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ISPs must come clean on paedophilia, says U.K. parliament member

A U.K. Member of Parliament is threatening to name and shame ISPs who don't take steps to prevent their customers accessing child pornography online, but should Web access be regulated in this way?

The U.K. Parliament will debate this week whether Internet service providers (ISPs) should be forced to declare whether they block customers from accessing known child pornography sites.

Margaret Moran, the Labor MP for Luton South, is introducing a Ten Minute Rule bill in an attempt to force more ISPs to regulate the Web access they offer customers.

Around 20 percent of ISPs are not carrying out any filtering, according to Moran, which she sees as a dereliction of duty to customers.

"I want to encourage ISPs to use the technology available to restrict access to child pornography on the Internet," said Moran during an interview with BBC Radio 5 on yesterday morning. She added that she is prepared to name ISPs who are not taking action to block child pornography.

Moran claims to have backing from across the political spectrum. However, the government is not supporting her bill, as the Home Office is reportedly concerned that it could damage its existing relationship with ISPs.

Some in the industry strongly oppose the idea that governments should regulate access to the Internet, although there is widespread support for organisations such as the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) which identifies illegal Web content.

Last year, BT Retail became the first U.K. ISP to announce it was blocking access to sites identified by the IWF as containing paedophilia. This service, called Cleanfeed, is available to other ISPs. Many say they also restrict access in this way, either by using Cleanfeed or by using their own blacklist.