Web industry efforts against online abuse 'insufficient'

Efforts by the internet industry to eradicate child porn may prove "woefully insufficient", MPs have warned as they called for beefed-up action to improve online safety.

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Calls for more funding to tackle online abuse images

A cross-party body has called for more funding to tackle the rapid spread of images of child abuse online, and warned that current efforts may prove "woefully insufficient."

Read: Calls for more action to improve online safety

The Commons committee welcomed the commitment by the Internet Watch Foundation to embark on proactive searching for abuse, but warned there were "concerns" about current levels of funding and capacity.

Concerned that seven additional staff might prove woefully insufficient to achieve substantial progress towards what must be an important intermediate goal: the eradication of child abuse images from the open internet.

It said there was:

A clear need to ensure that the police have adequate resources to track down and arrest online paedophiles in sufficient numbers to act as a meaningful deterrent to others.

If necessary, additional funding should be provided to recruit and train a sufficiently large number of police officers adequate to the task.

MP: 'Those that profit from internet must protect children'

Tory MP John Whittingdale has called on internet companies to do more to protect children from viewing images of child abuse and porn online.

In a warning that current efforts to eradicate images of child abuse may prove "woefully inadequate" he said:

We do not think there needs to be more regulation, and certainly not to stifle all the positive purposes and uses of the internet, but those who profit from the internet must demonstrate the utmost commitment to protecting children and should be prosecuted and penalised if they don't.

Facebook and Twitter, for example, are aware of the extent to which their services are accessed by younger children, thanks to age verification processes that are at best flimsy.

We expect them to pay greater attention to factoring this into the services provided, the content allowed and the access to both.

The same applies to other social media companies in a similar position. Bullying that takes place in the playground can merge seamlessly with bullying on smart phones and tablets.

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Calls for more action to improve online safety

Efforts by the internet industry to eradicate images of child abuse online may prove "woefully insufficient", MPs said as they called for more action to improve online safety.

Seven new staff members at the Internet Watch Foundation may not be enough, MPs said. Credit: PA

The call comes as it emerged that additional funding to the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) has resulted in the recruitment of seven extra full-time staff to track down illegal images.

Last year Google pledged £1 million to tackle the issue of child abuse images online.

The move came amid severe criticism of internet firms for inaction following a number of child murder cases with porn connections.

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