Feeds

UK internet filtering shouldn't rely on knee tappers, says Tory MP

Hit 'em where it hurts, adds Facebook bloke - right in the advertisers

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Claire Perry MP today defended the government’s net filtering policy, claiming that David Cameron's government don’t actually want to regulate internet service providers – but that without some sort of lead, global companies would simply sit on their hands.

The UK’s biggest net providers are rolling out an opt-in filtering mechanism for “family friendly” content at the prompting of the Prime Minster, while Microsoft and Google have stopped returning results on a number of contentious search terms.

Perry, who juggles being a Conservative MP as well as David Cameron’s special advisor on preventing the sexualization and commercialisation of childhood, said that reactions to the governments efforts to getting a grip on the internet were like a doctor tapping on a patient’s knee.

The “reflex on the left is we must legislate” she said, while tapping the right elicits a cry of “hands off my internet you ignorant luddite.”

The answer was somewhere in between, Perry argued, with a small dose of legislation and a lot of corporate social responsibility.

Perry, talking at a Westminster eForum event on childhood and the internet, said that progress in the UK was in large part thanks to a “non-partisan” approach.

“The worst thing politicians can do in this space is fight amongst ourselves...the more we fight and squabble like rats in a sack, the easier it is for global companies to ignore us.”

Perry accepted there were limits to what the government could achieve through legislation. “We can’t force people (i.e. parents) to turn filters on.”

And she said that education and personal responsibility were also important, particularly when it came to user generated content. She said the government was committed to including “e-safety” in the curriculum. However, at least one response from the floor suggested that teachers were being asked to tackle the issue with no support from the centre.

Perry claimed reports of overblocking were “fanciful” and said reports her own website had been blocked were untrue.

Perry’s stance was echoed, in part, by Facebook’s UK policy director Simon Milner.

He said many providers - such as Facebook - would fall in line with legislation, if only because they had operations in countries where legislation constrained them. However, where companies were based outside the UK and had no operation there, UK legislation would make absolutely no difference.

What might make a difference is the advertisers such companies rely on for their income, and the advertisers feel their reputation is in danger, he argued.

“They [advertisers] really care about their brand...the majority of these services will be funded by advertising. I think they will step up.”

Milner said it was often preferable for young people to sort out issues amongst themselves. This included them understanding mechanisms for protecting their privacy. He added that many young people didn’t understand the effect their own posts could have on others, but would modify their behaviour when they realised the hurt they could cause. He also said it was often better to avoid phrases like “reporting” as youngsters tended to have some antipathy towards anything that smacked of grassing up their peers. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Bono apologises for iTunes album dump
Megalomania, generosity and FEAR of irrelevance drove group to Apple deal
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
'Cowardly, venomous trolls' threatened with TWO-YEAR sentences for menacing posts
UK government: 'Taking a stand against a baying cyber-mob'
Arab States make play for greater government control of the internet
Nerds told to get lost in last-minute power grab bid at UN meeting
Zippy one-liners, broken promises: Doctor Who on the Orient Express
Series finally hits stride, but Clara's U-turn is baffling
Don't bother telling people if you lose their data, say Euro bods
You read that right – with the proviso that it's encrypted
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
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?
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.