(MENAFN- Jordan Times) The government will begin making parental control software available to Internet Service Providers (ISP) in Jordan by the end of October to allow parents to limit the content their children see online.
Australian company TCG has provided the Ministry of Information and Communications Technology with a UN-approved child protection software programme that gives parents control over when their children can use the Internet and what websites they can access to prevent them from viewing pornography or other objectionable content, Minister of Information and Communications Technology Atef Tal said in an interview with The Jordan Times this week.
"The software is being tested at the National Information Technology Centre (NITC), where the centre's staff are customising and Arabising it. By the end of October, we agreed with Orange Jordan to give it the software to start testing it on a segment of its Internet users," the minister said.
"We will make available this software to all ISPs, but we will not force them to use it. However, ISPs are required to provide some kind of technology to block pornographic sites because blocking these sites is a moral issue to protect children."
When the pilot project is implemented, Internet users with the ISPs that install the software on their servers will be able to create usernames and passwords for each of their children.
For each account, parents can decide which websites to allow their children to access and which to restrict. They can also set limits on the amount of time their children can spend on the Internet, according to technicians at the NITC.
The software will also send a weekly report to the parents on the websites their children visit.
"The government will have no hand in blocking pornographic sites, but it will require ISPs to provide parents with technologies to help them block these sites at their homes," Tal said.
In parallel with the software, the ministry has also formed a committee comprising its representatives as well as supporters and opponents of censoring online pornography, and the Teachers Association, to agree on mechanisms to block pornographic sites in Jordan, he said.
In July, dozens of Jordanians demonstrated to urge the government to block pornographic websites in the Kingdom, and launched a Facebook campaign to rally public opinion to block these sites.
In response, several Internet freedom activists and NGOs launched counter-campaigns on Facebook to oppose the calls for censorship.
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