Channel welcomes government’s porn opt-in scheme

Online smut crackdown signals opportunity for security channel

By Hannah Breeze06 Aug 2013

New laws which will see online porn blocked by default has been welcomed by channel players who claim it could boost trade and make schools’ internet safer.

Last month, the government announced that all pornography will be blocked unless users select to opt in, in an attempt to protect children from accessing indecent content and halting the spread of illegal videos and images.

Internet porn is currently regulated by Internet Service Providers (ISPs) themselves, but prime minister David Cameron said they were not doing enough. The new policy has attracted criticism of censorship from some who claim it is not the government’s place to rule over online content.

Cameron said new laws will be put in place so that video streamed online will be subject to the same restrictions as those sold in shops and that by October, search engines will have to introduce further measures to block illegal content.

Illicit-web-content filtering vendor Image Analyzer’s chief executive Cris Pikes said his business has been boosted since the news was announced and that the opportunity for IT security firms is there for the taking.

“This is the first measure the government has taken to do anything significant on this level, and it’s good in my personal opinion,” he said. “It’s about how they police it, though. It’s all well and good having rules, but it’s how you police them too, and that is a good opportunity for those in the security space to provide the technology to police the laws which are being brought in.

“We’re already being contacted by ISPs and we put them in touch with our partners. We add value as we do real-time video analysis.”

Pikes added that the move will help protect school customers.

Earlier this year, schools VAR NCI Technologies blasted Google, claiming the search giant was not policing its SafeSearch images well enough. The VAR’s managing director Andy Trish said school customers reported that kids could access pornographic images using proxy codes, and that he had to have dedicated staff in place to block images individually.

Today, Trish said the new laws were a step in the right direction.

“Nothing is ever perfect, and schoolkids and people who post [this kind of content] will find another way – it’s never 100 per cent foolproof,” he said.

“Any step is a good step, and it’s a start at least.”