It was all talk and no action - yet

Richard Barry reports on the IDA debate on Internet pornography

Last Monday, the Internet Developers Association, one of at least three organisations attempting to bring order and unity to the Internet community, hosted a debate on the increasingly worrying issue of child pornography on the Internet. The meeting, attended by representatives from UK Internet service providers (ISPs) and the Metropolitan Police, along with journalists, lawyers and feminists, was an attempt to arrive at sensible solutions to the problem.

The meeting served to mend rifts between the Internet community and the Met and allowed the police to re-emphasise the need for collective discussion on the topic. The truth is that the police are as confused as everyone else.

Superintendent Michael Hoskins, who heads up the Clubs and Vice Unit at Charing Cross police station, has the power to close ISPs that have child pornography on their servers, in accordance with the Obscene Publications Act 1959. But the Act is pitifully lacking when it comes to unravelling the intricacies of the Internet, and serves as an ally to the criminals, shielding them with its outdated definitions. In its present form, the 40-year-old Act is seen by many as one of the principle obstacles to arriving at a satisfactory solution.

Nigel Williams, the director of Childnet, wants the law to be modernised "and quickly. What you have to realise is that real children are being affected out there - real lives." Supt Hoskins agreed: "I want the Obscene Publications Act changed and we are working with the Government to achieve that."

While the Government decides what to do with the Act, entrepreneurs are stepping in to offer their own solutions. Peter Dawe, who made his fortune from the ISP Unipalm Pipex (now UUnet Pipex), told the meeting he was setting up the Safety Net Foundation, which would attempt to cut out "99.9 per cent" of child pornography. But Mr Dawe's plans were greeted with scepticism by some attending the debate.

"This isn't a problem you can just throw money at," argued Mr Williams. "It needs informed debate and proper thought."

Mr Dawe admitted that he had come up with the idea just six days earlier, but parried: "I've made a lot of money out of the Internet, it's time to put some back."

Entrepreneurs such as Peter Dawe probably won't be the last to try to halt child pornography on the Internet. Public outcry will bolster such efforts.

But at the end of the debate, one was left feeling that the laws designed to protect children are so inadequate that they will make finding a real solution to the problem of child pornography on the Internet more difficult.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Technical Author / Multimedia Writer

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This recognized leader in providing software s...

    Recruitment Genius: Clinical Lead / RGN

    £40000 - £42000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

    Recruitment Genius: IT Sales Consultant

    £35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT support company has a n...

    Recruitment Genius: Works Engineer

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A works engineer is required in a progressive ...

    Day In a Page

    Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

    How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

    Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
    Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

    'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

    In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
    Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

    The Arab Spring reversed

    Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
    King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

    Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

    Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
    Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

    Who is Oliver Bonas?

    It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
    Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

    Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

    However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
    60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

    60 years of Scalextric

    Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
    Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

    Why are we addicted to theme parks?

    Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
    Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

    Iran is opening up again to tourists

    After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
    10 best PS4 games

    10 best PS4 games

    Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
    Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

    Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

    Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
    Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

    ‘Can we really just turn away?’

    Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
    Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

    Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

    ... and not just because of Isis vandalism
    Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

    Girl on a Plane

    An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
    Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

    Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

    The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent