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Cameron to crack down on violent pornography and child sex abuse online

By: Information Daily Staff Writer
Published: Monday, July 22, 2013 - 15:59 GMT Jump to Comments

David Cameron has announced tough new measures to ensure ISP's crack down on child abuse online, and to offer an "Opt-out" filter to block access to pornography for minors.

In changes to be introduced by the start of the New Year, customers will have to "opt-out" of a filter on their internet services that blocks pornographic content. New and existing customers will be contacted by their Internet Service Providers (ISPs), and given the choice of whether they want the filter turned off.

This controversial measure is expected to draw criticism from some commentators who will argue that the service should be 'opt-in' rather than 'opt-out'.

The prime minister also said that online pornography depicting rape will become illegal to possess. This would bring the law in England and Wales in line with Scotland. Measures will also be taken to ensure that online pornography will be subject to the same regulations as more traditional pornography mediums.

This will close a loophole in the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act of 2008 that means that although it is illegal to publish so called "rape porn", it is currently not illegal to possess it.

Other measures to be introduced include giving experts from the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) more powers to examine secretive file-sharing networks for child abuse, and allowing access to a secure database of child abuse images gathered by the police that will be used to trace the perpetrators of illegal content.

Cameron also wants to force search engines to return no results for specific search terms relating to child pornography. The prime minister insisted "Once those filters are installed, it should not be the case that technically literate children can just flick the filters off at the click of a mouse without anyone knowing".

Despite the coalition governments’ firm commitment to tackle the problem of child abuse online, the CEOP's budget has been cut by 10%, drawing criticisms from Labour. Cameron responded by saying that the centre's experts would be given the sufficient powers and resources to tackle the problem.

Siobhan Freegard, founder of UK parenting site Netmums.com said that: “Mr Cameron’s proposals are a step in the right direction, but most parents will feel they don’t go far enough".

She continued by saying that: “Any firms hosting these sickening and illegal images should be very heavily fined or have their directors jailed along with the people viewing them. We have to send a clear cut message that making, hosting or watching images of children being attacked and abused is morally repugnant and utterly wrong".

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