Straw plans Net paedophile crackdown

Government holds a one-hour summit on protecting British children online

Home secretary Jack Straw is holding a summit Wednesday lunchtime to discuss the approach that Britain should take in protecting children from Internet paedophiles.

The preliminary summit will be attended by Internet Service Providers (ISPs), the police and child protection agencies. Home Office minister Lord Bassam will also be accompanying Straw.

Announcing the summit last Tuesday during the release of a government-backed Internet Crime Forum Report (ICF), Bassam said: "We wish to set a challenge for the Internet industry to make the UK the safest place for children to access the Internet world."

The ICF report revealed that one in five of the 4.8 million children online in the UK have been approached by paedophiles in Internet chatrooms. It recognised the growing risk of Net predators grooming children online with a view to developing a sexual relationship with them in the real world.

Implementation of recommendations within the report will be discussed at the Home Office summit. Last week, the government challenged ISPs to monitor chatrooms specifically created for children. The Metropolitan police also suggested that home computers are moved out of children's bedrooms, and placed in an area of the house where the child's online activities can be monitored.

"Today is a positioning meeting to agree a way forward on this issue," said a Home Office spokesperson. "It is a preliminary summit for the main players in this area, in order to bring them together under one roof."

What are the risks of paedophiles approaching my children through Yahoo! Messenger chatrooms? Find out the details of ZDNet News' investigation in the Chatroom Danger Special Report

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