Wednesday, September 17, 2008

UK government to target suicide websites by clarifying the law

The Minister of Justice in the UK has stated that the government will amend the suicide prevention law to make it clear that it applies to online suicide promoting websites. The law will also allow Internet Service Providers (ISP) to police the sites that they host.

Maria Eagle a junior justice ministry official said:
"There is no magic solution to protecting vulnerable people online. Updating the language of the Suicide Act, however, should help to reassure people that the internet is not a lawless environment and that we can meet the challenges of the digital world."

Eagle continued by stating:
"It is important, particularly in an area of such wide public interest and concern, for the law to be expressed in terms that everyone can understand. We continue to work with the internet industry to look at long-term ways to keep people safe and without jeopardising our freedom of speech."

Websites that encourage teenagers and other vulnerable people to commit suicide carry information on suicide techniques. These internet promoting websites have been implicated in dozens of teenage deaths in recent years.

British internet service providers already take down any websites under their control when notified that they contain illegal material and they are free to restrict access to harmful or tasteless material in accordance with their "acceptable use" policies.

Link to the article in the Telegraph:

Link to a previous article:


Blaise Alleyne said...

Again... how is this a solution? It's treating the symptoms, not the problems. It's a game of whack-a-mole. They have no control over sites outside the UK.

Don't block the websites -- the Internet routes around censorship, for better or worse.

Go after the people who created the websites.

Alex Schadenberg said...

There needs to be a concerted effort to shut these offensive and destructive internet sites down.

There has been a concerted world-wide effort to shut-down child pornography, the same needs to be done with the sites that aid, abet and counsel suicide.