The government has decided against implementing a controversial scheme whereby users have to 'opt in' in order to view adult content online.

The scheme would have required internet users to tell their Internet Service Provider that they wanted to access pornographic material through their broadband connection.

However, following a ten week consultation with the public, ministers have decreed that the plans did not garner enough support to warrant moving ahead.

The government report stated that 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."

Over-blocking

The decision has been condemned by the NSPCC and other child protection groups who were in favour of an automatic block on pornographic material.

However, the report argued that any 'opt in' scheme could give parents a false sense of security as it would not protect children from predators and may even hinder their efforts to learn about sexual health.

The report said a block would not "deal with harms such as bullying, personal abuse, grooming or sexual exploitation which arise from the behaviour of other internet users.

"There is also a risk from 'over-blocking' - preventing access to websites which provide helpful information on sexual health or sexual identity, issues which young people may want information on but find difficult to talk to their parents about.

"The government is now asking all internet service providers to actively encourage people to switch on parental controls if children are in the household and will be using the internet."

A few clicks away

The NSPCC called the decision 'disappointing' and pointed out that hardcore porn is still just 'a few clicks away' for most children.

Head of corporate affairs Alan Wardle said: "The best option to protect children is for adult content to be automatically blocked by internet service providers.

"Given that half of the parents who took part in the government consultation wanted this option we are concerned their views have not been heard."

Via BBC