ISP blocking of access to child porn gets OK from government team

Kyodo News

A government working group approved on Monday a plan to get Internet service providers to block access to child pornography images as soon as they are found, without waiting for site operators to grant requests to delete them, officials said.

The approval came at a meeting of bureaucrats from the National Police Agency, the Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry and seven other government offices.

The plan will soon receive a formal endorsement from a meeting of Cabinet ministers in charge of anticrime measures led by Prime Minister Naoto Kan, the officials said.

“The government, by teaming up with the private sector, must take measures to prevent children from being victimized and provide protection to children already victimized as speedily as possible,” said Atsushi Oshima, a senior vice minister at the Cabinet Office and chairman of the working group.

The government intends to make the blocking possible within this fiscal year.

“It’s crucial to ensure the (plan’s) effectiveness,” said a senior official at the NPA, which has been calling for speedy implementation of ISP blocking. “Police authorities will provide maximum cooperation” in its implementation.

But a communications ministry official said the plan “can’t be separated from the risk of impinging on secrecy of communications and freedom of expression,” and this needs to be considered when carrying it out.