Porn to be opt-in in the UK

All internet porn is to be blocked at the ISP level under a UK Government plan.

According to a Sunday Times story being republished around the globe the plan, to be discussed next month with major ISPs including BT, Virgin Media and TalkTalk, would require all pornography to be blocked. Adults would then have to opt-in to get access to pornography. It is not clear at this point what kinds of materials would be considered porn and therefore blocked under the scheme.

The idea of an opt-in system was raised by Conservative MP Claire Perry in November, following a study that suggested one-in-three children under 10 had seen pornography on the internet. In 2007, the British Government asked ISPs to block child pornography using a list provided by the Internet Watch Foundation. Proponents of the opt-in porn blocking scheme have pointed to that trial as evidence a wider blocking scheme would be technically feasible.

UK communications minister Ed Vaizey told The Sunday Times that he hoped to convince ISPs to take on the scheme voluntarily.

"I'm hoping they will get their acts together so we don't have to legislate, but we are keeping an eye on the situation and we will have a new communications bill in the next couple of years,'' he said.

It appeared some ISPs were prepared to take on the government plan, with one TalkTalk executive suggesting providers should be forced to filter porn if they do not choose to do so without coercion.

''If other companies aren't going to do it of their own volition, then maybe they should be leant on. Legislation is a sledgehammer but it could work,'' executive director of strategy and regulation Andrew Heaney said. TalkTalk intends to introduce a service dubbed ''bright feed'' that would allow homeowners to restrict access to internet content based on a cinema-style rating system.

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