back to article MP wants age verification for net smut

A Tory MP has proposed that all UK-based ISPs should implement an opt-in age verification system to gain access to internet porn. Claire Perry, Tory MP for the Devizes Constituency, put the proposal to the House of Commons during an adjournment debate last night. It will undoubtedly be music to the ears of newly-formed charity …

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FAIL

Already ....

we can see how they are moving ....

SHE is talking about restricting access to LEGAL content

HE is wibbling on about ILLEGAL content ...

we'll end up with a dogs breakfast[1] which manages to blur the boundaries in a miasma of FUD

[1]athough this will be the whole idea.

VPN to a foreign ISP, anyone ?

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Think of the children?

That is, like, so last government.

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Won't somebody think of the children!

Here we go again...

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Bloody hellfire...

"We already successfully regulate British TV channels, cinema screens, high street hoardings and newsagent shelves to stop children seeing inappropriate images and mobile phone companies are able to restrict access to adult material so why should the internet be any different?"

If you have to ask that question, you do not know enough about how the Internet works to be passing legislation on it. Leave the debate, go directly to home, do not pass Go, etc.

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Lies, dam lies and Government Statistics

"heard compelling evidence of (this) damage, including the explosion in the number of children in this country being referred to addiction clinics with a 'pornography problem'"

Is this the same compelling evidence that was "Just figures" from this article http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/11/23/safermedia_dangers/

The problem here is that the kids are far more technically savvy than the legislators, who still confuse the Web with the internet.

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Badgers

Fruitcake

On her website Ms. Perry proudly announces that "My online avatar is proudly marching today..."

Elected representative of the six-fingered people of Devizes. NFT

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Avatar?

She's an Avatar, and somebody has a new recruit?

All together now...

In the Na'vi...

Video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vJcAoBAfLFY

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FAIL

How do they propose to keep track of the smutpeddlers?

Yes age verification, very good, but how? You can't use blacklists, as that would always be out of date. You can't only let through certain sites, otherwise all site owners would have to apply for their site to be on a whitelist. So just how does he propose this thing works? Does he work for WebSense? I'm cynical me.

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WTF?

another nutter

Another MP who simply doesn't understand the 'net and also appears to see parenting as a job for anyone except a parent. I thought we got rid of these people when we dumped that lot who provided a platform for nutters like Ruth Kelly ?

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Not the responsibility of ISP

It's the responsibility of the parents.

An ISP account user is the person who pays the bill. An Internet connection is assigned to an address. The only way an ISP would know that the user was under 18 would be to have a login account for every user of that connection. The level of access/filtering would have to be setup by the person who pays the bill. Possible yes, easy yes, added cost yes. The need to be responsible for your child's online behaviour and knowing what they are upto, other than stating they are under 18, zero. The parent still doesn't know what their child is doing online, there are objectionable sites that are not pornographic.

It is quicker and easier to lock down the child's machine, give them a user account and blacklist every site. Sites then could be white listed on request of the child, after the parent has checked out the content.

The state should be encouraging parents to parent and not assigning the responsibility to third parties.

Parents shouldn't be using the Internet as a babysitter either.

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Grenade

some ISPs even provide filtering software as part of their package

What is it with these control freaks? Big hint: THE INTERNET IS R18 RATED! No need to nanny people to try to pretend it is safer. There are already products out there that allow parents to restrict the sites that are available to their pc. (Admittedly, as others have pointed out, these software products are pretty inadequate - but will passing a law make something technologically possible? Ah - for the politicians who may end up reading this, I'd better make the answer clear - NO, it will not, you stupid expenses-abusing twat.)

The internet is for adults. For those who want to try to legislate their way out of responsibility for bringing up their children may I please suggest birth control? You are clearly not fit to be parents. And if you are already parents and bringing up children with your values, then I feel retrospective brith control would also be suitable - for your children, or even better, yourselves.

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Troll

How about a national firewall?

That'll sort the problem, surely.

And as the ISPs will have to pay for implementation, it wouldn't affect the government budget (i.e. my taxes!!).

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Title

I am hoping this post was tongue-firmly-in-cheek, but if the ISP's had to pay for a national firewall, you would be looking at adding a ridiculous sum of money to the cost of your connection.

So yes, your gross is unaffected but your Net will take the hit. Pun very much intended.

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Troll

"I am hoping this post was tongue-firmly-in-cheek"

<--- See Troll icon

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Opt In to being a responsible parent

Dear MP, I cant be bothered looking after my child.

I know I can safely ignore it when I sit it infront of the TV. But now it wants to use a console or computer. That will let it shoot people in the face, or look at anything it wants on the internet.

Please make it so that that I can ignore my child when it uses a console or computer.

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huh?

When I was younger, if the site didn't have a 'You must be 21 to enter' banner page, I skipped to the next entry in my google search.

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Troll

Won't somebody think of the children?

Who WANT to view smut!

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@Wonk The Sane

You mean there are children who might *want* to look at p()rn?

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As a mother...

"As a mother with three children I know how difficult it is to keep children from seeing inappropriate material on the internet"

As a mother, you should know better than to let your children on the internet unsupervised.

"British Internet Service Providers should share the responsibility to keep our children safe..."

Perhaps the parents could be 'persuaded' to do their bit *instead*.

It'd certainly be cheaper. And less of a burden on those of us who don't have crotch-fruit.

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In addition...

...if the parents actually pay attention to their children rather than just ignore them, then there is more chance of them growing up normal and not turning into asbo collectors.

That's all

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Poppycock

"As a mother, you should know better than to let your children on the internet unsupervised."

This kind of comment invariably comes from non-parents. Of course children do things unsupervised - parenthood is not a mandate to police a child full-time, and parents also have to do things like cook, clean, iron, etc. Unsupervised activity is kind of good for children, too.

I have this thing with my young daughter that we call "trust" whereby I trust her to only access websites she is approved to, and she asks before she accesses the internet at all.

I don't have teenagers but apparently they value this thing called "privacy" too. I don't know, maybe I should educate my kid about the dangers instead of just sitting next to her watching her every move, but I'm not an expert on these things.

"And less of a burden on those of us who don't have crotch-fruit."

And, as a general principle, non-parents really need to STFU about parenting.

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Anonymous Coward

On The Other Hand

"...And, as a general principle, non-parents really need to STFU about parenting."

And parents ought to stop legislating away the freedoms of non-parents. That would be a good start.

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: On The Other Hand

Touche.

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Troll

Touche.

Touche Turtle?

Sorry on my way home and wanted to troll before I left and yes what I do at home without any kids should not be affected by what parents can't be bothered to do. Its called resposibility its what happens when you grow up and have kids.

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: Touche.

If it's what you really think then I'm not sure it's active 'trolling'.

But you've gone now, yes? Righto then.

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Alert

mind bendingly badly put there.

I get the feeling the sarcasm didn't translate well - at least I *hope* it was sarcasm. Let me summarise how i re-read it the 3rd time after almost ranting back:

Don't talk about parents controlling what their children do you dummy - that's no better than trying to control the internet. It's about building trust and understanding with children and educating them about reality before the internet or their freinds ake care of it for you.

Am I close?

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WTF?

I'll happily STFU about parenting

.. as soon as parents STFU about how it's *my* responsibility to bring up *their* sprogs.

It's always this way. "It takes a village to rear a child", but doG help the villager who tries to criticise *my* child. Parents want me to simultaneously disrupt my entire life for the sake of 'duh childrynn', and also never even dream about commenting on the kid's behaviour, manners or inappropriate presence at the expensive restaurant/pub/betting office/whatever.

The Intertubes were built by adults FOR adults. Brittneagh and Snotleigh don't belong there. you can keep your playgroups and coffee mornings, we'll take back our pubs, restaurants, betting offices and webs, thanks very much

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Grenade

Inconsistency again

Either ISPs are the web traffic police or they are connection providers - somebody make their mind up which. If the former then I fully expect a similar set of rules for other 'channels' of content; namely

1. BT are responsible for implementing an opt-in for 'verified over 18s' to telephone sex/chat lines.

2. The royal mail are responsible for implementing a postal opt-in for any books/videos, etc that could be pornographic (or certified over 18).

Once you look at it in those terms (especially the latter) then is seems a bit inconsistent to pick solely on ISPs.

I accept that it may be 'easier' to block IP traffic to certain sites than either of the above, and that the opt-in may be a good idea, but the insinuation is that the ISPs will be to blame if the block doesn't happen. Another get-out-of-jail for parents (of which I am one, with a young child who accesses the internet). I know that I am responsible for protecting my child from this stuff, and nobody else.

I can see the law suits now when somebody's little johnny managed to access pr0n even though the parents had not opted-in. But nobody would sue BT if little johnny rang a chat line.

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@Inconsistency

"BT are responsible for implementing an opt-in for 'verified over 18s' to telephone sex/chat lines."

This was tried back in the days of 0898 numbers whereby, in order to be able to call these numbers, you had to opt-in by contacting BT and asking them to enable this service on your phone line.

Of course what this meant is that revenue for companies providing these completely legal services suddenly plummeted because few people were actually willing to admit to wanting to access these numbers, but simply resulted in providers of these services moving overseas or shifting to a direct credit card payment model.

You can guarantee that similar things will happen if this new opt-in is introduced, providers will always find a way of by-passing this sort of nonsense.

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Happy

How?

While the intention here is laudable, I do wonder how the average ISP would implement it. Bearing in mind that the police etc seem to have a hell of a time keeping on top of kiddie porn and on-line terrorist stuff (and indeed, many may argue that they are NOT managing to keep on top of it), then how is an ISP to know whether a random URL "www.blablabla.com" is a porn site instead of a site about baking bread? If they could do that effectively then I'm sure the aforementioned police would be very keen to know how they're doing it. Short of visiting each and every URL in existence and manually checking, it is, quite literally, an impossible task.

As I say, a laudable idea, but I just can't see how it will work.

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Laudable? Hardly!

This is NOT a laudable idea. Just because someone says "think of the children" does NOT make it a laudable idea in the least. This is just another attempt to control what people are able to look at. As ever, the excuse is "it's for the children, and if you disagree then you must be a sick bastard" is a card to remove freedoms from individuals. Once all these filters are in place, do you *really* think that it will only be applied to porn, and not to anything else that the politician in power at the time considers a subject that the public does not really need to worry their fluffy little head about? Such as that incident not that long ago with a certain Royal that could not be mentioned in the UK newspapers or news channel - but could be found on the internet (on pretty much every major news organisation in the world apart from the UKs).

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WTF?

Laudable?

I think you mean "Laughable"!

It's just the Mary Whitehouse types trying to find any excuse they can to stop people from looking at stuff they don't like saying "We don't like this, so *you* shouldn't be allowed to see it".

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FAIL

How about this...

If you're old enough to have a contract with an ISP, you're old enough to see pr0n? Too simple?

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Anonymous Coward

Same old excuse

"Ms Perry told us: As a mother with three children I know how difficult it is to keep children from seeing inappropriate material on the internet."

Well I suggest she tries harder, they're your kids so you take responsibility for them.

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MPs.

They do not have a clue how the internet works and yet they want to legislate on every aspect of it.

It's embarrassing, depressing and bodes ill for the future.

Shouldn't these people be forced to pass some sort of general competency test before they can run for election?

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WTF?

Lets see the 'How?'

Then we can talk...oh wait there is no How.

Internet Browsers already have a content system in place, and all the government could do is rule that all web hosts *in the UK* have this set correctly. Which would limit probably less that 1% of net smut.

Wait, I thought of a how, parents could do their damn job properly!

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Re: less than 1% of net smut

You could raise that 1% to 100% if you and your fellow governments can persuade ICANN to re-align IP address ranges with legal jurisdictions.

Implementing this tomorrow would upset anyone with a static IP address hard-coded in their firmware. (Given the very low cost of a DNS query, that's a pretty lame piece of coding, so it has probably been done more times than I care to think.) For the rest of us, it would just require a carefully chosen roll-out of routing changes and advertising the results through DNS.

Once implemented, responsible parents and fascist politicians alike (and they are!) would be able to choose the range of content available to their children and grateful public. They'd also be able to block more spam, since very few people use email internationally and even those that do would have a reliable indicator of origin to feed into their filters.

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You could raise that 1% to 100%

And you think that'll stop ANYTHING? How would you police what goes on each of the 4billion + IP addesses (trillions more when the core goes IP V6)? going to check each one personally? And how does that work when you can simply use a server in whatever suuposedly "safe" zone is allowed as a relay? heard of VPN tunnels? https proxy? Billions and billions of pounds worth of change to accomplish nothing? sounds like a plan

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Re: And you think that'll stop ANYTHING?

Do calm down. Perhaps you'd like to re-read my proposal. You seem to have totally missed the point.

I wouldn't need to police 4 IP addresses, let alone 4 billion. The change would allow people to restrict their view to servers that lay within their own country. They could then let their own country's police sort out any violations of the local laws. This contrasts with the present system whereby there's next to no chance of you having any redress against stuff you find offensive because it almost certainly originates from some other country.

Yes, I've heard of VPNs and relays. They all require a point of presence at my end, so either you are worried that *I* might try to undermine my own filtering regime (!?) or you are concerned that someone in my own country might be re-broadcasting illegal content from abroad, in which case I'd be able to refer the matter to the local police again.

Billions of pounds? For changes in border routers? You need a new network admin.

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really?

So... let's see if I read that right:

You propose that if you seperate IP addresses according to national (legal) boundaries you can then police the boundaries and within the range?

Ok. How do you intend to allocate how many IP addresses each country gets? What happens when they grow outside the allocated bounds? Possibly with IPv6 you cold manage this.

Once you've accomplished that, why would you *want* to restrict yourself to UK only content? That defeats the whole point of the internet as a *GLOBAL* communication tool. Skype anyone? MSN? Google?

Google.co.uk : IP: 209.85.148.104 - United States - Cary

www.ibm.co.uk: IP: 129.42.38.1 - United States - Somers

lovefilm.co.uk IP: 194.117.248.100 - Germany

The internet cannot be split into geographic regions because the flexibility to host your data wherever in the world is most cost effective is the whole point as far as companies are concerned and if you are a multi-country company it makes no sense to keep a data centre in every country.

Even if you did want to restict yourself to UK only content, that's still an enourmous job checking that every site within the UK is legitimate.

As for proxy:

http://www.xroxy.com/proxy-country-GB.htm

Pick one.... any one. Your children can connect to a UK address, which is unlikely to have been blocked (unless you're using a white list, which kinda defeats the object of your idea in the first place) and it will magically tunnel everything from anywhere else on teh planet through the address they're connected to. https is all it needs.

And yes, if you "re-align" all the IP addresses in IPv4 then each company currently using that IP address has to do work to change it's externally presented adddresses. Work costs money. Multiply by the number of affected companies globally and ... well perhaps I was being too optimistic.

Alternatively you could:

Just accept that even every such countermeasure has a work around and will never ever be 100% effective and most likely won't break 10% effective (Take DRM for example)

Realise that even if you managed it porn will *still* be available to children like it always has been

Spend the time effort and money you were going to put into pursuing such changes instead educating children better so the root of the problem goes away rather than being afraid of something that's been around since the beginnings of human civilisation.

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Yes, really

There's no "possibly" about it, this would be trivial with IPv6. It wouldn't even require international agreement, since a single government could acquire a range of a google or so addresses and pass a law making it illegal (in their country) to put a system on the internet with an IPv6 address outside that range. It wouldn't affect end-users at all, since they all get their addresses dynamically from ISPs, and the ISPs would comply, joyfully, since this is *much* easier than anything else that governments have threatened to make them do.

As for why, read the article. Politicians and Joe Public alike are constantly bemused by why something can't be done about <whatever> on the web, so perhaps it is time the IT people took that as a serious and legitimate feature request. Then read the innumerable articles about malware, which all end up talking to controller in countries that I and most others (including probably your good self) could quite easily live without a direct net connection to. Lastly consider email spam. 99% of all legimate email to me comes from my own country. I know *my* spam filter would love to use that fact, but under the present chaos I have no way of telling it.

As for proxies, VPN tunnels and similar, if they result in IP packets with a source address that I'm blocking (not my ISP, unless I've told them to, because this is my decision) my kids still won't be able to connect. Conversely, if they claim to be sourced in this country, this would count as re-publishing the material in the UK and that would open up whoever ran the proxy to whatever laws apply here. (Of course, a multi-national company that simply wanted a point of presence, rather than a data centre, in every country might very well decide that this was what they wanted.)

Wait until that suggestion is run past the politicians. They'll have the necessary law on the statute books by tomorrow. It is just what they've been looking for: a way of forcing IP packets to advertise electronically whether they agree to be bound by local law. On top of that, people can build whatever filtering rules they want and politicians can claim the credit for cleaning up the internet.

Yes, there will still be porn on the web, but next time the children find it there, it will be for one of three reasons:

i) negligent parent failed to block foreign sites (so you can't blame the politicians),

ii) negligent parent failed to implement filtering based on parental controls (that are now mandatory for all local sites, so you can't blame the politicians),

iii) someone broke local laws (so send in the local police and don't blame the politicians)

Yes, too, the system could be abused by governments that want to dictate filtering at a national level, but that's a problem with such governments, not my proposal. This is just a filtering tool that could, with modest legal support, be made reliable. It's up to you what you let your government do with it.

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Claire Perry

If Claire Perry can't find time to regulate her childrens use of the internet, maybe she should spend more time being a responsible parent and less time trying to make a name for herself in politics.

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Mobile networks do this

When I last got a new phone on Orange they had a similar approach in that a lot of the internet was blocked unless you opted-in.

I'm not sure I like the idea and I suspect that it may give people a false feeling of safety.

Sadly the UK doesn't actually manage to regulate every advertising board in the world which is what you would need to do if you want a fair comparison with the proposed internet regulation.

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They applied that to our company phones

Without telling us, I might add. Various field teams in the company suddenly unable to access the websites of half our clients. Within 30 minutes I'd phoned them up, given them a verbal kicking in the nuts, and lo and behold, no more filtering.

Nice system...

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Anonymous Coward

@Mobile networks do this

I recently bought a 3g dongle from T Mobile and was suprised to find that all sorts of websites were blocked unless you went down to the shop and showed ID to prove being over 18. (Facebook, the Lottery site amongst many others).

I am over 18 but don't like having my ID demanded to use something I have paid for, (I wasn't told about this by the sales person in the shop otherwise I wouldn't have bought it).

It is however relatively easy to get around, just do a search for how to install Opera Mini for mobile on a PC and you're up and running in about 15 minutes with no block.

Easy

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Boffin

Opera Mini ?

<quote>

It is however relatively easy to get around, just do a search for how to install Opera Mini for mobile on a PC and you're up and running in about 15 minutes with no block.

</quote>

Or just enable turbo mode in the desktop Opera.

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Anonymous Coward

@Rasczak

I think I tried that but got nowhere, (I wasn't using Opera as a main browser IIRC). I'll give it another go.

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Go

Turbo

Enabling Turbo in desktop, or mobile, Opera tells it to use the same proxy system as Mini uses. On testing through my fixed connection, an IP Address check shows the Opera Proxy address rather than my connection's IP address, as would be expected for a proxied connection.

I haven't been able to test using a dongle just now as there is not enough signal where I am to get a connection, though I do remember it working before.

That said I run my own VPN server to my home connection so would usually use this to get to anything that is blocked by any third party service, dongle wifi etc., I am using.

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Somebody tell her ...

about routers which can limit access to the internet. Or browser add ons and operating systems with built in firewalls etc.pp.

There are enough ways to limit your children's access to the internet without a government controlled firewall spying on everybody.

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