Excellent news emerged from Downing Street this morning; the government is to begin a consultation into the best way to protect children from harmful online material.
The consultation will look at whether to introduce automatic filters, which would see porn blocked as a default unless users specifically opt-in to access it. Also under discussion will be the less stringent ‘active choice’ which would mean users had to make a decision whether or not to activate controls when a new device or internet connection was purchased.
This is a significant step in the right direction but it is important that we are not left with a compromise which fails to adequately protect children. A default block on adult websites remains the clearest and most effective way of protecting children from harmful online content.
The UK has led the world in tackling online child abuse with the creation of The Internet Watch Foundation and the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre. This is another opportunity for the country to show the world how seriously the UK takes the protection of children online.
As soon as we have further details of the consultation we will update you so that you can have your say on this vital issue.
Further positive news emerged from Brussels today. In a draft series of proposals put forward to make the internet a safer place for children, an age-based authentication system that limits where children can visit online is suggested. In the draft proposal the European Commission warns that neglecting protections for children could have a ‘profound impact’ on European societies. More details of the proposed scheme are due for publication on 30th May, as ever we will keep you updated.