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Internet Service Providers

Volume 450: debated on Wednesday 25 October 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps he has taken to inform the public which internet service providers block access to sites containing child pornography. (95597)

We have not made public which internet service providers (ISPs) block access to sites containing child abuse images. However, transparency and confidence are vital components of effective self-regulation. The majority of ISPs are prepared individually to say whether they are blocking or not. We are working with them to put in place arrangements to publish and maintain the full list of ISPs blocking these websites.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what estimate he has made of the costs to internet service providers of blocking access to child pornography sites; and what discussions he has had with colleagues at the Department of Trade and Industry on this matter. (95598)

This is new technology and different internet service providers (ISPs) are developing different solutions that are effective on their specific infrastructures. We recognise there are genuine cost issues for ISPs, particularly smaller ones, not just in developing the solution, but in administering it and in subscribing to the Internet Watch Foundation list, but take the view that the costs are proportionate to the benefits.

My predecessor, my hon. Friend the Member for Wythenshawe and Sale, East (Paul Goggins) along with the then Department of Trade and Industry Minister my right hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, South and Penarth (Alun Michael) held meetings with ISPs on 22 and 28 March 2006.