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back to article Parents can hide abortion, contraception advice from kids, thanks to BT's SEX-ED web block

Access to sex education websites can be switched off by UK parents who don't want their children to seek advice about their sexuality online, BT has admitted to The Register. Its network-level filter, introduced last week, can limit home internet users' access to material the Coalition government would rather you not see, such …

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Childcatcher

Speechless

If the children are so young that the parents do not want them to have access to sex-education sites, then why are they being allowed onto the internet unsupervised?

I don't know what to say. And before long, I may not be allowed to say what I want.

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Re: Speechless

Blocking gay and lesbian material but not heterosexual sites is also arguably a breach of the Equalities Act.

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Re: Speechless

This is an appallingly bad move on BT's part. Most of the LGBT folks I know first learned about their sexuality and gender identity through online methods, especially forums. A lot of them *cannot* talk to their parents about this stuff through reasons of religion and now, thanks to filters like these, they may not have anywhere else to turn to for impartial advice.

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Re: Speechless

>If the children are so young that the parents do not want them to have access to sex-education sites, then why are they being allowed onto the internet unsupervised?

It depends what you call unsupervised. Parents have blocked access, much like putting up a stair-gate and then not bothering to keep an eye on the child all the time. Now you can let them playing that game on the ipad without worrying too much about accidental internet access. Of course it isn't perfect, it's about risk not perfection. The kids are in the garden, they might eat dirt and get sick, but I still put limits up to prevent them from wondering down to the park whenever they feel like it.

As far as the LGBT lifestyle thing goes, BT says they don't discriminate between that and hetro. If you define your lifestyle in terms of sex, you have to expect to fall foul of those who don't want to know about your sex life. If I put up a blog about "hetrosexual lifestyle" I'd expect to be filtered too.

There also appears to be a lot of hormone-driven adolescents out in the forums today. Here's a hint: it isn't always about you. When my kids are 6 years old, they don't need to know about STI's and how to use a condom. Yes, I could use squid to block redtube and they probably wouldn't stumble onto it anyway, but if I'm happy to live with the restrictions or don't fancy running a server 24x7, why are *you* expressing so much righteous indignation?

I am going to teach them how to deal with such things, but not yet. They aren't hormone driven and children learn a lot through imitation. I see plenty of children imitating adult sexual behaviour (inappropriate dress, inappropriate dancing) and its disturbing to see sexual behaviour in a child. Obviously it isn't hormone-driven, its pure learnt behaviour through observation probably from the media. I wish the schools had libraries instead of pushing kids onto the internet but I can't control that either. So maybe a filter is one useful tool.

Some parents limit the time on the internet to what is reasonable for homework and rely on a filter during that time. Others have the time to watch everything. People are different.

Lots of people here appear to be concerned about the content of the filters. I don't understand that. It comes across as ethical imperialism - you will listen to and watch and believe what we want you to. Maybe I don't want to see girls shaking their breasts at me while I look for a torrent on TPB. That isn't your call. Maybe my kids are wondering around and may ask in public why daddy had pictures of "mummy" without her top on, on the computer. Not even an up to date episode of Grey's Anatomy is worth that.

Get off your high-horses. This isn't an ethical move by anyone (as if a BT or the government has ethics!), its the government trialling control of the internet at a national level. Its a way of them showing that they are "doing something" while they achieve nothing of importance.

It's creepy, invasive, but that's the whole "internet filter" thing. The content of the filters is irrelevant.

Oi BT! I don't mind you offering filtering to those who want it, but *OFF* by default please. On by default makes you look even more like a corrupt government pawn.

For those of you who are adults and pay for your own internet connection and don't want the filter. Turn it off, complain to your MP and move ISP. If you aren't all those things, sorry, it isn't your choice to make.

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Re: Speechless

"If the children are so young that the parents do not want them to have access to sex-education sites, then why are they being allowed onto the internet unsupervised?"

Because they are not really "that young". But the god squad no doubt got this little modifier dropped in.

And yes.. WE BLOODY TOLD YOU SO..

Little kids do not go searching for sex information. Doesn't happen. And have you ever in your entire on-line life accidentally come across a sex eduction site?

By the time they hit puberty, when they DO go looking for information, they need to know it. And withholding this information is wrong.

Problem is.. the "must preserve their innocence" mob, get a bit carried away some times, and refuse to accept their little darlings are getting ready to rut. So knowing that taking a bath straight after is not actually a means of contraception, is a good thing. And yes.. One can get pregnant if one does it standing up.

Little kids however, DO go in search of sexual abuse information. Because when you don't know what is normal, how do you know daddy having a special cuddle, or the way Uncle Dave touches you is ok or not?

This is a bad thing. And it needs to be fought. The police will not put you on a perv list. So skip the paranoia. Say no to all filtering, if you have kids or not.

Otherwise, welcome to the white-list internet. Because function has already crept.. And will continue.

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Re: Speechless

"Blocking gay and lesbian material but not heterosexual sites is also arguably a breach of the Equalities Act."

That may be true but that is not what is happening - their filter blocks anything related to sex education, including sexual orientation. BT's statement from the article: "One of our optional filters does just that. It does not discriminate between heterosexual and LGBT content."

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Speechless

I'm more curious who is going to accept the liability when kids get into trouble because they don't have access to the sort of information they need. To me, when a kid starts searching, it's probably time for the kid to know and they don't always come to you with questions, however open you think you are with your children.

What I also want to know is who exactly is going to do the classification, and who will be responsible for MISqualification because it is oh-so-tempting to "accidentally" tag the competition and any other setup you don't agree with. Are sites informed of their classification? And if not, why not? Who handles the censorship supervision, and (in some cases) the unreasonable restriction of trade (especially if they get it wrong)?

Not impressed.

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Re: Speechless

I would upvote, but the 69 thumbs up at the moment look like just the right number for the topic. Go on kids!

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Re: Speechless

It almost feels like this is the point. If you cannot learn about your sexuality you are force fed the "norm" despite whats right for the child.

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Trollface

I'm amazed this has gone wrong so quickly

Only kidding.

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Re: I'm amazed this has gone wrong so quickly

Yeah. Government-organised IT project gone wrong. Tsk. Amazing.

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Looking at

the screen grab....

How long until compulsion sets in with the filters set so that your internet is delivered with all blocks active and you can only unblock sites manually.

Then you have to give a reason

Then the government adds in the list of non-approved sites for which you'll have to be approved to visit such sites.

And explain why you wish to see www.what_politicians_really_are_upto.com

And then we'll be in North Korea praising the dear leader every day on pain of 5 years "re-education"

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Re: Looking at

Think you mean "de-education"!

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Black Helicopters

Re: Looking at

'Think you mean "de-education"!'

That is exactly the kind of ungood-think these rules are being implemented to prevent. Please relax, your offspring will shortly be be volunteering you for some double-plus good re-education. We anticipate your shouts of joy as our friendly re-education staff whisk you away in comfortable, specially-designed clothing.

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Re: Looking at

My name's Roger, I'm turning my parents in immediately - apparently they've been having sex ... I was horrified to find out that Father has not been telling me the truth.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jpNZTv6Dayo - I wonder if this clip will be banned now?

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Facepalm

And so the control begins

Well good to see we still have our freedom.....now as long as the parents ban the kids from using a library to read books then everything will be OK.

Good job the gov are closing those down too.

Time to move on and find something else to ban.......

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Anonymous Coward

Re: And so the control begins

I personally think we should ban libraries.

After all, libraries contain books, and books give you knowledge, and knowledge is power, and power corrupts... and corruption is a crime!

BAN LIBRARIES! THINK OF THE CHILDREN!

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Re: And so the control begins

Haven't you been paying attention? They've been systematically dismantling the public library systems for the last 10 years.

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Well. The whole sorry affair seems rather more socially corrosive than a spot of smut.

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Happy

Looking for therapy

Is this site blocked? it doesn't show up right - www.therapistfinder.com

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Re: Looking for therapy

I wanted to buy some writing instruments from here:

http://www.penisland.net

Apparently they specialize in wood...

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Re: Looking for therapy

'Your pen is

Our business!'

There, but for one space...

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Who would have thought it.

Dave :- We need default on filters

ISP's :- We don't

Dave :- We do the Daily Mail says so

ISP's :- They don't know what they are talking about.

Dave :- Yes they do, my advisors say they do.

ISP's :- Really not a good idea, we know

Dave :- TalkTalk have done it

ISP's :- Yep you know what they say any unique selling point in a storm

Dave :- Just do it or I will regulate

ISP's :- OK Boys lets show him just how bad this can be.

No, you just can't script this stuff

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Re: Who would have thought it.

Hello, my names Dave and I'm a blockaholic

Welcome Dave, would you like to tell the group how it all started

It started with easy stuff, blocking porn, that made sense, gotta to think of the children

Then once you've had that first hit, well you just have to come back for more.

Next there were self abuse sites

Then terrorists, everyone said that was good idea

After that, well extremists, we needed to block them didn't we.

I couldn't help myself when it came to sex education, I mean, the daily mail has stories about teachers and school children

Then there were the gay and lesbian sites, they tell me its natural, so they don't need sites telling people how to do it.

I mean what's an extremist anyway

So I blocked the commies

I didn't realise the opposition were allowed their own website, I mean, they disagree with me

Once you've had that first hit you can't stop, you need your fix, you look for more and more stuff you can block...

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Anonymous Coward

make public its list of sites it blocks

there's an app for that! ;)

after all, it should be too hard to make a little app downloading (periodically, this week, from: "we are good boys" site) a list of filth sites (including political dissent, etc. ;), and then testing whether they're live on good old BT. And then.. whoaa, software development possibilities ahoy! Scamming, trojans, google advertising (all absolutely legit for BT :)

There's money to be made from them firewalls, I tell ya, just click HERE!

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Re: make public its list of sites it blocks

Doesn't test the sites no-one would think to test. A better idea is a browser plugin volunteers could run that reports all blocks.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: make public its list of sites it blocks

Yep, didn't the first australian firewall block a dentist?

Here, I've set the home drive-by protection up with a pr0n block free of charge via OpenDNS, which does a reasonable job. (OpenDNS porn filter does by default allow my kids to view/create/contribute/be-inspired by tumblr - which when I do my occasional random browsing history check does have 5% of dubious content!)

Do we block a site for having 95% OK material or is this the implementation of Frattini's idea floated at a previous EU summit of only allowing EU citizens access to a cuddly subset of the internet, away from the serious & harmful radical & informative & occasionally true bits? The way these things are done is to have 'un-coordinated' 'independent' 'voluntary' arrangements by many of the EU 28, installing the same thing, to protect the children, at more or less the same time, remarkable co-incidence. (usually) except in Germany.

?

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Boffin

Re: make public its list of sites it blocks

"Yep, didn't the first australian firewall block a dentist?"

Clearly they were worried the law wouldn't have any teeth.

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Hardly surprising when you consider this was forced through by a group identified as having all had unprotected sex.

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... or the product thereof.

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Well yes, that's what happens if you have unsafe sex.

Can we just start calling Mumsnet the Unsafe Sex Lobby and have done with it?

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Legality

I would have thought the blanket exclusion of LGBT sites would immediately fall foul of the Provision of Services parts of the Equalities Act 2010 and therefore leave BT, TalkTalk et. al open to prosecution. Any lawyers want to help us out here?

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Re: Legality

For a fee!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Legality

I don't think so. It's not a blanket ban, it's a filter that parents can choose to turn on. The category doesn't look to be blocked by default.

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Happy

Re: Legality

I will help bring back section 28. This is a good thing this filter!

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Whew!

At least they didn't block the site explaining how the stork brings babies.

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Re: Whew!

I've used butter but margarine is not a good lubricant.

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Anonymous Coward

What happened to Amanda Platell of the Daily Mail being investigated for her child porn "research", (she was the one that really got Cameron on his crusade).

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Is that so? In that case she may not be the only one.

Fucking psycho-hypocrites.

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she was so incompetent she could not found it. she found some "schoolgirl" porn where the actress was clearly 18 (records on file notice and all that) and even the char she was playing was over 18 (self identified as such)

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FAIL

Yayyyyy!

Just what this country needs; an explosion of teenage pregnancy, teenage STI spreading, and more gay teens killing themselves for lack of any positive information from sex-negative parents.

Because of course you know that any parent who chooses to block this category of sites isn't exactly the sort which will be having non-judgemental sex conversations with their kids.

Awesome.

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Devil

The coaltion demands that...

Clearly not the "Coalition of the Willing", then?

Clearly we need less buttered corn on the cob for more flexibility. Err... yes ...

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Anonymous Coward

"tasteless" jokes

Anything government related?

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Re: "tasteless" jokes

Government related tasteless joke? Over here in the colonies, the mayor of our largest city is Rob Ford. You may have heard of him.

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Re: "tasteless" jokes

Come on, Rob Ford as jokes with taste. From the looks of him, probably very expensive taste too.

But I guess it's all just a puff of smoke ...

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Guido Fawkes is reporting that someone has ALREADY written a Chrome extension to get around the Great Firewall.

http://order-order.com/2013/12/20/how-to-get-round-daves-porn-block/

I'm not advocating use of it, no sirree. It would be WRONG to circumvent any restriction which is both impractial and legally dubious. Wrong, wrong, wrong.

I provide this information merely for its news value.

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(I'm not getting at you, Mr flatpack)

Does this work, then?

http://goawaycameron.co.uk/

(that's what it is)

there's a helpful description ... It's enables a smart proxy server (basically the extension simply appears to automate something you could do yourself in chrome settings?) run by the extension creator (it appears)

I thought - I'm unable to test - that changing proxies did not bypass the filter?

(Nice to know the lad/lass isn't keeping logs though ... eh?)

Just sayin' ...

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And no doubt...

Sites like this one which give excellent advice to parents on how to teach children about the importance of consent and respect for others will also be blocked:

http://goodmenproject.com/families/the-healthy-sex-talk-teaching-kids-consent-ages-1-21/

Bravo, Dave, sites that don't teach girls how not to be raped, but aim to teach boys *not* to rape will no doubt be censored by the Great Firewall of Britain because we're "thinking of the chidren"...!

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Re: And no doubt...

Indeed, its laughable, rather than think of the children, he has introduced measures which literally means nobody thinks of the children.

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It's about time the government just stepped out of things that do not involve running the country. We don't need to be told what to see, especially when its 'extremely recommended' to be left on as ISP's are saying. The good thing about the internet is it allows those being repressed wrongly, either by their parents or by the state to get access to information otherwise not allowed. We shouldn't take that away from people. especially when this has never been voted on in parliament. The government should stop threatening to legislate to get their own way, either legislate or don't.

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