Child net protection plans dropped in the Lords

Plans to make ISPs responsible for child safety online have been withdrawn in the House of Lords.

Child net protection plans dropped in the Lords

In the continuing debate over the Digital Economy Bill, the Lords discussed whether ISPs should be obliged to highlight methods of filtering internet sites and protecting children online.

But the plans were shelved for the time being as they would require substantial Government funding and an increased burden on ISPs.

As an ISP we have a number of services in place to help parents… but we can only do so much. Parents have a part to play too

Baroness Howe of Idlicote, who proposed the amendment, argued the UK Council for Child Internet Safety (CCIS) wasn’t doing enough by merely promoting self-regulation by parents.

She added that it would only require ISPs “to promote online safety and to provide consumers with information on filtering options,” and that the plans didn’t “require them to produce filtering software of their own”.

Parents’ responsibility

ISPs argue they’re already offering protection advice. “As an ISP we have a number of services in place to help parents… but we can only do so much. Parents have a part to play too,” said a spokesman for Virgin Media.

“From a corporate standpoint we welcome the debate. This is potentially a broader subject where there are shades of control or censorship that could be read into this.”

“On the whole we are generally supportive of the [Digital Economy] bill, however there are elements that still need discussion,” he said, adding that Virgin Media’s CEO Neil Berkett was one of the signatories of the letter against the bill’s controversial plans to force ISPs to block file-sharing sites.

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