U.K. Calls Summit With Google, Microsoft, Facebook to Block Porn

Jun 7, 2013 9:30 AM PST

LONDON — British Culture Secretary Maria Miller has summoned the leaders of Google, Microsoft, Facebook and U.K.-based ISPs to a summit in two weeks to request closer industrywide cooperation to block unwanted online content.

The goal is to hinder the uploading, downloading and sharing of porn, images depicting child abuse and religious extremist material.

The summit was announced in the wake of two recent murders, including the five-year-old April Jones, whose killer is believed to have owned a library of violent child porn.

Miller believes that there is not enough coordinated action between content and ISPs and rejects the notion that their products are too complex to regulate, the Independent reported.

“Recent horrific events have again highlighted the widespread public concern over the proliferation of, and easy access to, harmful content on the Internet.” Miller wrote in a letter to ISPs and telecom firms, “A relatively small number of organizations wield a great deal of online power — and I believe that with that power comes a great responsibility. Given the grave concerns that have been raised, it is right that we now consider what more could and should be done in this area.”

Proposed measures to be discussed at the summit include increasing use of online filters, making parental controls on Wi-Fi devices more viable, ensuring that all companies formally agree to drafted industry guidelines and setting up permanent bodies to monitor content and education campaigns for parents.

Despite increased awareness about the matter, Miller felt that Internet security would only be plausible through the inclusion of monolithic search engines like Google and Yahoo in industry safety discussions.

According to the Independent, Google plans to attend the forthcoming talks.

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