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U.K. Homes Will Have to Opt In to Online Pornography

Prime Minister David Cameron will also urge search-engine providers such as Google Inc., Microsoft Corp. and Yahoo! Inc. to “step up to the plate” and stop providing results when people search for images of child abuse. Photographer: Jason Alden/Bloomberg
Prime Minister David Cameron will also urge search-engine providers such as Google Inc., Microsoft Corp. and Yahoo! Inc. to “step up to the plate” and stop providing results when people search for images of child abuse. Photographer: Jason Alden/Bloomberg

July 22 (Bloomberg) -- U.K. Internet suppliers will have to block access to pornography unless customers opt to receive it, an effort to help parents stop children viewing unsuitable material, Prime Minister David Cameron announced.

The premier said all new customers will automatically have family-friendly filters installed, and existing customers will be contacted and told they must say whether they want to turn those filters on or off. Those who don’t reply will have the filters activated.

Cameron urged search-engine providers such as Google Inc., Microsoft Corp. and Yahoo! Inc. to “step up to the plate” and stop providing results when people search for images of child abuse.

“There needs to be a list of terms -- a blacklist -- which offer up no direct search returns,” Cameron said in a speech in London today. “There are some searches which are so abhorrent and where they can be no doubt whatsoever about the sick and malevolent intent of the searcher. I have a very clear message for Google, Bing, Yahoo and the rest. You have a duty to act on this -- and it is a moral duty.”

He said he wants search engines to report to him by October on their progress.

“There’s lots of complicated and difficult questions that have to be answered and that’s why we have to work with the companies,” Cameron said on BBC Radio 2’s “Jeremy Vine Show” today. “I know it’s hard but that’s not a reason for doing nothing.”

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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