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back to article MPs declare their ignorance on the web

The times, they may be changing on the internet, but if our Parliament has anything to do with it, that change is unlikely to be for the better. The problem is that far too many MPs not only don’t get it when it comes to the net, they actively bask in their ignorance of new technology. Two outwardly unconnected stories show how …

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D/L

"a league table of take-down times, backed by "name and shame" for those ISP’s who are slowest to respond."

I suspect that will only be good marketing for those 'slow' to respond providers.

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Unhappy

Oh dear

I've read and watched American Psycho.

I've played Soldier Of Fortune, GTA (all of them), Severance (where you could beat your opponent to death with their own arm), Duke Nukem 3D, Doom, Quake, (insert other random violent game here)

After doing all that (and more), I've yet to mutilate, rape, kill or defecate on any living or non living being...

But don't worry, here comes censorship to save me from all those evil children now, who will just be doing the same things I did when I was younger. Whoops, I just forgot - EVERY SINGLE child is now a gun-toting, knife wielding maniac who no longer gets the vicarious thrill of seeing an 18 rated movie at the age of 14 that I once got.

They go out into the streets every day and rape and pillage their way around their neighbours, friends and strangers in their way.

Yes, indeed. This censorship will make a big difference.

Loved the whole "tired old freedom argument" bit too - says it all really.

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Stop

Repeat after me

One day I shall find a new banner to wave every time the government wades in to matters interwebical, but in the mean time ...

Repeat after me:

the Internet is not television

the Internet is not television

the Internet is not television

The internet is a scary place where sex, suicide and guns are available? Have they ever visited London? Or, for that matter, their own kitchens (in the case of suicide)?

What's most disconcerting is the hard link between a human's chosen act and the medium by which it takes place. It happens on the internet so therefore the internet is at fault and needs spanking. The BBC have an article about "are networking sites dangerous" because people can be mean to other people on them. Well, in those terms, yes, as are playgrounds, trains, buses, offices, churches, and pubs. Let's ban / over-regulate them. Now I come to mention it, a cab driver decided that my little green man meant "cabs proceed" when I attempted to cross Moorgate, and yelled "fuck off" out of his window. I am hurt, let's ban both cabs and roads.

As for that Kaboom nonsense, it's not "legitimate"? OK, that's as may be, in whatever fairy-tale world the MP is living in, but it's still real. Why isn't there a central authority regulating what can go on the internet?

Oh hang on, the Internet is not television.

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Peter Hain's new nickname is...

Odo

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Dan
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Evolution of the web

Are we nearing the end of a 'golden age' of the internet? Will it soon be nothing more than interactive TV in the sense that everything will be permitted and controlled?

And how long before we all start surfing a 2nd tier web where all traffic is encrypted and we can access what we like?

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Stop

Paul Flynn

The issue with Paul Flynn was that his blog was publically funded, and that in making use of that funding one "must not seek to compare the member's party favourably with another, promote one party at the expense of another or seek to undermine the reputation of political opponents". Sounds fair enough to me; he shouldn't be using money intended to increase public engagement with Parliament to make fun of other politicians.

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in response to this comment

"There should be faster take-down, with easier access on the part of the public to an ISP’s take-down process: a league table of take-down times, backed by "name and shame" for those ISP’s who are slowest to respond."

Is it just me, or will that actually work in reverse

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

In todays headlines Virgin Media (hyothetical of course) have been named as the worst offender of censorship, for May 09 now that the government has taken to naming and shaming those ISPs who do no uphold its laws.

In other news Virgin Media (again hypothetical) have recorded a record influx of new subscribers to its newly labelled "Stuff the government" package. Almost 3/4 million people jumped from their previous ISPs to Virgin Media during May 09.

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Anonymous Coward

Can we say "counterproductive," children?

"...a league table of take-down times, backed by "name and shame" for those ISP’s who are slowest to respond..."

So if you want something to stay up past its proper span, you know which ISP to post it on? I think we can.

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A Solution, perhaps?

Maybe the answer to GOV.UK's woeful ignorance of all things technical is to set up a new department, say the Ministry of Technology. This department could be staffed by people who actually know what they are talking about, in terms of IT, the Internet, Communications etc. They could also run Government systems and bring the current abysmal outsourced contracts back in-house. This would help the economy by employing people in the UK and so increase tax revenues. It would help Government debt, because they could keep projects manageable and avoid unforeseen costs. They could do reviews of proposed new projects and so help mitigate the massive risks and costs involved such as in the NHS debacle. If none of the current idiots know much about the big scary interwibble, then get people on board who do.

What am I saying? It's all far too sensible, and as such will never be implemented.

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Bronze badge
Joke

League Tables

"There should be faster take-down, with easier access on the part of the public to an ISP’s take-down process: a league table of take-down times, backed by "name and shame" for those ISP’s who are slowest to respond."

Great! Those ISP's will gain so many new subscribers they might even become profitable.

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Alert

Christ, where to start with that one ?

Firstly, anyone sufficiently loathsome to use the phrase "I hope that we will not hear the tired old argument about freedom" should be dragged out and shot without mercy. Clearly this idiot is a threat to the democracy that we pretend to have, therefore a terrorist. The fact that he can get away with such a comment without fear of censure or a damn good old fashioned beating gives the lie to the idea of democracy in the UK.

With that out of the way, let's move on to

"Paul Flynn MP has been asked to remove comments about fellow MPs Peter Hain and Lembit Opik. He compared Hain to a Star Trek character"

Really, that was actually quite restrained. I personally would compare the slimy, gerning, weasel faced slaphead with a massive cunt bubble, let me count the ways.

"The authorities have taken exception to some of the language used which, they feel, breaches Parliamentary etiquette."

It didn't happen in parliament though, did it ? And frankly, since parliamentary etiquette largely seems to consist of being smug, making pathetic snide remarks, shouting "waaahh waah wahh, blur muuuurgh!" when ever anyone else is talking and having weird eyebrows, it's not like they can claim that making snide comments on a blog is brining it into disrepute.

Although all this is indeed frightening, it's not surprising. As previously mentioned, diminutive flame haired chipmunk pr0n pinup Hazel blears made it clear, as did Adrian Sanders in his quote to the reg, that politicians in general, and governments in particular don't like the internet and blogging and all the rest of it, because, much as I hate to say it, the internet empowers individuals, or at least has the potential to so (until NuLab gets it's grubby hands on the levers, anyway).

And anything that empowers the individual perforce disempowers the traditional* power elites, viz the cretinous shower of venal bastards that we somehow manage to keep re-electing, not that it matters much who you vote for, as someone once (probably) said "If Jesus and the twelve apostles apostles turned up tomorrow and started running things, but they weren't allowed to change the rules, we would still be fucked."

And how true that still is today, given the dangerous, totalitarian and yet somehow weirdly asinine behaviour described by the story.

* I know, yuk, but at least I managed not to use "entrenched".

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Incorrect article citing

The link to the Westminster Hall discussion in the article seems to link to a debate on the Stern report on Climate Change - at least I hope it does. I really don't want to have to interpret remarks such as:

Mr. Lilley: It is for only one variety of groundnuts. There is another variety for which a 15 per cent. improvement will be produced.

in the context of inappropriate internet content...

Perhaps you intended to link to http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200708/cmhansrd/cm081113/halltext/81113h0001.htm ?

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Paris Hilton

Internet is not television

This coming from the country where hardcore pornography is banned from late night encrypted television. OFCom rule 1.25 says:- 'BBFC R-18 rated films or their equivalent must not be broadcast'. As we approach the first large region for switch-over there is no R-18 on encrypted TV.

It is beside the point that up to 30% of all R-18 releases are censored and easily the tamest in the whole of europe. It is mandatory that such films must go through the film board. Not so in many other countries - it is left purely to content law.

That Paris Hilton film was on an encrypted TV channel recently.

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Flame

pffft! precautionary principle yet again

> Evidence-based policy? Conservative MP, John Whittingdale, observed: "If one looks for empirical, hard, factual evidence [of harm], there is very little. Our view was therefore not ... 'we cannot act,' but that we should act on the probability of risk."

Oh FFS. It would appear that the "precautionary principle" been elevated to the status of "Noble Lie." It's sad to think that these muppets actually believe the nonsense they spout. Still, I suppose that since they're talking about gamers at least that's one segment of the populace that might be immune to such drivel. Some good might come from this.

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"ISPs who are slowest to respond"

Does that actually equate to "ISPs who actually take the time to test the veracity of the take-down notice before yanking off the web the ALLEGEDLY offending content"?

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Stop

Huh?

John, interesting article, but I'm afraid you seem to be under the sad illusion that our politicians are actually somehow qualified for the jobs they do.

Why would they be qualified to legislate on common-all-garden modern technology, they're not qualified/experienced on 99.9% of the other stuff they legislate, comment & pass judgment on either.

One can only assume, that the reason they are politicians in the first place, is because no-one else is stupid enough to employ them.

To coin a phrase of Alan Sugar's "These people couldn't find their arse with radar".

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N

spot on Dangermouse

It seems they have an appetite for woeful ignorance on an almost biblical scale acting with complete incompetence to things that are blindingly fucking obvious to the rest of use.

Ive no doubt that some of them can probably speak a word or two of techie language, acquired from endless meetings with 'consultants' drip feeding them utter shite as they scoop hourly rates like modest lottery wins and churn out pages of minutes with out any of their peers being able to comprehend them, but agreeing never the less or it may rock the boat...

But then this is the same pack of fools that awarded contracts to companies like Crapita & Liberata, the shower of tossers who sent empty envelopes to householders & got fired.

They even think its fine for a bunch of Russians to give their company a phancy name & infiltrate the browsing habits of the great unwashed, it is after all, OK because its now under the banner of Phorm? yeah right...

Not to mention the two CDs with twenty how many million records in the post

And as for posting their various bile on youtube, that just sends a shudder down my spine.

Get a grip...

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Paris Hilton

"anecdotal evidence" ha!

"Part of the problem with video games ... is that there is no hard evidence ... Nevertheless, we agree that there is a probability that [harm] could occur, and there is anecdotal evidence."

There's no hard evidence for Bigfoot but there is plenty of anecdotal evidence. Do any MPs feel brave enough to introduce a law taxing Bigfoot? Do any of them even feel brave enough to mention it's name?

No - and there is a good reason for this. Anecdotal evidence is just another name for "blethers". Just look on snopes.com for a load of stories that have "anecdotal evidence" but which are based entirely on misconceptions and bs.

Paris - 'cos she's seen more internet action than most MPs ever will.

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iPlayer

I read a big chunk of this debate on Game Politics a day or so ago, so went looking for it on BBC iPlayer and could not found it. Does anyone know if I just missed it, and if so would you be as kind as to post a link?

Cheers,

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The lobby-fodder mob.

We really need to cut these guys some slack here. Their usual modus operandi involves lining up submissively and allowing themselves to be whipped through the voting lobby in order to rubber stamp Wacky Jacqui's latest paranoid fantasy.

So it's just like a day at the seaside for them when they are let off the leash and permitted to display their collective ignorance for the entertainment of the nation. Even with expenses included, it's a tough job, and someone has to do it.

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“contributing £250 a year towards his site”

What are these people speding the money on? It costs me £20 to £30 a year to run a web site not using my ISP web space.

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So any idiot can request a takedown?

What we all have to do is to start complaining about how offensive many religious sites are, and force THEM to be taken down for bogus reasons. It won't happen, but it would show the ridiculous doublestandard that exists that everything that offends over-religious psycho nutjob zealots is bad and everything that the aforementioned nutjob zealots say and write is just A.O.K.

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Silver badge

"we should act on the probability of risk"

Oh look, another MP arguing that we, the ordinary people of the UK are too stupid or too incapable of making rational, sensible decisions for ourselves that the Nanny State must step in to protect us from our poor selves and we should not worry our little heads about the fact that they are deciding for us, once again, what is or isn't safe for us to look at!

If your MP is uninformed, visit http://www.writetothem.com and *INFORM* them that you do not want to see this sort of BS being made into law in this country.

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IT Angle

!geek

A surprisingly large number of these people have got a good degree from a major university. Like say PPE at Oxford. So at least at one time in their lives they were definitely not stupid. So does being a politician actually make you stupid? More likely is an underlying attitude of graduates with arts degree that the sciences are somehow grubby and beneath them. This has always seemed grossly unfair to me. If you have the misfortune to have the geek gene, you are expected to have a working knowlegde of Art, Literature, History and such like in order to be a real rounded individual. But if you do an Arts degree you don't need to have a basic knowledge of the sciences.

So I think we need a disparaging term for the sort of !geek who frankly hasn't a clue about technology or what we think of as technological common sense. Suggestions?

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Anonymous Coward

A general election is a bent popularity contest

not an IQ test.

Let's look.

Harriet Harman has been campaigning (aka wasting taxpayer's money,) for six years to "end prostitution" like that's going to happen.

Gordon Brown is a crap Prime Minister, I don't think anyone would agree, but since all he's ever done in government since he's been there apart from be prime minister is be Chancellor, and it turns out he was crap at that too, he's just crap at everything.

Stephen Byers, Alan Milburn, what's he ever done that's worked.

Alastair Darling achieved nothing? Patricia Hewitt gave away Rover?

Tony Blair?

They've all completely failed to achieve anything.

And these were the best. All the rest have merely sat there doing what they were told for more than ten years.

I therefore fail to understand why anyone who reads the reg would be surprised they're all thick.

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Paris Hilton

@ N

"Ive no doubt that some of them can probably speak a word or two of techie language, acquired from endless meetings with 'consultants' drip feeding them"

I have. I watched some of this programme. It was startling. One oaf was surprised that his 4 yr old grandson could access his wife's computer in moments. And the child was surprised his granny was such a lame luser.

There was an appalling list of these schmuck stories.

Good government won't be capable of dealing with the internet for another 30 years.

They really had no idea. I explains everything you have heard of secrecy and security from our lords and masters. The oafs who lose CDs in trains were probably using them as temporary coasters.

Can we have a new icon for people who are even more stupid than Paris Hilton? I think this one is an insult to her.

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RE : !geek

"So I think we need a disparaging term for the sort of !geek who frankly hasn't a clue about technology or what we think of as technological common sense. Suggestions?"

Other than "users", you mean ?

How about : Wilfully Ignorant Luddite Fucktard.

And it is wilful, I've got geek coming out my arse, but I still regularly mince around art galleries with a glass of wine in my hand rubbing my chin and making insightful comments*, so what's their fucking excuse ?

* Often involving the word "fucktard", but you can't have everything.

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Anonymous Coward

MPs don't get the internet

It's a bit like being the owner of a shit shovelling business; you live in a nice house paid for by the shit shovelling labour of others, but you work in the lofty world of selling the shovelled shit, and so - you fondly imagine - you don't need to understand the actual daily mechanics of the shit interacting with the shovel or the shit, but any pearls of wisdom you do hand out on the subject should be received with the appropriate forelock tugging gratitude since you're clearly far cleverer than those doing the shovelling, and your obvious knowledge of the 'bigger picture' puts you in the perfect position to improve shit shovelling efficiency without actual experience.

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Let's see now ...

Parliament ... does it have the possibility to cause harm? Yes. Are there cases of it doing harm? Oh, emphatically, and dozens of times yes. And not just anecdotal evidence either.

Has the internet done more for the economic well-being of the UK and the enrichment of the lives of its citizens than this out-of-touch complacent gang of servile reactionaries (you understand I'm toning this down from my initial reaction)? Indubitably.

Time to abolish the lot and make them get proper jobs - preferably not paid for by the taxpayer. What is the point of parliament anyway? And don't give me any tired old arguments about freedom.

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Flame

Probability of risk?!

"If one looks for empirical, hard, factual evidence [of harm], there is very little. Our view was therefore not ... 'we cannot act,' but that we should act on the probability of risk."

Or on video games: "Part of the problem with video games ... is that there is no hard evidence ... Nevertheless, we agree that there is a probability that [harm] could occur, and there is anecdotal evidence."

Probability of risk? There's a probability of risk of people putting a fork in an electrical socket, but you don't see MP's removing them from your house!

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Stop

WTF?

"I hope that we will not hear the tired old argument about freedom."

Yes, the same old pesky freedom that allows you to make an arse of yourself for everyone to see.

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