By: MarkJ - 24 August, 2011 (8:26 AM)
uk parliament internet censorshipThe UK Parliament has launched an official inquiry into child safety online, which will be run by Claire Perry (Conservative MP for Wiltshire). Perry is perhaps best known for calling upon all UK ISPs to implement an automatic universal block of internet porn sites by implementing an age restricted opt-in system (here).

Many ISPs already offer Parental Controls and most mobile phone operators also impose similar restrictions by default, which often require Credit Card Verification to disable. There are also plenty of third party solutions available. In fact there's no shortage of options for anxious parents.

According to PC Pro the new inquiry would, "establish the arguments for and against network-level filtering of content that would require an 18 rating in other forms of media" (e.g. pornography and other violent material). Perry will also examine what forms of regulation could be used, assuming ISPs don't make it easier to block such content.

Sadly some parents have been lax with their family's online security and might not even consider such issues when picking a new broadband ISP, although that's hardly the fault of the internet providers; there's plenty of choice.

Separately Ofcom's review into the viability of website blocking measures (here) recently discovered that "the provisions as they stand would not be effective". Children are often more knowledgeable of related circumvention methods than their parents.

A danger exists that some parents may be given a false sense of security by skin deep restrictions, which can be easily bypassed. Ultimately good parenting and simple changes, such as moving your family computer into the living room (admittedly that's not ideal for doing homework), can make a world of difference.

The inquiry will include approximately 60 MPs and gather feedback from ISPs as well as parents and many others. A final report is expected in November 2011.
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