back to article UK kids' charity lobbies hard for 'opt-in' web smut access

The founder of British charity ChildLine is calling on the government to take a hardline approach against what some consider to be hardcore pornography online - by enforcing an opt-in system for adults to protect kids from being traumatised by the images. Esther Rantzen said in an opinion piece published in the Daily Mail - …

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Anonymous Coward

soon it will be illegal to see a human body

population reduction: once they can get us to hide our genitals its not long before they will be removed entirely.

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Silver badge

How hard is this really

Person: "I'd like internet please"

ISP: "Certainly and do you want child / family protection set up on your account?"

Person: "No thanks"

ISP: "You're good to go and if you want to change your settings you can do it onlin?"

There should be absolutely no need to opt-out of censorship. ISPs should be encouraged, possibly compelled to offer family safety software either on the ISP or via client software but it should be off by default.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: How hard is this really

Perhaps a leaflet should be given away with new computers about keeping your family safe on the net.

The last page could also have these words writ large: "and bloody well use anti-virus software"

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Anti-virus software

There's plenty of perfectly adequate (for home use) free AV software available (even from MS). But for some inexplicable* reason, manufacturers much prefer to preload their systems with bloatware that's free for a few months and then requires an annual licence payment (that hardly anyone ever makes).

Of course, for the technically literate, the first step on acquiring a new system is to do a clean reinstall of the OS (or a different OS).

* Nothing to do with money changing hands, I'm sure.

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Unhappy

Re: How hard is this really

The problem with the isp asking if you want child/family protection on your account is that while it sounds like opting in to the censorship, behind the scenes it could still be the other way around:

Person: "I'd like internet please"

ISP: "Certainly and do you want child / family protection set up on your account?"

Person: "No thanks"

[Ticks box to include customer on the 'national register of voluntarily disclosed perverts ']

ISP: "You're good to go and if you want to change your settings you can do it online."

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Anonymous Coward

Re: How hard is this really

The issue is that it wont be long before your script (and its fine in my book) is modified to include:

ISP: "Certainly and do you want child / family protection set up on your account?"

Person: "No thanks"

ISP: "OK, please sign this register to indicate you want to allow porn and smut via your ISP so we can than label you a potential kiddie fiddler and extreme porn ogler. Your details will then be passed on to the new gubermint dept so when your child is involved in a minor fracas/offence WE know who's to blame."

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Stop

Re: How hard is this really

Interesting idea but.

By having to opt in to a list to be able to access the whole web you will then join a list of people deemed to be potential rapists/abusers/terrorists/whatever.

Given that most of the government funded womens charities consider all men as rapists waiting for an opportunity what better way than to narrow down who they are by making them join a list of people who want to watch porn.

That list will undoubtedly join the other lists that appear on an enhanced CRB check and on it goes.

Blocking porn wont work as the kids will always find a way to get what they want on the web but at least the man hating terrorists will have a pre crime list without some pre cogs, a pool and Tom Cruise!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: How hard is this really

On the flip side, the more people that tick the opt-out, the more pointless the list becomes. If 99% opt-out there is no point in having a "watch" list.

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Re: How hard is this really

"By having to opt in to a list to be able to access the whole web you will then join a list of people deemed to be potential rapists/abusers/terrorists/whatever."

And that list would be so large as to be utterly meaningless.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: How hard is this really

> And that list would be so large as to be utterly meaningless.

What makes you think the list would be that large?

The opt-in clause would have to be specific as to what you were opting into. In other words it would have to state you were opting in to able to view explicit adult materials. This would be enough for large swathes of the population to not opt-in. Not because they are against pornography, but because they would be embarrassed to opt-in. Yes it is ridiculous but that is the way people are.

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Facepalm

Re: How hard is this really

DrXym

Reply Icon

Re: How hard is this really

"By having to opt in to a list to be able to access the whole web you will then join a list of people deemed to be potential rapists/abusers/terrorists/whatever."

And that list would be so large as to be utterly meaningless.

=====

Not really, the overall list might be very large but consider the following "uses"

Campaigns to check partners out could include the data allowing personal searches of the list, after all, according to the do gooders anyone watching porn.........

Or, you are in family court proceedings to see your children and the other side seek disclosure of your choice......

Someone is sexually assualted in your neighbourhood, its easy to sort by location of each person on the list via the telco records, hey presto, a local list of porn viewers/web deviants.....

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Re: How hard is this really

Followed by The Parents coming round to visit, curiously checking if the connection is pron-enabled and commencing a huge row with the offspring they now regard as a deviant pervert.

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Facepalm

Every bad idea needs a brand identity

So while internet industry experts repeatedly try to ram home the fact that implementing porn filters is at best difficult and at worst futile, Government and charities still insist on treating it as analogous to a utility pipe whose contents can somehow be kept at bay by the turning of a virtual tap.

In light of this I'd like to suggest a brand name for their theoretical opt-in porn filter.

Stopcock.

They can have that for free. I even have a few ideas for a logo.

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Coffee/keyboard

Re: Every bad idea needs a brand identity

Bravo!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Every bad idea needs a brand identity

I think my ex-wife has one of those.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Every bad idea needs a brand identity

Mine IS one....

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Possibly an Opportunity?

While I'm against censorship, and would opt for unfiltered internet access simply on principle (some of the stuff that Vodafone censor in the name of blocking adult content would be amusing were it not worrying) if the "think of the children 'cus the parents aren't" brigade feel that we should have censored internet, I'd suggest that the problem is that those who should be responsible for the internet connection are either unwilling or unable to control its use. As such, if there are going to be filters put in place, can they also filter out the command and control addresses of known viruses, possibly block ports that're currently being used for attacks and rarely used for other things, etc? This would seem at least as feasible and more likely to do some actual good.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Possibly an Opportunity?

Some ISP's already block port 25.

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Re: Possibly an Opportunity?

But fortunately leave 587 open

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Also...

It strikes me that if a child finds 'bad' porn on the internet and they feel that their best course of action is to call Child Line, the most pressing problem probably isn't that they've found porn on the internet...

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Anonymous Coward

Ironic really

My love of porn began with Esther Rantzen blatantly flashing her stocking tops on That's Life. After seeing that I just couldn't get enough. I'm sure I'm not alone and it appears Mz. Rantzen is now trying to assuage her feelings of guilt that she should have knowingly awakened such a monster in so many young men.

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Re: Ironic really

Ugh! I'd opt in to some kind of filter that ensures I never see that!

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Unhappy

Re: Ironic really

It's too late for me, it's all I can see when I close my eyes now. Thanks AC...

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Silver badge

If those children think Pr0n is disturbing

Then don't ever leave them alone in front of a television when the news is on. Death, catastrophy, illness, recession, unemployement figures rising.

Now that is really disturbing.

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WTF?

Will someone please think of the children.

All this just stinks of bone-idle parenting.

If kids are being exposed to porn on t'Internet, then it's because their parents aren't properly supervising them or setting up parental controls.

How long before you have to opt in to non-child suitable content on TV? Or how long until the Government starts ordering the blocking of sites based on religious or political content under the guise of protecting the children or the state from Terrorists?

It may seem absurd, but once you enable opt-in censoring, it's only a matter of time before feature-creep sets in...

I saw porn when I was a kid (albeit grainy soft-core images I found on my Dad's computer), but it did not damage me in anyway or turn me in to a sexual predator with warped views of intimacy, because my parents brought me up to not be an idiot.

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Big Brother

Re: Will someone please think of the children.

"How long before you have to opt in to non-child suitable content on TV?"

Video On Demand and recordings on their PVR on Virgin Media (and, I assume, Sky) requires a PIN to watch some post-watershed content at pre-watershed times. You can't turn that option off AFAIK.

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Re: Will someone please think of the children.

Yes you can. It's in the settings.

As for video on demand all you have to do is click "Yes I'm whatever age I need to be to watch this even if I'm not actually that age" (unless by "some" you mean paid content in which case the pin is to make sure you know you're going to be charged. But you can watch the preview without a pin.

You also don't have to be 18 to buy a copy of the Sun Newspaper (page 3). Come to think of it you don't even need to be 18 to enter a newsagents and those places have shelves full of hardcore porn any child with their eyes open can see.

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Anonymous Coward

Mary Whitehouse

has risen from the Grave.

And Mandatory Web Controls will identify to the Stasi State all of those who *must* have something to hide.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Mary Whitehouse

This.

"this new danger"

It's neither new nor dangerous and this is where the argument falls apart, and the whole thing must be ended for obvious stupid and the fact that any controls will be *trivial* to work round much like piratebay blocks.

Lets see:

It's a waste of time, it's actually dangerous in and of itself, it will fail to do what it intended, it will be expensive, and everybody will opt-out anyways because what kind of nutjob doesn't actually like porn - so you'd still need to get some sort of secondary block going purely because your net will be open.

I get more concerned about the mental state of people who don't like porn than the people who do (i.e. everybody).

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Anonymous Coward

How about...

... an opt-out (signed in triplicate) for those who do not wish to declare their membership of the Freemasons?

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Stop

I have been online since 1989 - I have yet to "accidentally" stumble upon porn. Yes, I have found it, but only when actively looking for it. No different to finding scudbooks (that's jazz mags to those in England) in hedges on the way to/from school - you never found them if you weren't looking.

I have a son at primary school - when he's online at home he is under supervision, not by "NetNanny" or the likes - but by me (or by his mum) - I'm sure I'm not alone in being a techie parent that runs an open but tightly monitored ship (I log all activity on t'internet here and take a scan through the logs for any activities that I don't recognise on a regular basis). I stop nothing and log everything.

On the rare occasion when he's at school and online (which I've signed the consent form for) I take it on trust that the teacher(s) involved will act in loco parentis and supervise appropriately.

He doesn't have a mobile phone because he doesn't need one (and hasn't expressed a desire for one). When he wants/needs one I shall assume that he will be mature enough not to go looking for anything that "distresses him" more than once - if he's not mature enough to handle that, then he's not mature enough to handle the mobile device.

Victorian Dad.

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Anonymous Coward

on the contrary

When I worked for a large bell-shaped communications company in the early 90's. They had a no-porn policy with a maximum penalty of termination. About once a month, I'd type (or actully mis-type) a URL into my browser and end up on a site that I shouldn't have been able to reach (because of their filter) and shouldn't have been accessing (because of their policy). At that point, I cut-and-paste it into an email to the corp. security group and tell them that their filter missed another site.

In the mean time, Google Image Search has become the largest porn repository on the planet, probably in the known universe, so unless you're going to block *.google.com, you have no way to block this type of content, and should, instead, teach your children how to handle images like this.

These discussions always remind me of the warning that TV stations play before showing really juicy footage of accidents, suicides, train wrecks, wars, etc. Which does nothing more than keep anyone from turning the channel or leaving the room.

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This post has been deleted by its author

Anonymous Coward

Re: on the contrary

I work at a school, maintaining a filter, and I can confirm the google image method is by far the most popular way for them to access porn. Their main weapon against the filter is persistance: Go through enough suggestive search terms, eventually something will get through. One technique is to search on the stage names of porn performers - as it isn't realistic for the filter to maintain a list of the names of every porn performer ever, they are usually not blocked search terms.

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Anonymous Coward

After moving from the UK to Denmark I was quite surprised at the difference in attitudes towards the body in things like advertisements. Here they don't seem to feel the need to shy away from the human body so much. A good example would be when I walked past an underwear shop (Just a run of the mill one, nothing kinky) and there was a ~10 foot tall picture in the window of two ladies spooning in lacy underwear.

But pretty much everything seems more casual over here. In England we get a stern doctor style "Have you had your five a day?!" here, as the Danish word for six sounds a lot like the English word sex (Can I say sex, Esther?) they did a healthy eating advertising campaign that played on this, asking if the Danish populous had their seks today.

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Esther Rantzen on Radio 4.

"There are those who want to access internet porn but caring loving parents....."

There you have it, anyone who opts out of filtering isn't a 'caring loving parent'.

How long will it be before they insist on lists of these defective parents?

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IT Angle

Im so sick and tired of the word twisting...

You don't opt in to a free system. It should be free by default. If you want to opt in. You should be opting in to a filtered system.

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Flame

Re: Im so sick and tired of the word twisting...

Indeed. I'm not entirely sure why the onus is on *me* as a non-parent to opt-in to a non-ruined internet so that parents can remain on their arses doing sweet F.A. to protect precious little Johnny's eyes. "porn blocked" filters block much more than they intend - for an example, look at O2's mobile filter that randomly blocks cycling forums.

I think The Office sums it up rather well..

"Do you think we care as much about your baby as you do? Just because you let some useless tosser blow his beans up your muff. "

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Re: Im so sick and tired of the word twisting...

When politicians call it 'opt-in' now, I can't even tell if they mean 'opt in to the filtering' or 'opt in to the porn.'

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Anonymous Coward

Think of the problems this would cause.

There are ways round these filters. All it takes are proxies outside the ISP's blocked list. Kids are smart enough to figure that one out.

Idiots will assume their child is 100% safe and not bother checking what they are doing. So all the Facebook predators will get them. Even innocent image hosting sites get porn dumped on them for all to see till the site sensors pick up on it (usually after complains as they don't have time to check every image).

Normal sites will get blocked. Look at the problems the breast feeding groups have had on Facebook. Even this place could be blocked when someone says 'fuck' too many times.

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WTF?

Re: Think of the problems this would cause.

Fuck! Are you kidding?

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The Daily Mail

No shortage of irony that Ranzten published her opinion piece in the Daily Mail, who's online edition is at least 50% tits and arse stories these days...

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Devil

Surely the obvious solution is for the market to decide? Launch a "child-friendly" ISP with all the content filtering at the ISP-level and have separate all-in ISPs where you can surf how where and what the hell you want.

Of course no filters are infallible as there's nothing to stop people uploading questionable content to otherwise benign sites like Facebook and Twitter. Sure they'll be removed eventually but by then the damage is done and the image of goatse.jpg shall be indelibly etched into the fragile mind of Little Johnny.

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Meh

"the image of goatse.jpg shall be indelibly etched into the fragile mind of Little Johnny"

Hmm... actually you've just sold me on the idea of the filter now - any chance we can get a goatse-filter? I'm 31 and it's indelibly etched into my fragile mind!

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Facepalm

Launch a "child-friendly" ISP with all the content filtering at the ISP-level

Something like AOL? Oh....

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The best thing is to require new routers to contain this facility.

I would suggest routers would be required to support separate SSIDs with different controls.

Unlimited. (wpa2 only)

One approximating a15 rating (which shuts down at midnight and turns on at 6 am)

One for youngsters (which works 8am - 9pm)

The ports would be assigned the same control as one of these groups.

These would be able to be renamed and have passwords changed as required, and be enabled or disabled.

Advanced options (not mandatory) would be to to create custom filters, more SSIDs and individually control ports and only work with registered MACs

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The best thing is to require new routers to contain this facility.

It's a good idea, except for the word "required". If the market can bear it, then create one and add the cost of developing the solution to that one. I'm not paying for it thanks.

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The problem with this thread.

The problem with this thread is that the commenters do not identify themselves as having or not having children (with whom they live - absent parents' opinions are not as important as the opinions of parents who actually take care of the kids.)

It would be interesting to see how the parental status of the commenters correlates with their opinions.

Of course, I would expect that there would be more than a few people who would lie about it....

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This post has been deleted by its author

Re: The problem with this thread.

Bullshit!

The validity of someones opinion isn't related to whether or not someone has children, or if so what their relationship is with aforementioned children. Perhaps people in different circumstances would have different preferences, but I don't think this dilutes their validity. This law presumably would affect both parents and non-parents, male and female equally.

I note that you didn't actually disclose your own family status, but for the record, I'm male, single, and I've got no children.

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