Government considers web ban on adult content

Government formalises investigation into blocking online porn for child safety

Nicole Kobie
23 Aug 2011

Parliament has launched a formal inquiry into child safety online - headed up by Claire Perry, the MP who infamously suggesting a UK-wide porn filter.

Perry last year proposed a film-style rating system for the internet, with adult content filtered out by ISPs. Adults wishing to see such content would have to opt-in with their broadband providers, although TalkTalk already offers an optional adult content filter.

Parents are understandably worried about the ease with which their children can view pornographic content on the internet

The concept is now being formally investigated by parliament - and potentially extended. The inquiry will seek "to establish the arguments for and against network-level filtering of content that would require an 18 rating in other forms of media".

A spokesman for Perry said the inquiry is focusing on pornography, but the filter could also include other adult content, such as violent material. He noted TalkTalk's system allows parents to filter a variety of different types of content.

The MPs will also look into "the possible form of regulation required" if ISPs don't make it easier to block adult content, as recommended by the Bailey Review.

More generally, the inquiry will try to find out how much porn children actually access, how it affects them, and what to do about it, looking at the role of ISPs and the tools available for parents.

“Parents are understandably worried about the ease with which their children can view pornographic content on the internet and this inquiry will provide the ideal platform for all interested parties to discuss how best we can protect our children online,” Perry said.

The Parliamentary Inquiry into Online Child Protection will include more than 60 other MPs, who will hear from child protection agencies, ISPs, and other experts in order to create a report by November. Two evidence sessions will be held on 8 September and 18 October for two hours each.

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