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Should Your Internet Service Provider Block Child Pornography Websites?

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Should Your Internet Service Provider Block Child Pornography Websites?

By Robert T DeMarco

British Telecom (BT), the largest telecom operator in the UK, announced on Tuesday that it is using software to block visits to websites that contain child pornography. The software called Clean Feed, blocks access to illegal websites that are listed by the Internet Watch Foundation . Clean Feed prevents BTs 2.5 million Internet customers from viewing child pornography websites.

BT spokesman Jon Carter said:

We use the technology to protect our customers from accessing illegal content…they would be
committing a crime if they downloaded
the images from the Internet.

During the first three weeks of use, the Clean Feed software stopped more than 250,000 attempts to access websites containing child pornography –more than 10,000 attempts per day. For those doubting that child pornography is a problem on the Internet this is the first clear evidence of the pervasiveness of the problem.

In describing the software Carter went on to say:

It is essentially a server hosting a very powerful filter that checks requests for Web sites against the Internet Watch Foundation list, and if it finds a positive match, it gives an error message — ‘Web site not found.’ Filtering is easy, as all the server has to do is to match the HTTP Web site address supplied by the customer against the IWF list.

British Telecom does not pass on the name of any individual blocked from accessing a child pornography website. This information currently remains private.

Carter says British Telecom is willing to offer the software to other Internet Service Providers and said:

We will be happy to make the filtering technology available free of charge to other ISPs to help them prevent access to child-pornography Web sites. We are in fact in talks with several ISPs at the moment.

Would you be for or against the installation of this software by your Internet Service Provider (ISP)?

Please feel free to comment in detail and express your opinion.

Teachers, parents, law enforcement agencies and others can get a free syndicated news feed for their Home Pages at Watch Right Internet Crimes Against Children Syndicated News Feed

About the Author

Robert T DeMarco is CEO of IP Group in Herndon VA. IP Group offers software communication tools for use on the Internet. These include: PowerTools, Watch Right, Always on Time and IM Frame. Mr. DeMarco is the author/editor of several Weblogs and is also a member of the High Tech Crimes Industry Association (HTCIA). Mr. DeMarco has university level and corporate training and teaching experience, spent 20 years on Wall Street, acted as CEO of a small software company, and is currently discovering the world of blogging.

Contact by Email

Other Blogs and Resources

The War on Child Pornography, Who are the Victims?

All American Investor Weblog
Watch Right Internet Crimes Against Children Weblog
Robert T DeMarco

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About Bob DeMarco

  • I think it’s unlikely that this kind of action will (a) effectively block such materials from access, or (b) prevent the production of such materials.

    There’s a blog block on in South Korea, where I live, right now. Wanna know how easy it is to get around the blockage, which affects all blogs in LiveJournal, Blogspot, and a few others? You just surh with an anonymous redirector, or better yet an HTTP proxy. It took about two days for someone to figure this out and spread the news. Suddenly every foreigner blogging in Korea, and most readers of foreigners blogging in Korea, knew exactly how to get around this system.

    And besides, even semi-successful blockage of child porn online isn’t going to stop the production of the stuff. For that, you need to be going after the people who make it, imposing horrific sentences on them, and making any involvement in commercialised distribution or production the main crime to be pursued by the system. A parallel in Korea: the campaign against drugs in the country is basically these days targeting foreigners, to the point where when offered information about Korean producers/distributors, the Korean police are not at all interested. They want to catch foreign users, for ideological reasons. Similarly, we feel disgusted (rightly so!) at the idea of people downloading this garbage. But the thing is, the people we need to catch are the ones making it, because without a product the demand for it ebbs away in the long term.

    My two bits.
    Gord Sellar

  • Angela

    I’ve found very useful service, in few words – if you have blocked livejournal.com on your work by crazy sysadmin or firewall, it will help you!!! Check it our at http://www.ljgate.com for more information.

  • Balletshooz

    How can a site that has illegal child porn even exist at all, let alone be blocked by a filter? Isnt it by definition something that shouldn’t be published?

  • r e falch

    anyone who produces,sells,shows child pornography should be beheaded. anyone who abuses sexualy/physicaly any child should also be beheaded. we have to put an end to child abuses worldwide and help these children,teenagers,young adults live with what has happened to them,it is not easy but it is vital….we must not ignore them nor harass,insult them nor make them feel as if they had asked for their lives to be destroyed for ever, we all must face this huge problem,or it will never go away. the gay community must not be blamed automaticaly, as the majority of all homosexuals are the victims not the abusers, most of them have suffered sexual and/or physical abuse repeatedly as children. i am a victim and i continuously think of commiting suicide……….

  • Chantal

    If u look around u in everyday life, what do u c? Sex, sex and more sex! On t.v, adverts, cartoons etc. Why? because people are only interested in pleasure and they exploit sex to gain from it financialy, to satisfy their lustful flesh. In the long run and the life hereafter just causes death, pain. As long as there is a demand these people will have the capital and interest to do so. Sex is ment for commited married couples, male and female, who want to have children and who want to show their love to eatchother, alone, without outside input, as God intended. I know that i’m stepping on a lot of toes, but i base this on my faith in God and the bible. I care what He thinks and not what carnal sick man thinks, what God can do is important.

  • I think child pornography is absolutely despicable, but the actions of a few bad webmasters should in no way be used to pave the way for imposing Internet filtering on our society. The Internet is one of the last free forms information sharing we have and we need to protect it at all costs. With that said, if somebody is posting illegal content on the Internet like child pornography, they themselves should have their site removed and be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. I can just see this being used as a springboard somewhere down the road towards filtering other forms of online information like alternative online news resources that are not corporate controlled.

  • max

    Chantal, your God, (who doesnt exist), if he did exist, is according to the bible, omniscient. Therefore he knows that child pornography is being made and distributed, and doesnt do anything about it. Proof that either, God doesnt exist; or, if he does, he is a c*** of the highest order.

    ISPcompared. A childs right not to be violated is more important than your right to a free internet. The internet isnt a divine right, it is a man made creation, and as such, men have the responsibility of overseeing it. If you feel strongly about the issue, become involved in politics and do something about it.