David Cameron to announce crackdown on violent internet porn

Prime Minister urges internet giants to ‘blacklist’ search terms and pledges to step up fight against extreme material

Possessing pornography that depicts simulated rape is to become a criminal offence in England and Wales, David Cameron will announce today, as he pledges to make Britain a place where there is a “sense of right and wrong”.

In a major speech on pornography and the internet, the Prime Minister is also expected to suggest a law to restrict the distribution of “extreme” online videos that would not receive licences to be sold in UK sex shops.

He will pledge further efforts to crack down on child abuse images online, including forcing internet companies to block results for a “blacklist” of search terms.

In extracts of the speech released yesterday, Mr Cameron denied that he wanted to “moralise or scaremonger” but said he felt as “a politician and as a father, that the time for action has come”.

“The internet is not a sideline to ‘real life’ or an escape from ‘real life’; it is real life,” he said. “It has an impact: on the children who view things that harm them, on the vile images of abuse that pollute minds and cause crime, on the very values that underpin our society.”

Mr Cameron said he wants to close a loophole that meant while it was a crime to publish pornographic portrayals of rape, the possession of such material was not an offence.

He added that he would also legislate to ensure that videos streamed online in the UK are subject to the same rules as those sold in shops. “Put simply – what you can’t get in a shop, you will no longer be able to get online,” he said.

On child abuse images, Mr Cameron said that the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Agency (CEOP) would step up its work targeting the “dark internet” – and promised to provide the police with “all the powers they need” to keep up with changing technology.

“There is no such thing as a ‘safe’ place on the internet to access child abuse material,” he added. He also said the Government would take a much tougher line on internet search companies who refuse to block search results if requested to do so by police.

“I have a very clear message for Google, Bing, Yahoo and the rest. You have a duty to act on this – and it is a moral duty. The question we have asked is clear: if CEOP give you a black-list of internet search terms, will you commit to stop offering up any returns to these searches? If in October we don’t like the answer we’re given to this question then I can tell you we are already looking at the legislative options we have to force action.”

Mr Cameron was dismissive of arguments put forward by search engines that there were technical difficulties with such restrictions. “You’re the people who have worked out how to map almost every inch of the earth from space, who have developed algorithms that make sense of vast quantities of information,” he said. “You’re the people who take pride in doing what they say can’t be done.

“Set your greatest brains to work on this. You are not separate from our society, you are part of our society, and you must play a responsible role in it.”

But Jim Killock, executive director of Open Rights Group, which defends online freedoms, told the BBC it would be better to increase funding for policing of the criminals responsible for the production and distribution of images of child abuse, and to crack down on the methods used to pay for them.

The shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper said she did not think the Prime Minister was going far enough.

“David Cameron said he would make sure the police had the resources. But the truth is that Theresa May has cut by 10 per cent the resources for CEOP – which has identified 50,000 cases of British residents accessing child abuse online, but only around 2,000 were pursued last year,” she said.

A Google spokesman said: “We have a zero tolerance attitude to child sexual abuse imagery. We are committed to continuing the dialogue with the Government on these issues.”

Pornography: The Law As it stands

Current restrictions on pornography date back to the 1959 Obscene Publications Act, which made it illegal to publish material considered to have “a tendency to deprave and corrupt”.

New laws were introduced in 2008 to outlaw the possession  of “extreme pornography”, defined as “images that depict acts which threaten a person’s life” or “are likely to result in serious injury to a person’s anus, breasts or genitals”. Possession of images of bestiality or necrophilia is also illegal.

However, the laws do not cover staged rape, and only Scotland has made possession of such material illegal.

Charlie Cooper

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
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.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: PHP Developer - 3-4 Month Fixed Contract - £30-£35k pro rata

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a 3-4 month pro rata fi...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales Executive - OTE £26,000+

£16000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Telesales Executive is requir...

Recruitment Genius: Area Sales Manager

£25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: Freight Forward Senior Operator

£22000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This logistics firm are looking...

Day In a Page

Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most
Katy Perry prevented from buying California convent for $14.5m after nuns sell to local businesswoman instead

No grace of God for Katy Perry as sisters act to stop her buying convent

Archdiocese sues nuns who turned down star’s $14.5m because they don’t approve of her
Ajmer: The ancient Indian metropolis chosen to be a 'smart city' where residents would just be happy to have power and running water

Residents just want water and power in a city chosen to be a ‘smart’ metropolis

The Indian Government has launched an ambitious plan to transform 100 of its crumbling cities
Michael Fassbender in 'Macbeth': The Scottish play on film, from Welles to Cheggers

Something wicked?

Films of Macbeth don’t always end well - just ask Orson Welles... and Keith Chegwin
10 best sun creams for body

10 best sun creams for body

Make sure you’re protected from head to toe in the heatwave
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon files

Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games
Women's World Cup 2015: How England's semi-final success could do wonders for both sexes

There is more than a shiny trophy to be won by England’s World Cup women

The success of the decidedly non-famous females wearing the Three Lions could do wonders for a ‘man’s game’ riddled with cynicism and greed
How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map