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Web security company calls on UK Government to make Kitemark for Child Online Safety compulsory for public sector

2nd February 2012 · Our Thoughts

iomart Group plc reacts to Science and Technology Select Committee report on cyber security

iomart Group plc, one of the UK’s leading web hosting companies, is today calling on the UK Government to insist that all public sector organisations with a duty of care to children should only purchase software products that have been awarded the BSI Kitemark for Child Online Safety.

iomart Group’s stance follows the announcement today (2nd February 2012) by the Science and Technology Select Committee, that the UK government should consider imposing safety standards on software sold if self-regulation isn’t adopted by the IT industry.

iomart’s web security software Netintelligence, which provides internet protection for 100,000s of school children and families in the UK, is the first and only such software to carry the BSI Kitemark for Child Online Safety. Netintelligence was awarded the Kitemark by Children and Families Minister Tim Loughton in January 2011. So far, no other UK software company has taken up the accreditation and the Government has not supported the Kitemark publicly.

The BSI Kitemark for Child Online Safety is a certification scheme for internet website filtering software produced by software manufacturers. These products can be bought as stand-alone products from computer retailers or come as part of an operating system or ISP package. The software’s ease of use, reliability, and performance must meet the scheme’s strict criteria.

Angus MacSween, CEO of iomart Group plc, said: “Back in 2007, iomart along with the British Standards Institute, OFCOM, the Home Office, several major UK child safety organisations and other private sector companies spent a considerable amount of time working on the specifications required for PAS 74 (Access control systems for the protection of children online), which ultimately became the BSI Kitemark for Online Child Safety.

Rather than yet another clarion call for more action, the UK Government could make a bold stance now. It should insist that all public sector organisations with a duty of care towards protecting children online, for example schools and local authorities, should only purchase products that have been awarded the Kitemark. That way other commercial companies will have to follow the lead of Netintelligence and iomart to provide software that the public can trust.”

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