Internet firms face action on child porn

Justice minister Ernst Hirsch Ballin has given Dutch internet service providers such as KPN and Tiscali three months to start blocking child pornography websites voluntarily or face a legal requirement to do so, public broadcaster NOS reports on Thursday.

Hirsch Ballin said he was giving internet providers time to take action because some progress has already been made following talks with ministry officials. In addition, the minister accepts that there is a European dimension to eradicating child porn.
Earlier on Thursday MPs from the three coalition partners and the Socialist Party urged the government to take legal action against internet providers who refuse to block sites listed on a police blacklist.
So far, UPC is the only major provider to do so.
MPs said providers have been urged for years to take voluntary action and that it is now time to bring in legal powers. ‘Providers should no longer be able to hide by saying they are simply passing on a service,’ CDA MP Marleen de Pater was reported as saying by ANP.
In August, KPN said it was still in discussion 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 that people can see for themselves which websites offer criminal material,’ a spokesman said.
XS4all, which is also owned by KPN, said at the time that blocking sites would be ‘censoring’ and ‘in conflict with the right to freedom of expression’.

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