Government approach to online porn criticised by industry body

UK pornographers have criticised filters put in place by the country’s Internet service providers and accused them of blocking innocent sites whilst letting adult ones slip through the net.

Related: UK households face pornography decision as Cameron cracks down

Representatives from the industry have spoken of misgivings relating to the default-on filtering used by ISPs that can lead to mis-blocking and has called on the country’s government to step and help out, according to The Guardian.

The group, which has launched a website at xxxaware.co.uk, wants to advise parents about the tools that exist to be able to block access to unwanted sites and how to turn on parental controls on all manner of devices such as PCs, smartphones, tablets, TVs, games consoles and apps.

“The site will give parents the choice, control and confidence to judge what is right for their children,” stated the group that is supported by the likes of Northern & Shell’s Portland TV, Paul Raymond Publications, Studio 66 TV, and Veridu.

It’s hoped that the site can serve as a resource for parents so that parental controls can be imposed but at the same time access will remain available to pornographic sites for adults without the need for government intervention.

“As an industry-wide initiative, it is hoped that xxxaware can help encourage the uptake of parental controls so that adults can continue to access the content they want, without risk to children and without heavy-handed government intervention,” read a statement from the group.

Chris Ratcliffe, MD of Portland TV, which is backing the group, added that no one from the government has contacted the group so far and stated that there is a need to “open a dialog with everybody”.

The decision by ISPs to block access to adult websites has thrown up a number of problems, chief among them being “overblocking”, which bans access to sites children need to access, and “underblocking”, which means inappropriate material can still be accessed.

Related: Sky censorship tool update following blocking dispute

A UK crackdown on online pornography began back in July 2013 when Prime Minister David Cameron announced new measures that force UK households to ‘opt-in’ with ISPs in order to view adult material.