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EU Proposal Could Force UK ISPs to Block Child Abuse Sites

Posted: 02nd Apr, 2009 By: MarkJ
The European Union (EU) has issued new proposals that could see all broadband ISPs in the UK and Europe, regardless of size, being legally required to block "access by Internet users to Internet pages containing or disseminating child pornography." Presently 95% of mainstream UK ISPs have adopted a similar service via the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF).

However this still leaves a core group of 5%, which is mostly made up of smaller ISPs that have concerns about the viability and cost of implementing such a system, whom have yet to adopt a similar service - much to the annoyance of some charities and government ministers (Charities Call on Small UK ISPs to Block Child Porn).

Malcolm Hutty, president of EuroISPA, told The Register : "For technical reasons, blocking simply cannot provide the level of protection that is necessary, and simple morality demands that we take strong collective action to get child pornography removed from the Internet, rather than simply hiding behind national firewalls."

Certainly it's true that circumventing such technology is a relatively easy task, although we don't completely buy EuroISPA's other line that it would "increase risks to the security, resilience and interoperability of the Internet".

Preventing the casual ability to access such content is important and while current methods may not be perfect, there aren't a lot of alternatives. Perhaps the biggest concern is not so much the action proposed above but how such filtering technology could be extended and potentially abused in the future (Anybody for Wikipedia blocking?).
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