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back to article MPs urge UK.gov to use 1950s obscenity law to stifle online stiffies

MPs want Britain's network-level filters to do a better job of censoring access to pornography sites to keep the content away from the prying eyes of children. But, to do that, perfectly legal online smut peddlers need to cooperate. That was the conclusion in a report (PDF) published today by Parliament's Culture, Media and …

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Wife & Servants

I don't care if my wife watches that stuff. Each to their own. But I think it's wholly unfair for me to bitch at my servants for watching the videos they appear in. I stopped putting them in snuff films, after their union complained, but they can't stop me from putting them in other movies.

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In other news,

Teen pregnancy is at a 40 year low.

Just thought I'd mention that detail.

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Re: In other news,

Are you suggesting that the wide-spread availability of the pill from the mid-1970's increased teen pregnancy and we're only now getting it back under control? ;)

I guess the social isolation induced by wearing headphones and using facebook is finally paying off!

In other news, only 185,122 abortions in 2012. That still seems like quite a lot to me.

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/211790/2012_Abortion_Statistics.pdf

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Boffin

Re: In other news,

Context is key.

For example, from the very file you linked:

"The age-standardised abortion rate was 16.5 per 1,000 resident women aged 15-44, 5.4% lower than in 2011, and 2.7% lower than in 2002 (17.0); the lowest rate for 16 years."

There are several more statistics, each pointing to a trend of decreasing abortion. I won't bother to list them here, as anyone can simply follow your link.

The point being, anyone can throw out a number and call it big. It takes effort to analyse the number in context and determine what it actually means.

In actuality, the abortion rate has been decreasing for 16 years. Wouldn't you consider that heading in the "right" direction? What would you prefer, a big ON/OFF switch?

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Re: In other news,

"What would you prefer, a big ON/OFF switch?"

Oo, Oo, Oo, I think I know this one!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: In other news,

Teen pregnancy is at a 40 year low.

Among servants as well?

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Boffin

Re: In other news,

"Are you suggesting that the wide-spread availability of the pill from the mid-1970's increased teen pregnancy..."

No, the increase in teen pregnancy was due to the increase in teen f#%king...

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Anonymous Coward

So...

.. If Mr Smith gives little Johnnie a computer with no parental controls on it and allows him to use it unsupervised is he guilty of distributing pornography to a minor or at least aiding and abetting said distribution?

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Re: So...

@AC.

Indeed. If the police obtain evidence that parents are doing nothing to control their offsprings internet habits and unsuitable material (for the age group) is being accessed, is that a case for the courts for neglect? Should social services be involved? Now, I'm maybe more tech savvy than the average user, but I simply implemented a hardware firewall with content filtering on it. Not perfect, but it certainly stops the majority and as it keeps a list (long) of every URL they access, I think it was a reasonable response to the issue.

Perhaps they would be better off creating and selling such a hardware firewall (perhaps even subsidising it), so parents can have a plug and play option?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: So...

"(perhaps even subsidising it)"

Married persons allowance, family credit, £2K child care.

Any more of my money you want to give away?

If you have a kid, it's YOUR responsibility to pay for it and care for it and raise it properly.

Stop throwing public money at those who chose to have kids. (Reality: those bastard mistakes of too many drunken nights).

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Anonymous Coward

Re: So...

I don't know, but would be be guilty of the same offence if he let his son into a news agent with porn on the lower shelves? (I suspect, the Newsagent would be guilty, not the farther.)

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Re: So...

of course, the universal law of unintended consequence states that junior will now search for ways to acquire the banned material from sources you haven't managed to block. some of which will contain material far worse than that on the sites you have.

much like everyday antibacterial products eliminate the easy to kill bacteria only to give more breathing room (and thus promote) the nasty super-bacteria.

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Re: So...

I agree (despite being a parent - albeit one who won't benefit from any of the above schemes). But you forgot the two biggest subsidies (as a whole) from non-parents to parents - which are publicly funded schools and the NHS (children and older people are rather disproportionate users of health and social care compared to non-geriatric adults). There's also housing benefit (ie cost of providing larger homes for those who qualify) as well as a few other smaller costs.

I'm not sure the married persons allowance is really relevant though (after all plenty of people get married and don't have children, and still more have children but never marry).

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Facepalm

Re: So...

"If you have a kid, it's YOUR responsibility to pay for it and care for it and raise it properly."

But at some stage you would like some one to pay your pension?

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Re: So...

but if said newsagent was inconveniently located outside the jurisdiction of said god botherer (we all know it's them really) then dad would be pursued to the fullest extent of the law.

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Re: So...

F*ck me! that was quick

I guess he works in mysterious ways

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Holmes

Re: So...

Perhaps they would be better off creating and selling such a hardware firewall (perhaps even subsidising it), so parents can have a plug and play option?
You can construct a hardware firewall appliance entirely from scrap parts (you just need a motherboard, some RAM and possibly another network card if the mobo has only one RJ45; it's actually possible to run without a HDD at all, or with one of only a few GB capacity) and Open Source software, so it would not need any subsidy.

Get a bunch of unemployed people onto the case; and have them sort through scrap computers diverted from landfill and turn them into home firewall appliances. Pay them out of the fines levied on people attempting to dispose of the aforementioned computers in landfill. Job's a good 'un!

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Re: So...

@AC

"Married persons allowance, family credit, £2K child care.

Any more of my money you want to give away?"

I never said it should be subsidised, I merely said it could be. Depends on what they think the benefits or not of subsidising would be and the social worth of doing so. Also, married persons allowance???? How old are you? That hasn't been around for years unless you're seriously old (born before 1945 I believe).

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Re: So...

@AC

"I don't know, but would be be guilty of the same offence if he let his son into a news agent with porn on the lower shelves? (I suspect, the Newsagent would be guilty, not the farther.)"

I agree the newsagent would have liability. However, wouldn't the father also have liability if he didn't immediately seek to remove the child from such an environment? If the child started looking through the titles, would you not expect the father to stop him?

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Re: So...

@Richard Taylor 2.

"But at some stage you would like some one to pay your pension?"

Not sure why you got downvoted for this. Until very recently, the current generation paid the pensions of the generation before. This is not now true for money purchase schemes, but is true for the state pension etc. You need people paying tax today to fund the state pensions of today. The money paid in NI (or tax) yesterday was not invested to allow you to get a state pension today. So, no workers today, no state pensions today.

In order to get workers for when you retire, people need to have kids today to become said workers. Alternatively, I guess we could import all the workers and have no kids, but that isn't economically viable. So, the comment is absolutely valid.

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Unhappy

Re: So...

Wow, lots of anger right here.

I would say something about it taking a village to raise a child, but that might encourage someone to make a missing idiot joke.

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Re: So...

Such a hardware firewall is also trivial to bypass by yanking the main network uplink and plugging it direct into the router, unless your system is playing the role of broadband modem as well.

Of course most people rolling their own today are technical enough that they'll notice the log goes dead about 90 seconds after they popped out to the shops and starts showing traffic again around the time they were expected back.

Average Joe won't know that if it's supposed to be a plug, play and forget solution.

I recall a guy on Dragon's Den touting a slot machine that killed an HDMI connection when it ran out - you gave your kids a weekly "gaming allowance", and the system cut the feed after x-minutes. You could set what a token was worth, etc.

From a technical standpoint I couldn't see how that wouldn't prevent a kid just plugging the cable direct into the TV when their parents were out, or obtaining their own cable from Tesco if you had a retention device on the timer (because the console and TV wouldn't have retention at their ends), or you could just use a component/composite connection or whatever was offered on the back of the console rather than HDMI!

Noticing that the system was being circumvented would require "parenting" to take place, and if you're going to take an interest in your kids like that then you can just tell them to turn it off and go play outside, which is far cheaper and easier as Duncan Bannatyne put in rather more curt terms!

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Childcatcher

Re: So...

"If you have a kid, it's YOUR responsibility to pay for it and care for it and raise it properly."

But at some stage you would like some one to pay your pension?

My children used to advise me to treat them with respect, as "they were the ones who get to chose the 'home' "

// what has happened to all the workhouses?

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Re: So...

The ISP's could offer routers with better firewalls easier config for the less technically able and subsidise them rather than a having to implement useless filtering, the government could also have spent the 25 million(ish) on subsidising routers instead of a worthless campaign on raising awareness.

When you order internet the ISP asks 'will you have children using the internet?' (covers grandma & granddad etc.) answer yes and you get the said family friendly router unless you opt out.

Not perfect but better than the stupid, useless and worthless filtering IMHO.

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Re: So...

These magazines are produced, printed and distributed. A magazine that is not distributed cannot be seen by a minor. A magazine that is printed, well, you get the gist.

I propose arresting all parties involved. Including the owners, and the people financing them.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: So...

They're already on benefits...make 'em work for them!

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Re: So...

Or presumably those that deride others for having sprogs will have suitable cash saved up to fund their robotic nursing requirements in the year 2040ish, by which point they may well be dribbling and/or unintentionally going to the toilet whilst fully clothed....

I.e. other peoples sprogs will be nursing, feeding and looking after you when you are past it...

Ironically one is an unintentional father (I can't have kids apparently), isn't nature a wonderful thing?

J.

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Re: So...

@ A J Stiles

Just a few problems with that.

1. F$%&ing great box

2. Big increase in electricity cost for user and multiply by millions for extra pressure on the grid.

3. reliability, old kit & forced labour

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Re: So...

That would be the pension you have paid into all your working life to EARN would it or paid through taxes/national insurance to the government for your state pension. Not quite the same thing really.

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Re: So...@Qwelak

I don't think you understand this money thing.

Where do you think the money you pay the Government goes to? If it was just piled up in a very big room, it would be useless. Money has no intrinsic value; it only has value because there are things it can buy. Unless there is a functioning economy and things are being produced - by the working age groups - money is utterly useless.

If people don't have children, eventually no workers, no economy, no assets.

In civilised societies it has turned out that educating children and giving them medical treatment at the expense of taxpayers, results in an active workforce later on to pay the taxes. Economies with high infant death rates and poor education are crap economies.

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Re: So...

@Qwelak.

Not sure you understand how the state pension works.

When it was setup, the government of the day took contributions and said they'd give the people something back. Interestingly, the contract keeps changing as the 'get something back' keeps changing.

Did they invest the money wisely to grow and become a pot to pay your pension later on? No, they did not. They spent the money immediately. They surmised that the contributions of workers when you're retired would be used to pay your pension. Similarly, when those workers retired, the workers at that time would pay their pensions. On and on to infinity.

So, the government got an effective income which gradually declined as people started claiming the pension. Then, it was self-sufficient. Current workers pay for retired workers pensions. Job done. Big pile of cash up front to fund things. Now, this was partly to pay for reconstruction work (and other things) after WWII.

However, as people live longer, the terms of the original pensions are looking rather generous. Workers can no longer fund the pensions of currently retired people due to the age they're living to etc.etc. Also, ratio of workers to pensioners etc. Hence, the pensions crisis we're (in a very poor way) trying to deal with at the moment. However, it did give them a big pool of money to start rebuilding after the war!!

So, no future workers, at least your state pension will be gone. Money purchase pots may be OK. Defined benefits schemes could also have problems if the number of workers declines a lot.

So, significant proportions of your pension are quite heavily (or totally) dependent on future workers and hence children being born and growing up. This will be true for many, many decades yet.

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Re: So...

Oh no - they couldn't possibly implement a simple plan that requires more than a couple of brain cells. Besides, then they couldn't exert any control or censorship over the net itself, which is what it's REALLY all about! Nothing to do with kiddie protection in the long run, methinks.

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Re: So...

"Married persons allowance,"

What? That went years ago. Todays budget will allow prople to "pass on" £1000 worth of tax free allowance from next year. So I can add 1000 to my tax free allowance from my wifes unused tax free allowance giving us a whole £200 per year extra.

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Re: So...

"But at some stage you would like some one to pay your pension?"

You got a surprising number of down votes from people who don't understand how the state pension works :-)

For the edumacaushun of the downvoters, todays state pension is paid from the contributions of todays workers. You are not paying into a "pension pot" for your own benefit tomorrow. That would be your own private pension, not the state pension

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Coat

Re: So...

Can do it even cheaper than that. I just needed a pair of scissors.

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Coat

Re: So...

"When you order internet the ISP asks 'will you have children using the internet?' (covers grandma & granddad etc.) answer yes and you get the said family friendly router unless you opt out"

This is still defective because the adults in the house are treated just like babies.

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Re: So...

At last, a useful plan for all the XP machines which will shortly be toast. Upvote!

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Re: So...

Such a hardware firewall is also trivial to bypass by yanking the main network uplink and plugging it direct into the router, unless your system is playing the role of broadband modem as well.
Well, that depends how secure you want it to be ..... and for many people, unplugging and replugging an RJ45 cable is hardly "trivial". But try:

ADSL modem connects to eth0 of firewall machine. eth1 of firewall machine connects to switch, wireless access point and rest of network. The ADSL modem is configured in SUA mode, so it simply won't work at all if plugged straight into the switch; there needs to be a router in between. Its configuration page is password-protected; and restoring the factory defaults in order to get around the password protection will wipe out the ISP login and password.

If someone can hack their way around that, fair play to them. They probably aren't going to be too badly affected by seeing a bit of naked flesh anyway.

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Re: So...

Another thing the Government could do, would be to make sure that not being connected to the Internet is no barrier to full participation in society.

Nobody should ever be dependent upon proprietary technology; and any technology upon which people have become dependent, should be forced into the Public Domain.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: So...

"Another thing the Government could do, would be to make sure that not being connected to the Internet is no barrier to full participation in society."

In denmark, as I understand it, the following statements are true.

All taxpaying citizens are required to have a bank account, and the state has access to that account for deposits and withdrawals. Banks charge for this as I understand it.

Companies are required to have a secure email address for communication with the government and receipt of an email to this email address has legal obligations and implications. There is no longer an expectation of receiving real mail from the government.

Interactions with the government require the use of a national secure identity, a system which is requires Java to operate.

The list goes on ... welcome to the modern welfare state.

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Re: So...

"Alternatively, I guess we could import all the workers and have no kids, but that isn't economically viable."

Isn't it? Last I looked, there was no shortage of people willing to be economic migrants to the UK. The main objection appears to come from those "kids" who were born here. Remove all them and you could presumably open the floodgates to mass immigration.

Of course, this may be a "cheap but not cheerful" solution. For one thing, it appears to require a sex ban on the entire adult population, which is unlikely to go down well. Still, maybe there's some sort of drug...

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Re: So...

So when you retire, can my children hypothecate their economic output so that none of it goes towards making your pension pot pay for actual goods and services? Or are you one of the selfish childless who expect parents to subsidize civilization carrying on for another generation? More generously, perhaps you're not very clever and have never really thought about why it might be worth helping people with some of the very high costs in bringing up children.

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Another belch from the clueless

Whilst I totally agree that we need to ensure some level of protection for children, this is just another load of hot air from the clueless. Potentially anything on the internet could contain porn. Not just actual porn sites, but forums and all sorts, sometimes as a main theme and sometimes just single pieces. After all, people publish their own amateur home made porn now. So, just thinking about websites that do porn and nothing else is somewhat missing the point.

There may be some technical things that can be done both inside and outside the house to give some degree of protection, but ultimately, it is the responsibility of the parents. However, governments seem determined to take the role of parents and in some cases, parents simply don't care. You spend hundreds of pounds on technology, but won't spend tens of pounds on products to reduce this risk. Alternatively, you could always have the computer etc. in public places, rather than in their bedrooms etc. You know, actually take an interest in your kids.

But no, this committee seems to think they can legislate or technically get round the problem and seek to ignore the role of parents and good parenting in all this. They also don't seem to have realised that times have moved on since the 1950s, even though their own habits and that of others working in the Houses of Parliament suggest this (given the latest information on porn site access from said location). Of course, I'm sure this is all 'research' and has no gratification value at all!!

Not sure when they'll realise all these committees actually need members who actually have some clue of the subject matter they're trying to deal with.

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Re: Another belch from the clueless

> Not sure when they'll realise all these committees actually need members who actually have some clue of the subject matter they're trying to deal with.

You seem to operate in the belief that the aim of such committees is to solve an existing problem. It's not. They exist to fabricate a problem -or blow a minor one out of proportions- then sell it to the red-tops and ultimately be seen as solving or mitigating it, aided by the fact that there is little or no problem to begin with, so they can't really fail except if they manage to somehow make the problem much worse themselves.

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Re: governments seem determined to take the role of parents

Or at least the big brothers.

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Coat

Re: governments seem determined to take the role of parents

Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes. - Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948)

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The politicos said that grumble flick websites should require a credit card

Yeah let's encourage people to hand over their credit card details to pornographers, what could possibly go wrong?

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Re: The politicos said that grumble flick websites should require a credit card

Are you seriously suggesting that the smut industry may be less than reputable?

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