April 18, 2012 | Jim Killock

Claire Perry's "default blocking" would censor adults and fail children

Commenting on Claire Perry's committee findings, Jim Killock, Executive Director of the Open Rights Group said:

"These recommendations, if enacted, would endanger children, create disruption for small business, and would not work technically.

"Default filtering is a form of censorship. Adults should not have to "opt out" of censorship. Governments should not be given powers to default censor legal material that adults see online.

"Our work on mobile networks is showing that default censorship is disrupting businesses, campaign groups and bloggers. Yet it is trivial for a child to avoid the network blocking that Claire Perry recommends - sites using https are invisible to network blocks. Furthermore, default blocks may be appropriate for some older children, but too weak for others.

"Parents need help, but 'default blocking' is an appalling proposal."

Claire Perry's inquiry report recommends:

  • Government initiate a formal review of an Opt-In filter to access adult material on the internet;
  • The Government should press for accelerated implementation plans for “Active Choice”; the content filtering system proposed for new internet customers by the largest ISPs;
  • Within 12 months, ISPs should roll out “single account” network filters that provide one-click filtering for all devices connected to the same internet account;
  • A single regulator should take lead responsibility on internet safety;
  • Public Wi-Fi networks should have a default adult-content bar;
  • Government and industry should draw up new guidelines to publicise existing safety settings on computers and internet-enabled devices;
  • ISPs should provide more support and signposting for internet safety education.