CARE campaigns for child protection through the law to be upheld online, just as it is offline. Research published in 2014 revealed that in the course of a single month (December 2013) at least 44,000 primary school children and 200,000 children under 16 had accessed adult content. During the course of this Parliament there have been a growing number of cases in the courts of boys sexually assaulted girls by acting out the hard core pornography they have seen online. The Government has taken important steps to encourage more filtering but this has not extended to the whole market place and comes without age verification.
CARE wants to see adult content filters servicing all internet connections turned on by default together with two supplementary provisions: First, anyone should be able to quickly disable the adult content filters subject to age verification demonstrating that they are 18 or over. Second, a robust mechanism should be introduced to address ‘over-blocking’ so that if anyone’s site is blocked in error they can appeal. CARE also wants to see the introduction of additional statutory age-verification safety procedures around adult sites (as is already the case for online gambling sites) with particularly controversial material – especially R18 video on demand material. This protection must engage with R18 video on demand material which is streamed into the UK from abroad, the source of the vast bulk of R18 material accessed online in the UK. These objectives have been championed during this Parliament principally through our work with Baroness Howe of Idlicote, supporting her Online Safety Bills and online safety amendments that she has moved to Government Bills.
Questions for Candidates
- Do you agree that promoting a voluntary approach to filtering amongst some internet service providers and mobile phone operators is inadequate?
- Would you support the introduction of statutory default adult content filters that can be lifted only as requested by an adult?
- Would you support the introduction of a law to require financial transaction providers not to service transactions between people in the UK and web sites in other parts of the world that live stream R18 content into the UK without age verification?