back to article Lords give automatic smut censorship bill the once-over

Internet service providers (ISPs) would be required to prevent customers accessing pornographic images unless those customers actively notify the ISPs that they want to access the material if draft new UK legislation being proposed receives backing. The Online Safety Bill, if enacted, would place a "duty" on ISPs and mobile …

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Get your damn kids off my Internet.

How about a stripped down, heavily regulated, Fisher-Price internet for the kiddies and MP's. Then the rest of us can get on with being adults.

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Re: I've said it before and I'll say it again ...

"That is actually a good idea. It would mean writing a completely new internet though."

Not really. Just an "intranet" at the ISP. Remember AOL?

No access unless you use the AOL client. Set the kids accounts based on age and they can either only access the internal AOL pages, or, if older, whitelisted WWW sites.

From the point of view of parental controls, at least at the very young kiddie level, it worked very well. There's were ways around it for those a bit older and more knowlegable, but then kids of a "certain" age will always rebel and get access to anything they are told they can't access.

On the other hand, as has benn pointed out many times already, why should ther ISP be in charge what we see? Maye parents need to be educated rather than everyone restricted.

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Boffin

Re: I've said it before and I'll say it again ...

I don't think it requires us to go quite as far as rewriting the whole Internet. RFC3514 specifies and reserves an IPv4 'security bit' that hasn't actually been adopted yet. We could re-purpose this bit and use it to identify pornographic content which could then be easily filtered.

Of course, pornographers would probably all move to IPv6 instead. And there would also be the problem that this bit would only be used in the UK (since the legislation is only for the UK) so we would need to translate the bit back again to its RFC3514 purpose whenever packets left the UK. Fortunately Cisco manufacture 'border firewalls' that could do this.

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Anonymous Coward

Children must not be allowed to see bare nipples...

Let's ban breastfeeding!

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Alert

Re: Children must not be allowed to see bare nipples...

And all that religious iconographic filth masquerading as art in the National Gallery too!!!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Children must not be allowed to see bare nipples...

To hell with the nipples; think about what they see when they're being born! Even the most deviated of deviants don't manage that kind of experience.

At least, I don't think so...

*shudders*

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Big Brother

Already in use

Certain mobile phone providers already have a system like this in place.

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/03/03/o2_blocker/

and as you can see from the comments of that article it worked soooo well.

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Re: Already in use

Yup. I'm currently jammed in O2's mobile "whitelist" mode somehow. This means I cannot access websites like, say, www.talktalk.co.uk, http://www.national-lottery.co.uk or www.theregister.co.uk, but can access O2's own internal sites and the BBC.

I cannot remove it myself (just get an "internal error" message) reporting as a fault did nothing, re-reporting it and getting it sent to the "escalations team" has also done nothing.

I'm going to have to write them a complaint letter now asking them to remove the filter! I have no other idea what to do.

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Thumb Down

I actually find the whole situation not just depressing but laughable too.....

One one hand we have the Gov wishing to track our every site visit, phone call, text message - watch us on CCTV and generally be all big brother - and yet - on the other hand - the very thought that a website is allowed to place a cookie on your computer is completely outrageous - and as of next month - probably illegal.

You might be interested to know - that the UK Met Office (and that is of course a .gov.uk domain) in their new site design - is still not only placing cookies on your computer - but is also loading a GIF on every page load called "websense" from an external web host - and passing your IP address in the URL to the image!

Clearly the UK Gov is going for a we can be Big Brother but it's illegal for anyone else to - kind of stance.

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Coat

Whats wrong with the router?

Most if not all routers these days have filters. Most ISP customers get their routers 'free' from their ISP. If they want to block porn / gambling / terrorist sites, just stick the filter on the router and password protect it. Even the ISP can do this. None of this 'request access' rubbish.

I mean, I would be embarrassed phoning up my ISP to request access to porn.

Not that I'm saying I would...if this gets implemented...I was just using it as an example...

*slowly slips away and gets his coat*

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I mean, I would be embarrassed phoning up my ISP to request access to porn.

I wasn't, when I walked into the Vodaphone store and loudly demanded that I wanted the porn option turned on. Can't say the same for the pour sails assistant though :-)

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Anonymous Coward

The future's bright...

Considering the number of ISP call centres outsourced to countries where prudery is the social norm (and indeed frequently written into the law), this promises to be a barrel of laughs guaranteed to make people other than the intended targets deeply uncomfortable.

I changed my mobile provider last year, and on logging on to their seriously dysfunctional portal found that access to adult websites was blocked without proof of age (a legal requirement already for mobile providers I think), but that premium rate text were allowed - surprise, surprise. I a no interest in premium texts, and so wanted those off, but on principal wanted adult websites enabled (I say "principal" because I really can't be arsed with pr0n on a 3 inch screen). I should have been able to do both from the portal, but after half a dozen attempts and making the requisite "proof you have a credit card" payment, it just wouldn't do the simple thing I was asking.

So after a long tedious wait in the IVR netherworld, I'm put through to a woman who sounds like she has a distinctly middle eastern accent. As I explain the basic problem, I can hear her starting to blush fairly heavily.

"I'm sorry, I don't understand which service you want to change"

Calmly; "I would like a bar placed on premium rate calls and SMS, and the bar removed on adult websites."

"One moment...", slightly redder and a little more tight lipped. "OK, I've put a bar on premium calls and SMS, and the system says you have access to websites"

"Thank you. I do have access to websites, but not adult websites"

"Yes, adult websites", 'adult' whispered very reluctantly, "the system says you have that"

"I don't. I've just refreshed the portal and it says I dont"

"My screen says you do"

Check phone browser "It may well do, but I'm afraid I dont"

"Are you sure? The portal display may be inaccurate"

"I am sure. I'm trying a site on my phone now and getting a 'blocked' page"

"Which site?" Mild exasperation.

"amateurlesbopr0n.com". Oh well, you asked.

"And its not loading?" slightly choked, the vocal equivalent of bright crimson.

"No, I'm getting an 'adult site blocked' screen".

"Perhaps the site is down?" Hopeful.

"No, I have your company's 'site blocked' screen. I have amateurlesbopr0n.com open on my laptop monitor and its loading fine"

"Oh..." from crimson to pale in the blink of an eye. Distinctly brittle; "Can I put you on hold sir?"

After which I was quickly shuffled off to tech support (in Holland I think) and it was all fixed in minutes.

The decision to go all Daily Mail on pr0n web access may yet come home to haunt British foreign policy as a new generation of jihadi's are spurred on to self-detonation by the dishonouring of their sisters through exposure to smutty URLs whilst working in UK ISPs call centres. Or if the call centre's in India, company bosses might find their visits taking a bad turn if some local RSS zealot decides to press that old stalwart of the Indian Penal code, "outraging the modesty of a woman", into service after local women are apprised of the depraved phone habits of British punters.

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Hentai fans will be pleased

Hentai, obviously, is already censored to avoid showing anything but line drawings, no fleshy bits on show at all and when something does look a bit too much like a penis then they change it to look like something else instead. Granted a few thousand people now have tentacle fixations but it's a small price to pay for a healthy medium.

The British government is pro-hentai. Spread the word.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Hentai fans will be pleased

The 'dangerous cartoons' law would disagree with that, as I assume those owl eyed 'cute' girls shown in anime and it's 'sexy time' sibling are always going to young enough that you run the risk of being put on a register.

Otherwise good point on how government p@rn censorship can have unforeseen consequences like a tentacle fetish.

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Re: Hentai fans will be pleased

That's why they put most of them in military or police uniforms, so you can't assume they're children.

Seriously though, tentacle porn is proof that we don't need what censorship brings us.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Hentai fans will be pleased

The uniforms don't matter as the law is written that it's the 'impression' given that matters. Does the depiction give the 'impression' of being someone under 18. Not sure a uniform is going to cut much ice....

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Re: Hentai fans will be pleased

The law states that reasonable doubt is enough to acquit. Being dressed like a soldier and acting like a soldier indicates that, barring lifelike representation of a child, there is reasonable doubt that the cartoon figure in question is not a soldier.

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Re: Hentai fans will be pleased

No, Hentai is still technically illegal under UK law.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Hentai fans will be pleased

I bet you're not a lawyer. Neither am I.

I'm pretty sure reasonable doubt doesn't apply the way you think. Reasonable doubt would apply to whether or not the defendant was in possession of the image. I really don't think reasonable doubt would apply to whether or not the impressions given by such images are correct.

Quoting from section 65 of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009:-

"(5) “Child”, subject to subsection (6), means a person under the age of 18.

(6) Where an image shows a person the image is to be treated as an image of a child if—

(a) the impression conveyed by the image is that the person shown is a child, or

(b) the predominant impression conveyed is that the person shown is a child despite the fact that some of the physical characteristics shown are not those of a child.

(7) References to an image of a person include references to an image of an imaginary person.

(8) References to an image of a child include references to an image of an imaginary child."

Although, as I say, I'm not a lawyer, my understanding is as follows. Yes, the prosecution would have to prove, beyond reasonable doubt, that either "(a) the impression conveyed by the image is that the person shown is a child, or (b) the predominant impression conveyed is that the person shown is a child despite the fact that some of the physical characteristics shown are not those of a child." But the prosecution doesn't have to prove that these impressions are correct. Proving that the images convey such impressions is not the same as proving that the impressions are correct.

I suspect it would be enough, in practice, for a jury to simply get such impressions from such images when looking at them. That, I suspect, would be proof enough that the images convey such impressions. Then, according to that law, the images are to be treated as being images of children.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Hentai fans will be pleased

Replying to myself, my comment at 12:45 GMT was in response to Mycho's comment at 11:52 GMT.

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Coat

I've seen enough hentai

To know where this is going.

(Coat, it's the dirty mac with a copy of Razzle and a pair of binoculars in the pocket)

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FAIL

"has an age verification policy which has been used to confirm that the subscriber is aged 18 or over"

That would be the CREDIT AGREEMENT the subscriber signed when they took out the service. As per usual, the ISP will only accept changes from the account holder who signed the agreement.

This covers the vast majority of access (since it is fixed lines ISP, not just mobiles).

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while they are at it ...

Ensure that the Post Office check that they are not delivering any copies of Playboy/... unless the householder has signed a we-want-smut agreement. Then fix TVs to not show saucy material broadcast after the watershed.

Just because computers are involved there seems to be this cloud cuckoo notion that any controls are possible and should be put in place.

Or is it that now that the boys at MI5 will get to see what we are looking at they don't want them getting ideas and wasting time & government bandwidth when they should be spying on us ?

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Anonymous Coward

This bill is so stoopid, if they mandating that electronic devices do the filtering, there's no valid reason for ISP's to do it is there? Libcon Gov Fail.

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Anonymous Coward

A child abused every 20 mins

Of course this is need as didn't you know a child is sexually abused in the UK every 20 minutes. Acording to multiple media stories this morning. Never mind that the original report from the NSPCC was that a child abuse allegation was made to the police every 20 minutes.

http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/4237695/Child-sex-offence-every-20-minutes.html

http://www.nspcc.org.uk/news-and-views/media-centre/press-releases/2011/11-05-26-NSPCC-finds-64-child-sex-crimes-a-day-recorded-by-police/11-05-26-nspcc-finds-64-child-sex-crimes-a-day-recorded-by-police_wdn82543.html

Of course to the media an allegation is the same as guilt. So it's paedogeddon. Talk about scaremongering.

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Re: A child abused every 20 mins

This kind of thing is a useful way to discover which media outlets are under state control though.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: A child abused every 20 mins

Unfortunately it was reported so widely that nearly all the UK's media you would think are 'under state control'....

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Anonymous Coward

Re: A child abused every 20 mins

Fifty million children are eaten by bats every second.

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Anonymous Coward

The more I hear about what this (supposedly liberal-influenced, non-authoritarian) government is planning with the internet, the more I'm glad I have a server hosted in a non-UK datacentre that I can just open up a VPN tunnel to. If that's the only way to turn my ISP back into what it should be doing (just routing the damn packets I send it without spying, logging, filtering, altering, throttling, inspecting, or injecting advertising) so be it...

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Pint

I can imagine a few more savvy people renting "proxy boxes" abroad to get a proper internet service, not the Fisher-Price Internet the UK Gov seems so desperate to put in place because we cannot be trusted to act like adults anymore!

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Once they have this "think of the children" system in place...

Think of all the other "stuff we don't like (TM)" that it can be applied to.

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Re: Once they have this "think of the children" system in place...

"Think of all the other "stuff we don't like (TM)" that it can be applied to"

No need, I'm sure *they* already have a very long list...

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Stop

Case of ISPs are too lazy... so the Gov't has to step-in?

What's happened in the 21st century? I'm all okay with this sort of system to protect the innocent and offended. However, why isn't there a system/control panel at your ISP where you can switch this on if you know the innocent/offended are around in your household?

It really probably isn't that complicated and shows ISPs will only do the least neccessary to provide you with a net connection service. Surely there's a gap in the market for third-parties to install/managed this sort of system inbetween the user and ISP? This control panel system could show you bandwidth used, service updates, post feedback directly to the ISP, FAQs, switch on/off services by type (i.e. p0rn, P2P, iPlayer etc) etc and a whole host of other features.

UK Gov needs to back off and just hand advice to the neccessary authorities who are experts in this stuff. Was this bill ever planned in the torie/lib manifestos? The nanny state is becoming more like "we will tell you what you like/dislike and you have to make an effort to get it if we think the majority dislike it".

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Case of ISPs are too lazy... so the Gov't has to step-in?

More like, parents are too lazy to do any damn filtering for the sake of their own children!

Social services should take their children if they can't look after them properly!

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Re: Case of ISPs are too lazy... so the Gov't has to step-in?

Stasi not doing job properly. Gestapo!

Sort out your own fucking lives & stop empowering scammers to own us even more.

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Anonymous Coward

Erm... extra 'S' in URL?

This law would cause the massive upheaval in the Internet address of every porn site, the adding of an "s" after the http part...

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Isn't it funny

Just a few years ago all of these government ministers were up in arms about the great firewall of china, blocking content because the government didn't want its people seeing it, something about human rights?

Isn't it funny how what they've now been trying to do for the last 3 years is basically slowly build up a great firewall of the UK, only wording it so its to "protect us" (something i'm pretty sure the chinese also said)

Its just as bad as blaming videogames, TV violence and aspergers for kids being bad.

Guess what, I have Aspergers, I've been playing 18 rated games since I was 12 watching porn since 13, and watching violent TV since I can remember.

So far I have never killed anyone, never assaulted anyone, never raped, never intentionally harmed. Heck i've never even insulted or tormented random passers by (although I will admit I do swear at drivers quite often, they should learn to indicate)

Yet one person I know was not allowed to watch any TV, nor play videogames, and his internet use was for homework only, and closely monitored by his father. Last I heard he was going to jail.

If you impose too many limits on people it'll just drive them to binge when they get the chance. Imagine you spent yoru entire life isolated following a strict set of rules, and then you were given an hour to let loose and do whatever you want. I'd go bananas and probably break every rule out there in the most horrendous ways. Now imagine you have a set of rules, but not as strict, not as tightly enforced and you're given the same chance. Sure you'd do some stupid stuff, but I highly doubt it would be nearly as bad because well, its not exactly something new.

Give somebody unlimited freedom and they will abuse it

Give somebody no freedom and they will break free

Give somebody guidelines and keep an eye on them, they'll generally stay on the path.

It really doesn't help how feckless most parents are these days thanks to nanny culture. They assume that, because all these rules stop them controlling their own kids, its somebody elses job. First time parents should be given manditory parenting classes, how to reward and punish children, how to care for them, hell even how to cook meals.

I'm gonna stop now because i'm going off topic.

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FAIL

Behind many bad law lurks...

Scared politicians or religious fundamentalists, or in the US; both.

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What happen to parental supervision

This new policy is a load of crap, parents should supervise their children on the net rather than have the attitude of "go use your computer" when they cant be bothered. I don't let my kids near the computer when I'm not around to keep an eye on them, no monitoring or filtering software is fool proof and kids being kids will always find what they shouldn't.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: What happen to parental supervision

all the parents are too busy supervising their buy to lets and bribing the police. thats why you get some millionaires daughter nicking tellys as if there were actually something worth watching.

fuck me life is bleak.

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Holmes

A self defeating law?

"Under the terms of the bill, a customer would be said to have opted-in to the material if they tell 'the service provider of his or her consent to subscribe to a service that includes pornographic images'."

Since the Internet is "a service that includes pornographic images*," wouldn't signing up for Internet service mean that you are consenting to subscribe to a service that includes pornographic images?

*Clearly it must be, or else what is it that ISPs are supposed to be blocking?

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Anonymous Coward

They get worse by the day...

Who decides what's pornographic?

Isn't every ISP customer and bill payer over 18 by default?

And of course, opendns or other such services are totally not available to do exactly this, now are they...?

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Anonymous Coward

So which one is it?

The government thinks I'm a baby and a terrorist, surely I can't be both.

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Anonymous Coward

If you've got nothing to hide...

... you've already been castrated.

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Paris Hilton

The bill defines 'electronic devices' as any device "capable of connecting to an internet access service and downloading content".

I suspect my car can do that when its being serviced.

"It is important for parents to take an active role in what their children see and do online and configure and tailor tools as appropriate,"

No it's not. It's important for parents to teach their children how to behave in any given situation. I don't want to censor my children - I taught them to censor themselves. I want them to be able to see anything and draw their own conclusions - not see the world through someone else's rose tinted spectacles.

Even if they do have a night in Paris....

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as you can see the police state coming in now

get ready for your secret trail shitface, what does it matter, we will all be in the gulags by the time this whole shitty mess collapses around us. and flooding the country with tourists for the 2012 nolympics was all part of their plan to destablise things so when the country is full and there are no police, and criminals running rampant killing children and small animals on every street corner, then you will learn what it feels like to have your life in a database with some jobsworth touching you up every 5 minutes asking for your ID card. you think you will be able to get petrol then? ha fucking ha. you will be lucky if some hoody doesnt slash your tyres and your face and make off with the last of your savings which by the way wont be worth fuck all when the banks collapse which they already did.

so eat shit and die, because you wont be able to afford to eat anything else.

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Happy

Re: as you can see the police state coming in now

Finally- the voice of reason.

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Anonymous Coward

We don't need no Net Nanny ..

`The Online Safety Bill, if enacted, would place a "duty" on ISPs and mobile network operators that provide internet access services to "provide a service that excludes pornographic images" by default.'

Unless you're a [i]mature adult then no-one has the right to tell you what to watch, for the rest it's up-to the parents ...

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