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back to article MPs report back from internet's dark side

MPs have called on the government to install a YouTube Czar to oversee user-generated content sites and better labels for video games. The Committee of Culture, Media and Sport, in its report Harmful Content on the Internet and in Video Games, said it was unconvinced by claims from sites like YouTube that they could not check on …

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Anonymous Coward

Nanny state...

"...the public needs the assurance that certain basic standards will be met"

No we don't. The public needs educating about what the standards *are* and that it is *their* responsibility to ensure that their children are not exposed to "harmful material".

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Anonymous Coward

Tanya Byron

Is a pox on humanity and is a Mary Whitehouse of our day. With her made up pop research to back her insane agenda.

Not to mention this bunch of Clowns have no clue about anything (watersheds - vetting user generated content) tshh what utter toss.

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Stop

WTF??

"The report said: "We are also concerned that user-generated video content on sites such as YouTube does not carry any age classification, nor is there a watershed before which it cannot be viewed."

A watershed. On the internet.

There simply are no words.

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Doesn't work both ways

Type your comment here — plain text only, no HTML

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Unhappy

Watershed?

Er, am I alone in wondering exactly how the watershed idea could ever work?

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Black Helicopters

Muddled?

Yet another prime example of just how little knowledge those involved in creating this report actually have of the physical composition of the 'internet'.

Ultimately, and unfortunately, they will discover that they cannot exert any control over content and that the only way to limit access to any of the sites in question will be to block them entirely.

Welcome to The Peoples Republic of NuLabouria, formerly known as the United Kingdom.

Please deposit your personal freedom in the nearest waste bin/ballot box.

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Paris Hilton

Re: Tanya Byron

I wouldn't say she was a pox on humanity. As I recall, her report basically said "Keep the same rating systems, just make sure the parents know what it means." That's a sentiment I've agreed with ever since I saw some parent with 10-year-old in Game about 10 years ago asking the serve-droid whether they had Blood (for the time, a particularly gory 18-rated game) in stock. The look of disappointed on small-child's face when told they didn't have it said it all really - neither parent or serve-droid knew/cared the game was 18-rated.

Props to Tanya for some common sense. And Paris, because even she knows what an 18-sticker is.

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"a lack of consistency and transparency of practice"

Is a good way of describing our lying bastard Government!

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Paris Hilton

Hands off!

To the gubbinsment et al:

GET THE FUCK AWAY FROM MY INTERNET.

We don't need regulation or censorship, what the fuck ever happened to parents being responsible for their children?!

Bunch of fucking bureaucrats who have no understanding of the situation trying to grab headlines along with that evil witch Tanya Byron.

Piss off and stop trying to ruin the last bastion of free expression we have!

Paris cos I wouldn't mind expressing myself freely with her.

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Unhappy

How ??!!??

How do you have a water-shed on a world-wide web - it's open 24 hours a day.

If any of these puritanical arese-holes paid any attention, they'd realise that kids have been looking at porn, from young ages (I remember seeing my first porn mag at the age of 7), for years. They just do't like how easy the internet has made it.

More to the point (as per AC @ 9.53), why the hell aren't they simply educating parents to, you know, parent ?? It's this ban-everything-in-case-one-person-comes-to-harm bull-shit that really grinds my gears.

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How many times does it need saying?

"The committee even suggests that this body might also regulate online piracy, peer-to-peer services and Phorm-type advertising."

I don't want "regulated" Phorm-type advertising, I want these snooping bar stewards locked up for illegal interception of communications!

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Black Helicopters

Funny

I thought everyone objected to China doing stuff the way this is headed?

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IT Angle

What time is it now?

Erm... watershed? Right... that works if there is a 'world time zone', but not in this pesky thing called a 'real world'. (Or are we looking at IP-based locations sensing, or possible a Great Firewall of the UK?) And Google-owned Youtube is an American company, so they can -- and will -- tell the UK government to feck itself.

IT? because the government should put a question mark after each of its uses of the abbreviation; e.g., the government has a handle on issues in IT?

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Paris Hilton

Geography lessons for MP's

Are MP's aware the internet traverses the entire planet? and the content you are viewing might not be hosted within your country's jurisdiction? So potentially there may be bugger all they can do about it, except disconnect the UK from the internet.

I know lets just ban children from using the internet, it has a greater chance of success.

Paris cause even she is smarter than an MP

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Coat

Watershed?

What time is it on the Internet?

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Tim

The UK is a Circus and the Clowns are in charge.

"...the public needs the assurance that certain basic standards will be met"

But who defines the standards. Can I have the job please?

I think it's a good idea to display a link to report a video and show the terms and conditions more forcefully. It's not the children I'm worried about but the people who copy what they see. How many vids are on there of people doing the stuff the jackass TV show do?

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Oh dear

"We are also concerned that user-generated video content on sites such as YouTube does not carry any age classification, nor is there a watershed before which it cannot be viewed."

So because it is only 8:30pm in the UK, it means that people in Australia cannot watch a video on YouTube. That is a rather UK-centric view of the interweb. Half the videos I get sent links for require me to sign up to youtube and enter my date of birth.

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Stop

Why do our politicians love copyright & porn?

We have rampant war in the internet. Bot's galore trying to break our communications and economy, trying to mislead and defraud our citizens.

And what do our politicians worry about? Not safeguarding the integrity of the internet but imposing their often dodgy moral standards on each and everyone of us.

For goodness sake - people really do have more to fear from malware & DDoS then they do from BitTorrent & Skinflicks. Address that first PLEASE!

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Alert

To agree with "Nanny state..."

...allowing a child free access to the internet is tantamount to allowing them to play hopscotch on the M6.

However, the knowledge gap for many parents can be too much to bridge for them to be relied upon to keep their children safe from the internet without denying the child access completely.

One possible solution would be a certification program, where browsers can be set only certificates that carry a valid certificate. This will force those sites that wish to maintain a child audience to comply with whatever standard is deemed required.

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Paris Hilton

Correction

To my last post; it should read "where browsers can be set to only allow access to sites that carry a valid certificate".

I need more coffee. Paris, for obvious reasons.

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Go

Insane ramblings

UKGovTube is the body that needs a warning sticker

"the findings of this committee bears no relation to the planet earth. Users exposed to large amounts of government may become seriously bored. Symptoms of overexposure may include sleeping for ever, drooling, rocking gently backwards and forwards, smelling of piss and psychotic episodes. Victims should be revived with large quantities of vodka and pr0nz."

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Double standards

>The report said: "Even if review of every bit of content is not practical, that is not an argument to undertake none at all."

Anybody remember what the argument was for not investigating BT over the Phorm trials?

And then they go on to say

>The committee even suggests that this body might also regulate online piracy, peer-to-peer services and Phorm-type advertising.

But this is typical comittee speak where one thing can be the equal and opposite at the same time.

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Stop

What's the point in trying to label everything?!

Yes, ratings can be useful guidelines, but simple things like we have right now are sufficient:

U, PG - safe ot watch with ittle Johny

12 - Getting dodgy, maybe the odd shot of some bird in pants and a fist fight

15 - Swearing and maybe a flash of flesh

18 - Don't let grandad watch this, if he has a dodgy ticker!

Simple really!

Typical "chav" parents who don't give a monkey's about what their kids are up to, are not going to be bothered by ratings. Those that don't understand the technology their kids are playing with, will get even more confused. Finally those of use who do care and do understand, do not need a bloody silly sticker telling us that if the picture on the box shows a screenshot of Zombie with it's brains smeared up the wall, we shouldn't let our 5 year old kids play it!

Jebus, I know not everyone has a full picnic basket when it comes to common sense, but pick a cross section of 100 people off the street and most people has a reasonably responsible attitude to bringing up their kids.

Shock! The Internet is lawless and contains free thinking adult material, that may not be safe for everyone! Gosh! Fecking Daily Mail readers all over again. It was built by adults, to be used by adults. Family usage is an after thought. Same with life really, there are nice bits, there are shit bits, deal with it and protect yourself!

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W

And here are my sources:

"Former TV parenting guru Dr Tanya Byron says society has become so "risk averse" that many young people no longer know how to protect themselves from harm such as web paedophiles.

The clinical psychologist said: "PCs are in classrooms now - this is the future. We obviously have to be vigilant about people with inappropriate desires. But we can't wrap our children in bubble-wrap because then we remove the opportunity for them to live life."

Ms Byron was speaking for the first time since her appointment by Gordon Brown to head an investigation into the impact of video game violence and internet porn on young people." -http://tinyurl.com/59y82y

Obviously thisislondon.co.uk is not the best source in the world, so let's see what The Dail Wail has to say about this pox on humanity:

"The Byron review, an inquiry into how video games affect children, was unveiled last Thursday. Parents are urged not to let children play video games alone in their bedrooms but to insist they play them only in the living room or kitchen, where they can be better monitored.

What a very sensible suggestion. The few of us whose children still do not have a TV or a games console in their bedrooms can feel satisfied at Dr Tanya's ruling. It seems to be a simple solution to a complicated problem." -http://tinyurl.com/65wlk6

And for balance, let's consult the Guardian:

"It would be against the interest of children if codes were so prescriptive that they stifled innovation and meant companies based their safety measures on compliance with a lowest common denominator [...] The Byron report has been widely welcomed by the web industry." -http://tinyurl.com/4b6qol

and staying the Guardian:

"My older child, who's now 12, keeps a diary, and in the way I wouldn't read her diary I respect that she's at the age where she understands more so she has more privacy. I also trust in our relationship that hopefully she can come and talk to me, and she does if she comes across stuff.'"

-http://tinyurl.com/6xuq4o

Hardly "pox on humanity" territory.

Whitehouse, on the other hand:

"claimed, on BBC radio, that Dennis Potter had been influenced by witnessing his mother engaged in adulterous sex. Potter's mother won substantial damages from the BBC and The Listener, who were reportedly unimpressed by Whitehouse's claim to have had a blackout on air and subsequently to have had no recollection of her words."

and "In addition to her campaigns regarding television, Whitehouse brought [...] private prosecution for blasphemous libel against Gay News in 1977. [...] The private prosecution concerned a poem, The Love That Dares to Speak Its Name by James Kirkup, a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. It resulted in a nine-month suspended jail sentence for the editor of Gay News, Denis Lemon [...]" - http://tinyurl.com/s2c58

As some famous Welshers once said: This is my truth, tell me yours.

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You can see where this is going...

...can't you?

"I've got a great idea. How about we implement a UK Government controlled firewall and route everybody through that. Then we can enforce who sees what. After all, we have to protect the children and combat terrorism."

November 5th. We need to go and admire the architecture in Parliament Square, with a Guy Fawkes mask. Individually, of course, cos we are not still allowed to protest without police permission.

So we are not protesting.

Just admiring the buildings.

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Alert

Regulate the Unregulatable

So, some ministry is effectively saying they want everything on the Internet to have an age classification? Maybe not in so many words, but that's the implication. Do they have any ideas on how to find the person-hours to do all this classification? It seems they only workable idea is already in widespread use - A "Report This As Offensive" button to flag content for professional review would seem to be the only practical way of censo*coughcough*protecting our children from the objectionable content (nb: subject to highly variable individual interpretation) that everyone in the country is supposedly flooding the Internet with.

And the idea of an Internet watershed, TV-stylee? It worked for TV because of the nationally centralised nature of the broadcasting apparatus, but trying to impose a watershed on an internationally accessible distributed medium? MP's have this habit of biting off far more than they can even hold with both hands, let alone chew.

Well hey, maybe we should send this "YouTube-et-al Czar" to the Olympics to learn the tricks of the censorship trade from the Chinese.

Bill Hicks: "You are free to do as we tell you! You are free to do as we tell you!"

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gov = thick as shit?

come on... sick of this now. PEGI works... no need for another classification. they they do feel like then need ANOTHER rating system (every game i have has the system) then go with the BBFC - no problems.. stop wasting our cash on trivial matters. fair enough kids shouldnt play GTA etc... but its an 18 rated game anyway...

you CANNOT CENSOR THE INTERNET... doesnt work. they simply need to use their brains and gather than that they cannot force FOREIGN companies to adhere to UK rules. doesnt work!

ive tried to find racy stuff on youtube and cant - worst i can find is some bint waving her arse around - more tame than page 3! plus with all the russian etc porn sites out there whats the point? kids will find porn more easily than the idiots making the rules!

i would like to offer myself as the web tzar - im sure i can waste years and spend millions to tell you things you already know so im heavily qualified...

why not simply force all porn sites to use a .XXX domain? that way parents can easily block that type of domain on their PCs? its about as useful idea as anything they can come up with!

"MPs commended Microsoft for providing a direct link to the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre from within Windows Live Messenger and for putting parental controls into the X-box." - so does sony on the ps3... pah @ MS...

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Anonymous Coward

@Nanny state

Sad, the next step for them is either

* Make a crime to view stuff the nannies don't like

* Make someone in the UK into a proxy criminal for not stopping it

Nanny knows best and it's past your bedtime so you can't watch the movies because those movies are only for grown up countries.

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W

Tanya Byron...

...has mostly talked sense whenever I've heard what she has to say. As I recall, she's basically of the opinion that were games to be given a BBFC rating, parents would once and for all have no excuses for letting little Johnny play GTA. Furthermore, they'd be less likely to because we all know what BBFC ratings mean. PEGI ratings are all too often taken to be an advisory difficulty level.

AC @ 31st July 2008 10:04 - care to elabortate on how her "insane agenda" qualifies her staus as "a pox on humanity"?

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Anonymous Coward

Won't somebody please think of the children?

Because we're all children now.

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W
Alert

RTFA or call the Waaaahmbulance.

Geez, you guys get in a lather very easily dontcha?

Amongst other things, the report was merely acknowledging that there's no TV-style watershed so perhaps we need to address the internet in a different way. But, agreed, in reality, what are UKGov gonna do about a US site?

Anyway, here's some past quotes from Tanya Byron so perhaps (just for a small moment) we can have some perspective amongst the sea of Waaaah:

"We obviously have to be vigilant about people with inappropriate desires. But we can't wrap our children in bubble-wrap because then we remove the opportunity for them to live life." -http://tinyurl.com/59y82y (thisislondon.co.uk)

For balance, let's see what The Dail Wail has to say about this "pox on humanity":

"Parents are urged not to let children play video games alone in their bedrooms but to insist they play them only in the living room or kitchen, where they can be better monitored." -http://tinyurl.com/65wlk6

And for more balance, let's consult the Guardian:

"It would be against the interest of children if codes were so prescriptive that they stifled innovation and meant companies based their safety measures on compliance with a lowest common denominator [...] The Byron report has been widely welcomed by the web industry." -http://tinyurl.com/4b6qol

and staying the Guardian:

"My older child, who's now 12, keeps a diary, and in the way I wouldn't read her diary I respect that she's at the age where she understands more so she has more privacy. I also trust in our relationship that hopefully she can come and talk to me, and she does if she comes across stuff.'" -http://tinyurl.com/6xuq4o

As some famous Welshers once said: This is my truth, tell me yours.

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Coat

@Gary Myers

The time is UTC of course, which coincidentally is the same as GMT. ;)

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Happy

@W

So TB is quite reasonable and ariculate - and her report comes across that way.

(People should read it before calling her names http://www.dcsf.gov.uk/byronreview)

So what? The conclusions are still in the strain 'the Govt should run people's lives a bit more' and this committee plainly demonstrates that even if govt intererence is to your political taste they have no degree of competence in the subject they are proposing to regulate.

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Stop

Watershed

The sub-site for a Channel 5 programme they used to show (not like that, it was more of a mild kind of Bizarre-on-the-telly kind of thing) used to have a watershed. I remember I was never able to get into it when I was killing time between (and during) lectures at uni. I don't think it was even very rude. Just covering their arses, I suppose.

Just thought you'd like to know.

I'm sure Channel 5 have tried to move upmarket nowadays, but at least when it had regular tits on I used to watch it sometimes.

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Black Helicopters

So is it safe to assume...

...that the Government does not place any responsibility whatsoever with the parents to ensure that their own children are safe online?

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Rob

Byron

I think ms byron is pretty hot!! And her report was pretty sensible really, a LOT more sensible than this utterly spasticated "YouTube watershed" idea, or any of the other displays of total ignorance we seem to read on a daily basis (like the facebook "knifing game" aka a single option in "superpoke" - hang on they can also type the words "stab" and "knife" in this comment form too!!?? The owners of the reg must be round up and incarcerated forthwith)

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YouTube can't pre-scan

YouTube doesn't pre-scan content for one very good reason. If they did pre-scan, they are acting as publishers and so become responsible for the posted content and lose any legal protection from "common carrier" status (which protects the mail and phone companies from prosecution should they be used to perform criminal activities.)

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I'll do it

Getting paid to surf the interweb, sounds like a dream.

My standard response would be, you'll need to await my green/blue/white paper about

A vote for me is a vote for net freedom.

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RW
Dead Vulture

It's the usual ideology

"We're socialists and therefore our thought processes are flawless. We the members of this committee, N in number, have more on the ball than the X millions of Youtube users. Our numbers may be small, but our motives are pure, unlike the porn viewing, kiddy-diddling, terrorizing masses on Youtube."

It's also (to coin a word) bullshit. As usual.

Where on earth did these dimwits in NuLabour come from? I know Canada's governments have been nothing to crow about, but at least they have to gumption to only _pretend_ to pander to the earthmother brigade instead of actually buying into the claptrap promulgated by said brigade.

It's frankly amazing that the plods haven't raided the Register's offices and carted off all the inmates to face charges of "socially irresponsible commentary on politics" and "fostering an attitude contrary to government agendas."

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Heart

Ahem...

Fuck you government. That is all.

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W

Re: "So what?"

So let's not go calling her a "pox on humanity" in such a hurry, when it's clearly a long way from the truth of the matter.

<apology>Sorry about the duplication earlier. Thought I'd been moderated/moderatrixed.</apology>

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Re: What time is it on the Internet?

About 1950 if the Government has their way...

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Flame

The Committee of Culture, Media and Sport

is considered harmful.

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Game ratings

I'm sometimes inclined to think that the movie industry, and the BBFC, is pushing things a bit too far--not at the '18' level, but with what is coming out with ratings such as '12A'--but I don't see a huge problem with the system being applied to games. Retailers ought to be able to understand it.

If it comes to that, parents ought to be able to understand it.

The big problem is that a lot of them don't give a toss. Well, maybe not many, but enough to generate headlines. 20 or so years ago there were enough idiots in shops who racked 18-rated Japanese animation with the Disney stuff. Sometimes, one idiot is all you need.

Can we have the BBFC testing MPs and marking them with the BBFC-rating they're capable of watching without ill effects?

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Time to tell them out

Thje time has come for the British people to stand up and tell Gordon Brown we have had enough of your paranioa. Time you packed up and moved to a less stressful job out of government. While you are going take all your entraige with you time to have a general electioin you are not cabable to run this country you havent got an idea what to do and all the publ;ic see are panic ramblings trying to turn UK into the next China...

Soldiers fought and died for our freedom you are killing it in the peace.....

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Paris Hilton

@Liam gov = thick as shit?

No this government is shit and Midas like with it i.e. everything they touch turns to shit. The idea that resourceful teenagers can't get access to anything adult is absurd and some pontificating lying scumbags legislating will make not one jot of difference.

Paris who loves small dicked MPs since they don't even touch the sides and mostly are premature with it. Next best thing to money for nothing and they do have gold plated expense accounts.

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