Cameron unveils crackdown on online porn

Cameron unveils crackdown on online porn
Picture: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

David Cameron has threatened to impose tough new laws on internet giants if they fail to blacklist key search terms for horrific images by October as part a crackdown on online porn unveiled today.

The British Prime Minister set out a raft of reforms to protect children from “poisonous” websites that are “corroding childhood”, including introducing family-friendly filters that automatically block pornography unless customers choose to opt-out.

Possessing violent pornography containing simulated rape scenes will be made a crime in England and Wales and videos streamed online in the UK will be subject to the same restrictions as those sold in shops.

In a speech at the NSPCC headquarters in London, the Prime Minister acknowledged the issue of extreme and child pornography is “hard for our society to confront” and “difficult for politicians to talk about”.

“I want to talk about the internet,” he said.“The impact it is having on the innocence of our children. How online pornography is corroding childhood. And how, in the darkest corners of the internet, there are things going on that are a direct danger to our children, and that must be stamped out.

“I’m not making this speech because I want to moralise or scaremonger, but because I feel

profoundly as a politician, and as a father, that the time for action has come. This is, quite simply, about how we protect our children and their innocence.”

Family friendly filters will be the default setting for new broadband customers by the end of the year and only account holders will be able to change them.

Existing customers will be presented with an “unavoidable decision” about installing the filters by the end of the 2014, Mr Cameron added.

“We are not prescribing how the ISPs should contact their customers – it’s up to them to find their own technological solutions. But however they do it, there will be no escaping this decision, no ’remind me later’ and then it never gets done.

“And they will ensure it is an adult making the choice. If adults don’t want these filters – that’s their decision.”

The internet industry has agreed to use the database to proactively scan for, block and remove the images wherever they occur, Mr Cameron said.

But he gave search engines including Google an October deadline to introduce further measures to block access to illegal content by blacklisting searches based on certain phrases, claiming they have a “moral duty” to act.

“You’re the people who have worked out how to map almost every inch of the earth from space who have algorithms that make sense of vast quantities of information," he said.

“You’re the people who take pride in doing what they say can’t be done.”

Mr Cameron also told how warning pages will pop up if people try to access illegal content to spell out more explicitly the consequences of their actions.

“These splash pages are up on the internet from today, and this is a vital step forward. But we need to go further.

“These warning pages should also tell those who’ve landed on it that they face consequences, such as losing their job, their family, even access to their children if they continue and vitally, they should direct them to the charity campaign Stop It Now, which can help them change their behaviour anonymously and in complete confidence.”

A Google spokesman said: “We have a zero tolerance attitude to child sexual abuse imagery. Whenever we discover it, we respond quickly to remove and report it.

Mr Cameron’s announcement was welcomed by women’s groups and academics who had campaigned to close the “rape porn” loophole.


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