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December 20, 2010

Government considers pornography ban for ISPs

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by Darren Allan

The government’s latest thinking on Internet regulation involves getting ISPs to block pornography websites by default.

Ed Vaizey has been talking to the Sunday Times, and he told the paper the move would be to protect children from adult content on the net.

Any surfer who wanted to view adult websites would have to contact their ISP and notify them; in other words, viewing pornography would require an opt-in request.

Vaizey told the Sunday Times (via PC Pro): “This is a very serious matter. I think it’s 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 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.”

Then again, this is hardly a water-tight solution, and skirts around the issue of effective parenting, and other tools parents can use to lock out unwanted content from computers or phones.

ISPs initial reactions appear to be supportive, although ISPreview notes that the head of the Open Rights Group, Jim Killock, believes this is just another route for the government to get increased web censorship in through the back door. We’re inclined to agree.

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