ISPs should police the Internet says select committee

Amid growing fears of online fraud, identity theft and Internet “grooming”, a House of Lords select committee has called on Internet Service Providers to take more responsibility when it comes to Internet safety.

Michael Phillips, product director, said, “The committee’s recommendations are logical, however there is currently no legislation in place to back them up. In the meantime, Internet users need to take responsibility for their own internet safety by ensuring that they use secure websites and never respond to phishing emails or download from an unknown source.

“The committee needs to careful not to push ISPs to block all unknown sites in fear of legal action, as this would curb innovation and make the internet difficult to use,” Phillips added.

The Science and Technology Select Committee has said that since ISPs can see when a customer’s computer is infected and sending out spam or viruses to other internet users, they should be legally liable for any damage to third parties resulting from a failure to isolate the affected machine.

Phillips explains, “Many ISPs already offer free anti virus software as part of their broadband packages, as well as monitoring traffic in order to detect spam and other malicious codes that could spread the viruses that lead to fraud and identity theft.

“The Personal Internet Safety report which was published on Friday stated that ‘customers cannot be held entirely responsible for the security of their computers’. But until new legislation is put into place for ISPs to be held accountable, customers need to be aware of the precautions that they can take to combat fraud, malicious websites and identity theft. They can either sign up with a suitable ISP or buy a reputable anti virus software from someone like Norton or McAfee - and make sure that they regularly update their security settings,” Phillips concludes.