Cameron warns internet giants over child porn

Internet giants including Google could face tough new laws unless they take further steps to tackle graphic images of child abuse online, David Cameron has warned.

Ahead of a major speech today, in which he will call for search engines to agree to block results for a “blacklist” of terms, Cameron told the firms “if we don’t get what we need we’ll have to look at legislation”.

The British prime minister said each of the images was a “crime scene” and companies needed to act to prevent people viewing them. He told BBC1’s Andrew Marr Show: “I’m concerned as a politician and as a parent about this issue, and I think all of us have been a bit guilty of saying: well it’s the internet, it’s lawless, there’s nothing you can do about it. And that’s wrong. I mean just because it’s the internet doesn’t mean there shouldn’t be laws and rules, and also responsible behaviour.”

He welcomed steps already being taken by internet firms, but added: “There is this problem . . . that some people are putting simply appalling terms into the internet in order to find illegal images of child abuse.

“And, remember, every one of these pictures is a crime scene and they’re getting results. . . we need to have very, very strong conversations with those companies about saying no, you shouldn’t provide results for some terms that are so depraved and disgusting.”

He added: “Look, I believe in free speech, but free speech doesn’t mean you have the right to incite murder, it doesn’t mean you have the right to incite child abuse.

In his speech today the prime minister will tell firms they have a “moral duty” to help in the fight against child porn. The Government has been involved in talks with technology firms over the best way to crack down on child abuse, and the main service providers have agreed to introduce “splash pages” which tell people if they are attempting to view illegal images.

The prime minister will set an October deadline for firms to make changes to block a blacklist of search terms compiled by the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (Ceop) or possibly face new laws forcing them to act.

© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved

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