Feeds

Lords give automatic smut censorship bill the once-over

Opt-in web filth law will keep you safe from fun

The essential guide to IT transformation

Internet service providers (ISPs) would be required to prevent customers accessing pornographic images unless those customers actively notify the ISPs that they want to access the material if draft new UK legislation being proposed receives backing.

The Online Safety Bill, if enacted, would place a "duty" on ISPs and mobile network operators that provide internet access services to "provide a service that excludes pornographic images" by default.

Only if subscribers aged over 18 actively "opt-in" to access the adult content would the ISPs and operators allow the material to be accessed, and even then access would have to be denied unless the ISP "has an age verification policy which has been used to confirm that the subscriber is aged 18 or over". The bill is currently under consideration in the House of Lords.

Under the terms of the bill, a customer would be said to have opted-in to the material if they tell "the service provider of his or her consent to subscribe to a service that includes pornographic images".

The bill would also force the manufacturers of "electronic devices" to "provide customers with a means of filtering content from an internet access service at the time the device is purchased".

The bill defines 'electronic devices' as any device "capable of connecting to an internet access service and downloading content".

The ISPs and mobile operators would also be required to provide customers with "prominent, easily accessible and clear information about online safety" when they go to purchase their services and make that information "available for the duration of the service". Information about online safety relates to "the safe and responsible use of the internet by children and young people on an electronic device," according to the bill.

However, a trade industry body representing UK ISPs told Out-Law.com that it was against the proposed legislation.

"It is important for parents to take an active role in what their children see and do online and configure and tailor tools as appropriate," a spokesperson for the Internet Service Providers' Association (ISPA) said. "Many ISPs already offer solutions as part of their service to help prevent users accessing unwanted content online and ISPs actively promote these to their customers."

"Filtering by default will only reduce the degree of active interest and parental mediation, lull parents into a false sense of security and lead to over blocking. The question also arises of who decides what is pornographic and what is not," the spokesperson said.

"ISPA does not believe there is a need for legislation on this issue as there is healthy competition in the industry and ISPs are responsive to consumer demands. The Bailey Report published last year also acknowledged that 'industry already does much to help educate parents about parental controls, age-restriction and content filters'. Government should concentrate on helping educate consumers to ensure they know about the tools already available to them to restrict unwanted content," they said.

Copyright © 2012, Out-Law.com

Out-Law.com is part of international law firm Pinsent Masons.

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
'Stop dissing Google or quit': OK, I quit, says Code Club co-founder
And now a message from our sponsors: 'STFU or else'
Top beak: UK privacy law may be reconsidered because of social media
Rise of Twitter etc creates 'enormous challenges'
Ex US cybersecurity czar guilty in child sex abuse website case
Health and Human Services IT security chief headed online to share vile images
Uber, Lyft and cutting corners: The true face of the Sharing Economy
Casual labour and tired ideas = not really web-tastic
Don't even THINK about copyright violation, says Indian state
Pre-emptive arrest for pirates in Karnataka
The police are WRONG: Watching YouTube videos is NOT illegal
And our man Corfield is pretty bloody cross about it
Oz biz regulator discovers shared servers in EPIC FACEPALM
'Not aware' that one IP can hold more than one Website
Apple tried to get a ban on Galaxy, judge said: NO, NO, NO
Judge Koh refuses Samsung ban for the third time
prev story

Whitepapers

Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up distributed data
Eliminating the redundant use of bandwidth and storage capacity and application consolidation in the modern data center.
The essential guide to IT transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIOs automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.