Internet providers KPN, XS4all and Tiscali are refusing to block or remove websites which carry child pornography, De Pers reports on Wednesday.
The paper says justice ministry officials are now looking into the possibility of forcing the providers to take action. ‘We really regret the fact that internet providers will not work with us on a voluntary basis,’ a department spokesman said.
The national police force published a blacklist of sites publishing child pornography at the beginning of this year and asked providers to block access. Only cable company UPC has done so, De Pers says.
Blocking sites would be ‘censoring’ and ‘in conflict with the right to freedom of expression’, a spokesman for XS4all, which is owned by KPN, said.
KPN itself said it is still in discussions with the police but that there were questions about who decides what is considered as child pornography. ‘We are willing to publish the police blacklist on our site so people can see for themselves which websites offer criminal material,’ a spokesman said.
UPC account holders are automatically linked through to the national police force website if they type in a website address from the pornography blacklist. ‘There is a text that makes it quite clear that accessing child pornography is a criminal offence,’ a UPC spokesman said.
De Pers reports that between 80 and 100 cases of being in possession of child pornography come before Dutch courts every year. Those convicted are usually given community service and ordered to undergo therapy.
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