U.K. ISPs Fighting Forced Porn Blocking

U.K. ISPs Fighting Forced Porn Blocking
Bob Johnson

LONDON — Some of Britain’s major ISPs are banding together to fight forced blocking of Internet porn.

After the high court ruled on Monday that five major Internet giants (Virgin Media, TalkTalk, BSkyB, Everything Everywhere and Telefonica) had to block users’ access to The Pirate Bay illegal file-sharing website, the Internet Services Providers’ Association (ISPA) said they had enough and it’s not their job to “police” the web.

The ISPs are worried that the court’s decision cold be a bellwether signaling the government’s support of a recent push by conservative members of parliament seeking a mandatory Internet opt-in porn-filtering plan.

ISPA secretary general Nicholas Lansman said ISPs should not be “judge and jury” when it comes to combating piracy. “It’s not for the ISPs to be the police of all that content,” he said in a radio interview according to Independent Online.

“It’s not down to an ISP to decide what content the people of Britain should look at. It is only part of the solution. Determined downloaders will be able to circumvent these blocks.”

Regarding the porn issue, Lansman maintained that ISPs are already taking action. “Blocking is one method but there are lots of other methods the industry has been using,” he said.

He added, “Large ISPs who provide 98 percent of the consumer Internet provide services to consumers such as end-user filtering and in the case of TalkTalk, network level filtering that many parents are using to prevent their children from accessing this.”

But member of parliament Claire Perry, who has been pushing hard for the opt-in measures said the current efforts by ISPs are “just not good enough” and blames financial greed for them not wanting to take more stringent measures to protect children from accessing online porn.

She said the pushback over the Pirate Bay decision was also based on the ISPs simply making large fees from consumers who access the poached content.

“We don’t want to ban pornography, we don’t want to make it illegal. But what we want is better protection that preserves consumer choice, and that is where an opt-in solution delivers on both counts,” Perry said.

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