Why do we regard the Internet differently to the mobile web and cable/satellite TV?

In 2004 the mobile phone operators signed up to a new code of practice that stops children from using unmoderated chat rooms, porn sites and gambling services. From the end of 2004 they became required to make sure that a person is over 18 before allowing them to buy a phone with unlimited access to the Internet.

Other provisions within the code of practice are:

  • commercial content which is regarded as unsuitable for youngsters will be classified as 18
  • 18 classification content must not be made available to anyone until the network is satisfied that the person is at least 18 years of age
  • all chat rooms available to people under the age of 18 must be moderated
  • parents and carers are able to use filters to restrict content
  • the operators are to work with the law-enforcement agencies to report content that may break criminal law
  • the operators will take measures to combat bulk and nuisance text messages the operators will provide advice on the nature of, and the use of, mobile devices and services

When it comes to TV parental control comes pre-installed with TV packages. Users aren’t expected to install and update parental control functionality as they are with PCs. So why not impose parental control at the ISP level?

Silent filtering is in place currently with Cleanfeed when it comes to child pornography so this could be extended.

Additionally, why not require the ISPs to offer add-on packages if subscribers want to access adult material, for example (with proof of age)?