MPs launch inquiry into online child protection

Over 60 MPs involved with the findings to be reported in November
Kerry Butters

August 24, 2011

A parliamentary inquiry has been launched into online child protection to investigate how children can be protected from accessing pornography on the web.

The move comes after the government announced plans last year to force ISPs to filter out such content unless customers opted out.

“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,” MP Claire Perry said.

Two evidence sessions will be held in September and October designed to seek opinions from parents and child protection agencies. It is also thought that the sessions will be attended by web experts as well as senior representatives for the UK’s major ISPs.

The sessions are intended to understand the extent to which kids access pornography and the harm this may cause them. ISPs will also come under scrutiny to see what measures they put in place to protect youngsters.

The inquiry will look at what parents need to filter inappropriate content, establish the arguments for and against network filtering and to consider regulation for ISPs who fail to meet recommendations.

However, there has been some criticism of the proposed blocking scheme with many worrying that it could be the start of content blocking for peer-to-peer file sharing or political activism.

The inquiry will include more than 60 MPs alongside representatives from ISPs and child protection agencies, and is expected to finalise a report by November.


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