“It’s not a matter of deletion vs. blocking – it’s a matter of protecting our children”, says Conservative MEP

The Culture and Education Committee in the European Parliament yesterday voted on legislation dealing with combating the sexual abuse of children across Europe, with specific focus on the internet. In recent years, child abuse material has rapidly increased in prevalence on the internet and, indeed, the severity of such content is worsening.

However, rather than attempting to deal with the root causes of this horrifying crime, the debate about whether to block sites containing such material became the most prominent topic. MEPs, led by members of the socialist group, voted to keep out measures that included blocking. This, despite the fact that the UK’s largest internet service provider, BT Internet, which holds around a quarter of market share, estimated that their blocking technology prevented 40,000 attempts to access known child abuse websites, every, single day. That’s over 14 million attempts every year.

Miss McClarkin commented after the vote:

“Nobody is saying that blocking is 100% effective – the material can be shifted elsewhere, it doesn’t help to identify the victims or apprehend the criminals, and it doesn’t deal with areas of peer-to-peer transfer and file exchange.

“However, blocking is a quick and crucial short-term disruption tactic to obstruct access and, until deletion of websites can be performed quickly and effectively, blocking must be available as a tool in combating online child pornography.

“Whilst the child’s’ right to privacy and dignity goes unanswered and whilst criminals continue to have access to these images, we must recognise that those who support deletion and oppose blocking are providing an alibi for inaction. As parliamentarians we must, first and foremost, look to protect our children from this type of abuse.”

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