Cameron Pledges to Examine Case for Web Pornography Opt-In Rule

Prime Minister David Cameron said he will examine whether British Internet service providers should require customers to opt into accessing pornographic websites and impose a network-level ban on everyone else to protect children.

The cross-party Independent Parliamentary Inquiry Into Online Child Protection concluded in a report published in London today that the proliferation of devices that can access the Internet means current efforts to stop children from seeing unsuitable material on individual computers are obsolete.

Instead, it said Internet service providers should ban adult sites unless customers verify their ages and say they want access, the model currently used by many mobile phone providers.

“As a parent, and as a politician, I’m keen to help protect people from this material,” Cameron told lawmakers in the House of Commons during his weekly questions session today.

As a first step, the panel urged the government to require ISPs to introduce in the next 12 months a “one click” option to allow parents to turn off pornography on their home networks. It also said public wireless networks should have a similar filter.

“Many children are easily accessing Internet pornography as well as other websites showing extreme violence or promoting self-harm and anorexia,” Claire Perry, the Conservative lawmaker who headed the committee, said in an e-mailed statement. “It’s time that Britain’s Internet service providers, who make more than 3 billion pounds a year from selling Internet access services, took on more of the responsibility to keep children safe, and the government needs to send a strong message that this is what we all expect.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Robert Hutton in London at rhutton1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Hertling at jhertling@bloomberg.net.

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