back to article UK.gov's web filtering mission creep: Now it plans to block 'extremist' websites

Whitehall is carefully floating plans that might result in ISPs being forced to start blocking "extremist" websites. The first hint reached us in October, when the Premier – basking in what he believed to be a victory against the ubiquity of smutty websites, with big name ISPs set to bring in network-level filters – told …

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Angel

Well

What could EVER go wrong with giving the government the tools to ban chunks of the interwebs.

I hope you're watching, Daily Mail/Guardian/Mumsnet readers. This is what happens when you say "If only the government would DO something". That's exactly what happens.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Well

Do the Guardian cry for intervention? I thought they were the ones exposing government abuse.

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Big Brother

Re: Well

It's what Daily Mail readers want. The DM has been campaigning for the fascists since Oswald Mosley's day.

First they came for the Communists,

and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Communist.

Then they came for the Socialists,

and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Socialist.

Then they came for the trade unionists,

and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.

Then they came for me,

and there was no one left to speak for me.

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Re: Well

Why indeed - so long as it's not THEIR government they'll raise a hue and cry. If it's something that a good Guardian reader hates, like Tories or Murdoch (hate hate hate), they'll go to the ends of the earth to expose it.

And if you want to see the average Guardian reader's opinions on Evil Web Filth, take a little jaunt on to Mumsnet and read some of the many threads cheering for filtering 'Der Porn'. Mumsnet is by Guardian readers, for Guardian readers (the founder's husband was a Guardian columnist who now works for the BBC on Newsnight) and the censoriousness has to be seen to be believed. Mostly it comes not only in the form of 'protecting the children' but also 'objectification', which is the term used by 'feminists' to describe the way men look at women.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Well

"And if you want to see the average Guardian reader's opinions on Evil Web Filth"

If you want to see what commentards on Mumsnet think, look at postings on Mumsnet.

If you want to see what commentards on El Reg think, look here.

If you want to see what commentards on the Guardian think, look at Mumsnet?

Sorry, one of us is confused, and I'm pretty sure it's not me.

"the founder's husband was a Guardian columnist who now works for the BBC on Newsnight"

So? He's also responsible for some of the worst dumbing down of Newsnight I've seen in years, but I'm not sure where that fits in this picture. Is that his wife's fault, or his?

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Silver badge

Re: Well

"The DM has been campaigning for the fascists since Oswald Mosley's day."

Less openly these days, but that may change in future too.

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h3

Re: Well

Well Camron admitted himself to being a fan of that high class escort agency. People such as him are the worst.

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Re: Well

Not strictly true

Anyone with VPN can speak out for you.

and as time moves on there will be more of us.

among the many, many things that dave and is evil cohorts fail to realise is...

we will always be one step ahead

<note to self, invest in VPN solution providers>

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Well

"Anyone with VPN can speak out for you."

VPNs can be used by terrorists. They're on the list too.

Time to learn about licence-free packet radio, perhaps. Anyone know where to start?

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Re: Well

The Daily Mail may campaign for web filtering but that doesn't mean the readers are in favour of it. Check the comments section on the Mail's website; the vast majority seem to be against web filtering.

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Re: Well

Down the slippery slope we slide, down and down and down and down.

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xyz

Re: Well

I've already seen what happens within govt...there's a site I use and went on for a mo via an internet machine whilst waiting for a report. The site discusses "speeding" issues. It was blocked as a site of "criminal activity." So not only was it blocked but I'm recorded as trying to access a "criminals'" site. In 10 years time, they'll probably end up with a white list of sites you can access (BBC, mumsnet) and you have to submit a request to direct.gov for access to anything else. For your own security and safety obviously.

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Re: Well

...and they all laughed at me for still doing CB.

(Actually, that probably is a fair point, but still..)

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Re: Well

"I hope you're watching, Daily Mail/Guardian/Mumsnet readers. This is what happens when you say "If only the government would DO something". That's exactly what happens."

No it isn't.

Government has a range of options in how it reacts to things. Censorship is merely one of the most extreme options.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Well

Nah they got you when they came for people who trot out trite clichés.

Personally I'm against this, but let's not kid ourselves that "omfg this is exactly the same as Nazi Germany" because apart from anything else it's a very easy way for the government to say that there are no credible objections apart from a load of people ranting on the Internet.

Write to your MP if you want to object, I will be. Be polite and courteous, he/she may not agree with you but they will listen.

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An MP Listen? That's an Oxymoron if ever I heard one

Especially if your MP is a Government Minister.

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Re: Well

Its worse than that though.

The people with common sense and technical knowledge DO speak out, regularly, just the Government doesnt listen because the hysterical screaming nutters from the "think of the children" brigade just start shouting and screaming louder even though they are in a minority.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Well

The anti-think of the children brigade are just as shrill and damaging, calm considered argument is ultimately more persuasive.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: An MP Listen? That's an Oxymoron if ever I heard one

@Steve David 3: If you start off thinking that, it becomes a self fulfilling prophecy. It's the Russell Brand way of getting involved in politics, the "Nothing happens, so there's no point in trying to change anything" thought process which results in nothing happening, because you've not made an effort to make anything happen.

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Unhappy

Nanny state.

Somehow 'they' know what's best for us, yet 'they' mostly live in completely different ways to the people they govern.

How far will they go with this liberty stripping?

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Re: Nanny state.

How far will they go with this liberty stripping?

We wish to inform you that your post has been deleted due to offensive content (pornographic language or imagery damaging to minors). If you believe this to be an error, please contact your local police station. To facilitate speedy resolution, please bring with you a list of all potentially illegal sites which you may have accessed in the previous month.

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jai

Re: Nanny state.

El Reg must be quaking in it's boots. I wonder how long it is before this site is added to the censor list?

And then, of course, each of us in the UK who's registered on this site just needs to wait for them to track our email addresses to our home addresses before the knocks at the door and the black bags over our heads....

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Re: Nanny state.

"I wonder how long it is before this site is added to the censor list?"

If they're censoring sites with swearwords then El Reg will be on the list from the very start, as will a multitude of sites, especially ones with comment systems that don't have strict filtering in place, and such a swearword filter setting will include major ones such as YouTube, Amazon and eBay (try searching for 'fucking').

It's going to get very silly once the filters are implimented.

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Childcatcher

Clever Nanny!

"Only the adult account holder will be able to change the filter settings."

So they have technology that can detect age from keystrokes do they? Given how many Aged Parents don't understand technology and leave passwords and crap to the kids, I really do wonder how it will work.

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Re: Nanny state.

It's just good wholesome getting back to basics. Think of it as the internet during the early AOL and Compuserve days only with less available content; sort of like a BBS or usenet without .alt or much else for that matter.

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Re: Nanny state.

we'll end up being just as inventive with our euphonism as the Russions and East Germans were back in the bad old days... also every typewriter had to be registered and a sample page of type kept in the files to try and prevent Samizdat newsletters...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Nanny state.

Absolutely, the vernacular will change as bans are attempted - like that girl I met the other week. I Cameroned her right up the Blunkett, and no mistake.

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Re: Nanny state.

except for the "jesus" typewriter

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Re: Clever Nanny!

They're likely to revert to the old attempt at shaming people by making it a case of "phone us if you want to enable access to porn". If that is how they do it then personally I will probably phone up and say "yes I'd like the porn turned on thanks" to see who ends up feeling more embarassed. I'm sure we'll also end up with potential future abuses of this when someone on the list of porn users is found guilty of a crime.

I can see the headlines now.

"Man found guilty of murder also played violent video games and viewed porn!"

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Re: try searching for 'fucking'

Found it! It is in Austria.

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Titz!

Whose welcoming town sign always cheered up my drive into Germany

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Re: Clever Nanny!

"Given how many Aged Parents don't understand technology and leave passwords and crap to the kids, I really do wonder how it will work."

Indeed. I seem to remember mum and dad leaving it to me to sort back when we had dialup, although I think I was probably a little older than a kid, more a "horrible mannered acne ridden little shit" at the time.

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Silver badge

Re: Clever Nanny!

"Only the adult account holder will be able to change the filter settings."

Ok, lets chew this over. Those of you that may have read any of my other posts on this particular subject will know I am rabidly anti-government censorship, ID Cards, Nanny state, privacy invasion etc. etc. but this...this is interesting.

It's clear, at least as far as porn-blocking goes, that the gubmint is placing the control over that filter in the hands of the end user - Us. They aren't going for mass-censorship or some kind of "great wall" filtering, they're just making sure the tools in question are shoved under the nose of everyone and that we make a choice, informed or not, as to whether that censorship is in place for us. If we change our minds, in either way, we can change the settings at any time.

Now, for us techie types, that might be a no-brainer exercise, but for the average Daily Mail reader type installing and understanding such software is often some sort of techno-sorcery that should be consigned to the devil immediately. How often, on these very pages, have I read the argument that the responsibility for protecting children online should reside with the parents? Well, surely here is our Gov. ensuring that that is precisely the case? Aren't they just saying "Here, unwashed masses, here is the tool you need, make sure you make a choice and don't blame us when Little Johnny goes looking at Teh Pr0n because we took the action that you asked for."

The introduction of filtering in this manner neatly sidesteps the more fascist methods favoured by groups such as MumsNet and their sophist arguments whilst as the same time taking some sort of positive action.

If they then extend that filtering to other types of sites that some people find undesirable but it remains our choice whether and when to implement that filtering then I have to say I think the gov. have taken an appropriate level of action.

....Now, I need a stiff drink whilst I wait for the downvotes.

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Devil

extremist (views)?

contains extremist views?

So that would be everything that comes under the 'social media' heading; facebook, all religions, atheists, all politics, science, etc.

Nope I cant see any problems with that :) not much left tho...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: extremist (views)?

Don't forget sports. And tech. Weather too.

http://dilbert.com/strips/comic/1996-06-30/

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Re: extremist (views)?

UKIP - I think those are the extremists the Tories are most afraid of.

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True, UKIP likely to be censored, anything to do with so-called English nationalism.

True, UKIP likely to be censored, anything to do with so-called English nationalism is a big threat to the Tories.

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Silver badge

Re: True, UKIP likely to be censored, anything to do with so-called English nationalism.

Actually they're more likely to start censoring Scottish nationalists who have the extreme view that the Westminster government don't have Scotlands best interests at heart.

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Re: extremist (views)?

"""UKIP - I think those are the extremists the Tories are most afraid of."""

Love the irony here. The comments all bemoan the march of "The League of Liberal Fascists" ie those that will do good *to* you, whether you damned well like it or not. They know what's best for us, despite never having met us, and they will go to frightening length to smash their goodness down on our heads.

Now ask yourself where this malign influence is coming from and who is spewing new law at us at a rate totally unprecedented in the history of civilisation.

And it is UKIP who are the extremisms ??!!??!!

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Anonymous Coward

Even the dumbest porn-addicted teen...

...knows how how to use a free proxy to get around such crude blocks.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Even the dumbest porn-addicted teen...

If it's going to be DNS based, you don't even need that.

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Re: Even the dumbest porn-addicted teen...

Assuming we're still talking about Cleanfeed, it's not simple DNS redirecting, read up on how Cleanfeed works in wikipedia. The current blocks used against torrent sites etc by BT, VM et al work even if you are using third-party DNS servers outside the ISPs control. A particular IP address flags a request to be checked against the blacklist, but the blacklist can then block individual pages etc at an IP address, so it's not nearly as crude as simple DNS manipulation. However proxy servers etc can obviously still be used.

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Silver badge

Re: Even the dumbest porn-addicted teen...

A particular IP address flags a request to be checked against the blacklist, but the blacklist can then block individual pages etc at an IP address, so it's not nearly as crude as simple DNS manipulation. However proxy servers etc can obviously still be used.

Are you implying it does DPI to inspect my HTTP request, determine whether the URI specified is on a black list or not before deciding whether to forward the packet on or reset the connection?

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Anonymous Coward

Forget the extremist porn and the hard views... here comes the COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT

From the Wikipedia article linked above (can't vouch for accuracy):

« In the UK the use of Cleanfeed was later extended in some named ISPs (not universally across all ISPs running the system), following a lengthy court case (MPA v BT - see below) to block websites that link to (without necessarily themselves hosting; a legal principle known as 'facilitating') copyrighted material distributed without its owner's authorisation. »

Not planning on mission creeping at the behest of our Copyright-hoarding Masters at all, aren't we?

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ahh...

But by post-Snowden logic, by blocking these sites all we'll be doing is *forcing* them damn terrorists into using ever-harder-to-crack encryption, darknet etc to fuel their radical ideas.*

Surely they'd be better off monitoring who's watching them, than trying and failing to block them entirely... All GCHQ then has to do is sit and watch, like lions watching the watering hole. Why drive the prey away?

* not that I buy entirely into that idea, anyway.

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Boffin

Re: lansalot Re: ahh...

"......we'll be doing is *forcing* them damn terrorists into using ever-harder-to-crack encryption, darknet etc......" Which ignores the possibility the NSA and chums aren't already subverting the darknet. Forcing the nutters to give up the broad option of the general Internet for the much more limited options of the darknet could actually make them easier to monitor.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "extremist"

Yeah, down with the EDF. And British Gas!

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Re: "extremist"

Well my money would be on them starting with the "Yes" campaign sites in Scotland, as early as possible in 2014, because that would be well within the typical Tory backbencher's view of 'Extremist'. Not Scottish by the way, just a good example of where this could go if it is allowed to continue.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "extremist"

They'd never do that

The Yes campaign is so utterly full of crap it's self-defeating (for example, the White Paper whose founding ideas on Europe and currency union didn't even last until the weekend before being knocked into very small pieces, or Nicola Sturgeon being just a terrible excuse for a human). Blocking them would just legitimise the shower of shit that's fronting the Yes campaign.

In the interests of balance I'd like to add that I've nothing against the idea of an independent Scotland (I live north of the border). But the SNP have no idea at all of how to run a country- assertions of things that are blatantly false or impracticable does not make them true or practical, no matter how much you claim reality is 'scaremongering'.

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