A bill approved in government: ISPs obliged to offer content filtering

Israeli ISPs will be obligated to offer their customers content filtering services in order to block access to websites that provide gambling, violent or pornographic content. Such content is deemed inappropriate for minors as long as it does not have any artistic, educational, scientific or other redeeming merit. This is stated in a bill approved today by the Israeli's government Ministers Committee on Legislation. The bill was introduced by the Minister of Communications, Ariel Atias (SHAS, a Sephardic religious party). It will soon be submitted to the Knesset (Israeli parliament).

The current bill aims to be a softer version of a previous one, approved initially by a 25-0 majority in the Knesset on February 28 (Bill no. 892). The previous bill threatened to impose criminal sanctions on ISPs for failure to block inappropriate content for minors.

According to the current proposal, all ISPs shall have to offer their customers content filtering services when they initially register with them or when they renew their subscription. Within 60 days of the date in which the law is passed in the Knesset, all ISPs will be obliged to offer their existing subscribers filtering services. An ISP shall withhold its services unless it has an explicit notice from the customer notifying their choice. If a customer fails to notify the ISP, than filtered content will be provided as a default.

The installation or operation of the content filtering service will be provided either by the ISP, or the customer (if she so chooses) or in any other manner as ordered by the Minister of Communications. Furthermore, the bill stipulates that the Minister will have the power to order how the law will be implemented, thus determining content filtering methods, how to inform customers of filtering services and how to verify subscribers' age.