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Automatic block on pornography scrapped

A proposal to automatically block out pornography in the UK has been scrapped after ministers found the move was not widely supported.

A public consultation found that only 35 per cent of parents wanted an automatic ban on pornography, while a further 15 per cent wanted some content filtered. The consultation, headed by conservative MP Claire Perry, involved 3,500 responses from charities, academics and parents.

If successful, the plan would have meant that UK citizens would have to "opt in" to pornographic material by requesting the service from Internet Service Providers (ISP). Instead, internet providers should now actively encourage parents to switch on parental controls, says the government.

"I am obviously disappointed that the opt-in option has been rejected. Clearly that was not the preferred choice of the 3,500 people who responded to the consultation and we have to base policy on what's been received not what we want," Perry told the BBC.

The report compiled from the consultation found that automatic blocking could lead to 'over-blocking'- preventing access to websites that provide education on sexual health and identity.

The four largest ISPs in the UK - Sky, BT, TalkTalk and Virgin - have agreed to ask new customers whether they want to block explicit material during the sign-up process.

Image Credit: Flickr (Johan Larsson)