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IAAF Call On ISPs To Block Illegal Sites

Posted: 06th Feb, 2004 By: MarkJ
The Internet Advisory and Awareness Foundation (IAAF) has pushed the government to make UK ISPs manage (block) access to illegal content on the Internet:

The Internet Advisory and Awareness Foundation's (IAAF), the UK's technical Internet body, is calling on the Government to require ISPs (Internet Service Providers) to manage access to illegal content on the Internet. While much of the harmful or offensive material is hosted in other countries, there is no reason why the ISPs cannot block the vast majority of websites containing illegal content. They could further promote technologies that give UK consumers the option to set standards for their own families.

The Government's backing of large-scale Internet access, the "Broadband Britain" campaign, is encouraging us to 'get online' in greater numbers. However, following the report from NCH Action for Children, the rise in Internet access has been matched by a huge rise in paedophile activity; putting people with previously suppressed fantasies in touch with like-minded people from around the world.

Many commentators wring their hands and blamed the Internet itself for being unregulated from birth, and state that there is nothing we can do about material hosted in other nations. This is not true, shutting down foreign websites is extremely slow, complicated and requires local national assistance, but ISPs operating in the UK could simply block access to these specific websites, but again we have the question of who is responsible? Government or the ISP industry? Dr Paul Adams-Meconi, CEO of the IAAF comments, "Someone must make the decision, or bluntly we are all going to hell in a hand basket."

Another argument comes from libertarian and anti-censorship groups, desperate to avoid heavy handed government regulation. The vast majority of normal people in this country do not want anyone to have access to websites containing illegal material such as child-pornography, bomb-making, or extreme sexual / violent websites. Who will publicly decry the loss of access to a child-porn website?

The middle ground of self regulation has been patchy at best; some ISPs are using out of date and clumsy blockers, and most none at all. Last year's Save the Children report stated that Internet Self-Regulation has failed, so what is the next step?

The ISP industry could reach an agreed method of blocking websites containing illegal content by creating a regulated, centralised Internet blacklist. Government must now step in and demand immediate adoption of a minimum standard, in consultation with the ISPs, and managed by Ofcom, the Government's new Office of Communications watchdog, and the BSI (British Standards Institute).

Dr Paul Adams-Meconi continues, "From anecdotal evidence, it would appear Government policy makers do not have the technical knowledge or political will to act. Yet every few months the press report abductions, porn-rings and horrific murders - all with an Internet connection. Here is an opportunity for the Blair Government to take control of an issue and make a difference for years to come, and actually make it hard for an individual to feed sick fantasies, which they then act out in real life.

Let the world know that Britain will not tolerate such material, and other countries will quickly follow suit. Most of these websites are run for commercial gain and will collapse without customers. Only then will the appalling abuse of local people in poorer countries for our viewing pleasure will at least slow.
"


The vast majority of people would agree with what's suggested above, indeed it shouldn't be too difficult to simply block access to a domain. Admittedly most sites would just move, but it’d be a start.

However, the fear itself comes from how governments often attempt to hide additional changes behind such legislation.
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