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Automatic net porn filter rejected

Ministers have rejected calls for internet providers to be forced to automatically filter websites for online pornography.

A joint report by the Home Office and the Department for Education said that a public consultation found "little appetite" for default filtering by internet service providers (ISPs).

Under the proposals by campaigners seeking tighter controls on internet porn, customers would have had to contact their ISP if they wanted the filter switched off.

However the report said ministers would ask ISPs to configure their systems to "actively encourage" people to switch on parental controls if there were children in the household using the internet.

The report was slipped out with little fanfare - without even a press notice announcing its release - following a high-profile campaign in support of default filtering.

It said, however, that there had been little enthusiasm for the idea among respondents to the public consultations.

"There was no great appetite among parents for the introduction of default filtering of the internet by their ISP: only 35% of the parents who responded favoured that approach," it said.

The report said ministers had been guided by expert advice that default filtering could create a false sense of security as not all harmful content is blocked, and it does not encourage parents to learn about keeping their children safe online.

"Warning signs, water wings and lifeguards are all useful aids to safety in swimming pools, but they don't prevent all accidents by themselves, and children still need to have swimming lessons and be alert to possible dangers," it said.

"In the same way, there are content filtering solutions that can help manage risk on the internet but on their own they are insufficient."

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Added on: December 24 2013 00:21
Hugh from Chesterfield
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