New EU ruling on porn filters damaging and wrong

New laws passed in Brussels mean internet service providers (ISPs) could be forced to remove online filters, putting thousands of children at risk of accessing harmful material.

By the end of 2016, under the new ruling the four largest ISPs in the UK – BT, Sky, TalkTalk and Virgin will not be allowed to run opt-in filters.

CARE, who campaign for default filters with robust age verification to add additional protection called the ruling shocking.

The charity’s CEO Nola Leach said the Government’s initial response to the new ruling had a whiff of complacency about it and urged  they make it clear how they now intend to meet their clear manifesto promise to introduce age verification to protect children online in light of the EU’s ruling.

Polling for CARE in July 2015 showed a huge majority backed the Government’s manifesto commitment to regulate all websites providing pornographic content through robust age verification.

CARE CEO Nola Leach said:

“It is shocking that the EU would show such obvious disregard for the clear benefits of online filters.

“This ruling is extremely troubling because it could jeopardise the safety of thousands of children and households across the UK and mean many more children are exposed to online porn.

“You would have thought, in light of the all the reports showing how many children are already accessing porn in the UK and across Europe that the EU would have pursued more sensible options.

“The effects of this could be very damaging and it is therefore vital the Government make it clear how they intend to respond.

“The Government’s initial response does seem to have a whiff of complacency about it and if the EU ruling does end up threatening children’s safety online, and it certainly looks that way, then the Government must respond more robustly than vague promises of a future domestic Bill.

“A clear manifesto commitment was made to protect children online and now would seem a good time for the Government to reveal how they intend to keep it in light of this new EU ruling.”

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