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Barmy MPs want mandatory nanny filters - for the world

ISPs must clean up nation's malware, too

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An all-party group of MPs has recommended mandatory nanny filters for all mobile devices and data devices that can access the internet - and wants the UK's Internet Watch Foundation secretive censor system extended to the whole world.

The All Party Parliamentary Group on Communications (Apcomms) today recommends: "A global 'notice and take-down' regime is required, and if the IWF cannot provide it then someone else should."

That's ambitious. Our MPs may be getting a little carried away: they're MPs for the UK Parliament, not a global government, or an Intergalactic Federation.

The reason for given for mandatory net filters is "that the default child protection settings are different on different mobile networks and different devices. This is unnecessarily confusing for parents, and so the report recommends that the industry move to a consistent, and 'safe', arrangement."

ISPs will be pleased to learn that they are expected to foot the bill for cleaning up all the malware on British PCs. ISPs should establish a voluntary code and if it fails to clean up our PCs, Ofcom should impose one anyway: "A reduction in compromised end user machines is essential to make the Internet a safer place," they write.

Elsewhere they call for Ofcom to regulate broadband speed advertising.

There are only two areas where MPs don't want the state to interfere. They recommend the UK government abandon its music strategy and suggest it should defer to Europe for policy. The group has also squarely blamed the music business for the problem of P2P file sharing.

"Much of the problem with illegal sharing of copyrighted material has been caused by the rights holders, and the music industry in particular, being far too slow in getting its act together and making popular legal alternatives available."

The recommendation is likely to be ignored by the music business, which rarely agrees on anything - but does agree that Mandelson's impetus is the last chance to implement some kind of enforcement agenda for a long time - an incoming Conservative administration may have more urgent priorities.

The MPs also looked at "net neutrality" and decided pre-emptive technical regulation wasn't needed now.

Those two areas are the exception, however. There's enough new red tape proposed in the MPs' report there to keep technology manufacturers and service providers busy (doing nothing) for years - and generate at least a dozen new quangos.

So who said the internet was rolling back big government? ®

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