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Home Office in trouble for advertising porn sites

Online safety campaign goes awry

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The Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) has sent the Home Office to sit on the naughty stair after complaints about a radio campaign promoting online child safety that sent listeners to porn sites instead.

The ad, which was to promote an online child safety website, directed listeners to check out the site at www.ThinkuKnow.co.uk. Sadly for the Home Office (no, really, our hearts are bleeding), there is also a website called www.thinkyouknow.co.uk which lists various services such as web hosting, broadband providers, car insurance, online dating and so on.

Just one more click, the complainants said, will lead you to adult chatrooms, including www.womenwant.co.uk, which advertises itself as follows: "Find your kinky kicks here! Erotic chat, casual hot sex & more."

This in turn is an aggregator of sites, so to get to anything remotely resembling a pair of boobs does take some persistence, and a real wish to be offended.

Still, most embarrassing for HM Gov, particularly given the intended nature of the promotional spot.

Indeed, this is why the ASA has taken the complaints that the advert exposed people to pornography so seriously. It said: "This was particularly concerning as the ad was aimed at teenagers and the service being promoted was to help them stay safe online."

It ruled that the promotion should not be aired again. ®

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