The government is failing to resolve the issue of access to child abuse images on the internet, according to major children’s charities.
‘Over 700,000 households in the UK can still get uninterrupted and easy access to illegal child abuse image sites. Allowing this loophole helps to feed the appalling trade in images which feature real children being seriously sexually assaulted.’ said Zoe Hilton, policy adviser for the NSPCC, speaking on behalf of The Children’s Charities’ Coalition on Internet Safety.
The Coalition which includes the NSPCC, Barnardo’s and The Children’s Society wants the government to pressure internet service providers to block this type of material. ‘Self-regulation on this issue is obviously failing – and in a seriously damaging way for children,’ said Hilton.
In 2006, the Home Office confirmed it was government policy to ensure all UK ISPs should deploy a blocking mechanism for child abuse images based on the list of known illegal websites maintained by the Internet Watch Foundation, and that this should be done by the end of 2007.
Protect children online
Our online advice section can advise you on how to protect children online and choose the best anti-virus software.
Ms Hilton said: ‘Some people commented at the time that allowing ISPs 18 months to bring themselves into line on something like this was excessively generous but at least it was a definite, time-limited commitment.’
However, in June 2008, the Home Office indicated that the proportion of UK households covered had reached 95%, and another official response recently said it was still 95%, with the Government “looking at ways to progress the final 5%”.
Ms Hilton said: ‘In other words, in getting on for three years of effort, the percentage has moved from 90% to 95%, and we still have no idea when the Government will finally conclude that the industry will not get us to the 100% which has been the basis of policy since May 2006.’
Which? RSS news feed
For daily consumer news, subscribe to the Which? news RSS feed. If you have an older web browser you may need to copy and paste https://www.which.co.uk/feeds/reviews/news.xml into your newsreader. Find out more about RSS in the Which? guide to RSS news feeds.
Sign up to the Which? technology email
Keep your finger on the pulse of digital technology with the weekly email from the Which? Technology team.
Every Tuesday we’ll send you the latest news and reviews of MP3 players, mobile phones, cameras, high-definition TVs and other gadgets.
Packed with the latest product launches, First Look reviews, expert advice and some incredible deals – can you afford not to be the first to find out?
Plus there are regular prize draws – we’ve already given away a 32GB iPod Touch.