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back to article UK.gov says: Regulate the internet

As unemployment looks set to soar in the months ahead, quangocrat and soon to be outgoing head of Ofcom Lord David Currie appears to have discovered a cunning plan to find jobs for tens of thousands. The time for regulating the internet is nigh – and Ofcom could be the body to do it. In fairness, Lord Currie seems merely to be …

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Anonymous Coward

So it's OK to do this...

So according to the lib dems it's OK to do this as long as it's done 'for the children'?

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Unhappy

Controlling The Internet

Whats needed is a massive database showing evey e-mail sent by every body, every website visited by every person, then application of existing law (copywright, obscene publications, fraud act etc).

That way we could impreson the really bad, fine the naughty and worry the rrest.

Then everybody will realise that we a 1.watching, and 2.Responding.

Oh, hang about, we're building the databse right now.. on the grounds of "stop terrorists",

It'll all work out in the end.. <sigh>

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Coat

Do the sums, people !

Glad to see El Reg sitting down and actually getting some realistic figures together. Planning a UK flight to Jupiter might be great boost for national morale and would make for some great government soundbites but once you figure out the cost in hard terms, you see just how unworkable (or 'bonkers') the concept is.

Gordo isn't dipping into my pockets to pay for this content rating scheme.

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Flame

Willl someone please..

put Andy Burnham out of our misery. The man is a complete tit.

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Stop

Its Deja vu all over again

Sounds like UKGov wants to revive the original AOL idea - closed web comminities with pre-approved content providers. Well if we're nationalising the banks we might as well bring the soviet all the way back. Maybe China could send us some cultural advisers - oh and everyone's favourite search engine is good to go.

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Stop

Again!

I have a simpler solution - ban children from the Internet. Children aren't allowed to drink alcohol because it's deemed harmful to them. Children aren't allowed to smoke because it's deemed harmful to them. Children aren't allowed to drive because they aren't deemed mature enough to do so. Children aren't allowed to have sex because they aren't deemed mature enough to do so.

If there's content on the Internet which is dangerous to them and/or which they're not mature enough to deal with, why is this not just the simplest solution all round? Deal with the problem at source and leave the rest of us alone.

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Coat

It's about now

they start regretting not pushing harder for a .xxx domain.

As that Britney fan might have said, LEAVE IT ALONE! JUST LEAVE THE INTERNET ALONE! I'M SERIOUS!

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Gold badge

Two solutions

Firstly, for the NuLabour fans out there, if you want to set up a national firewall why not do it as a PFI tender? (I assume some Chinese consortium would manage the lowest bid, so we'd all get the great filtering experience that they enjoy over there.

Secondly, for those still on Planet Earth, why not encourage the general drift already occuring towards an alignment of domain names and legal jurisdictions. (The IPv4 address space is somewhat balkanised, but we could do it as part of the IPv6 migration that we ought to be doing anyway.) UK.gov could then legislate that anything within *.uk must adhere to content labelling policies (the technical details of which have been standardised for some time). This method requires no army of censors and doesn't piss off law-abiding adults.

You see, Jacqui, regulating *your* bit of the internet is not hard, but you aren't allowed to regulate the bits that don't belong to you, so the very first thing you need to do is create an algorithmic means of identifying *your* bits. To put it in IT terms, you can't authorise until after you've authenticated.

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Stop

No Need

An Internet Protection Mechanism is already available. It requires no technical knowledge to implement (so even an idiot like Burnham could do it). It's available in every household.

It's called a parent or guardian. I think it should be used more widely.

YouTube is (thankfully) a US company so would just ignore any UK laws.

We already know what would happen if these fools tried to filter stuff arriving on these shores. In the USA, certain newsgroups were thought by busybodies to be unsuitable, so many ISPs, instead of bothering to filter, just took down access to ALL newsgroups.

When YouTube is banned in the UK as the content is unclassified, can we expect Mr Burham to then complain that he can't get his political videos shown on it, a la John McCain?

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Coat

Well..

By the sounds of it, this might lead to the Web 2.0 I've been hearing about (there was an article about this on a related website with a Q in the name last week sometime).

Where the ultimate goal is to have isp ofter subscription to WEBSITES, not the world wide web and you would only have access to what the government would approve of.

So its basically means the end of free speech on the web if the government decides it doesnt like what your saying. Kind of like parliament square where your allowed to have your say as long as if you have a permit. But they can always say no at the permit stage hence you are committing a crime if you disobey them.

Not to meantion the huge effect it will have on online bussinesses, dont pay the right back handers to whatever orginasion and your stuffed up a certain smelly creek without a paddle.

And i'm sorry to say this seems to be the world we're heading for.

*\. Mines the one with "Just because your paranoid, doesnt mean their not watching you" writtern on the back.

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Alert

Jobs for the voters

It's all part of Labour's grand plan to add another 1 million dedicated Labour voters to the civil service payroll. Because every ISP in the land will go bust if forced to employ their own smut watchers, the government will have to do it for them.

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Black Helicopters

How many times...

It's none of the government's bloody business what I watch, who I talk to, what I talk about... *I* am responsible for my own viewing and for that of my family below legal age. As is every other user. Once again, yet another pointless and expensive system to prevent the use of something purely on the grounds of 'theeenk of theee cheeeldren!'

Bah.

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Dead Vulture

Mass surveillance + Freedom of Speech

Nobody makes you read anything on the net. It's your choice. If you are offended then you made the wrong choice. If you let your children visit sites that offend them, then you're a bad parent.

Words aren't frightening, *truths* are frightening. People who claim they fear words, really fear *truths*. So which truths do uk.gov want us to conceal?

Jacqui Smith is not a fit leader, her choices are not better than other people choices, other people who have opposing views are not aiding terrorists despite what Hoon says.

What risks 'she's prepared to take' is unimportant, she won't leave her home at night for fear of crime, she's not prepared to take ANY risks even in normal life, but that doesn't mean we should all live under curfew just because she's a nutjob.

She is supposed to defend the basic freedoms, free speech, privacy etc. She won't and therefore she's not fit to be in position of power.

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Legislators

"Ask most legislators about it..."

But it shouldn't be "legislators" that you ask. You should ask the people, and then have the legislators draft laws accordingly.

The implied notion that they are the masters illustrates perfectly how we are moving towards a left-wing statist dictatorship.

Also, the idea that lack of government intervention is in some way "forbearance" just shows the arrogance of these people. So if the government isn't controlling it, that shows restraint on their part?

Bastards

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Stop

Give up my smut?

They can prise my internet smut out of my cold dead hands.

Which reminds me of a video I saw on the internet recently....

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re: it's about now

"pushing harder for a .xxx domain." fnar fnar.

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Anonymous Coward

@ twelvebore

amen broth/sist-er

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Dobbers

I like that word. It describes UK.Gov perfectly.

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Anonymous Coward

Civil service pornmeister

Sounds like my ideal job - index-linked pension for watching porn 6 hours a day. Where do I apply?

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Stop

Just remember the saying:

"The internet considers censorship as "damage" and routes around it."

Any attempt to regulate will be met with the same answer.

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Anonymous Coward

FREENET

http://freenetproject.org/

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Anonymous Coward

Never Fear

The Ministry for Truth and Mental Wellnes shall take care of you all.

This all makes me angry on so many levels I don't think I can express myself anymore.

It's the kind of thing that in any reasonably responsible nation would lead to someone losing their job for being at best an idiot at worst a fascist idiot.

At the end of the day stupid people die and get hurt, it's not my problem, should of used their brain. People who arn't careful die and get hurt, again still not my f-----g problem, and more often then not plain old unlucky people die and get hurt - again not my problem. Unless it happens to me, but then, that isn't your problem, it's mine.

The number of people that die and get injured from stupid f------g s--t and bad luck way out weighs the number of people murdered, wounded, and messed up by other people.

It's a shame the mainstream media are no more then establishment sock puppets (and lets face it, the internet is as bigger threat to mainstream media as it is to politicos - all those ideas and information) so they have vested interests in seeing it censored, divided, and spoon fed.

O well, I'm hungry.

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Anonymous Coward

Get her out of office!

http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/Sack-Ms-Smith/

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Stop

Freenet

Time to head into Freenet.

"I worry about my child and the Internet all the time, even though she's too young to have logged on yet. Here's what I worry about. I worry that 10 or 15 years from now, she will come to me and say 'Daddy, where were you when they took freedom of the press away from the Internet?'"

--Mike Godwin, Electronic Frontier Foundation

Follow the rabbit

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Anonymous Coward

empty headss vote labour in, empty pockets vote them out again

Curry, concerned that there may still be some money in the UK has come up with a genius new way to spunk said money. Upon delivery of the new shiny Calvinist Internet, Curry was also pleased to boast that the UK has solved world poverty, slashed carbon emmissions by 100% and generally saved mankind.

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Outsourcing...

Why doesn't the UK government save a shed-load of money by simply outsourcing Internet policing to the People's Republic of China?

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I'm not a happy chappie.

I'm very unhappy about this. I just posted an off topic missal on the exact same proble as a jibe at the BBC.

I am displeased to find that the commie reprobates on here are of a similar mind.

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Think of the Childeren

Its a bit like on Hot Fuzz where they death cult always repeat in unison 'For the Greater Good'

Well they can stick their 'Greater Good' where the sun doesn't shine.

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Anonymous Coward

Monkeys

This proposal could almost be put forward as scientific proof that the ministers and policy-makers at the Dept of Culture are simply retarded,

Either that ot they fail utterly to understand (or even read up) on what they are talking about.

To call them Monkeys would be an insult to monkeys.

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Joke

A regulation strategy which might actually achieve something useful?

I'm all in favour of the government setting regulatory bodies to stop me doing stupid stuff which might hurt me. But statistically the internet is FAR less dangerous, than, say, crossing the road - and I think we should start building this new relationship between government and citizen in the areas where citizens are most at risk from their own stupidity.

So I propose setting up a new body called OFFROAD - and this is how it works. Every time I want to cross the road, I have to call up OFFROAD, who will send out a trained risk assessor to check out the safety of the road-crossing decision I have decided to make, before I'm allowed to cross.

And if OFFROAD works well as a pilot project, we could then move on to setting up a body to reduce accidents and injuries in supermarket car-parks - which we might call OFFTROLLEY...

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Stop

Beyond stupidity

This isn't just stupidity. It's far-left control-freak stupidity, and it must not be tolerated in any way. YouTube would not hire thousands of censors to please these idiots - if forced, they'd either give up entirely or just shut off access from the UK entirely. We need to stamp them out before this gains any more traction and it's too late to fix!

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good luck for them

i mean.. with bit torrent, changing your DNS, encryption etc...

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Flame

Kraft Durch Dummheit (redux 2)

Well, here we go again, with Andy Burnham, a man of no known talent or experience (degree -> political researcher -> union hack -> MP -> minster) showing that under Neues Arbeit, citizens are no longer considered capable of making rational decisions about what is and is not appropriate.

Well, what should one expect from a Catholic educated English graduate who has never worked outside politics?

This is the moron, remember, who was Chief Secretary to the Treasury when Northern Rock went tits-up, despite knowing the square root of fuck all about economics.

He's now proposing internet censorship. I wonder how much he knows about the internet?

Strength through Ignorance indeed!

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Paris Hilton

Won't somebody, please, think of the Children?

I have a suggestion or two.

1) Don't let Ofcom anywhere near t'internet. They are making enough of a mess of TV, Radio and Telecoms. Before we know it, we will all be expected to bid for bandwidth.

2) Concentrate on the stuff on the interweb that is actually illegal in the UK (which is of course almost everything these days), and not just what some Daily Mail reader thinks is immoral.

3) Parents could maybe consider keeping a watchful eye on their darling offspring. Rather than saying, "There is the worlds largest collection of pr0n, violence and Wikitruth, go entertain yourselves", maybe they could apply some parenting skills.

I don't like the idea of 'across the board' content filtering... bit too Chinese for my tastes.

Paris.... because I am sure she would be considered immoral. But not to worry... I already downloaded the video.

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@ twelvebore

Hear, hear.

Why do they think everything has to be child-friendly? This is an adult world. Aspirez-la, chiennes!

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Anonymous Coward

Drift to Regulation

What surprises me is that regulation hasn't been done sooner. For the last decade & a half the internet has been associated with many terrible things, e.g. Columbine massacre, David Copeland, child abuse, etc., yet not really until the last few years has anything been done to tame the beast. Is it that the technology hasn't really existed until now? The problem is that governments can legislate themselves until their blue in the face, but it doesn't necessarily make the problem go away. This country is still awash with drugs, despite their illegality. My suspicion is that attempts to regulate the internet are more to do with money (internet piracy & the undermining of more traditional media) & politics (undermining of traditional parties, with any Tom, Dick or Harry able to get his point across to millions of people with the few clicks of a mouse). It is convenient for governments & certain businesses to try to leash the anarchy of the web. The problem is that the internet is so ubiquitous that everyone who has access, provides services, etc. has a vested interest. Some people want change, some people want it to stay the same. I think there will be a technological arms race if there are attempts to control or track internet users. People will develop tools to cover their tracks or encrpyt their traffic. Governments will find away around it, ad infinitum.

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Parents

Some of the responsibility has to lie with parents. The rest has to lie with the government; specifically educating parents.

A parent that allows their child to use the Internet without supervision or filtering (that's self imposed filtering, mind) of any kind can be equated to a parent allowing their child to play hopscotch on the M6.

However, if said parent doesn't understand what the dangers are, then said parent cannot be expected to act appropriately and responsibly.

This is the only solution that stands half a chance of making any difference.

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@twelvebore

"I have a simpler solution - ban children from the Internet".

How exactly? Its all very well to draw parallels with driving, drinking and sex. The first you can only do in public (and note please its not illegal for a 14 year old to drive on private land) the second is only regulated in public (again, a 14 year old can drink in his own home) and the last - well, the UK is only the european capital of underage pregnancy so /thats/ been successful.

IRL people 'do' the internet in private and there's no ID check before logging in. Or aer you suggesting that ?

And back in the real real world, 1000s of schools would be totally screwed with a) in-class work and b) homework. My son even submits some of his homework by email, never mind doing all the research online.

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@twelvebore

Exactly! Been saying it for ages, "da web" was designed for adults, by adults with adult content. Same as the real world. In the real world we have safe playgrounds, where we know our kids are safe, the internet has providers like AOL who will do the same. If you don't like it, then by all means feel free to complain to who is displaying it, but don't expect miracles.

I have been using it for donkey's, since 1992, only when I have gone looking for slightly iffy gear, have I come across anything dodgy. I use safe secure email addresses, get about 2 spam emails a week, haven't caught a virus or spyware for over 2 years, since I started using Linux and putting plenty of AV software on the WIn boxes. It's not hard, it's called understanding your interests and making an effort to do things correctly, a practice that seems to have fallen out of favour in our "everything in manageable chunks and at 90mph" society.

The internet just like the real world, has god places and some terrible places, wise-up or get off!

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Black Helicopters

Internet filtering begins at home

If there are immature people in your house (Daily Mail Readers, Politicians, and suchlike) there are plenty of options that you as a responsible adult can enforce.

There are many "Net-Nanny" type programs which can stop your children blundering into areas where they should not be, or you can monitor what they visit. This is all about being a responsible parent/adult.

Funnily enough we can do all this ourselves. We do not need Jaqui's stasi, Any Bumham, or any of these other losers or Buff-Hoons involved.

Two World wars etc

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Anonymous Coward

what next

What next, child safe f------g strip clubs? Nightclubs? Alchole?

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Anonymous Coward

Departments named by The Man of Steal?

As we now have a "Minister for Truth" and a "Minister for Justice", is a " Minister for The American Way" far behind?

Or is that just the alternative name for "Prime Minister"?

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Paris Hilton

Ministry of Turth

One scary point is that when i read "Ministry of Truth" i didn't bat an eyelid... it wasn't until i read the next few words that i realized this was a pun and not (yet) a reality.

Regardless of the technical aspects to content filtering etc there is the social aspect. If they try and block the p0rn then there will be riots up and down the country. They can mess up the economy, they can mess up the schools, they can mess up everything.... but they cant take our p0rn!

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Coat

Numbers

You forgot one factor in your calculations: although a large part of the content on YouTube is in English, don't forget that a lot of it is in other languages. Therefore, you need to add to the 4000 employees a large number of translators and interpreters in all languages known to man (if I was a terrorist, maybe I would send messages in an obscure or extinct language), some linguists to identify whether the content is safe or whether there is any innuendo in it, etc. Plus, most people doing that sort of job in real life such as for the film industry, usually need to play border-line movies more than once and to more than one person in order to classify it properly. All said and done, sounds more like 40,000 people needed to do the job for YouTube only. Then there are all the other web sites with subversive content, like El Reg. And hey presto, we're all employed by the government watching over each other's shoulder, no unemployment anymore: result!

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Burnham was my MP

He was a dick then and still is now.

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Stop

For Heaven's Sake

Why do they make it so hard, regulating the Internet would be easy. Just make a large "firewall" around all UK connections. Any UK sites have to get a license for £1000 each, evil foreign sites would have to be on a white list. I'm sure our politicians have some friends somewhere in the world to sell them the technology.

The government should concentrate on the more important things like regulating the weather, no more wet summers like 2007.

Also regulating the planets would be highly advantageous, we could control the future!

P.S. Lobby the government to ban ponds and large puddles, before we are left with no children in the country at all.

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Alien

Suicide

If they want people to stop committing suicide, maybe they should address the reasons why and not try to remove all instructions. It's counter productive, like the fucking morons in schools that don't want kids knowing about contraception.

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I want that on my CV

Official p0rn reviewer.

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Coat

@ Civil service pornmeister

RSI could be an issue; I'd love to see their risk assessment and mitigation document...

The one with the half empty packet of Kleenex® For Men in the pocket. It's Time To Let It Out (TM)

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Coat

Smut finder general

In 1996 I was working at PSINet when we received a letter from Scotland Yard, or some such, asking us to remove distribution of a set of newgroups based on their content. In order to check that the content hadn't moved to other newsgroups one of the sysadmins kindly volunteered to trawl through the other groups in the alt.binaries hierarchy. I'm sure he'd volunteer to supervise this :)

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