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October 11, 2011

David Cameron to ask ISPs to offer porn filters

BT, Sky, TalkTalk and Virgin will be asked to offer customers the option to block adult content during subscription

By CBR Staff Writer

According to new measures to be announced by Prime Minister David Cameron, online pornography watchers will have to place a special request with their Internet Service providers (ISPs) to watch pornographic or sexualised content online.

The prime minister is holding a summit at No.10 today with 30 media and retail executives, including broadcasters, magazine editors, trade bodies and advertisers, said the Daily Mail. Cameron is expected to announce the crackdown after Mothers Union charity chief executive Reg Bailey submitted a report on the matter after six months of study.

Bailey’s recommendations included providing parents with a website where they can register and track complains, putting age restrictions on music videos and ensuring retailers offer age-appropriate clothes for children.

In June, Cameron wrote to Bailey saying, "I very much agree with the central approach you set out."

The letter said, "As you say, we should not try and wrap children up in cotton wool or simply throw our hands up and accept the world as it is. Instead, we should look to put ‘the brakes on an unthinking drift towards ever-greater commercialisation and sexualisation’."

Following the report, a ban could be implemented on children of up to 15 being employed as ‘brand ambassadors’ or in peer-to-peer marketing campaigns, said the Daily Mail.

As part of the crackdown on the sexualisation of childhood, four leading Internet service providers will be asked to offer customers the option to block adult content at the point of subscription. Those who want to visit pornographic sites will first have to ‘opt in’.

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Under the new measures, BT, Sky, TalkTalk and Virgin will offer the protection for smartphones, laptops and PCs.

The prime minister will also launch Parentport — a website where people can complain about inappropriate content. Cameron is also expected to back a ban on billboards displaying sexualised images near schools.

The service providers, on their part, seem to enthusiastic about the proposed changes.

According to the Guardian, the four major ISPs said in a statement that they "have worked closely with Government and a range of stakeholders to swiftly introduce measures addressing recommendations set out in the Bailey Report."

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