Internet Law

UK internet providers obliged to introduce porn filters

From 2014, internet service providers in the United Kingdom will be obliged to introduce default porn filters. Wired magazine, reports that ISPs will be expected to fit filter technology as standard, with users having to switch the filter off to view explicit content.

Obligatory porn filters to be introduced in UK by 2014 © ferkelraggae-Fotolia

Obligatory porn filters to be introduced in UK by 2014 © ferkelraggae-Fotolia

Porn filter

The default porn filter will apply to home internet connections as well as public Wi-Fi connections. With regard to the latter, ISPs will be obliged to remove the ability to switch the filter off.

With this initiative, the British government aims to achieve publicly accessible internet which is free of pornographic content.

Claire Perry, advisor to the UK Prime Minister on preventing the sexualisation and commercialisation of childhood, told Wired that the default porn filter will make it easier to protect children from harmful content on the internet.

According to Wired, Perry wants ISPs to come up with flexible solutions which allow default porn filters to be switched off for a short period and then re-activate. Perry is reported as saying that if an adult switches the filter off at night, it should turn on again by the morning.

The advisor has also called for email alerts to be sent to parents where filter settings are changed, reports Wired.

No complete protection

Perry conceded that such a default porn filter would not provide complete protection against young people viewing porn. Under the proposals, only content on a per-determined list would be subject to the filter and it would be impossible for the list to contain all explicit content.

Peer-to-peer networks, image and photograph sites such as Imgur and blogs such as Tumblr will also not be subject to the filter.

Obligation on ISPs

In 2011 British ISPs introduced a voluntary porn filter, but the measures have not been widely implemented.

Under the British government’s plans, ISPs in the UK will be obliged to adopt default porn filters.

Christian Solmecke is a partner at the law firm WILDE BEUGER SOLMECKE. He is the author of numerous legal publications in the area of internet and IT law. He is also an associate lecturer for social media law at the Cologne University of Applied Sciences.

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