ISPs encouraged to block porn sites

Communications minister Ed Vaizey urges broadband providers to block porn sites from their customers.

Porn

Internet Service Providers (ISPs) are being approached by the Government to discuss the blocking of pornographic sites in the UK.

The Coalition's communications minister, Ed Vaizey, is set to meet with chiefs of big UK broadband companies, including BT, Virgin Media and TalkTalk, to discuss a blanket ban on the sites to protect children from the content.

Instead, users would have to "opt in" to be able to view pornographic links.

In an interview with The Sunday Times, Vaizey said: "This is a very serious matter. I think it is very important that it's the ISPs that some 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."

Although no official strategy has been announced, the department for business, schools and innovation (BIS) has confirmed a discussion will take place between the ministers and the ISPs.

"Our objective was not to do what the politicians want us but to do what is right for our customers," added Andrew Heaney, TalkTalk's executive director of strategy and regulation.

"If other companies aren't going to do it of their own volition, then maybe they should be leant on."

However, not everybody is onboard with the idea. Nicholas Lansman, secretary general of the Internet Service Provider's Association (ISPA) told the BBC: "ISPA firmly believes that controls on children's access to the internet should be managed by parents and carers with the tools ISPs provide, rather than being imposed top-down."

"ISPs currently block child abuse content which is illegal and widely regarded as abhorrent. 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."

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