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Home Office issues net child protection guidelines

ISPs take note

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The Home Office yesterday announced new guidelines for ISPs to help protect kids from the dark side of the internet. The main points suggest that providers should:

  • Offer users a way of reporting material that is illegal or potentially harmful to children
  • Offer content filtering on search engines
  • Manually review and approve websites included in search services aimed at children
  • Consider whether they need human or automatic moderation for chatrooms
  • Ensure where necessary staff who come into contact with children have had relevant Criminal Records Bureau checks

Home Office minister Paul Goggins - who is chair of the government's Taskforce on Child Protection on the Internet - proclaimed: "Countries across the EU and around the world are committed to making the internet safe for children and cracking down on paedophiles' use of the internet. I want to make sure that by working across international boundaries and involving the internet industry, we keep children safe from abuse in the UK and the rest of the world.

"These guides will ensure safer online standards for our children. The internet is a great tool for children with massive benefits for our society, but we know that paedophiles will target children in any setting they can. Our message to them is clear - there is no place for online abuse anywhere in the world, and our police are one step ahead in the fight to protect children."

Goggins used the launch of the guidelines to announce the appointment of National Crime Squad Deputy Director Jim Gamble as Chief Executive of the UK's new Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre, which will be operational from April 2006.

The London-based centre, with around 100 staff will provide "a single point of contact for the public, law enforcers, and the communications industry to report targeting of children online". It will also be available 24/7 to offer advice to parents and kids, as well working with the police on "proactive investigations".

The full ISP guidelines should be available shortly right here at the dedicated Home Office child protection page. ®

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