On Monday night, Kit Malthouse MP urged colleagues in the House of Commons to use the Digital Economy Bill to take action against internet providers that fail to take sufficient action to prevent children accessing pornography, and other content inappropriate for under 18s, online.
He noted that internet service providers make “big money” from the “commercial enterprise, pumping this stuff out on to people’s screens and computers across the country” and that this explains “a certain sloth” and “an idleness in the digital community in dealing with it.”
In order to make the economics work in favour of child welfare and parents across the country, he argued that “(w)e should use the Digital Economy Bill to create the offence of living off immoral earnings for these internet providers, because, by turning a blind eye and not interrogating the data that are coming through their pipes, that is effectively what they are doing.”
Emphasising the need to get the incentives right, he pointed out that “It is only when the pound is there and their profits are threatened that they will finally focus and come up with the technical solutions that we need.”
Kit later argued that this would end the “daily fight” for parents to control what their children are exposed to.
Control over what children access online is a large concern for many parents and this proposal is a different approach to the problem. Prime Minister David Cameron promised moves on age verification in the Conservatives’ Manifesto last year and the Department of Culture, Media and Sport have run a consultation on ‘Child Safety Online’ which will report soon.