Government Online Porn Policy Faces European Hurdle

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British measures to block porn on computers and mobile devices by default faces European challenge

Government plans to block access to online pornography by default could come under threat following concerns that they break European law, a leaked memo has revealed.

The memo revealed EU proposals to make it illegal for mobile phone and internet firms to automatically block obscene material.

European Hurdle

kids-pornography-internet-censorshipA leaked policy document from Brussels dated May 17 and seen by the Sunday Times, suggested that the EU will put an end to both existing and proposed parental controls. Instead, it proposes that content filters should only be allowed when the “end-user” has agreed to them and if they have the “possibility to withdraw consent at any time.”

“The UK government will not support any proposals that do not allow us to maintain our child protection policies or bring forward new similar policies,” a spokesperson for the UK Culture department told the International Business Times.

Long Running Battle

Prime Minister David Cameron announced back in July 2013 that ISPs needed to introduce an opt-in system for customers wishing to see explicit content. This proposal sparked criticism from libertarians about the issue of internet censorship.

The government later tweaked the rules to the adult content filter system, which was intended to help households control access to adult material, but unintentionally blocked educational resources such as sexual health websites.

A number of major ISPs in the UK, such as Sky and TalkTalk, have already included the automatic porn automatic block for their service.

But following the Conservative election victory earlier this month, it seems the government aims to follow through on its pledge and institute a more “effective” online age control mechanism to keep children from viewing pornography.

Essentially, David Cameron intends to introduce legislation that forces ISPs to enact filters which block adult material by default, unless the customers specifically “opts-out”.

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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