UK
11/10/2013 09:49 BST | Updated 11/10/2013 09:57 BST

Payments To Foreign Porn Sites Could Be Blocked By British Banks

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Banks could ban payments to foreign porn sites in a move to protect children from viewing adult images on sites without adequate age controls.

The proposal would see British banks blocking payments to websites that provide samples of pornography outside of a paywall in order to attract subscribers. However, the idea has sparked outrage from freedom of speech campaigners as it has yet to be discussed in Parliament.

The Authority for Television on Demand (Atvod), which oversees UK websites hosting videos, told City A.M. that the watchdog had a "very positive meeting" with the British Banking Association and major payment providers.

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Jim Killock of the Open Rights Group said: "This is something that Parliament should debate and decide on. It shouldn’t be obscure subcommittees telling banks how to behave in order to decide what UK customers may or may not access.”

The regulator Atvod asked earlier this year "whether it can be right for businesses which are likely to be operating illegally to draw revenues from UK bank and credit card accounts".

The proposal to ban payments to foreign porn sites comes as Prime Minister David Cameron has pushed for an "opt in" filter for viewing porn sites. However, the Department for Education warned in a report that porn blockers would be ineffective as they would "create a false sense of security".

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Previously, the Huffington Post UK revealed that Department for Transport officials had been looking up porn sites like Playboy and 'Big Boobs Tight Blouse', while over 300,000 attempts to view porn sites since May 2012 had been logged on Parliament's network.