David Cameron announces his plan to keep children safe
After all the rhetoric we now have the full text of the Primer Minister's speed on protecting our children online, which is available on the UK Government website.
"And today I can announce that from next year, we will also link up existing fragmented databases across all the police forces to produce a single secure database of illegal images of children which will help police in different parts of the country work together more effectively to close the net on paedophiles.
It will also enable the industry to use the digital hash tags from the database to pro-actively scan for, block and take down these images wherever they occur.
And that’s exactly what the industry has agreed to do.
Because this isn’t just a job for government.
The internet service providers and the search engine companies have a vital role to play and we have already reached a number of important agreements with them. ."The Prime Minister on child abuse reduction
Another suggestion has been made that search engine providers should hold hackathons to help develop solutions on how search terms can identified and blocked, though of course given that the material is illegal testing the solutions effectiveness may difficult in a hackathon situation.
"So on mobile phones, it is great to report that all of the operators have now agreed to put adult content filters onto phones automatically.
To deactivate them you will need to prove you are over 18 and the operators will continue to refine and improve those filters.
On public wi-fi – of which more than 90 per cent is provided by six companies – O2, Virgin Media, Sky, Nomad, BT and Arqiva - I’m pleased to say we have now reached an agreement with all of them that family-friendly filters are to be applied across the public wi-fi network wherever children are likely to be present.
This will be done by the end of next month.
And we are keen to introduce a “Family Friendly Wi-Fi” symbol which retailers, hotels and transport companies can use to show their customers that their public Wi-Fi is filtered.
That is how we’re protecting children outside of the home.
Inside the home, on the private family network, it is a more complicated issue.
There has been a big debate about whether internet filters should be set to a default ‘on’ position in other words, with adult content filters applied by default – or not.
Let’s be clear.
This has never been a debate about companies or government censoring the internet but about filters to protect children at the home network level.
Those who wanted default ‘on’ said – it’s a no-brainer just have the filters set to ‘on’ - then adults can turn them off if they want to and that way we can protect all children, whether their parents are engaged in internet safety or not. "David Cameron on child safe filters for Internet connections
The speech has not fully resolved what is meant by adult content filters, as in does it mean anything with a 15 or 18 certificate or equivalent, or just pornography? Here in lies the problem for responsible parents, as they may find that while turning on the system is very easy refining it to match their moral compass proves much harder. The wider the filtering the more likely that over blocking will occur and the sites that are blocked will not know about this until their visitor numbers drop.
The filters will be part of the sign-up process for new connections by the end of the year and by the end of 2014 all the many millions of other households who already have connections will have been asked whether they want to enable or disable the filters. The key thing is that those who simply skip next or press enter will be given the providers default on filtering level.
The Internet has generally existed on an end to end principle in its first couple of decades of life, and the introduction of widespread network level filtering carries the risk of breaking services unintentionally.
"And we are doing something else to make sure that the same rules apply online as they do offline.
There are some examples of extreme pornography that are so bad that you can’t even buy this material in a licensed sex shop.
And today I can announce we will be legislating so that videos streamed online in the UK are subject to the same rules as those sold in shops.
Put simply – what you can’t get in a shop, you will no longer be able to get online. ."David Cameron on changes to online streaming rules
The above extract from the speech is not clear whether it applies to just pornographic videos online, streamed as opposed to downloaded or live streams. We presume that this means the BBFC is going to be very busy as they approve the ratings for films sold in shops in the UK.