Parliamentary inquiry into online child protection launched
MP's have launched a parliamentary inquiry into online child protection which is to look at how we can better look out for children online and protect them from accessing online pornography. The inquiry follows government plans announced last year that were looking to force ISPs to filter pornographic content unless the user opted out.
"Parents are understandably worried about the ease with which their children can view pornographic content on the Internet and this Inquiry will provide the ideal platform for all interested parties to discuss how best we can protect our children online."Claire Perry (MP for Devizes)
There will be two evidence sessions to be held, one in September, one in October which will seek opinion from parents, child protection experts, Internet experts as well as senior people in the UK's largest ISPs. They hope to find information which will help:
- To understand better the extent to which children access on-line pornography and the potential for harm that this may cause
- To determine what British Internet Service Providers have done to date to protect children online and the extent and possible impact of their future plans in this area
- To determine what additional tools parents require to protect children from inappropriate content
- To establish the arguments for and against network level filtering of content that would require an 18 rating in other forms of media
- To recommend to Government the possible form of regulation required if ISPs fail to meet Recommendation no.5 from the Bailey Review.
UK ISPs do already block access to child-abuse images which have been classified as such by the IWF watchlist, but some are worried that expanding this to all adult content could hamper this service, and would require ISPs to invest a large amount of money in new systems for filtering. Once filtering is in place, it would only be a small step to use this same system to block other content, whether it be websites to do with peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing, or perhaps those to do with political activism.