UK to block online porn by default

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UK to block online porn by default

Warwick Ashford

The UK is to block online pornography by default to all new internet users, who will have to ask for filters to be turned off if they want access, prime minister David Cameron is to announce.

All existing users will be contacted by their internet providers by the end of 2014 and given the option to activate “family friendly” filters or not.

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Cameron is expected to announce a host of other measures to curtail abuse and unsuitable material on the internet amid growing concern that hardcore and violent images are damaging children’s lives.

In June, more than 100 anti-rape groups and campaigners handed a letter to the prime minister, calling for the criminalisation of possessing internet pornography depicting rape.

Also in June, the prime minister held a meeting with internet firms to discuss ways of blocking images of child sex abuse and to prevent children from viewing pornography online.

At the weekend, he said he is ready to do battle with internet search firms such as Google, Microsoft and Yahoo, and will introduce legislation if they fail to co-operate.

The UK is to set up a joint task force with the US to tackle obscene websites, and internet search firms are to be asked to draw up a blacklist of depraved and illegal search terms, according to the Telegraph.

The anti-porn measures include steps to stop children accidentally finding explicit, but legal pornographic images in public places.

The six largest internet service providers have signed an agreement to block legal pornography to all public Wi-Fi hotspots from September.

The move comes after access to illegal child pornography was linked to two men convicted of high-profile child murders.

Mark Bridger, convicted of murdering five-year-old April Jones, and Stuart Hazell, convicted of murdering 12-year-old Tia Sharp, were both found to have viewed child pornography online.

Other measures to be announced by the prime minister are expected to include:

  • A new national database of child abuse images for the police and child protection agents to use;
  • A deterrent campaign against individuals who seek to download illegal content;
  • Experts from the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (Ceop) will be given enhanced powers to examine secretive file-sharing networks;
  • Making possession of online pornography depicting rape illegal in England and Wales, as it is Scotland;
  • Giving search engines until October to introduce further measures to block illegal content.

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