The current conservative government will pressure Britain’s internet service providers into blocking widespread access to online pornography, Communications Minister Ed Vaizey has announced.
Speaking in an interview with national newspaper The Sunday Time, Vaizey said he would be holding talks with BT, Talk Talk and Virgin Media “in the near future” to discuss ways of changing the current open availability of online porn in the home as a means of protecting minors from adult content. A potential opt-in service is expected to top his list of recommendations.
Despite repeated cries by ISPs that such rules would be hugely expensive and near impossible to implement Vaizey declared: "This is a very serious matter. I think it is very important that it's the ISPs that come up with solutions to protect children. I'm hoping they will get their acts together so that we don't have to legislate, but we are keeping an eye on the situation and we will have a new communications bill in the next couple of years."
Vaizey’s call to action follows on from claims last month by Conservative MP Claire Perry who announced her fears that whilst 60 per cent of nine to 19 year olds have accessed internet pornography, just 15 per cent of parents know how to install web filters on their home machines.
Although illegal content, such as indecent images of children, are already blocked by internet service providers, Vaizey’s new requests would see perfectly legal adult content barred from access. On this potential milestone in internet use Secretary General of the ISP Association, Nicholas Lansman, said: Blocking lawful pornography content is less clear cut, will lead to the blocking of access to legitimate content and is only effective in preventing inadvertent access."
An official BT spokesperson added: "There are many legal, consumer rights and technical issues that would need to be considered before any new Web-blocking policy was developed."