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

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. ®

More from The Register

next story
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
Israeli spies rebel over mass-snooping on innocent Palestinians
'Disciplinary treatment will be sharp and clear' vow spy-chiefs
Apple CEO Tim Cook: TV is TERRIBLE and stuck in the 1970s
The iKing thinks telly is far too fiddly and ugly – basically, iTunes
Huawei ditches new Windows Phone mobe plans, blames poor sales
Giganto mobe firm slams door shut on Microsoft. OH DEAR
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Found inside ISIS terror chap's laptop: CELINE DION tunes
REPORT: Stash of terrorist material found in Syria Dell box
Show us your Five-Eyes SECRETS says Privacy International
Refusal to disclose GCHQ canteen menus and prices triggers Euro Human Rights Court action
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.
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.
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?
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.