Google, BT and Yahoo! agree plan to tackle child porn on the web

 

Computer experts are to track down and block online child abuse images in an attempt to reverse the spread of sites used by paedophile groups, the Government announced today.

Maria Miller, the Culture Secretary, said analysts would be recruited to uncover and delete illegal pictures rather than waiting for complaints to be made to police.

The move was agreed at a Whitehall summit between ministers and representatives of major internet companies, including Google, Yahoo! and BT.

The Internet Watch Foundation, which monitors the internet for unlawful activity, is to receive an extra £1m from the industry to enable it to take a new proactive approach to finding child pornography. At the moment it only acts on complaints.

Mrs Miller said afterwards: “What we have agreed today is a fundamental change in the way the industry will be working to remove illegal child abuse images that are too readily available online.

“It’s important, the work that has been done today, and I think we will see a real change in approach so that now the IWF will be able to seek out those images and that will be an important way of increasing the number of those images that are removed.”

She said: “The industry is undertaking a review of the resources that are needed to make sure the IWF can take this proactive approach, but even today we were hearing further pledges of £1m coming from the industry.

“This is important and it is funding that has come from the industry to make sure that it's working effectively to stamp out access to these abhorrent images.”

The Culture Secretary said child abuse images had caused concerns in recent months.

Mark Bridger, who killed April Jones, and Stuart Hazell, murderer of Tia Sharp, were both found to have accessed child and violent and some experts argue there is a clear link between their obsessions and their actions.

Mrs Miller, the only mother in the Cabinet, said: “I think any parent or anybody who is a resident in this country wants to see illegal child abuse images dealt with, and dealt with swiftly.

“What we have been focusing on today is making sure the IWF can do that ... and, absolutely, as a mother of three I'm going to make sure that the work that's going on is effective. Every parent in this country wants to make sure that their children cannot get access to these sorts of illegal sites.”

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