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News  


 

Crackdown on porn sites gathers pace

Parental control system a better option, says Telecommunication Regulatory Commission director-general

By Ishtartha Wellaboda

The Police Women and Children’s Bureau said that they are hoping to start submitting a list of 100 websites containing pornographic material to be banned each week from next week onward.
According to a senior official of the bureau, they will submit these lists to the Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (TRC) as a move to prevent Sri Lankans from accessing porn on the Net.
He added that, while a handful of websites with pornographic material on Sri Lankan women and children had already been blocked, they would now move to ban websites with porn material on foreigners as well.
The officer said that they were also hoping to monitor these sites over a period of time to see whether they have become re-accessible.
These suggestions have emerged as a follow-up to a court decision given last Wednesday by the Juvenile Court of Battaramulla ordering the TRC to ban access to 107 porn websites.
Meanwhile, the top brass at the Women and Child Bureau said, though they were able to ban these sites, some of the sites that they have banned have already begun to resurface under different web addresses.
“There are millions of websites on the internet that contain porn and many more emerge each week. The rate of traffic makes it almost impossible to control these material over the net. We will submit these lists on a weekly basis so as to cope with a growing number of porn sites,” one officer added
He said that they have already proposed to the TRC to launch special software in to the local internet that prevents people from accessing porn.
“We have already found this software that can do this but the TRC is unwilling to launch the programme saying that it will reduce the internet speed,” he said.
When contacted, TRC Director-General Anusha Palpita said that he will act only if the court orders him to do so.
“We have already informed in writing to all internet service providers to ban the 107 sites according to the present court order,” Palpita said.
Palpita, however, said the TRC was strongly against any sort of Internet censorship that cloud slow the Web and hinder the country’s development.
He said that it was simply not practical to restrict access to these without slowing the Internet speed and thereby interfering in the normal day-to-day activities of many individuals and companies.
“I suggest that the best way to cope with this issue is to introduce a ‘Parental Control System’ that allows the parents to control what their children access on the web. First and foremost it is the parents who should be responsible for the child’s upbringing. Therefore, we can make available software that will allow the parents to control the types of websites that can be accessed from their computers,” Palpita said.