Net sleaze clampdown ‘unworkable’

Government plans to get the leading web providers to offer a new, improved adult content “block” have been branded unworkable by digital industry experts.
The move is part of David Cameron’s so-called “battle on sleaze” and sees the leading Web providers – BT, Sky, Talk Talk and Virgin – offering new customers the option to block adult content when they sign up to a new contract.
Most ISPs already offer these services, but this move will make them more prominent.
One source said: “What’s new? Consumers have been able to sign up to have adult content blocked for years. But this is an inexact science. You not only block adult stuff, everything else that the software deems offensive is blocked too.”
Another insider added: “Anyone who has worked in an office will be familiar with web blockers. But they are very indiscriminate, blocking everything from Al-Qaeda to kitchen knives. If you are looking up news or simply trying to do shopping online, they are unworkable.”
Cameron is set to meet industry representatives at a Downing Street summit as part of his ongoing battle over the sexualisation of children. The Prime Minister will also launch Parentport – a website to help parents complain about inappropriate content.
Ofcom said the launch of Parentport would make it easier for parents to complain about material they had seen across the media, communications and in retail.
Chief executive Ed Richards said: “Seven UK media regulators have come together to develop a single website, with a single aim – to help protect children from inappropriate material.
Late last year, the Minister for Children & Families Tim Loughton called for a ‘carrot and stick’ approach to marketing to kids, claiming that beating brand owners over the head was pointless. Speaking exclusively to DecisionMarketing, Loughton said: “Big brands have huge marketing budgets and the power to change consumer behaviour. We need to work with them, not bash them with a heavy stick.”

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