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The Online Safety Bill will make ISPs and mobile service providers offer porn-free Internet unless a user 18 or older opts-in later

A new bill in the United Kingdom aims to force internet service providers (ISPs) and mobile network providers to offer internet packages that exclude access to pornographic material by default.

The new bill, called the Online Safety Bill, was raised in the House of Lords by Baroness Howe of Ildicote. It is a Private Members Bill, which requires government support before it can be made into law.

The Online Safety Bill would require ISPs and mobile network providers to sell internet services to the UK public that automatically blocks porn. In order to gain access to pornographic material, a user that is over 18 years of age must call their provider and ask for it directly. Even if the adult user opts-in, they could still be denied access to porn if the website they search for doesn't have an age verification policy.

In addition, ISPs and mobile operators must provide clear and easily accessible information on their porn-free services from the beginning of the service until the end.

ISPs and mobile service providers aren't the only ones targeted in this bill. Device manufacturers would also have to offer customers a way to filter adult material from the internet when the device is purchased. This rule would apply to all gadgets capable of connecting to the internet.

ISPs are not happy with the Online Safety Bill, and have argued that there are already other options available to parents who want to stop their children from watching inappropriate material.

"It is important for parents to take an active role in what their children see and do online and configure and tailor tools as appropriate," said a spokesperson for the Internet Service Providers' Association (ISPA). "Many ISPs already offer solutions as part of their service to help prevent users accessing unwanted content online and ISPs actively promote these to their customers.

"Filtering by default will only reduce the degree of active interest and parental mediation, lull parents into a false sense of security and lead to over blocking. The question also arises of who decides what is pornographic and what is not."

But ISPs, mobile network providers, and device manufacturers may not have to worry too much about the bill. According to PC PRO, Private Members Bills hardly ever pass into law without the support of the government, and it looks as though the government doesn't want much to do with the Online Safety Bill at this point.

"We understand the sentiment behind this Private Members Bill, but it isn’t something that Government would support," said a Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) spokesman. "Much can be achieved through self-regulation and it can be more effective than a regulatory approach in delivering flexible solutions that work for both industry and consumers."

Government restrictions on the internet have proved to be a bad idea recently, with Anonymous China, the Chinese branch of the hacker group Anonymous, defacing and stealing information from nearly 500 Chinese government and corporate websites since March 30. Anonymous China said it did this to rebel against the government's internet censorship.

Sources: Out-Law , PC PRO

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Sounds like a great idea
By Breathless on 4/6/2012 9:52:51 AM , Rating: -1
Those that want to opt in can do so, and little kids won't accidently or intentionally stumble onto some porn site that they have no business seeing anyway.

Go ahead, rate me down

RE: Sounds like a great idea
By shabby on 4/6/2012 10:45:55 AM , Rating: 4
<ISP> Would you like porn with your new account?
<Customer> Yes please!

RE: Sounds like a great idea
By FaaR on 4/6/2012 10:53:10 AM , Rating: 4
You really must love living in a nanny state where the gov't looks out for you and "protects" you.

This is a clear example of a blatant attempt at slippery-slope-curtailing internet freedoms and expression.

RE: Sounds like a great idea
By Motoman on 4/6/2012 10:58:57 AM , Rating: 5
It's an embarrassment to the human race that people as stupid as this exist.

RE: Sounds like a great idea
By tastyratz on 4/6/2012 11:07:48 AM , Rating: 4
I'm surprised you are technically aware enough to choose to browse a tech news site like this, but still think this is at all feasible from an isp level? It's a terrible idea so yes you SHOULD be voted down.

Mandating that an isp provide a filtering program free of charge to users on sign up and pre-installed on mobile devices? fine I could even agree to that if need be. Automatic opt out and internet filtering unless explicitly requested? That will cause issues for many subscribers. All this will do is make a lot of uncomfortable call volume for providers and increase costs at the end user level because of a huge infrastructure change. Who maintains the list? who contests mistakes? What if the parent or guardian wants to make an exception for a certain reason? what if by god those children have adult parents who might even look at porn?

Stay out of my computer, my parenting, and my right to choose. What's next? offensive language? protesting sites? perhaps anything rated R? National geographic? Nude art? What offends you and what offends me can be very different. Morals are not standard issue.

RE: Sounds like a great idea
By bah12 on 4/6/2012 11:12:35 AM , Rating: 2
Although it would be nice to have an ISP level option for porn. I don't think Opt-in should be it. Dictating that your customer must call in and ask for porn is pretty awkward. Now if you could setup a pin or something and do it via an automated system then sure. IMO it should just be a service that ISP's offer, there is no law needed here.

It is fairly little known, but everyone (with a PC that is) already has a great tool for online filtering/tracking. It's completely free, and does a decent job. Family Safety by Microsoft. I've tried several freebies out there, and this one is the best. Lock it down as tight as you want, and the kids will get a link to click on and email you anywhere to approve/deny it.

The bigger issue really is sites like YouTube. There are lots of fun things on it. My nine year old loves Annoying Orange, and the duck song. However with the default settings it is pretty easy to get to semi-porn YouTubes, and not that she searches for but rather get suggested off of other videos. Fact is it is hard for any video site to prevent porn postings. Text/html is easy to scrub and filter out, video recognition however is not.

Ultimately you have to address these things as a parent, teach your kid right from wrong, and hopefully they don't come out the other end of life all screwed up.

RE: Sounds like a great idea
By TSS on 4/6/2012 11:51:58 AM , Rating: 3
My parents would be shocked if they knew all the sexual things i have done before i was 10. Then again, i knew this, so i never told them. I didn't wanna get into trouble.

Nor did i ever tell the teacher i had when i was 11 i learned to jerk off and have orgasms thanks to his sex ed book. He told us not to go near it when he had to step out for 10 minutes, so within 20 seconds somebody had for the information on orgasms.

We learned more when he told us where the adult section was so we could stay away from there during a trip to the local library.

Small detail: i turned 13 in the year 2000, i didn't get any form of internet untill that year.

A kids business is "whatever makes me curious". If you teach them something is wrong without satisfying their curiosity, all you're doing is making sure they won't tell you when they're going to look for it. If you're banning porn from your connection all you're ensuring is they will be looking at porn on their friends connection, specifically without an adult present to explain things because they don't wanna get into trouble.

If they run across a porn site and you explain to them what it means and that they don't have to worry about it for a long time, they probably won't. And you can tell them it's perfectly normal to have feelings of arousal, but feeling and doing are 2 different things. Next time there's no need to block anything, the kids will steer away from those sites themselves. Because no kid looks for porn, they come across porn while looking for other stuff. They only look for porn when people have told them not to look for porn.

But you're right maybe it's better to keep all forms of sex away from kids. Considering brittain's rate of teen pregnancy, it's so succesfull that kids have resorted to fucking eachother to learn about fucking eachother.

RE: Sounds like a great idea
By Camikazi on 4/7/2012 6:30:02 AM , Rating: 1
Protecting kids form what they see or don't see is the job of the parents not the government.

RE: Sounds like a great idea
By Gondor on 4/9/2012 8:48:22 AM , Rating: 1
I would, Brainless, but you're already at -1 :-(

How do you propose to implement such a ban ? ISP cannot and should not screen all the traffic of its customers. Block few websites ? What about other websites that spawn on a daily basis ? What about torrents and other P2P networks ?

“We do believe we have a moral responsibility to keep porn off the iPhone.” -- Steve Jobs

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