EU to block David Cameron's plans on internet porn crackdown

Leaked document suggests the EU wants to stop mobile and internet firms from being able to automatically block adult content

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The Independent Online

A leaked document from the EU has suggested David Cameron’s plans to crack down on internet porn could be blocked by Brussels, it has emerged.

The Prime Minister announced plans two years ago that every home in the UK would have pornography blocked by their internet providers unless the homeowner specifically opted-in to being able to view adult content.

The move was intended to lessen the frequency at which children stumble across hardcore pornography online, something which is “corroding childhood,” Mr Cameron said at the time.

 

The plans mean that millions of households would be contacted to specify whether they wanted to activate the “family friendly filters,” with those who did not state a preference having the filters automatically switched by their service provider.

In January this year, Sky Broadband switched on its ‘Shield’ filter for every one of its 5.3 million users, with those wishing to access adult content needing to explicitly “opt-out” of the filter.

But now a leaked document from the Council of the European Union, seen by The Sunday Times, proposes measures that would stop mobile phone and internet providers from being able to automatically block pornography and adult content.

The new policy called for states the filters should only be switched on with the user’s consent, adding that people should have the “possibility to withdraw this consent at any time”.

The new policy proposal appears within a document dealing with internet neutrality and is dated 17 May.

John Carr, a member of the executive board of the UK council on Child Internet Safety, which advises the government about online safety and security for children and young people, told The Sunday Times that the risk posed by this new policy is that “a major plank of the UK’s approach to online child protection will be destroyed at a stroke”.

A spokesperson for the department of culture, media and sport, said: “The UK government will not support any proposals that do not allow us to maintain our child protection policies or bring forward new policies.”

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