UK Prime Minister Blocks Access to Pornography

PHOTO: British Prime Minister David Cameron is seen in this June 29, 2013 file photo holding a press conference with President of Afghanistan Hamid Karzai (not pictured) in the Presidential Palace in Kabul, Afghanistan.
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In a fight to combat children's access to pornography and the existence of child pornography on the Internet, British Prime Minister David Cameron has announced a series of new steps, including having Internet providers in the country automatically block access to pornography sites.

He is also urging tech giants to do a better job of blocking child pornography, calling it "a moral duty" to do so.

"When it comes to the Internet, in the balance between freedom and responsibility, we have neglected our responsibility to our children," Cameron said in a speech given in London early this morning. "My argument is that the Internet is not a sideline to 'real life' or an escape from 'real life'; it is real life."

The efforts to combat the two separate problems -- the proliferation of child pornography online as well as the access children have to viewing pornographic videos and images -- will begin this month, he said.

Cracking Down on Child Pornography

The UK's National Crime Agency has already begun to work on plans to more effectively track down pedophiles who upload graphic photos and videos, but "this isn't just a job for the government," Cameron said.

"The Internet service providers and the search engine companies have a vital role to play and we have already reached a number of important agreements with them," he said.

While reported child pornography images are blocked by search engines and Internet providers, Cameron urged search engines to do more by intercepting those who are searching for the content. He said the warning pages should explicitly tell users that child pornography isn't only illegal, but that those who view it "face consequences, such as losing their job, their family, even access to their children if they continue."

He also said specific searches should be blocked.

"Put simply, there needs to be a list of terms -- a black list -- which offer up no direct search results," he said. "I have a very clear message for Google, Bing, Yahoo and the rest -- you have a duty to act on this -- and it is a mortal duty."

Cracking Down on Access to Pornography

Cameron is also fighting children's access to pornography, and to that end, he has taken steps at the Internet provider level to block pornography web sites. By the end of this month, "Family Friendly Wi-Fi" hotspots will be lit up across the country. They will have "family-friendly filters," blocking all porn sites.

Those same filters will also extend to inside the house. Four of the biggest Internet service providers in the UK -- TalkTalk, Virgin, Sky and BT -- have agreed after negotiations to enable home network filters that block pornography by default.

"By the end of this year, when someone sets up a new broadband account, the setting to install family friendly filters will be automatically selected," Cameron said.

While the pornography filter is automatically enabled, users will be able to turn it off by adjusting the settings, though it can only be changed by the account holder, who must be an adult. The providers will also contact existing customers to allow them to enable the block.

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