Internet Pornography

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 7:47 pm on 23rd November 2010.

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Photo of Ed Vaizey Ed Vaizey The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Innovation and Skills) (Culture, Communications and Creative Industries) (jointly with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport) 7:47 pm, 23rd November 2010

Now I understand why my hon. Friend is regarded as a rising star. I was about to say that ISPs could do more. My hon. Friend's anticipation of my next sentence was almost uncanny, especially as I am now speaking off the cuff rather than from a prepared text.

We have seen that ISPs can do very effective work in removing child abuse websites. We also know-and I mentioned this during my speech on net neutrality last week-that they can manage the traffic that crosses their network in order to give their consumers a good service. A couple of weeks ago, I had a round table with ISPs and rights holders from the music and film industries and from sport to discuss what measures we could take to provide more legal content as the Digital Economy Act 2010 comes down the line. It seems to me that, given that rights holders are fully aware of the websites that are distributing their content illegally, ISPs could do more in that regard. However, what I learnt from the meeting was that it is important to arrange for people to sit around a table, discuss the issues, and seek ways in which we can work together to make the system operate effectively.

After that meeting, which was productive-I felt that in two hours we had made substantial progress-I made it absolutely clear that I would follow it up. It would not be a one-off meeting that we would forget about, perhaps returning to it in a year's time. I should like to offer the same opportunity to my hon. Friend the Member for Devizes, and perhaps to my hon. Friend Mr Burrowes and other interested Members, as well as to charities and other organisations that are involved in the debate.

If we do have such a meeting, it must not interfere with, or cut across, the important work that UKCCIS is doing. However, I think it important for the side that is concerned about the issue-which consists of most of us, especially those of us who are parents-to sit around a table with ISPs, air their concerns, ask questions, and establish what further action they can take, and for the ISPs to respond. I assure my hon. Friend the Member for Devizes that if we have such a meeting, I will not leave it there. We will see what progress we make, and we will follow it up.