back to article UK Parliament waves through 'porn-blocking' Digital Economy Bill

MPs have passed the UK government's controversial Digital Economy Bill, which will force internet service providers to impose blocks on porn sites that do not include mandatory age checks or feature kinky sex acts. The proposed law has also been heavily criticised for enabling government departments greater access to citizens …

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  1. Graham Marsden
    Big Brother

    We need a new icon...

    ... for Big Sister Theresa May is watching you... :-(

    1. oxfordmale78

      Re: We need a new icon...

      Unfortunately Big Sister Theresa May and her MP colleagues seem to be clueless regarding the internet. How long will it take for one of the kids to figure out you can bypass most of these filters using Google DNS or a VPN server. If all else fails, you could also of course use your dad's computer to watch that stuff.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: We need a new icon...

      I feel sorry for her if she has to watch you.

      1. Mycho Silver badge

        Re: We need a new icon...

        Everybody has their kinks. Theresa May's is spying on everybody else's porn habits.

  2. MJI Silver badge

    Stazi

    They would have loved this.

    Why are we becoming a Police state?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Stazi

      "Why are we becoming a Police state?"

      One partial explanation is that extreme right and extreme left ideological views are currently leaving a vacuum in the sensible centre ground. Both extremes have an inherent desire for total control that does not involve any compromises.

      1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

        Re: Stazi

        One partial explanation is that extreme right and extreme left ideological views are currently leaving a vacuum in the sensible centre ground.

        Not quite. The "sensible middle ground" stopped being "sensible" and became utterly corrupt in both the moral and the literal sense of this word. Clinton, Blair, Schroeder, Barrosso and Co have tainted the middle ground so badly in the eyes of Joe Averag voter that he is happy to give his vote to a Nut( with or without al).

        Yes, we definitely have a vacuum in terms of middle ground, but not vacuum of morally corrupt Fast Tonies (of the Ice age and British politics fame), but people who have a middle ground policy (not middle ground market stall in the temple).

        Until we have any people will vote for the Witch of the West or various Nut(al)s.

        1. MJI Silver badge

          Re: Stazi

          Various politicians listed.

          So who can we trust our country to?

          I do like the Nut(al) reference, covers a few.

        2. Thursbitch

          Re: Stazi

          In a nutshell and very succintly put if i may say so.

          The alt-Right, Momemtum and the Elites - they have no faith in the vast majority of people's ability to respect one another and respect the law. So they spy on us, lie to us, try and sway us by painting the Others black, control what we watch, what we smoke, what we drink and when we drink, who we should be mixing with, exchanging views with and even f&cking. Trump, Clinton, Putin, Farage, May, Corbyn etc offer us nothing but hate, conflict & division.

          Libertarian parties around the world - this is your time.

        3. Adrian 4 Silver badge

          Re: Stazi

          Just wanted to point out that nobody but MPs (who have a vested interest) voted for May.

          1. Mark Dempster

            Re: Stazi

            Nobody but TORY MPs

          2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: Stazi

            "Just wanted to point out that nobody but MPs (who have a vested interest) voted for May"

            So how did she get to be an MP then? Like most PMs, she was elected as an MP and like most PMs, she was chosen by her party as the leader. (there have been a few instances where the Monarch didn't like the option and chose someone else)

            Both John Major and Gordon Brown became PM mid-term just like May, so it's not as if there's no precedent. (although I'm not sure I could think of a worse choice than May).

        4. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Stazi

          Neither Clinton or Blair were or are reasonably describable as "sensible middle ground" figures by anybody other than their own supporters and people doggedly and frantically trying to apply the terms "left" and "right" to people when the label doesn't readily fit.

          To become reasonably accurate you have to add the dimension of "authoritarian" verus "libertarian" as the "top" and "bottom" of the "left" and "right" political map. Hence why when the difference between "left" and "right" is generally differentiated by how to acheive a task, rather than if they should be doing it at all the differentiation is increasingly irrelevant. Looking at this also explains why you have groupings on issues that cross simplistic left/right boundaries.

          People are turning away from "left" leaders because they are increasingly authortarian tossers who increasingly dictate what you should say and think. Supressing any dissenting opinion has pretty much reached the point where even mildly questioning any part of an agenda is "throught crime" and unacceptable and results in temper tantrums.

          People aren't moving towards the left or right, they are pretty much staying still. It's the politicans moving away from the public towards being more authoritarian that's the problem.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Stazi

            "To become reasonably accurate you have to add the dimension of "authoritarian" verus "libertarian" as the "top" and "bottom" of the "left" and "right" political map."

            A young friend did a summer school at the Mises Institute and imbibed the ideology of their Libertarianism. When he came home he wanted to prove something by having us both do their online test - to establish our philosophical position in those four quadrants.

            He was rather put out to find himself labelled as "Authoritarian/Right" and myself as "Libertarian/Left".

            No doubt in my final school years I would have been "Authoritarian/Left" - which was commonplace in the 1960/70s. The School of Life has taught me that black & white is actually lots of shades of grey.

      2. MJI Silver badge

        Re: Stazi

        I have commented about the centre disappearing before.

        Cons are lurching toward Authortarian, Lab never really left it (ID cards and such). Lab also heading left with Comrade Corbyn, and Cons are still more or less where they were.

        Lib Dems are more Liberal but not sure about their other policies.

        Just who can we vote for?

        1. Dan 55 Silver badge

          Re: Stazi

          Don't know, but choose wisely in the 2020 elections. Whoever gets in will inherit this modern-day Stasi snoop infrastructure. No major party should be trusted with it, as soon as they get in they'll start thinking about what they can do to improve it... but imagine Paul Nutter at the wheel.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Stazi

            "[...] as soon as they get in they'll start thinking about what they can do to improve it."

            It would be interesting to know exactly what is going to be stored for a web access. The GET request URL will potentially contain a lot more than the host & domain hierarchy.

            Some big web services differentiate their users in the host string - but others include it after the domain as a filestore hierarchy. For the latter the host & domain provide no discrimination about what site is being accessed. Somehow they have to work out at what point the filestore hierarchy is pointing at a page rather than a user - that could be tricky.

            If the Get request is stored with everything up to the start of any parameter "?" - then they will be able to collate distinct page accesses - should they ever want to.

    2. Bogle

      Re: Stazi

      "Why are we becoming a Police state?"

      There, FIFY.

    3. Graham Cobb

      Re: Stazi

      The Stazi is exactly the issue. If you get the chance, I strongly recommend visiting a Stazi museum. I went to the one in Liepzig, which played a pivotal role in the fall of communism. It is so scary to see how close the Stazi came to preventing the popular, peaceful protests which led to the fall of the Berlin Wall. And that was with 1980's surveillance techniques.

      If the Stazi had had modern internet surveillance tools, they would have had no problem at all in keeping full control and Europe would look very different today.

      I would love to see a Stazi museum in the Geek's Guide! “Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it”

    4. Warm Braw Silver badge

      Re: Stazi

      Why are we becoming a Police state?

      There's a rather worrying piece in the New York Times about an increasing trend to believe in authoritarianism, especially amongst the young.

      It seems likely that "peak liberalism" occurred somewhere around the turn of the millennium.

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: Stazi

        Just after 11th September 2001, you say?

        It seems the fearmongering feedback loop between government and citizens hasn't stopped since then.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Stazi

      Don't shoot the messenger, please, but it's Stasi (Staatssicherheit). If you write Stazi, it implies some sort of relation to Nazis. The two are ideologically and chronologically unrelated.

    6. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken Silver badge

      Re: Why are we becoming a Police state?

      Guess it's your turn now.

      "Don't it always seem to go - That you don't know ahat you've got - Till it's gone"

      Joni Mitchell - Big Yellow Taxi

  3. localzuk

    VPN sales are going to skyrocket around the world.

    Great time to be offering VPN services to UK citizens from abroad!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: VPN sales are going to skyrocket around the world.

      >Great time to be offering VPN services to UK citizens from abroad!

      ..or to switch to Opera web browser.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: VPN sales are going to skyrocket around the world.

        Surely its the ISP that's collating this info so choice of browser is irrelevant? A VPN shifts the internet breakout to some other despot country. No?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: VPN sales are going to skyrocket around the world.

          >Surely its the ISP that's collating this info so choice of browser is irrelevant

          Opera comes with integrated unlimited free VPN - you just tick the box in browser settings thereby rendering this legislation pointless.

          1. wolfetone Silver badge

            Re: VPN sales are going to skyrocket around the world.

            "Opera comes with integrated unlimited free VPN - you just tick the box in browser settings thereby rendering this legislation pointless."

            Free for this moment in time. What happens in 6 months time when numbers skyrocket and Opera think "Ah you know lads, this VPN thing is costing us money. We need to start charging or shutting down"?

            1. phuzz Silver badge

              Re: VPN sales are going to skyrocket around the world.

              " What happens in 6 months time when numbers skyrocket and Opera think "Ah you know lads, this VPN thing is costing us money. We need to start charging or shutting down"?"

              Well, you could start paying for the service you're using.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: VPN sales are going to skyrocket around the world.

                >Well, you could start paying for the service you're using.

                You already can if you want premium speeds etc. Opera bought SurfEasy VPN - the free service will remain indefinitely but they already have a large paying user base and a robust platform. In any case it's not like choosing a VPN provider locks you in - there's a reasonable argument for mixing it up across several providers.

          2. Tom 38 Silver badge

            Re: VPN sales are going to skyrocket around the world.

            Opera comes with integrated unlimited free VPN - you just tick the box in browser settings thereby rendering this legislation pointless.

            Hmm, giving all my browsing information to the UK government vs giving all my browsing information to the Chinese government, decisions, decisions

            1. Ben Tasker Silver badge

              Re: VPN sales are going to skyrocket around the world.

              > Hmm, giving all my browsing information to the UK government vs giving all my browsing information to the Chinese government, decisions, decisions

              Local copper who sees you drive by every day discovers you're into BDSM, vs's a government in a country you'll probably never visit?

              The latter, every time.

              There are, of course, occupations where that might not be the case, but for the average person it's far more difficult for a foreign government to get at you than the local branch of your own government (or as the case may be, dictatorship).

              Move the details out of country, and UK Gov may still be able to get it, and others may possibly find a use for it. Don't and UK Gov definitely will get it. Outside of certain niche's/occupations it should be a no brainer

              1. Tom 38 Silver badge

                Re: VPN sales are going to skyrocket around the world.

                Actually I go to Shanghai quite regularly, and don't fancy getting honeypotted by some charming young woman from the CPC who happens to know all my predilections...

                Actually scratch that, sounds pretty good.

            2. This post has been deleted by its author

        2. Tachikoma

          Re: VPN sales are going to skyrocket around the world.

          A VPN shifts the internet breakout to some other despot country. No?

          Yes, but I doubt Hungary/Poland/Switzerland/wherever really care or could do anything meaningful or nefarious with knowing "VPNUser1232157656784" enjoys a particular flavour of grumble flick, unlike the "honourable" Ms May.

    2. Tachikoma

      Re: VPN sales are going to skyrocket around the world.

      I have been drilling the idea of VPNs into my son for years, he quite often asks "what country are we in today Dad?"

      If he can't bypass a simple geo-lock then all he has to do is ask me how, I won't ask what for, his business is his own, not mine or Herr Mays.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Mushroom

    Tails

    + vpn + protonmail

    That is all.

    Nothing to hide, so nothing to see, so need to look, so FUCK OFF trying.

  5. teebie

    "It went through with the support of Labour MPs"

    Shouldn't they have started objecting to this sort of thing by now?

    1. theModge

      Regrettably they were pretty big on it in Government, I don't see why they're be against it in opposition.

      I joined the Lib Dems instead, because they are against such things.

      1. teebie

        "they were pretty big on it in Government, I don't see why they're be against it in opposition."

        New Labour were pretty much tories, and, if anything, even keener on totalitarian surveillance. My comment was about the change of leadership, and how it had seemed like the opposition may have had some intention to start opposing things.

    2. Cynical Observer
      Joke

      Icon says it all...

      Her Majesty's Most Loyal Opposition

    3. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

      Labour want these powers to be available for the (not so) inevitable landslide election win in 2020 and the following socialist (non-) paradise.

    4. MJI Silver badge

      They wanted to go even further

      With their databases, ID cards, and 28 day detention

    5. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      "Shouldn't they have started objecting to this sort of thing by now?"

      Both Labour and Tories have tried to push similar stuff through multiple times over the last couple decades. They've failed in some cases (not all) for three reasons.

      1. The opposition want the credit to oppose the incumbents plan as being unworkable despite being almost identical the own plan because they oppose as a matter of policy and they assume they'll be in next and can claim the glory for themselves.

      2. The EU rules the Act as being incompatible with the RIghts of the People.

      3. The Govt. doesn't have a majority and combined with 1 above means it fails again.

      It seems that Labour have given up trying to grab the glory and have accepted that they will eventually get back into power and be able to play with the new toys anyway.

  6. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    How does it work in practice?

    will force internet service providers to impose blocks on porn sites that do not include mandatory age checks.

    I haven't read the bill itself but that suggests if the porn provider doesn't do age checks they will be blocked by ISPs.

    So how do I prove my age to porn providers without exposing more personal information than I wish to expose?

    1. 's water music Silver badge
      Paris Hilton

      Re: How does it work in practice?

      So how do I prove my age to porn providers without exposing more personal information than I wish to expose?

      Snapchat them a picture of your junk. They can probably make a good enough guess from that. Or was this more like one of those 'asking for a friend' queries?

    2. SteveK

      Re: How does it work in practice?

      I'd read (but now can't find the reference) that the site is expected to do age checks (only on UK browsers) via either a credit card transaction, or by checking details against (government provided?) records (passports or something?). I'm sorry, I really wouldn't trust those who run porn sites to behave responsibly with personal data on the UK's population, or with credit cards.

      But apparently the punishment on non-British porn sites that don't cooperate? They lose the ability to charge UK credit cards. But as any that *do* charge credit cards are clearly providing an age verification service, the only ones left will be the ones that make their money from affiliate links and hosting dodgy malware-laden adverts and so won't care about the punishment.

      I would like to know though whose job it is to constantly patrol the world's porn sites looking for which sites do or don't do age verification.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: How does it work in practice?

        "I would like to know though whose job it is to constantly patrol the world's porn sites looking for which sites do or don't do age verification."

        I applied for the job but I've not heard back yet. I'm sure they'll keep my CV on file though.

  7. Haefen

    First get the tools in place.....

    First you need to have the tools in place, for your safety and the safety of children of course.

    1. Flywheel Silver badge

      Re: First get the tools in place.....

      How DARE you refer to our elected representatives as tools!

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