The following letter was sent to Claire Perry, UK Member of Parliament, by IFFOR's Executive Director on May 3, 2012.
Claire Perry MP
House of Commons
London SW1A 0AA
Re: Independent Parliamentary Inquiry into Online Child Protection Report
Dear Mrs. Perry,
IFFOR is an international Internet policy development organization dedicated to promoting a safe environment for children online while at the same time preserving freedom of expression on this priceless global medium. Accordingly, IFFOR's Policy Council reviewed with interest, the findings and recommendations of the Independent Parliamentary Inquiry into Online Child Protection.
Although the Report addresses important concerns, its recommendation to adopt a mandatory filtering regime fails to take into account the values of limited government oversight and maximizing user empowerment that have made the Internet the valuable resource that it is. You have met with several IFFOR Policy Council members, so you are aware that IFFOR is committed to the principle that content filtering can be used effectively to permit parents to control the material their children may access. IFFOR provides parental education and resources on its site for this purpose. However, a universal mandatory filtering requirement would do little to enhance this capability but would restrict adults' ability to access lawful content.
IFFOR agrees with the European Court of Justice that requiring ISPs to use filtering measures to impose advance blocking of content and to apply such measures indiscriminately to all customers is inconsistent with Article 10 of the European Convention on the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. This is a matter of particular concern in the United Kingdom, where children under 18 years of age account for only 23 percent of the population and children under 16 make up only 18.6 percent of the population.
IFFOR is committed to preserving the values of the open Internet, and is eager to work with the UK Parliament to find more effective ways to protect children without sacrificing the value of free expression.