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‘Opt-out’ pornography blocks to be introduced

Internet providers will introduce automatic blocks for pornography viewed at home, Prime Minister David Cameron is to announce, to “protect our children and their innocence”.

He is also expected to outline new legislation against possession of online pornography depicting rape.

New internet customers will have restrictions set in place automatically, unless they choose to opt out. Existing customers will be asked if they wish to activate ‘family friendly filters’ in their homes, which will be activated by default if they do not decide themselves.

Online videos will become subject to the same restrictions as those sold in shops, and search engines have been ordered to introduce further measures to block illegal content. The Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre will also be given more powers to examine secret file-sharing networks.

Possessing online pornography depicting rape will be made illegal, “closing the loophole” present legislation allows. Currently only the publication of such content is illegal, although possession is a criminal offence in Scotland.

Cameron is expected to say: “Possession of such material is already an offence in Scotland but because of a loophole in the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008, it is not an offence south of the border. Well I can tell you today we are changing that. We are closing the loophole – making it a criminal offence to possess internet pornography that depicts rape.”

He will add: “I want to talk about the internet, the impact it is having on the innocence of our children, how online pornography is corroding childhood. And how, in the darkest corners of the internet, there are things going on that are a direct danger to our children, and that must be stamped out.

“I'm not making this speech because I want to moralise or scaremonger, but because I feel profoundly as a politician, and as a father, that the time for action has come. This is, quite simply, about how we protect our children and their innocence.”

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