back to article ISPs end PM's web smut block dream

The big four ISPs – BT, Sky, TalkTalk and Virgin Media – have scoffed at suggestions that Brit web surfers could be forced to 'opt in' to view online grumble flicks. The proposed censorship, backed by Prime Minister David Cameron, was understood to be part of a government-supported effort to shelter children from pornography, …

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Bone idle bastards

I can recall campaigning in the 1990s for them to develop spam-proof email, but 'nothing to do with us, chief'. Still the same. Giving customers a hollow choice over what they do on their own machines will cost them nothing.

It is this sort of 'give us money, we do nothing to earn it' attitude that will lead to government legislation, and that will be a shambles

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Anonymous Coward

Yeah.

We should all have our internet censored (that won't lead to function creep) because the Christian wing of mumsnet said so.

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Stop

I remember campaigning last month for them to come round and help me apply some sunscreen because I was too lazy to protect myself. Bone idle bastards only told me about the existence of sunscreen. I had a good whinge about it and the government came in and blocked out the sun for me.

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You might as well have campaigned for a spam-proof letterbox while you were at it, and then we could use the time saved countrywide by not opening junk mail to find the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow and end the budget crisis.

Exactly what is so hollow about giving customers a choice? The ISP's are no saints, but good on them for fighting against becoming the de facto internet police and resisting the automatic opt-in mentality (for once.)

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Anonymous Coward

bone idle?

not while the smut hose is still in operation

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Christian wing?

Check out the chairman - not a 'wing' at all.

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Devil

Obviously.

And it's nothing to do with offering mothers the chance to block their husband's free access to all the porn on the planet...

Now that'd be a fun conversation to listen into. Must be at least a half hour of material there for John Bishop, anyway.

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Joke

@Obviously

Poor John Bishop, in for a bashing I suspect.

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FAIL

I would imagine that you also campaign for cars that run on water and trees that can grow a cure for cancer, whiclst giving you minty-fresh breath?

You can campaign all you like for something like 'spam-proof email', it won't change the fact that such a thing, due to the very nature of email, is technically impossible, and that anyone you direct your 'campaigning' at will dismiss you as the idiot you are.

As mentioned in the comments on the related article yesterday, and in many other places on the internet, the 'hollow choice' being given to parents is to parent their children, not to expect the state to do it for them. Perhaps you would like a censored version of the internet where you cannot get access to such comments and therefore can allow the government / big businesses to guide your enlightenment in such matters?

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tress that cure cancer

that'll be cannabis

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Boffin

@Trees that cure cancer

Although it's a nice idea, and THC can be effective for pain relief and treating the nausea caused by chemotherapy, cannabis smoke is unfortunately just as carcinogenic as cigarette smoke. Some studies have actually shown that smoking a combination of cannabis and tobacco produces smoke which is actually more carcinogenic than cigarette smkoe, or cannabis smoke alone.

Just so you know.

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In response to all the down-voters

it would not be hard, as in many hotels, for the ISP to have a filter maintained by them at their end, which you could ask to be be removed on a subscription-by-subscription basis. Then, at least, the big boys would be doing some of the work, not blaming the victims.

My Virgin Mobile account worked exactly like that. I telephoned them and confirmed I wanted access controls removed, and they did it. What is wrong with that?

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Anonymous Coward

Because...

...it's just far easier to lobby government to restrict personal freedom of choice than it is to exercise any parental responsibility.

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ISPs to parents ...

... looking after your children is your responsibility, not ours.

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Agreed.

At first I was thinking that there are some out there who may not understand all this new-fangled internet technology thingy and get worried but then I suddenly realised Symantec/Norton have huge divisions devoted to selling and informing those who need hand in installing smut-filters, so bollocks!

You don't buy a car and drive it without learning to drive and get your license, don't expect something as serious a computer to be a simple toy that will look after itself!

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Anonymous Coward

I do not geddit...

"written by Reg Bailey, CEO at Christian charity Mothers' Union "

I do not geddit...

What exactly makes him a "Christian mother"? He does not quite look like someone who possesses the right anatomical details for that.

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Anonymous Coward

I'm sure he's a Christian, and I'm certain he's a mother

He has a special interest in wholesome family movies, that goes back to his days as CEO of MILF (Mothers In Love with Film).

Yes, I know this is playground humour but how seriously can you take a group of Christian mothers who think they have the right to determine what other people's kids can watch? Let them block porn and they'll want to block sex education, pregnancy advice, etc, etc.

And how seriously can you take a Government that commissions a report from this group? They should at least have the guts to claim these idiotic convictions as their own.

I'm getting angrier as I type this. So, in conclusion - MILF! (Mothers, I'd Like you to Fuck off!)

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Anonymous Coward

LMAO, etc

Oh how my sides are splitting. I have certainly not heard that hilarious observation before you just made it. He's a functionary, not one of the people the charity claims to represent. Or perhaps you're advocating that they descriminate against their own employees, illegally?

Presumably you'd expect everyone in, say, a cervical cancer support charity to have the requisite body parts and suffer from the appropriate disease too?

Y'know, I once bought a little plastic poppy from someone who clearly didn't die in the Somme. What ever is the world coming to.

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They need a male lead.

As you no doubt know, groups that identify themselves as christian charities tend to take the nuttier parts of the bible literally, so presumably the prohibition on women either holding positions of authority or speaking in public both hold for this group, leading them to require a man to lead the mothers.

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@LMAO

I'd say it was eminently reasonable to expect such a group to be fronted by someone whose opinions it claims to represent.

Your example of a cervical cancer support group is both irrelevant and distasteful. Would you expect such a group to be fronted by a cancer sufferer?

The cynical amongst us would suggest that this group, whilst having the word 'Mother' in its name is entitled thus only in order to make it appear more 'homely', and that the opinions being represented are those of a group of people who are not entirely and exclusively mothers, and their opinions are not rooted in their gender or parental status, but rather in their fingers-in-the-ears-la-la-la-fundamentalist-I-don't-believe-in-facts-but-I think-my-faith-should-be-inflicted-on-everyone-else-Christian beliefs.

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WTF?

Fair enough, but why does a small charity need a CEO ?

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Anonymous Coward

While I'm certain that the CMU employs non-mummies -

- I'm willing to bet that being a practicing Satanist doesn't go down well at the job interview.

Dear AC - you seem to assume that, for some reason, we have to be fair to these people and give them the benefit of the doubt. A favour they seem unwilling to grant anyone outside their own heaven-centric moralityverse.

Tell me AC - are you also an older gentleman who enjoys hanging around with Christian mothers?

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Balls

You clearly know nothing about the Mothers' Union. It is indeed an organisation consisting almost entirely of women and it is represented in a large proportion of churches in the UK by actual mothers.

Furthermore, they are not trying to foist their ideas on anyone else. The issue of early sexualisation of children is widely discussed by people who have no religious agenda and a quick trip to a children's clothes shop where sexy underwear for 9 year olds is on display may result in anyone reasonably wondering whether this is appropriate, Christian or not.

The Mothers' Union would like to make it easier for concerned parents who do not have the technical ability or understanding of the way the internet works to be able to block porn if they wish. They are not trying to make it compulsory so why the diatribe?

One only has to mention the word "Christian" on the Register to have a series of ill-informed rants most of which display exactly the same lack of open-mindedness and intolerance that the Christians always seem to be accused of.

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Try this

OK, let's substitute Muslim for Christian, the final paragraph now reads:

The measures address proposals spelled out in the Bailey Report – written by Reg Bailey, CEO at Muslim charity Mothers' Union and released in the summer – in which Bailey asks firms to make it easier for parents to block adult and age-restricted material on the internet.

Now that would drive the Daily Mail mob into a wee frenzy, so lets try something else, say dropping reference to religion at all.

The measures address proposals spelled out in the Bailey Report – written by Reg Bailey, CEO at charity Mothers' Union and released in the summer – in which Bailey asks firms to make it easier for parents to block adult and age-restricted material on the internet.

Suddenly it becomes more "palatable" which begs the question, why invoke religion into something which is a moral crusade?

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Boffin

@lotus49

I suggest you consider these two sentences from your post again:

1) "they are not trying to foist their ideas on anyone else."

2) "a quick trip to a children's clothes shop where sexy underwear for 9 year olds is on display may result in anyone reasonably wondering whether this is appropriate, Christian or not."

The point is they are not simply "reasonably wondering" if this is appropriate and then, if they decide for themselves that it is not, they won't buy such things for their children, they have already decided that it *is* appropriate and now consider that it is their duty to lobby the Government to impose that decision on everyone else, just as they have done with their desire for "opt in" porn.

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One title vs Another

Do you have a hierarchy of preferred titles based on organization size?

How many members does a group need before you feel that it's okay to be called a CEO? Is that better, or not, than President?

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Anonymous Coward

Or to put it another way

The Mothers' Union would like to make it more difficult for concerned parents, who do not have the technical ability or understanding of the way the internet works, to be able to unblock websites the CMU don't like.

"One only has to mention the word "Christian" on the Register to have a series of ill-informed rants most of which display exactly the same lack of open-mindedness and intolerance that the Christians always seem to be accused of."

Maybe so - what you won't see is The Reg community lobbying the Government to block religious websites.

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Just a bone

Thrown to anti-porn perverts...

They can't say now that the Government is not thinking of childrenz. Which is why it was done in the first place.

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How would you do it anyway?

Can someone enlighten me on how the ISPs were supposed to do the filtering? The only way that I can think of would really work is a cached, vetted whitelist. I can't imagine that any company would like to do that (manpower,speed, volume), and it wouldn't be the web/ internet anymore anyway.

So, how was it supposed to work?

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Boffin

Proxy is the key - and the workaround

The current IWF filter is already doing this on most ISPs. It's normally done by blacklist. There are plenty of companies out there capable of doing it - Websense manages our work anti-smut list I believe.

OpenDNS even provides a semi-decent attempt (but blocks at the DNS level, not IP level)

The IWF proxy usually manages to break legitimate files on the same sites as suspected naughtiness though, due to triggering defences by the host website (all traffic via the IWF proxies have the same source IP, so looks like a flood attack, though some ISPs have kludged this with multiple IP addresses).

As per the title, proxies are the simplest way to get around nearly every solution though.

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Honestly ....

> So, how was it supposed to work?

Details, details, dear boy. You can't expect our esteemed leaders to have to worry themselves over mere technicalities ...

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"So, how was it supposed to work?"

1) block all .XXX web sites.

2) (optional) block sites with key words in the name with (if you're lucky) exceptions for sites that can demonstrate they're not smut peddlers.

3) (optional) also block sites you're advised about that are reported to peddle smut (and forget to tell them or explain how they can (not) challenge the block to get it removed...)

4) claim success.

OR

Positively identify which sites provide smut and add them to the block list, a task that will be never ending as new sites pop up or use proxies to help them move to avoid filters, and will cost the ISP's a fortune to maintain while only being able to report they're working on blocking sites.

Asking for a white list to be maintained is even more work for the ISP's, at greater cost and all that will happen is permitted sites will be hacked and used, or sites will be registered while 'clean' with links to the smut to bypass filters resulting in the ISP's having to admit failure.

Guess which method the ISP's would take.

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Anonymous Coward

"active choice"

People are talking about "active choice" as an alternative to "opt-in" and "opt-out", but how would that work in practice for existing customers? What do they do if the customer fails to respond to repeated requests for an answer one way or the other? They could disable the account, but would they really do that?

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Anonymous Coward

it seems to me

that the government seems to have forgotten about the fact that grumble flicks are legal in the uk now under an r18 certificate.

Also the ISPs have the cop out of "Not hosted on our servers guv". My view is, educate kids about how to use the web safely, use already available web filters, and if your little dears stumble on some online filth, they were obviously looking harder for it than you thought.

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Anonymous Coward

re: r18

Yes, r18 is available, has been for quite a while now and what is allowed to be shown in an r18 film is really rather graphic. Here is the thing, though:

An r18 film is only allowed to be sold by a licensed sex shop. This is a building which is prohibited from allowing under 18s to enter. Very much an opt in.

As an aside - the opt in was not opt in to be allowed to see porn, it was opt in to the filter, so opt out of being able to see porn.

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@re: r18

"An r18 film is only allowed to be sold by a licensed sex shop."

True, for bricks and mortar shops, but it's also perfectly legal for you to buy such a film via the web from anywhere in Europe *except* the UK unless the UK seller has paid for a licence for their business to be classed as a sex shop even if it has no physical high-street presence!

Consequently you have UK suppliers who can legally make films which are not for sale in this country...

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Anonymous Coward

On the ball

"CEO at Christian charity Mothers' Union and released in the summer – in which Bailey asks firms to make it easier for parents to block adult and age-restricted material on the internet"

These filters have been available for YEARS! Where has Reg Bailey been?

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Where has Reg Bailey been?

Er, watching pr0n? For research purposes, surely...

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begatting?

there's a lot of it in the bible - at it like rabbits.

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Paris Hilton

"there's a lot of it in the bible"

I fully expect the Song of Solomon to be blocked everywhere, marked as containing explicit material and require opt-in and proof of age before access is granted.

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Anonymous Coward

Curious

Is Reg Bailey related to the Andy Bailey who registered the ParentPort.org.uk domain as a 'non trading individual', before it was hurriedly transferred into Ofcom's ownership?

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Should not have to choose to disable filters

The filters should be off by default, and they should only be set if the customer asks for them or answers in the affirmative during signup that they would like them on.

Censorship is a slippery slope for ISPs and I hope they realise it. If they suddenly proclaim they're arbiters or what users can or cannot see, lawsuits will be jumping out of the woodwork at them demanding they censor particular pages, or suing them for NOT censoring others.

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Well I, for one..

Did not want to see that comment - can I opt of of it, and any other comments like it.

Kids will grow up - and with a developing humans interest in adult activities I would prefer that they have ready access to information that will help them grow up without a load of (religious/ ill-informed) baggage.

I would like my children to be able to find http://www.stayteen.org/myths and similar sites with no hindrance - I would be proud if they came to me with their questions so we could find out the facts together.

In my view hiding knowledge or information cannot be condoned, with the exception of incorrect information, and the answer to that is to encourage a questioning attitude so that doubts can be expressed freely.

ttfn

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WTF?

So...

...the big four aren't adopting opt in/opt out for all customers?

Sorry, I was a bit out of the loop yesterday but the news I did hear in the morning reported this as gospel (Mr Bailey).

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Anonymous Coward

education education education

Parents! activate parental controls on computers;

setting;

deny all except allowed.

allow list;

cbeebies, nickjr, etc.

everytime the little ones ask you if they can see another url, you look at it first, and then add to allow list if satisfied.

this will cover 2-12yr olds easily, then you have to decide about mobile phones and computers in bedrooms - your choice, your lookout.

jfdi and stop looking for others to wipe your bottom.

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Meh

AC@09:28

"allow list;

cbeebies, nickjr, etc."

Apparently reasonable choice.

But wait...

Isn't nickjr sometimes referred to as "pedo's playtime" in some circles, due to the high number of shows featuring young girls in somewhat inappropriate outfits? The sort of channel you might expect from Senior Belusconni, rather than the wholesome, corporate friendly MTV?

No I do not have a subscription and have never seen it.

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and add some additional software as well - really upsets the kids when it blocks them and they think they were able to go somewhere that they need approval for...

(see Bluecoats' free offering)

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Mushroom

"deny all except allowed.

allow list;"

might work until 8 and they choose to bypass it..

Not sure what the solution is

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FAIL

Poison Pill

Any ISP that represents that they can and will provide a porn-free service is either deluding themselves or providing access to only a tiny fraction of the Internet. It is just not possible to filter out porn sites without using the white-list approach. Even then you run the risk of some site on your white-list subsequently accepting porn advertisements.

So any ISP who follows this guideline is going to be reading about themselves in the tabloid press before too long, even if their small-print keeps them out of court.

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Anonymous Coward

An OpenDNS-like service (or indeed, OpenDNS itself)

should be offered at sign-up, and should be opt-in. Maybe some sort of mass mailout to existing customers to inform them of its existence.

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