Feeds

ISPs battle EU child pornography filter laws

Filtering at network level just pushes hardcore users underground, say ISPs

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

ISPs are battling proposals by officials in Brussels that would force them to block access to child pornography, arguing that such systems only hide the problem.

The European Commission has drafted new laws that will be voted on by the European Parliament next month. The technical solutions envisaged are broadly based on arrangements in the UK, where all major ISPs block access to child abuse websites named on a list maintained by the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF).

Although voluntary, the British system is not without controversy, and EuroISPA, the European ISP trade association, is lobbying MEPs to reject the move to enforce it across the bloc.

If the laws are passed as proposed, the UK government will get powers to force the small ISPs who do not use the IWF blocklist – who serve less than 2 per cent of British internet users – to fall into line. Last year the Home Office abandoned a pledge to enforce 100 per cent compliance, however.

ISPs have long held that censorship at network level does not tackle either the producers of child pornography, or its hardcore consumers – who can easily circumvent the technical restrictions. Only removal at the source – the hosting provider – really addresses the problem, they argue.

Malcolm Hutty, the President of EuroISPA, said: "In order to make the Directive on child sexual exploitation as strong as possible, emphasis must be placed on making swift notice and takedown of child sexual abuse material focused and effective.

"Blocking, as an inefficient measure, should be avoided. Law enforcement authorities' procedures for rapid communication to internet hosting providers of such illegal material must be reviewed and bottlenecks eliminated."

Charities have however argued that filtering reduces the risk of abuse by preventing internet users from being accidentally exposed to child pornography.

Front-line law enforcement agencies such as the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) have in recent years diverted their focus from websites to peer-to-peer networks, which would not be affected by universal web filtering. ®

New hybrid storage solutions

More from The Register

next story
Brit telcos warn Scots that voting Yes could lead to HEFTY bills
BT and Co: Independence vote likely to mean 'increased costs'
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone
No data plan? No WiFi? No worries ... except sluggish download speed
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Turnbull: NBN won't turn your town into Silicon Valley
'People have been brainwashed to believe that their world will be changed forever if they get FTTP'
Blockbuster book lays out the first 20 years of the Smartphone Wars
Symbian's David Wood bares all. Not for the faint hearted
Bonking with Apple has POUNDED mobe operators' wallets
... into submission. Weve squeals, ditches payment plans
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.