The UK government has called for a block on internet porn, in an attempt to protect British kids from seeing inappropriate content online.

In what is sure to be seen as a misguided PR exercise, Communications minister Ed Vaizey told The Sunday Times that he wanted to protect children from being exposed to porn by the content being blocked by default.

Any internet users that wanted to access XXX websites would then have to opt-in via their internet service provider.

Technological barriers

However, the technological barriers to putting such an 'opt-in' plan into practise don't seem to have been considered in a great amount of depth.

"This is a very serious matter. I think its very important that it's the ISPs that come up with solutions to protect children," said Vaizey.

"I'm hoping they will get their acts together so we don't have to legislate, but we are keeping an eye on the situation and we will have a new communications bill in the next couple of years."

Andrew Heaney, executive director of strategy and regulation for UK ISP TalkTalk's told The Sunday Times: "Our objective was not to do what the politicians want us but to do what is right for our customers. If other companies aren't going to do it of their own volition, then maybe they should be leant on."

A Virgin Media spokesperson added: "We already have an opt-in approach on mobiles. We're able to block sites, so it would be possible to do the same on the internet. It is just about finding the right approach."

While a BT spokesperson was a little less sanguine about the ease of introducing such a system for its broadband customers, adding: "There are many legal, consumer rights and technical issues that would need to be considered before any new web blocking policy was developed.

"BT has provided customers with a content blocking system since 2004 which targets websites on a list compiled by the Internet Watch Foundation, an accredited association set up by the internet industry. Sites on the list contain images of child sexual abuse, which are illegal to view in the UK, under the 1978 Child Protection Act."

No mention of the importance of basic well-considered parenting seems to have been considered in the context of these pie-in-the-sky plans to censor access to porn to UK broadband consumers.

Via PC Pro