Online child safety is a priority issue for the internet industry. We’re pleased the government recognises and has welcomed the considerable work ISPs are already doing. They are investing a great deal of time and expertise into offering customers a choice over installing free and easy-to-use content filters. However, filters, which can lead to over and under blocking and can be easy to circumvent, are only part of the solution.
As recommended by the last government review, a more holistic approach involving retailers and manufacturers is required, along with an emphasis on education, awareness and parental mediation.
On the separate issue of illegal child sexual abuse images, in 1996 the industry set up and has continuously supported the Internet Watch Foundation and this has resulted in the reduction of child abuse images hosted within the UK down to less than 1% of the global total.
The blocking of child sexual abuse images plays an important role in preventing users from stumbling across this material inadvertently but the most effective means to actually protect victims and prosecute those committing crimes is to remove images at source. For this, we will continue to follow established procedures, working with law enforcement, particularly CEOP, who need to be provided with the necessary resources and tools to identify and prosecute offenders.