UK government minister proposes ISP name-and-shame list
UK-based ISPs may soon face a new competitive challenge. Recently appointed Minister for Culture, Creative Industries & Tourism, Barbara Follet and her opposition counterpart Ed Vaizey both spoke in favour of an ISP name-and-shame list in a parliamentary debate. The table would show the time it takes providers to remove offensive or illegal material from the internet.
As reported today in the Guardian newspaper, Follet thinks that the threat of public naming and shaming should be used to dissuade providers from hosting violent, sexually explicit web content. Follet said "Information about take-down times and levels of search needs to be much clearer".
The Guardian expressed the view that the culture minister, who has been in the job since the beginning of October, will prove more interventionist than her predecessors. In the parliamentary debate on the internet and video games, she admitted that order needed to be brought to the "growing chaos" on the internet. Children and adolescents are at risk, she said, because the barriers aimed at preventing children from accessing over-age material on the internet are not just porous, but "leak like a sieve".
She would also like to see the pre-screening of material on sites such as YouTube and wants to ensure that search engines have a clear link to child safety information and safe search settings on the front page of their website. Follet is also in favour of an identity card for the internet - similar to the one used for the purchase of alcohol and cigarettes - to prevent teenagers from gaining access to age-inappropriate content.
She added that parents needed "control software to communicate automatically with websites' age verification systems to prevent children from signing up to sites with false dates of birth". Follet would also consider getting banks to specify on credit card statements whenever a card had been used to access internet sites or games.