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Industry bodies slam default content filter plans

Thursday, April 19th 2012 by Paul France
'Default content filter' plans slammed by Open Rights Group and Internet Service Providers' Association

The Open Rights Group and the Internet Service Providers' Association have criticised plans to introduce default filters on online content.

Broadband industry bodies have hit out at proposals to filter pornography and other online content deemed inappropriate for children to view.

The call to implement such a feature was made by the cross-party Parliamentary Inquiry into Online Child Protection, which warned that this kind of material is currently too easy for youngsters to access.

Among the panel's recommendations to address the matter is the accelerated introduction of the "active choice" system, which will see all new broadband customers asked whether or not they want to filter adult content.

The Open Rights Group claimed this measure is "a form of censorship" and argued that adults should not have to opt out of the web filters.

Jim Killock, the organisation's chief executive, said: "Governments should not be given powers to default censor legal material that adults see online."

Similar criticism was levelled at the proposals by the Internet Service Providers' Association, which insisted that a network-level content filter is neither the most appropriate nor the most effective way to block inappropriate online material.

Secretary general Nicholas Lansman said: "It is easy to circumvent, reduces the degree of active interest and parental mediation, and has clear implications for freedom of speech."

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