Subscribers to four of the UK's biggest internet service providers will have to "opt in" if they want to view sexually explicit websites, as part of government-sponsored curbs on online pornography.
The measures will be unveiled on Tuesday as David Cameron hosts No 10 meeting with the Mothers' Union, a Christian charity. At the government's request the group's chief executive, Reg Bailey, led a review in tandem with Department of Education staff into the commercialisation and sexualisation of children. The Bailey report earlier this year produced a raft of proposals to shield children from sexualised imagery.
The prime minister is expected to announce other moves in line with the review, such as restrictions on aggressive advertising campaigns and certain types of images on billboards.
There will also be a website, Parentport, which parents can use to complain about television programmes, advertisements, products or services which they believe are inappropriate for children.
The site, which will direct complaints to the regulator dealing with that specific area of concern, is expected to be run by watchdogs including the Advertising Standards Authority, BBC Trust, British Board of Film Classification, Ofcom, Press Complaints Commission, Video Standards Council and Pan European Game Information.
The service providers involved are BT, Sky, TalkTalk and Virgin. Customers who do not opt in to adult content will be unableto access pornographic websites.
Cameron gave strong backing in June to the Bailey report proposals after he commissioned the six-month review. However, Cameron did not commit his government to legislation.
The recommendations of the report - Letting Children be Children, published on 6 June 2011 - included providing parents with one single website to make it easier to complain about any programme, advert, product or service, putting age restrictions on music videos and ensuring retailers offer age-appropriate clothes for children.
Cameron wrote to Bailey in June to thank him for his report. "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'."
Bailey's report asked for government and business to work together on initiatives such as ending the sale of inappropriately "sexy" clothing for young children, for example underwired bras and T-shirts with suggestive slogans.
However, he recommended that if retailers do not make progress on the issue they should be forced to make the changes in 18 months.
• Several phrases and a heading in this article were amended on 11 October 2011 to make clear that the report on children was produced by Reg Bailey with Department of Education staff, not by the Mothers' Union.
What are your thoughts on this? It seems odd to me, not sure if it'll do anything. I don't know, I think it should've been the other way around- that customers could opt-in to filters to block that content, rather than the other way around. Rather odd.
President of Novistrana
19th January 2003
Big Brother wants to know what your doing on the internet, soon enough you'll have to "opt-in" to websites they consider too radical, this is a steep hill.
By opt in it sounds like they want to you to register all your private and personal information so you will be on a list. Be easier to just start with the list and watch their activities online.
7th December 2003
I'd say the cause is a mixture of inability of parents to educate their children/filter their own content and a preparation for governmental control of internet activities. There seems to be a strong tendency towards a surveillance state in the UK already (e.g. CCTV), so an increase in intrusions into the privacy of citizens doesn't seem so unlikely.
Voice of joy and sunshine
26th May 2003
:vikki: You knew it was going to be bad when the right wing fucknuts got in - not that we really have a left wing these days - but this is just silly.
The filters are either going to be far too inclusive - banning everything with the word porn or the like in it - or too ineffective. Heck even when schools ban these websites from their networks it's not hard to get around it.
The only people this is going to make life hard for are those who didn't grow up with computers and actually need to ring up to get the filters removed. Adults trying to watch porn without their spouses knowing in other words.
The actual execution of this thing - well it's the gov back to their old blackmail and murder game again. Recommended it be legislated in eighteen months if companies didn't go along with it.... Yeah, right. This isn't BT and the like's idea - this is them trying to dodge some government mess up of it; if you're gonna get screwed you may as well get screwed on your own terms.
Cant care less if its harder for people to get filth of the Internet. But while I dont care in the least about Pornography, what worries me is will it "just be pornography" or will it end up being anything "adult" themed, hense they'll start blocking political websites, start making it so if you suscribe to what they deem "fringe politics", you have to activally go and get you're name put down in some black book somewhere saying "hes opted in", while they're at it, they'll charge extra for "opting in" Anyway theres already filters in place for parents to use, prehaps the problem with the pornography is parents not bothering to set up or moniter the computer So, the Good;
- Makes it harder for Internet filth peddlers.
- The government is actually listening to the values of decency for once
and the bad;
- Be used as restrictive control measures
- Government doesnt really care about values anyway, they just use anything to further their own goals (which makes on of my positive points nil)
- Issue not addressed that parents already have control methods, but alot cant be bothard to do anything.
- Extra charges and payments
- What does the government care abbout Children anyway? They let people grow up to just starve on the streets if they dont pull the line and pay taxes and make money for them. While some children live under the povity line while these MPs count their money and estates, they dont care.
hense to me, the bad outweighs the "good", if this would be used purely for what it states id be fine with it, but lets face it, it will end up being used as a control method by our "handlers"
the report - Letting Children be Children
:barf: The fact that they've come up with an easy way to shut up parents who enjoy whining about the media their children are exposed to, I don't care. The fact that it's an "opt-in" where not having your internet material filtered to an uncertain degree is treated as some sort of aberration, where those who don't think that limited internet access is something acceptable for adults can be easily singled out from the rest of the crowd as the perverted porn-freaks they must be, really boils my blood! I mean, it's the UK government trying to control the internet so in a few months we'll be laughing at the immense fail it all turned out to be, but still.
10th August 2004
It says that the four IPs are BT, Sky, TalkTalk and Virgin- what other providers are in the UK? How much do those four control market wise?
It appears that these changes only kick in for new contracts, but they might come in too when people renew terms of agreement. I'm not familiar with the way internet is provided in the UK though so someone could enlighten me on this.
President of Novistrana
19th January 2003
quick search of google, the top four own about 70% of the market, the top six control nearly 100% of the market share.