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

News
A model of a Neanderthal man on display at the National Museum of Prehistory in Dordogne, France
science
News
Dawkins: 'There’s a very interesting reason why a prince could not turn into a frog – it's statistically too improbable'
newsThat's Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome
Arts and Entertainment
Eye of the beholder? 'Concrete lasagne' Preston bus station
architectureWhich monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?
Extras
indybest
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Arts and Entertainment
music
Sport
football
Life and Style
This month marks the 20th anniversary of the first online sale
techDespite a host of other online auction sites and fierce competition from Amazon, eBay is still the most popular e-commerce site in the UK
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
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

Quantitative Analyst (Financial Services, Graduate, SQL, VBA)

£45000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Quantitative Analyst (Financial Services, ...

Application Support Engineer (C++, .NET, VB, Perl, Bash, SQL)

Negotiable: Harrington Starr: Application Support Engineer (C++, .NET, VB, Per...

C# .NET Software Developer (Client-Side, SQL, VB6, WinForms)

Negotiable: Harrington Starr: C# .NET Software Developer (Client-Side, SQL, VB...

C# Developer (Genetic Algorithms, .NET 4.5, TDD, SQL, AI)

£40000 - £60000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Developer (...

Day In a Page

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home