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back to article Mumsnet backtracks support for net filter

Cuddly, child-loving web forum, mumsnet was last night licking its wounds after a page providing fairly uncritical support for government proposals to censor the web was first mauled by geek attack – and then taken down. However, in a swift repositioning, mumsnet have now come out as part of the search for a solution, rather …

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FAIL

Non-technical people

expecting technical responses to a problem that work perfectly.

Sounds like most people then, politicans or mothers...

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Here we go again

Parents absolving themselves of their responsibility to keep little Johnny safe from the nasty side of the intertubes. Put the PC in the lounge, not the bedroom, Watch little Johnny, not Eastenders. Install filtering software, not bloody Farmville.

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Re: Here we go again

I completely agree Nigel, it should be the responsibility of the parents to ensure their little angels aren't surfing for filthy stuff, nor maxing out their parents credit cards on x-box live.

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In the words of Gavin Newsom

"It's not the role for government to decide what's in the best interest of kids; it's the role of parents to decide."

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Anonymous Coward

I think we we should have more sympathy for the xbox live thing

Little Johnny wants to buy x, Mummy comes along, has a look, enters her details - job done. How's she supposed to know that from now on, it's not going to bother asking here again? It's even worse on the iPhone, you enter your password to allow a purchase once and it doesn't bother asking again for 10 minutes or something (which you can't change).

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FAIL

Really?

You're entering your CREDIT CARD details to authorise a payment. You might want to try reading the details and ensuring that you're fully aware. The terms and conditions make it clear that your details will be stored, and they also make it clear that by opening a children's account, they won't have permission to buy anything.

And that's not even mentioning the fact that every subsequent purchase on Live makes it clear that MONEY (not points) is going to be debited from the card.

It's not a failing on Microsoft's part (and it's rare that anyone would say that), it's a failing on the parents part. Genitals are far too easy to use, unfortunately, it's the followup that takes some common sense and intelligence.

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Not so clear

As I have discovered (the hard way of course) if you use your credit card to make a payment that could be deemed to be a repeating payment and they have stored the details then they can use those details again EVEN IF THE ACCOUNT IS CLOSED. The card companies kindly call it a guaranteed payment so your only hope is to untraceably change all your accounts and leave the country.

Apparently it is your responsibility to make a note of every time you have used the card online and ensure you have agreement that they have removed your details, good luck with that one.

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Paris Hilton

Re: I think we we should have more sympathy for the xbox live thing

And how would filtering out porn actually solve the problem you're describing?

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Grenade

mumsnet

A million Daily Mail readers in one activist group

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Anonymous Coward

Wistful thoughts

...I wonder if there's any way we could corral them all up ,and then close the door?

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a million 'Daily Mail' readers...

Could only be written by someone who knows little or nothing about the membership.

A more diverse group would be hard to achieve, and as for the Daily Mail, it is perhaps the most hated paper of the lot (apart from thinly disguised porn, the Daily S... and Daily S.... of course).

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I love the irony ...

uk.gov : we have to get rid of filth on the internet

mumsnet : WE AGREE !!!!!!

uk.gov : let's start with breastfeeding ...

actually given the standing mumsnet has to embaress the great and glorious, I would have thought it would be one of the first sites the government would want to lose.

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notitle

I think Stephen Conroy probably has time to help out

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Backpedalling

"It does appear that mumsnet have learnt a lesson about jumping on bandwagons – and have shown a great deal more grace and skill at getting off one again, once proven to be wrong, than many of the career politicians that adorn our public stag"

Agreed, if only uk.gov would learn lessons quite as easily as this...

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FAIL

Speaking as a hard-line Christian nutcase....

I'm embarrassed that some people don't consider what they're really asking for. They think they're asking for porn to be blocked, but they're actually asking the Government to force their ISP to monitor all of their web activity and see that it fits the govt's list of what is acceptable.

Take that back 500+ years and there'd be no bible in English.

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FAIL

Filter != Monitor

> they're actually asking the Government to force their ISP to monitor all of their web activity and see that it fits the govt's list of what is acceptable.

If you want to only view government approved websites then install software (or even hardware) that will "monitor" your activity for you. That way, those of us who do not wish to be censored, or have content censored from us, can live our lives in a free society.

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WTF?

@ Restricted Access

You saw "hard-line Christian nutcase" and automatically assumed he was arguing in favour of a filter. You clearly didn't even read his post.

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RE: @ Restricted Access

Not quite. I saw "net filter" and assumed filter.

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I never thought of that

"Take that back 500+ years and there'd be no bible in English."

Congratulations you have managed to come up with the only true bonus of censorship I have ever read.

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I'm leaning more towards a 6.7 than a 6 on the Dawkins scale as I grow older

but, while it's an amusing comment, it's probably worth remembering that the church was well established back then and that a Latin Bible was simply another way of subjugating the general populace and controlling knowledge. Without the English translation I strongly doubt that atheism would have prospered so happily.

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WTF?

try reading some history

Amusing as your smart-arsed comment is, it rather misses the point: translating it was a step on the road to the enlightenment and other good things.

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Joke

We must protect the children!

Yes, we must censor the entire internet just in case a kiddie sees something meant for adults. But there's far more important things to do first.

For instance, do you realise that it is extremely dangerous for kiddies to play hopscotch in the fast lane of the M1? We must slow all traffic everywhere to a slow crawl to Protect The Children! Once we've taken care of that we can look at re-writing the internet in nice simple safe language with no discussion of anything nasty or disturbing.

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Mumsnet are not that daft

"we must censor the entire internet just in case a kiddie sees something meant for adults"

Sorry, but had you seen the discussions you might have been surprised to see that Mumsnet was definitely not in favour of all-out banning fo pornography, but did feel an ISP-based block or filter would be a solution they could support.

They 'pulled' their campaign page and are rethinking because there were several aspects which challenged the benefits. They acknowledged they were not technical experts from the start, so were going on advice. How suitable or correct that advice was came under question, and the situation regarding filtering meant that while hard core porn would have been blocked (with the option to unblock if the account holder contacted the ISP) it was pointed out that violent and other sites would not be blocked.

The bulk of parents do have concerns, and many can be "run rings around" by teens and younger, who have known little different than being able to use a computer from a young age, but Mumsnet were willing to listen to concerns and criticisms and no doubt will look very carefully at future proposals from the Minister and the ISPs.

As has been written elsewhere, it's refreshing that rather than ignore critics, they have been flexible enough to adapt to feedback, even though they had (justifiably) been thinking the solution proposed would meet with general support as it appeared to meet the main aim.

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WTF?

But that is just the point..

Blocks don't work like people often think.

Porn is not labelled "dirty filthy pervy pictures" There is no magic word to make the nasty images go away. So you block a word, you block anything associated with it. And whitelists are just approved sources. Not good enough, because you have to be approved first.

Blocking is bad. Censorship, once available as a tool, will be used. Anti stalking laws have been used to break up picket lines. Anti terror laws have been used to intimidate.

Do you honestly think that given a means of effectively deleting certain content from the internet, that out technologically inept leaders would not use it as a sledgehammer cracking the embarrassing little nuts that come along from time to time?

The use of porn is not illegal. Thus, no justifiable reason to block or even monitor it. And absolutely no reason why it should be blocked at ISP level. If you don't want little Johnny to look at naughty pictures, don't let him have a computer in his room, and talk to him abotu sex before it becomes a problem. Because lets be honest here.. It is not that easy to come across it accidentally..

People who come out behind daft ill conceived laws through ignorance are as bad as the ones with a hidden agenda. Worse, because they genuinely believe they are helping, so will go that extra bit to support the bad laws and knee jerk regulations instead of calling for real positive action to be taken.

Similar case was Megan's law (I think) where kiddy fiddlers would be made known to neighbours. Big support form the Paedo finders.. Just like in America.

Big mistake.

It makes kids less safe, because sex offenders are more likely to go underground. And it allows the police to under fund and under man the departments that are supposed to keep an eye on them.

But knee jerk, "no smoke without fire" idiots froth at the mouth, and scream accusations when anybody points this out.

Support without understanding is dangerous.

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Flame

Its called Parenting...

"A lot of our members are concerned with keeping children safe online. But we are genuinely agnostic on the right solution to apply."

Then don't leave your kids alone with the computer.. Just likeyou would not leave them alone with the old smelly man down the street.

Pornography is not dangerous! sex does not kill* people... sheesh Next they'll be campaigning for female circumsicion all round...

*Diseases may, be aware be careful!

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Keep YOUR kids safe?

Run your own net nanny.

Don't know how to run your own net nanny? Learn!

You teach them how to cross the road, so teach them to be safe online.

Do not abidicate YOUR responisibilities to YOUR kids to the state.

YOUR kids, YOUR responsibility.

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Flame

Seriously!

If you're so concerned with what your kids are doing on the Internet install a filter of your own.

Oh wait, you don't know how? Pick up a fucking book ffs. Why should the state have to put regulation in place to deal with your ignorance? Fuck you! Seriously!

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notitle

pffft, 'book', I like your style mister

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Happy

LOL

I think 'fucking books' might be the ones that mumsnet were worried about.

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Alert

Apostrophe problem

MP's

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Stop

Makes me cross....

That we think we need a campaign to force someone else to take resonsibility for OUR actions. My daughter is 10, and uses the PC at home pretty much 24x7. She never ever does so alone, though, and I have web filters and parental controls on her profile. I monitor what she does and make sure I keep her safe...after all, thats my job as a parent.

She has no more chance of cominng across pr0n online than she does of finding the stash of Razzle I have secreted behind a cupboard in the garage (which for some reason I am loathe to throw away - there's years of work in that collection).

Another histerical band wagon for what used to be a support group for mums but is now a militant lobby group. How sad.

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FAIL

When will mumsnet.....

...introduce foolproof legislation to stop children from being harmed, both physically, and mentally by their own parents? I for one am sickened by the depressing frequency of incidents reported in the media where (gasp) a child's own parents have harmed or killed them. Thankfully in most cases some poor sucker in Social Services gets the blame and has to fall on their sword. Surely mumsnet can stop that kind of abuse? No? Why not? Surely it's just as easy as it is to apply a state-controlled interwebs filter?

Here's a suggestion.... try and find someone who can explain how the interwebs work before suggesting half-baked ways to totally screw it up for the majority of people who have absolutely NO problem with it what-so-bleeding-ever.

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Paris Hilton

Like Philip K. Dick's "Eye in the Sky"

With the neurotic soccer mom Edith Pritchert who wanted to make everything unconvenient, unsafe or unbecoming just disappear from her world. And she could, ending in disaster.

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Simples

1) uk.gov sets up list of nasty sites

2) Gives away free software* that queries the list and blocks sites on list.

3) ISPs given an ISO standard or important looking logo to use if they sell packages that are child safe. Could probably come out of CEOP budget as they clearly have loads to spunk on useless panic buttons.

4) Grown ups who take personal responsibility continue to use the web as normal.

5) System rolled out to libraries, local grubbymint offices, schools etc - bound to be cheaper than all the individual commercial solutions.

*And I mean proper free. I'm sure there would be support for an OSS project if it provided safe browsing for kids without universal censorship.

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Pint

where can I get the list

I'm tired of searching for porn.

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Alert

Mad Meddling Millitant Middle-class Mothers

Next mumsnet campaign: Make paper manufacturers take responsibility for all that is being printed.

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Megaphone

newspapers

sometimes the ink rubs off in your hands.

I am certain that this is very bad for children. I am not going to specify any evidence or reasoning why. You just have to believe me because my God told me it was true.

Please^H^H^H^H^H^H Ban newspapers.

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g e
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We were hopeful that there could be a simple solution

Right.

And which, CuddleFluffyMumsieKins exactly, has the technical fucking werewithal to produce this hi-tech panacea?

These la-la land people are precisely why safety labels should be removed from everything allowing Darwin to steer his true course.

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Headmaster

"werewithal"

Who's al and why are we with him?

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Megaphone

Meanwhile, back in the 21st century...

A lot of the criticism here is based on the assumption that parents are ignoring their responsibilities, and include advice on the lines of "just move the PC into the living room". That seemed reasonable when there was one PC in the house, but it's hardly the case now, surely? Virtually all phones - including bog standard ones - now have internet connections, so unless you're planning on not letting little Johnny take his phone out the living room, your plan may have problems.

It's valid to worry - constantly! - about the distinction between regulation and censorship - but there are other options between anarchy and big brother, surely? I was under the impression that one of the ideas was to ask providers to tag their content to a standard, so that browsers could filter based on that standard unless told not to. That's not the same as "scan every packet" at all. But it does follow the policies we have for lots of other stuff, i.e. that sellers do have some responsibility for their product.

As a society, we believe that alcohol and cigarettes are damaging for minors. We can't watch little Johnny every moment of every day, so we have laws to prevent the sales of alcohol and cigarettes to him. It doesn't work perfectly - Johnny is bound to get hold of alcohol somewhere else if he really wants - but it does lessen the threat, and is a general reflection of our society's views.

Well, our society also has views about exposing minors to sex and porn - and god knows there's some nasty old sh*t out there on them interwebs, and some nasty old pervs too. And since these days the internet is pretty much everywhere, it does seem to me we need to at least ask about what we could do.

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RE: Meanwhile, back in the 21st century...

> Virtually all phones - including bog standard ones - now have internet connections

So install a parental control and net nanny app on the phone. Although I believe telcos already default to filtering content to be teen-safe (i.e. you can't visit gambling sites on your phone) unless you explicitly request for it to be turned off and verify your age by providing credit card details... at least, that was the case when I joined T-Mobile.

> I was under the impression that one of the ideas was to ask providers to tag their content to a standard, so that browsers could filter based on that standard unless told not to.

Why does this need to be government mandated when there are plenty of products out there in the world that already do just that?

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Anonymous Coward

The title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits.

That assumes that all children should and do have a mobile. Perhaps this assumption that they absolutely need one is part of the problem. There are certain things that are age restricted as you yourself have mentioned, and perhaps mobile phone ownership and use ought to be added to the list. IIRC there was a concern that children could harm their own health by using mobiles when they're below a certain age, so restricting mobile phone usage by children would seem a more prudent course of action than interfering with everybodies internet connection.

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*thinks*

Well, there's an uncommonly thoughtful response in a sea of knee-jerk reactions.

Censorship is bad. Breaking the internet's design is bad (where do the net-neutrality folks stand on the filtering out of porn-providers' content?).

Promoting standards which add meta-data to content so that a client-side filter can stop me and mine seeing things I don't care for, is good.

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"we need to at least ask about what we could do."

Yes, but that involves people *taking responsibility* instead of saying "Oh dear, I don't like this, I wish someone else would do something because I don't know how/ can't be bothered to learn how/ don't want to know how because someone else should do it for me"...

As I've said in the past, I run a site selling Leather Bondage Gear, but my site is registered with Net Nanny, Cyber Sitter etc and has "Adults Only" and 18+ tags so that anyone who *chooses* to install and activate filters can block it.

Unfortunately there are those who think that we should *all* be treated as children and that the filters should be on *unless* we switch them off.

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Anonymous Coward

Mobile 'Phones'!

Mobile phones are a reasonable way of keeping in touch with your kids at times when they are genuinely more at risk than sitting at home. Being picked up from a station, organizing a lift for a friend they are with, finding you when they get separated etc.

Not letting you kid have a mobile phone is up to you, but I know which way I'd jump. However my emphasis is on PHONE.

Giving them something that can show or download anything they want and which is effectively an open sewer is not sensible.

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@Graham Marsden

"As I've said in the past, I run a site selling Leather Bondage Gear, but my site is registered with Net Nanny, Cyber Sitter etc and has "Adults Only" and 18+ tags so that anyone who *chooses* to install and activate filters can block it."

So in point of fact as one of the *providers* of some of the sort of stuff that little Tonquil and Jocasta *might* be traumatised by you make *every* effort to ensure they can't get to you in the first place (provided mummy and daddy cared enough to set up the software on their PC) and if they do they have a pretty good idea that they will see something not viewed as appropriate for viewers under 18 (or thereabouts depending on your location).

"Unfortunately there are those who think that we should *all* be treated as children and that the filters should be on *unless* we switch them off."

Yes that seems *exactly* the attitude they are adopting.

You'd never think the internet was designed from day 1 for adult use only. All the core sites were either government funded research labs or universities. No minors allowed.

I've seen responses from computer types and parents but it's rare to see posts from someone involved in *supplying* adult content, even something most people would view as fairly innocuous (depending on the level of description of course).

I suspect a lot of the "anti" group see you and other similar web masters as unconcerned about exposing children to such content, and viewing their little darlings as "future consumers."

Which gives some idea of how much they *really* know about the people and sites they are protesting against.

Thumbs up for going on the record, being up front and not hiding behind AC.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Mobile 'Phones'!

And I'd argue that much of that danger is probably in the imagination of the parents. In general terms I get the impression that a mobile would be as much use as the CEOP button on Facebook would have been to people using that site when it comes to ensuring safety.

How many violent attacks against children have you heard of? How many of those would have been prevented by having a mobile to hand? And for that matter how many of those were ones where the presence of a mobile phone actually helped encourage the violence when somebody else decided they wanted the phone for themselves?

As for getting seperated knowing what to do without phones is not rocket science. You simply agree where to meet if that happens. It happened to me on a few occasions when I was growing up, and a mobile phone was never needed.

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Good example with the booze and fags. But...

Little Johnny is not stopped by the law. An older mate can be cultivated, and if they ask enough people, someone is going to end up getting a few beers or a pack of cigarettes for him. Who hasn't been asked by some kid to buy something outside an off license.

Little Johnny is stopped by the punishment he will get from mum or dad if caught, or he is stopped by the knowledge that such things are bad for him at such a young age, which is something a good parent will have made him aware of. Not by "It's illegal".

If you have to block anything, you have already lost. And forbidding with no explanation makes it all the more enticing.

When you have finished child proofing the world, how do you then world proof the child?

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Round & round it goes

The solution is clear if there's a desire in this free market economy for a child safe internet. Instead of getting current ISP's via legislation and law to restrict access.

The truly free capitalist way is to create a new ISP who's 1 singular aim is to turn every webfilter on and create a smoothed edge garden for the kids end of then see what the take up is.

Then those parents who wish a child friendly internet can sit and play in safety. However at this moment in time it's more annoying than going to the pub where they allow kids in the bar then frown when I accidently swear too loud at the football.

Does my life always have to always revlove around the other peoples little darlings? When I am already webfilter/firewall and net nanny to my offspring code called Parent V1.0 installed at birth and managed to code them up to the age where they are not yet quite upgraded enough for Parent V1.0 to be fully removed.

Big Yin I agree 100% my kids my resonsibility and f**k do I want more laws and nannying from a state that already has me CRB checked to the hilt not only stopping my freedom but the freedom of the next generation of net users to choose!

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