Skip to main content

Offences Against Children: Internet

Volume 498: debated on Monday 2 November 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent representations he has received on the blocking of websites identified as containing illegal images of child pornography; and if he will make a statement. (296655)

The Government regularly receives representations relating to blocking, from different sections of society. The Government discusses issues relating to child protection, including blocking of websites containing illegal images, with a wide range of stakeholders.

The Government are clear that the use of blocking to prevent access to such images is something that internet service providers should do, and the Government have been very pleased with the response from the internet industry. The internet industry, and the Internet Watch Foundation which they support, have worked closely with law enforcement to tackle websites hosted in the UK.

This has led to less than 1 per cent. of the total number of such sites being hosted in the UK.

Ofcom has recently published figures showing that 98.6 per cent. of consumer broadband lines are now covered by blocking based on the IWF list. It remains the Government’s hope that the target of 100 per cent. of consumer-facing ISPs operating a blocking list will be achieved on a voluntary basis. However, the Government do not rule out legislation at some point in the future if it is not, and will keep progress on the target under review.