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back to article Public don't want internet filters, MS tells MPs

The Select Committee looking at harmful content on the internet and in video games was told yesterday that forcing companies to include "internet filters" on equipment was unrealistic. The Culture, Media, and Sport Committee heard evidence from lobby groups like the Children's Charities Coalition and Childnet International. …

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Coat

OMG

Someone at MS with a brain.

Was expecting them to say "Its not the ISPs job - its OURS!!!!"

Still from a company who have invalid security certificates on the hotmail.co.uk site its pretty refreshing!

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MS speaks, so the MPs will listen

Otherwise the money will dry up.

Andy

Thumbs up because MS is actually speaking sense for a change...

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W
Happy

Fair play...

...to the guy from MS.

Not often we get to say that, is it?

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Tanya Byron

"Byron is expected to call for a clampdown on violent video games."

Have we grown our own Jack Thompson?

I'm going out on a limb here and betting that she talks about how harmful a couple of example games are while neglecting to mention that they have 18 certificates. She'll also quote some statistics abpout increased agression but ignore research showing that exactly the same is seen in kids who play a lot of competitive sports.

Manhunt and/or GTA are the favourites at the moment.

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Pirate

Worrying.....

"Lambert also said that existing filters in Microsoft products are not widely used even though people are aware of them."

How do they know?

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violent video games not the problem

its reality control which is the problem for instance;

Playing DOOM3 has the ability to make you anxious and nervous, and at times quite terrified... These are all healthy emotions for the game you are playing, these are healthy HUMAN reactions. (p.s. anyone who says playing it didn't frighten them is lying) In the game you are also attacking "creatures" of various descriptions.

Playing CoD4 has the ability to make you disassociated with the events you're taking part in, introduce you to some fairly poor practices on the part of the characters and desensitises the player to modern warfare. In this game you are attacking people, people which reflect those embroiled in an ongoing conflict.

Even the attacking Nazis (a favourite topic amongst game developers for so long) is better than attacking Iraqis because, with the WW2 games you are generally replaying a battle that has already taken place, or at least are given to understand the events represent a past time where the situation was rather different.

These new modern warfare games are far more likely to deprave and corrupt than those where you kill aliens, hell beasts or Nazis...

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Gates Halo

To paraphrase Ballmer...

PARENTS! PARENTS! PARENTS! PARENTS!

It's all about the parents and / or possibly the school or library sys admins. But mainly the parents.

I play some fairly violent games (most of the usual first-person shoot-em-ups) but I am capable of differentiating between a game and reality. Children aren't, necessarily; that's why there's a rating system. It has to be enforced.

People may criticise their software, but the MS reps are right on the money with their testimony.

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Unhappy

will cars be next?

because they are dangerous in the wrong hands and yet we do not ban people from using them until after they have harmed another, and yet where is the government investigation to decide whether or not to ban everyone from driving just because some people are irresponsible?

everyday I am reminded of how crappy it seems to be in this country. I look forward to my departure

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Heaven's no!

Putting filters on software would be like... well... like putting DRM controls in an operating system.

And we could never have that now, could we?

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Dead bodies on the news

So the children should be shielded from violent video-games and naked bodies (pr0n), but it is perfectly acceptable to view a row of dead Iraqis/Afganis/Others on the evening news?!

Perspective anyone?

(Thumbs-up for M$ for talking sense for a change!)

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Paris Hilton

Parenting - RIGHTS not responsibilities, dammit!!!

"Lambert said it was unrealistic to expect software companies to act in place of parents - they should set limits on their kids' surfing. He said parents needed to be educated about what their kids are doing online and be aware of filters and other controls."

Wow - y'mean it's the parents' job to ...well.... PARENT THEIR KIDS??? Who'd'a thunk it? But isn't asking a parent to take any sort of responsibility for, or interest in, what their kids are doing a breach of Human Rights for everyone involved? Or something?

Paris. Because she'd make a great Mommy.

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Computer Games don't produce sociopaths

Bad parenting and an unengaging education system and society do.

When i was a minor i witnessed and was on the receiving end of a fair bit of sociopathic behaviour and the vast majority wouldn't even have known how to turn on a computer, plus at the time computer games mostly consisted of nothing more than blocky images vaguely representing demons from hell (Doom) and such like.

All this is is a grab by policy makers to find a scapegoat for their own faillings in providing an engaging and enlightening society for developing human beings. Plus some people should never be allowed to reproduce :)

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G4Z
Boffin

What now?

"Byron is expected to call for a clampdown on violent video games."

Yeah, no doubt because a 'clampdown' will solve everything won't it? How about a 'clampdown' on crap parenting instead?

Have to be honest, I am a bit confused about what the problem is in the first place because I don't see one.

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Think of the children...

The sooner adults can get it through their collective heads that bringing up a child is a responsibility and not just a way to get more benefits to improve their lifestyle/position in on the social ladder the better.

A game has a rating for a reason, giving a 10 year old an 18 rated game, no matter how mature they appear (mostly due to over exposure to other adult material) should be a complete no-no.

If they meant for it to be played by a 10 year old, they would have given it a PG cert...

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@MS speaks, so the MPs will listen

I doubt it. The current lot in power seem to just ring round until they find an adviser able to tell them what they want to hear.

Why else would the employ EDS, Crapita et al, all of the time.

Hats off to the MS geezer, all the same.

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Alert

ms existing filters on software well known?

I can only think of the content advisor in ie that noone takes seriously... is there something perhaps on the xbox i'm unaware of?

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Ninny Nanny

I think this ties in with being educated about unsecured wireless connections too.

The ISP, being the provider of access, SHOULD inform their customers about the problems of not having a secure wireless connection and how to secure it, and COULD offer information to help customers protect their computer and their children from things that could be perceived as malicious/inappropriate. This information is already offered by some ISPs and that's a good thing.

The decision though should rest with the customer as to what is malicious/inappropriate and to whether they want a secure wireless connection or not, the responsibility ultimately lies with them.

Takes someone from Microsoft to spell out the obvious, whatever next?

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As a long lost friend of mine used to say on Usenet...

If you can't take fucking responsibility for fucking supervising your children on the fucking internet, I suggest you stop fucking

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Boffin

"I dug my dead childs grave with a knife and spoon"...

...is an actual front cover headline quote from one of those 'real life' womens weekly mags. Accompanied by a generic, smiling, 'everywoman'. There are tens of other examples that crop up each week.

Scary as hell.

Context is missing.

A confusing and potentially upsetting conflict of emotions is on display.

Left lying around living rooms across the country for young 'uns of all ages to see and read at leisure.

See also: Harrowing Dave Pelzer-alike novels, lying around next to a kitchen sink near you.

See also: 'Gritty' pre-watershed soaps.

See also: Jeremy Kyle.

They all gruesomely prey on the vulnerabilities of those concerned.

All for the sake of £250 for "your story", or whatever the incentive for spilling the beans is.

What's a kid to think?

The "everyday stories" are upsetting and disturbing, and as such are more likely to fsuk up a kids perception of "normal" - whatever that is - than videogames ever could.

'Little Johnny' may well be holed up in his room playing (sigh) 'murder simulations' on the 'X-Station 360', but at least they are subject to A Clear Rating System (and are *obviously not real*).

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Kudos to Matt Lambert

And skunk glands to Tanya Byron in the event that she *does* call for a clampdown on violent video games, unless she also calls for a total ban on broadcast of competitive sporting events, banning them from schools, and abolition of the Armed Forces, because those *definitely* cause violent behavior (e.g., "soccer hooliganism," and military training).

I would be perfectly happy to support that conclusion, knowing full well that anyone who published it would be laughed out of business because the military isn't going away, sports fans will probably lynch her, and schools would go bankrupt without the idiotic gits who donate to them for support of "athletic competitions."

Personally, I play a mage in World of Warcraft. That is indeed a violent video game; I run around casting "black magic" to kill people, demons, and animals, and rob their corpses; I also hack them up with a sword if they get close enough. If I had chosen the "undead" race, I'd also commit cannibalism.

Strangely, that behavior has never spilled over into real life (although I must admit, there have been moments when I deeply wished to cast a Fireball at a particularly thick customer...).

But I think Lambert is right on the money. If parents don't parent, it's NOT up to the Nanny State to do so for them. Take the kids away and give them to someone who will.

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Computer Games not on Radar

We have a policy at our house that no computers are in private areas. I prefer to put the computers in a den or a living room so the user can not hide in their bedroom and do things online that others can not see. Therefore we do not need filters. Bedrooms are for sleeping and romance. Keep it that way and you will be happier and healthier.

What people need to know is why cant Microsoft Block Spyware and Trojans?

Just download Spybot Search and Destroy and you will be happier.

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Right

Well, MS should know as they've been using such filters for a while. The 360 has an age system for it to stop lil kiddies playing things they shouldn't....Vista has also. Does anyone use the filters? nope. Mostly it's down to the whine factor.

I've seen little kids under 12 scream and yell at momsy to buy them GTA even though its clearly marked as an 18. And who's fault is it that lil Jimmy is sitting there humping some prostitute before shooting or running her over, so he can get his money back after the deed. Of cause its not momsys fault for buying the lil brat the game, its those evil games makers and system producers.

The problem starts, and ends with parents. It's about time they except it.

Thumbs up for nice one MS!

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Stop

violent video games...

Isn't this just a rehash of "video nasties" meme from 2 decades or so ago?

Again, if the age-ratings are adherred to and parents actually supervise their children a bit, it shouldn't be a problem, there's no need for additional controls.

This is the same government allows 17 year olds to join the army, where they can experience plenty of violence first-hand....

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Gates Halo

I never thought...

... I'd be using this icon...!!

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Bronze badge

Sod it!

So far I can't argue with any comment. It is all about parenting and the ability to use the off switch. Unfortunately a lot of parents need filtering to protect young people.

Do they teach parenting skills at schools yet along with the sex education classes?

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Paris Hilton

M$ talking sense?

Is the world coming to an end?

Or maybe it is just the nutters' day off.

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Boffin

MS in Shock and Awe!

Did a bomb go off or something, sounded like MS is actually speaking sense for a change.. I must have a concussion or something? and by the looks of it other people seem just as stunned. Might be a after effect of that earth quake we had where most of the population went "That trucker is out late tonight!" before going back to whatever they were doing at the time.

Seriously though, why wont the government understand that they way to sort out bad policies isn't to introduce more bad policies!

When has anybody gone "well this is a bad government, what we need to fix it is more government!"

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Anonymous Coward

Clamp down

G4Z: "Have to be honest, I am a bit confused about what the problem is in the first place because I don't see one."

So because YOU don't see a problem, then that means there can't be one?

What I don't understand is why there are so many people who feel that repeatedly re-enacting cold blooded acts of murder is some kind of human right that must be kept available to all.

Invariably the people who get the most hysterical whenever there is a hint that there may be a clamp down on extreme violence in video games, are the ones that have no understanding of how they desensitise the player. Instead they assume that the only adverse effects will be zombie like real-life enactments of the games.

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Boffin

Byron

Actually I seem to remember reading some of Byron's views on this sort of thing and she seemed quite reasonable. She wasn't a 'all video games should be banned' kind of person as this quote from the Observer illustrates.

'She told The Observer why she believes portable games devices should be part of daily schooling, suggests a likely link between violent games and violent behaviour in CERTAIN CASES (my emphasis), and stresses the need for parents and children to balance virtual world risks as they would real world dangers such as crossing a road or talking to strangers'

Seems fairly rational to me. She might suggest that the current voluntary classification of video games becomes a law in line with video/dvd sales, so it becomes a duty of the shop to ensure they're not selling it to a child. This is better if shops hold up their end, because mommy can't sue the shop for selling it to jimmy, they have to sell it to her, and it's then her fault that jimmy got hold of it (if the shop sells the 18+ game to a 10 year old anyway, they've screwed themselves).

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Pirate

Duke Nukem

American hero, role model, man of many humourous quips and all round defender of the world. How can this be wrong?

I'm gunna rip off your head and.......down your neck!

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More bubble wrap

I think you guys should just bubble wrap every hard corner and lamp-post in the streets of the UK. Maybe put soft mattresses down on the pavements and put a permanent ban on driving faster than a walking pace.

Remove any living creature that is not human but could cause harm to humans. Remember that even though squirrels look cute and fluffy, they can cause fatal choking accidents so to be safe you should exterminate absolutely everything.

Then build yourselves a big bubble-wrap shell to extend right around the border of the UK and meticulously disinfect everything inside.

Now remove anything sharp or small enough to be accidentally swallowed.

Only once this is accomplished will your government stop over-complicating your lives and acting like nursemaids.

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@Karl Lattimer's Doom 3 Comment

"Playing DOOM3 has the ability to make you anxious and nervous, and at times quite terrified... These are all healthy emotions for the game you are playing, these are healthy HUMAN reactions. (p.s. anyone who says playing it didn't frighten them is lying) "

You're right. Doom 3 did make me anxious and nervous. At how badly generic it was. I wasn't terrified once, simply because my brain went... "Oh look, there's a shadow, I bet something is going to jump out at me."

And what do you know? It did.

"Oh look. There's a power up. I bet I get attacked when I pick it up."

And what do you know? It did.

Doom & Doom 2 made me jump. Half Life & HL2 made me jump. Doom 3 made me yawn. It's the only time I've ever traded in a PC game.

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Anonymous Coward

Kindernet

Look - it's really rather simple. You make a heavily regulated and filtered internet based on whitelisting just for kids - lets call it a 'Kindernet' - and you strictly control and police it. Only content deemed kid-safe is allowed on there. It can be easily localised to whatever country or region it's based in.

You give people the choice of if they want to restrict their children's internet connections to the kindernet or not.

Problem solved. Only issue is of course this would expose the fact that the only reason governments harp on so much about 'protecting children' is really about controlling access to information such as we are seeing in pakistan at the moment.

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Guns dont kill people, video games do

There's one massive, undeniable fact that the anti-videogame crowd always ignore.

MILLIONS of people have been playing violent video games for YEARS.

If there really was any truth to their wishful thinking (that violent videogames make people violent) the whole world would be in complete anarchy right now.

[Anonymous Coward]

"What I don't understand is why there are so many people who feel that repeatedly re-enacting cold blooded acts of murder is some kind of human right that must be kept available to all.

Invariably the people who get the most hysterical whenever there is a hint that there may be a clamp down on extreme violence in video games, are the ones that have no understanding of how they desensitise the player. "

What I dont understand is why people with very little understanding of computer games or the people who play them think its ok to automatically assume that all gamers are lunatics who cannot tell the difference between make-believe and reality.

Invariably the people who get the most press trying to endorse the ban of violent computer games are those who have never played one, have never seen anyone play one, dont personally know any gamers and have a lack of imgination so profound its disturbing.

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G4Z

@ the stupid AC

"So because YOU don't see a problem, then that means there can't be one?"

Err... yeah pretty much, care to explain to me where the legions of serial killing, prostitute bashing, mass murdering gamers are?

As has been pointed out, violent games have been played for years and this simply has not happened, in fact violent crime has gone down in recent years.

"What I don't understand is why there are so many people who feel that repeatedly re-enacting cold blooded acts of murder is some kind of human right that must be kept available to all."

Yes, it is a human right you complete and total tool, its called 'free speech'.

"Invariably the people who get the most hysterical whenever there is a hint that there may be a clamp down on extreme violence in video games, are the ones that have no understanding of how they desensitise the player. Instead they assume that the only adverse effects will be zombie like real-life enactments of the games."

Your an utter idiot, can you please describe what these adverse effects are, other than vague hand waving about the impending doom to be wreaked on this nation by a horde of pasty skinned Dorito stuffed gamers..?

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Re: Steven

To be fair, Doom 3 was scary - for the first level. It did manage to create a feeling of paranoia that had me repeatedly putting bullets in the heads of unfortunate innocent corpses so they wouldn't get up while missing the actual undead creeping up from behind.

The moment the first imp appears it just became tiresome. The only other bit that induced any sort of reaction in me was when the first floating head detached itself from a corpse, and that was cancelled out by the choked disbelieving laughter that came out when I saw the upside-down head spiders.

And I can't believe we're slagging off Doom 3 and we haven't mentioned the audio logs.

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xjy
Heart

Scapegoat commandments

Art is imitation - not some magic instigating agent. Good art lifts typical features of our lives into dramatic engrossing relief with a historical and social perspective. Mediocre art just pushes fashionable or stereotypical features of our local lives down our throats with little drama or flair. Sometimes there's drama and flair to the crap, though, so it's not so easy to categorize as it might seem.

Anyhow, all the things "art" of any description - including computer games - is scapegoated for are there in reality and should be dealt with there. Violence, war, cruelty, fear, violation, whatever. Might as well blame art as forbid mirrors for showing us ugly and bitter faces.

Scapegoat First Commandment: Blame the Victim

Scapegoat Second Commandment: Blame the Mirror

As for parenting and what needs to be done about it - I suggest ten minutes thought about the fact that every animal including us reproduces itself and rears its young to adulthood. Better get used to it. And kids are reared to imitate their significant adults, if they're not completely preprogrammed by instinct. So I'd suggest that after our ten minutes' thought, we start giving our kids something worth imitating.

Here some lines from Alice in Wonderland to help the meditation:

Speak roughly to your little boy

and beat him when he sneezes

he only does it to annoy

because he knows it teases.

I speak severely to my boy

I beat him when he sneezes

for he can thoroughly enjoy

the pepper when he pleases

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Unhappy

@xjy

Mmm. I'm not sure the Duchess was the best parenting role-model, though. Look at how how her baby turned out...

I'd just like to say: I quite like Tanya Byron. She comes out with some sensible stuff on the box. Sadly, I expect the report with her name on it will probably read "yadda yadda violent video games bad, m'kay yadda" because saying anything other than that would be political / media career suicide, innit.

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Flame

Why nobody uses their filters

Simple: because when I once tried the filtering system of MS Internet Exploder, I found out it was complete and utter crap. It filtered out stuff I had definitely allowed in the rules, and let through lots of stuff I had ruled out.

Change browser, no more problem.

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Tom
Black Helicopters

Lizard men allert!

First we have open source projects for O/S component code, now actual common sense from MS, the lizard men have taken over! This of course, is because the machines failed to assimilate the worlds RAM stores with coppies of Vista, Lizard men cannot tollerate failure of world domination, and are now running the ship.

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best filter of all...

Set your email filter such that if a mail doesn't have my exact email address, then it is not for me and I don't want it. This filter alone blocks over 90% of spam.

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Paris Hilton

Filters.....

Maybe instead of filters, parents should take responsibility and actually parent their F$^#@ng kids. i am so tired of speed limits being reduced, getting carded for video games, glue and movies, and having to deal with stupid "parental controls" built into everything. parents should be spending their time watching over their kids, parenting is an 18 year commitment. i wish people would think of that before they breed.

paris cause like it or not her parents actually took care of her. somehow...

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Unhappy

@ John Dow

"Lambert also said that existing filters in Microsoft products are not widely used even though people are aware of them."

Worrying perhaps, but could just be the result of a survey or focus group.

I think MS should really be asking themselves *why* the filters aren't used. Could it be because they're absolutely rubbish and 3rd party products offer far superior functionality? Windows Firewall, for example, has often caused me problems with mapping network drives. I mean, COME ON MICRODICKS! How can you engineer your own software to stop working with itself? Morons.

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Unhappy

@Tom

Not lizard men in this case, definately crab people.

@Paul Smith

?

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Come Get some!

I agree with ACs comment about Duke Nukem, just harmless fun for adults.

simple solution, just ban consoles (which are a rip off anyway) and impose a law that anyone under 18 cant use a PC (would save hours of my life spent sorting out friends' PCs after little Johhny or Jemma 'who knows about PCs' decided it was a damn good idea idea to install Kazaa/utorrent//whatever and download loads of virus infested crap)

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