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back to article Mens sana in fibro sano: Virgin Media network-level smut filters are ON

Virgin Media joined the big boys' club today by switching on network-level filters which allow subscribers to prevent perfectly legal material such as pornography from being accessed on their broadband connections. The cable company's rivals BT, BSkyB and TalkTalk have implemented similar censorship blockers on their networks …

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Anonymous Coward

How are the GCHQ w*nk*rs gonna get their fix?

if we are stopped from finding it in the first place?

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Re: How are the GCHQ w*nk*rs gonna get their fix?

Surely this would just provide a more targeted search for anyone operating in the manner you suggest.

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Re: How are the GCHQ w*nk*rs gonna get their fix?

sadly for GCHQ no one is using the filters because they don't even block anything (or block to much)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: How are the GCHQ w*nk*rs gonna get their fix?

sadly for GCHQ no one is using the filters because they don't even block anything (or block to much)

... and in any case, the best DNS filter is not much use against browsing images, which would be blocked by the filter on a direct access, from the google cache using image search. And since google now use https then even a keyword search in requests isn't possible.

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Re: How are the GCHQ w*nk*rs gonna get their fix?

don't forget VPNs and proxys

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Anonymous Coward

Fnar

I pop over bulgarianairbags.dom regularly to check my appliance is still operating.

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Coffee/keyboard

It wasnt on earlier...

... or so I was told. Honest!

// Lets just say that's coffee! ;)

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Anonymous Coward

Yes, nanny. You know what's good for me, much better than I do.

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Facepalm

An age rating on every web page?

Well, it's good to know someone has a solution to the unemployment problem.

GJC

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Re: An age rating on every web page?

it don't know if it true or not becasue I have not seen anything on it but if it is its going to be unenforceable (and not pass)

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Re: An age rating on every web page?

Same old shit peddled by the gob-smackingly clueless to satisfy the spectactularly stupid (or lazy in the case of parenting).

Very similar in the level of clueless to the "facebook, twitter, and so on must ban nek-nominating." cries. Errr, yeah.

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Holmes

Re: An age rating on every web page?

Easy. It's R18 for everything. Job done.

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Is this why my Virgin connection has cut off 5 times over the last 2 weeks? Was down for 2 hours yesterday with 4 similar outages over the previous 12 days.

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"when quizzed by El Reg, confirmed that it was ditching its downstream traffic management policy"

When might this happen? As I can get ADSL2 but it's not very fast, but VM can guarantee me much faster speeds, but they limit, throttle and fondle it to hell.

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Today

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Anonymous Coward

"VM can guarantee me much faster speeds, but they limit, throttle and fondle it to hell."

I can max out 120 Mbits easily here at any time - make sure encryption is enabled in uTorrent and use a high priority port.

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I'd much prefer an upstream speed that doesn't suck balls, but this doesn't grab the marketing headlines in the same way.

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In the past with VM, I've been able to max out my connection too, but then 10 minutes later it's throttled for 4 hours.

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How do I find an ISP that does not impose this unwanted filter? I want to move away from Sky ASAP

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Move to a smaller indy ISP like Andrews and Arnold.

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Why not just turn your filter completely off and save the hassle of moving?

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or use VPNs or proxys

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Zen FTW

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Because it doesn't send a message, in terms of cold hard cash, that you do not want your internet censored.

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Absolutely correct!

I want Sky to know that a policy of applying the filter in a preconfigured "On" state and then expecting me to "manage" it is absolutely abhorrent. I'm an adult and should not have to be inconvenienced by others bad parenting skills.

More importantly I am totally opposed to government censorship or censorship by any other "well meaning" groups as none of these organisations can be trusted and scope creep is inevitable.

Increasingly the only avenue left to us is to vote with our pound and leave.

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Anonymous Coward

I want Sky to know that a policy of applying the filter in a preconfigured "On" state and then expecting me to "manage" it is absolutely abhorrent. I'm an adult and should not have to be inconvenienced by others bad parenting skills.

More importantly I am totally opposed to government censorship or censorship by any other "well meaning" groups as none of these organisations can be trusted and scope creep is inevitable.

Increasingly the only avenue left to us is to vote with our pound and leave.

But you already have an account with them, therefore you won't be subject to having a filter pre-configured to 'On'. And even if you did, the answer is as simple as clicking 'Off'.

You quite obviously do not have children. Filters like this should have been a standard option by about 5 years ago, when browsing on other devices such as smartphones, tablets, consoles and smart TV's started to make inroads. Parental control over Internet access these days is not just a matter of either installing Net Nanny or watching little Johnny over his shoulder on the one shared family PC in the living room. It is simply not possible to monitor multiple kids with access to all those devices at the same time, and we use Linux on every laptop in the house - parental control software is as good as non existent for Linux (and before anyone pipes up, as their own website says: Dan's Guardian "is for running on servers", I really shouldn't have to learn how to set up a server just to try and put a few limits on what kind of content my kids see online. If you believe differently you're not living in the real world).

DNS filters aren't perfect, but in combination with locking down Google/YouTube/Play Store safe search etc, I've been using OpenDNS family shield for a while now and it makes things a lot more difficult to get around while providing simple On/Off functionality and whitelists to override their pre-set configurations.

This is not censorship, this is an option, and as long as it's optional I fully support it being there. If you don't want it then just switch it off.

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"But you already have an account with them, therefore you won't be subject to having a filter pre-configured to 'On'. And even if you did, the answer is as simple as clicking 'Off'."

Not what their email says - I have to go and manager the B thing. While to you it might be as simple as "turning it off" to me it's an unnecessary imposition on me because of other people failings. People should be free to opt in NOT have to opt out.

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just so you know it is opt in

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DNS based?

DNS based? I don't use Virgin's DNS servers on my VM connection anyway, using either OpenDNS or Google as the mood suits me.

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Re: DNS based?

If you are using a virgin superhub, I believe the DNS settings cannot be changed.

Or am I wrong on that one.

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Boffin

"Super"hub

if (like most IT pros) you put the superhub into modem-only mode, and use your own (decent) router, then you can set your own DNS entries. I tend to swap between Googles and OpenDNS.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: DNS based?

Doesn't matter, they just proxy any traffic on port 53 irrespective of where you are pointing it to.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: DNS based?

> Doesn't matter, they just proxy any traffic on port 53 irrespective of

> where you are pointing it to.

Good job opendns (and my router) support dns on non-standard ports then. 5353 I believe it is.

Or was until a virginmedia lackey reads this...

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Paris Hilton

No more traffic management?

when quizzed by El Reg, confirmed that it was ditching its downstream traffic management policy

Without the pr0n, there will be hardly any traffic to manage! No wonder they're offering a speed boost.

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Re: No more traffic management?

don't worry people are just going to turn them off or use VPNs or proxys

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Why am I finding out about this from El Reg and not from Virgin?

If Virgin Media can find the time to put an entire tree's worth of spam through my letterbox every week, then they could have found a way to tell me about this, surely?

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Re: Why am I finding out about this from El Reg and not from Virgin?

they will, in good time...

Check your postcode online, i dont get my upgrade til Jan 2015, i dont need a letter in Feb 2014 about it.

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Anonymous Coward

boosting its broadband connection speed to 152Mbit/s

What's the point when uploads are still only 3Mbit. Come on Virgin, play the game right, or we'll all defect to BT with their much faster upload speeds!

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Re: boosting its broadband connection speed to 152Mbit/s

Urgh, I couldn't agree more! I have a lovely 60mb download connection yet suffer with a pathetic 3mb upload. So, as soon as I begin to FTP files back to work, the whole Internet connection becomes totally unusable for the rest of the household. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.

More frustratingly, Virgin Media have been promising for two years now that an upload speed increase is "on its way", but is it hell - just more headline-grabbing download speed upgrades.

I'm kinda 'stuck' too, as despite living only 2 miles from the City Centre, the best 'expected speeds' on an Openreach-based "fibre" connection is 14mb down, and 2mb up. FFS.

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Unhappy

Re: boosting its broadband connection speed to 152Mbit/s

LOL @ AC! BT's pathetic 448 Kbps upstream on consumer ADSL max (50:1 contention) and 832 Kbps on business ADSL max is NOT faster than Virgin's 3 Mbps up (25:1 contention). We're not all on Infinity2 FTTP you know!

I'd still take the Virgin connection over an Infinity connection unless I was had a desperate need to upload tonnes of data.

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Re: boosting its broadband connection speed to 152Mbit/s

Not sure what speed package you're on but my upload is 10Mbit. Love it!

Depends on the person & situation etc but I don't mind paying a bit more each month to get the better upload speed - the increased download speed is just a handy side effect.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: boosting its broadband connection speed to 152Mbit/s

LOL @ bobsta! Even crappy old FTTC has been capable of 20Mbps upload, probably more if BT didn't cap it at that, for a while now.

Lots of people can therefore get connections that piss all over Virgin's mediocrity.

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Re: boosting its broadband connection speed to 152Mbit/s

well that's just cos your router isn't managing the upstream traffic very well, or at all. Look for options involving ACK or small packet priority, or settings that will rate limit outbound traffic to the 3Mbps or just below.

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Re: boosting its broadband connection speed to 152Mbit/s

@AC - You might be able to get 20 Mbps on FTTC upload, but as I said; I currently only have the option of ADSL Max. Infinity doesn't exist in my neck of the woods as Openreach are a bunch of T055erz.

I'm just lamenting the loss of the lovely 60 Meg cable that I used to enjoy 5 miles away nearer the center of Nottingham... :(

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Re: boosting its broadband connection speed to 152Mbit/s

@Simon - I'm not on any BT-based product out of a matter of principle. They could only offer an estimated up to 2.5 mbps download, but more realistic was around 512 kbps over ADSL max.

I now get a much more acceptible service with around 7 mbps download and 3 mbps upload out of a Three 3G connection through a mobile phone set up as a Wi Fi Hotspot. Yes, the slow ping lag is annoying at times, but it works well enough until a better wired alternative is available in my area.

Who is suppying your 10Mbit upload?

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Its on

i know cos I just opted out.

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Re: Its on

are you a new customer? because current customers have to opt in for filter were new have to make a chose

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No i'm an existing customer.. I went to their website and that filter and also a malware/virus filter were both enabled.

Edit..now i'm unsure. It is disabled now but to be honest I can't recall what state it was in when I logged in..I just ensured it was off before i logged out, so you may be right.

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you could of thought it was on when it was in fact off or you accidentally turned it on somehow (or GCHQ turn it on) that was a joke :P

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openDNS crypt

If Virgin is your enemy then OpenDNS Crypt is your friend. Dont have to hook up with a VPN with this solution and avoids Virgin port forwarding on their routers. It works by encrypting all DNS traffic between the user and OpenDNS, preventing any ISP spying.

http://www.opendns.com/about/innovations/dnscrypt/

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