made the argument against Cameron & his ilk. As a primary school governor, I feel that the ultimate responsibility for what children are "subjected to, on the net" is a parental one. Depriving children of a luxury because they can't comply with reasonable rules - grounding, TV privileges withdrawn etc - is a parental option: the same applies to use of PCs. A little effort regarding monitoring and access controls wouldn't come amiss either. Parental abdication of responsibility is often the norm - just put it elsewhere eg teachers, ISPs, in fact anyone but them.
Posted by pigfister over 6 years ago
yet again the "fear" tactic is being used to control what we do, are we not supposed to be parents?

in the near future we wont see url's like wiki leaks, anything anti Israel & the US, UK backed genocide of the Palestinians.

& we sure wont see anything like this!
Posted by pigfister over 6 years ago
UK gov are already trying to shut presstv to UK audiences as they destroy the UK propaganda & speak the truth unlike official line BBC, CH4, ITN, FOX, CNN, MSNBC, ect.

For REAL news, watch while you can...

Posted by gppixelworks over 6 years ago
So what happened to David Cameron's 'BS' (Big Society) ideas of letting people sort these things for themselves?

We can sort out content filtering easily. However, we can't sort out healthcare/NHS via Cameron's BS idea.

Effective, free online content filtering can be had instantly with OpenDNS (

Plus one get the added security of phishing and fraud protection.
Posted by Talk1968 over 6 years ago
Wow, that is one big cover up, now thats a war crime but they won't ever be dragged to the European court to get punished, thats a very shocking video but shows that atrocities are carried out by both sides in war and the winner never gets prosecuted for war crimes, only the loser.
Posted by pigfister over 6 years ago
@ Talk1968

you think that is bad look at this, the US used a banned chemical weapon in a civilian city and murdered thousands but have you ever seen this on corporate media?

Falluja - The Hidden Massacre (Highly Disturbing)
Posted by bjmccourt over 6 years ago
The proselytization of the concept of "disrespect" for people in general is generated daily on television. You need only watch mainstream television - whether after the "watershed" or before - to see how attitudes to sex and exploitation and "cruelty" to others is propagated. Mr Cameron should wade into that issue - where there is limited options available to parents to firewall unacceptable materials other than switching off - before getting stuck into the Web, where there ARE option for adults to "shield" the innocent.
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