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July 18, 2014

Porn blocked on public Wi-Fi hotspots in the UK

Tesco, Starbucks and Samsung have signed up to the ‘Friendly Wi-Fi’ scheme.

By Amy-Jo Crowley

The UK Government has launched the first scheme to block pornographic and explicit websites, videos and images across public Wi-Fi areas.

The ‘Friendly Wi-Fi’ scheme is designed to make it clear to parents which cafes, restaurants, hotels etc have Internet access that is safe for their children to use.

The scheme, which Tesco, Starbucks and Samsung have already signed up to, follows a speech on online safety made by Prime Minister David Cameron back in 2013.

During the speech, he confirmed that an agreement was in place between UK’s main Wi-Fi providers to install a content filter across all of their standard public Wi-Fi services.

He also called for an industry-recognised and trusted symbol, which businesses could opt into to show customers that their public Wi-Fi is properly filtered.

Communications minister Ed Vaizey said: "The ‘Friendly WiFi’ logo will make clear to parents which cafes, restaurants and other businesses have internet access that is safe for their children to use. It will help these firms ensure that families feel comfortable and make it clear to parents they are choosing a safe online environment.

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"This shows that businesses are responding to Government’s call to think about how they can help parents protect their children from inappropriate content online."

Claire Lilley, head of child online safety at NSPCC, added: "Children often go online when they are out and about and parents need to know that using a public WiFi network won’t expose them to pornography.

"So it’s very reassuring for parents to know that when they see the Friendly WiFi logo they can allow their children to go online in safety. However, as with any filtering measures, it’s vital not to be complacent and we urge parents to talk to their children about what they get up to online and what to do if they have any concerns."

The scheme is supported by the UK Council for Child Internet Safety (UKCCIS) and the Registered Digital Institute (RDI).

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