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European Union to authorize UK to filter child porn

April 3, 2009 · 

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www.ecommerce-journal.com, April 03, 2009

Child pornography is often distributed via DVDs not the internet

Child pornography is often distributed via DVDs not the internet

According to The Register report, The European Union wishes new laws to be created to give governments the power to force ISPs to block child pornography. This move among other things will enable the UK Home Office to impose filtering technology on small ISPs who say they cannot afford it, or argue it is ineffective.

Article 18 of the proposal for an EU framework decision on “combating the sexual abuse, sexual exploitation of children and child pornography”, states: “Each Member State shall take the necessary measures to enable the competent judicial or police authorities to order or similarly obtain the blocking of access by internet users to internet pages containing or disseminating child pornography, subject to adequate safeguards.” As soon as it is adopted EU framework decision will oblige member states to bring national law in line with its provisions.

The UK has been at the vanguard of internet filtering against child pornography in Europe. While Germany announced plans to create its own IWF-style (Internet Watch Foundation) blocklist only this January, British Cleanfeed, a BT-developed system, was launched in 2004.

All the major ISPs in the UK currently use the child pornography blocklist curated by the IWF. Thus Cleanfeed checks IP addresses against the list and blocks users from accessing their content. Child protection charities complained last month that some 700,000 internet UK connections served by small ISPs were still able to access material on the IWF blocklist. They also pointed out that in 2006 the Home Office had promised to make all the providers implement filters by the end of 2007.

For all that, small ISPs like Zen have so far resisted government pressure to filter voluntarily, arguing the expense of new hardware needed to run the system, minimal technical knowledge that are required to circumvent the “politically motivated” IWF blocklist and that it has no effect on the trade in images of abuse.

The NSPCC has a strong belief that the reduced chance of accidental exposure to child pornography trough a filtered internet connection reduces the risk of offending.

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