July 21, 2013 10:51 am

David Cameron urges internet groups to do more to stop child porn

David Cameron©Reuters

David Cameron, UK prime minister, has challenged internet companies to do more to tackle child pornography online, threatening them with the possibility of stronger laws if they fail to act.

Mr Cameron launched what he called a “big campaign” to remove child pornography from the internet, saying on Sunday morning that search engines such as Google and Yahoo need to be “more responsible”.

The prime minister said he would be trying to secure international co-operation in his fight against illegal and indecent images online as well as considering introducing new legislation in the UK.

“I’m concerned as a politician and a parent about this issue. All of us are a bit guilty of saying the internet is lawless, there’s nothing we can do about it. But just because it is on the internet doesn’t mean there shouldn’t be laws,” he told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show.

“What we want is the companies to act responsibly and exercise their responsibility and power as global internet companies,” he said.

But Mr Cameron did praise internet companies for agreeing to block certain searches on public WiFi, to ensure children could not access indecent images in places such as cafés, and for taking down illegal images when they are alerted to them.

Separately, Mr Cameron refused to rule out new taxes if the Conservatives win a majority at the next election. He stressed he was a “low tax Conservative” but said that no prime minister should ever give a “blanket assurance” about such things.

He was also reluctant to set a date for the EU referendum he has promised after the next election. But ahead of a report on which powers could be repatriated from the union, Mr Cameron said there was some support from other European leaders for giving responsibility back to nation states.

He said the Italian prime minister had seen “merit” in his proposals, the Swedish were “making noises” and the Dutch leader had his own ideas about bringing powers back.

Elsewhere in the interview, Mr Cameron said Lynton Crosby, the lobbyist turned adviser to the Conservative party, had not “intervened” in his decision to scrap plans for plain packaging for cigarettes. He said he had taken the decision himself at his kitchen table but did not say he had not spoken to Mr Crosby, who has links to the tobacco industry, about it.

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