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British Prime Minister calls for Internet blacklist

In an effort to combat illegal Web traffic, Prime Minister David Cameron announced a plan to blacklist certain Internet sites, and create "family friendly" Wi-Fi networks.

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Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron on Downing Street, in central London.
The prime minister announced on Monday that he wants to increase Internet safety.

Andrew Winning/ Reuters/ File

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A “family friendly” home network filter will become part of a default setting for the four major Internet service providers by the end of this year, says British Prime Minister David Cameron on Monday.

During the speech, Mr. Cameron outlined his plan to protect children from destructive Web content with automatic filter systems for devices with Internet capabilities such as computers and cellphones.

A version of Cameron's speech was leaked on Sunday, and a transcript was made available on the prime minister's website before the speech took place. 

The increasing availability of pornographic images is harmful to children, and accessing such content is “distorting [children's] views of sex and relationships,” Cameron says. Pornography will still be available to those of age, he explains during his Monday speech. But websites with mature content will be blocked for those under the age of 18, in keeping with national laws prohibiting the underage from watching certain films, or going into sex shops. 

To filter underage content, the British government has made agreements with the state’s four major Internet providers – TalkTalk, Virgin, Skye, and BT – that only the account holder can change the Internet filters. By law, the account holder has to be an adult, 18 or older.

“Family friendly filters” will be applied across all public Wi-Fi networks. Mobile phone operators have agreed to put adult content filters onto phones automatically, and will require proof of age before granting access to mature content.

As part of his effort to create a safer Internet for Britons, the prime minister also put forward plans to filter search engine results to block child abuse images, pornographic portrayals of rape, and images of other illegal sexual acts.

Cameron proposed creating a blacklist of terms that would include, for example, "child abuse." Under this system, if you search “child abuse,” the search engine would offer a list of alternatives such as: “Do you mean child sex education?” or “Do you mean child gender?” This is designed to prevent Internet search engines from presenting pathways into illegal images.

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