back to article Cameron calls for ISP-level parental censorship tools

Prime Minister David Cameron has warned ISPs to be more robust with their plans to provide better tools to help parents censor sexualised content online, or else the government could step in with its own regulation measures. "The social response is not something we can leave to chance. We need to make sure we hold businesses …

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  1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

    Cameron, stop listening to that cr*p, like now!

    Since when does a religious charity in the modern times in this country has a right to dictate what I want or don't want my children to do?

    Trying to turn onanists into organists at my expense? Why don't you, Mr Bailey, go and enroll into Taliban and move permanently to some nice mountainous countryside in the middle of nowhere?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Devil

      He is listening to different crap

      The crap that tells him that having an Instant Censor button is good when Egypt comes knocking on the door.

      Looking at the stats it is not a matter of "if", it is a matter of "when": http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-13663778

  2. Dick Emery
    Big Brother

    Title REDACTED

    Ah! More censorship by the backdoor then.

  3. Richard Taylor 2 Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Curiosity

    Why does the Mothers Union (http://www.themothersunion.org/) have a male CEO - CEO - oh gawd I thought they knew better......

  4. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    Parents are to blame.

    "developing the concept of so-called "ID Assurance""

    Waste of money!

    Parents can already filer content, they just dont know how too.

    So instead, those who put the n in cuts, want to regulate, instead of taking action against the parent.

    Shocking!

    There's no difference between needing a driving licence to drive a car, and parents needing to learn how to use filers and apply them.

  5. Dazed and Confused Silver badge

    Why is this the ISPs problem?

    New government, same old total lack of any brains at all.

    Besides the obvious point that what they want is technically impossible.

    Why the h**l should this be the ISPs problem? I presume it is because on the whole they are UK based companies that the government think are OK to hit with a stick, where as, say the OS vendors, tend to be big, American and would either tell them where they can stick it, or wouldn't bother to reply at all.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Facepalm

      A Little Story, Or Two. Or Three.

      I went to a shop and bought a TV set. I took it home, plugged it in, fiddled with the aerial and started watching TV. I watched lots of programmes, and lots of channels. Eventually, I saw something that shocked me, truly shocked me! I never wanted any of that Sick Filth to be brought into my home. So I went back to the shop and kicked up a right old fuss about this. After all, it was they who sold me that TV set in the first place, so they ought to take responsibility for what that TV set brings into my home. Right?

      (Why is the ghost of Kenny Everett telling me to use my knob?)

      I got on a bus and went to the market. Browsing the market, I found a stall selling DVDs, so I had a look to see if there were any movies my family would enjoy. Imagine my surprise when I found hardcore porn DVDs there! I was shocked! So I went straight to the bus company and kicked up a right old fuss about this. After all, it was they who took me to that market on their bus, and my children could just as easily use their buses to get to that market, or to other places with unsuitable material. It's surely the bus company's responsibility not to expose us to such Sick Filth. Right?

      (Who said, "The state must declare the child to be the most precious treasure of the people"?)

      I went to an ISP and bought a subscription to access the internet...

      (Feel free to copy, improve, distribute, etc, these little stories.)

      1. Miek

        Shocking

        " I watched lots of programmes, and lots of channels. Eventually, I saw something that shocked me, truly shocked me! I never wanted any of that Sick Filth to be brought into my home"

        Did you know that there is an Off Switch™ ?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Stop

          Sarcasm

          I hope you didn't miss the sarcasm in the post you were replying to as it sort of looks like you did

    2. Elmer Phud Silver badge
      Flame

      Why?

      It's because they are an Xtian organisation where mothers are revered, held on pedestals but eventually regarded as whores who tempt honest men in to doing the wrong things.

      They are a sham, just like those who are apparently 'advising' on birth control.

      When you look at two UNELECTED Xtian organisations getting power things become a tad worrying.

      Next - man with white pointy hat given post for Cameron's drive to integrate diverse communities.

      Jesus is not the answer to it all.

  6. Ben Norris
    FAIL

    The title was not suitable for children

    Parents should take some responsibility for supervising their children rather than whining about how it's everyone else's fault.

    The vast majority of internet users are adults with no interest in having to faff around getting poorly implemented filters turned off. Not to mention that it is another dangerous step on the road of government censorship.

  7. Anigel
    Flame

    Already have a choice

    Parents already have a choice which is telling their kids not to click on something. Kids should not be let lose on the internet without adult supervision. The internet is not a baby sitter and I am sure that you wouldn't let your kids wander around any city doing whatever they want and talking to anyone they see without you so why on earth would you let them do it online.

    1. Elmer Phud Silver badge

      Education is the key

      Just like I would not let my kids roam the streets without a bit of 'green cross code' or which areas not to go to in the evenings I worked with my kids to make thier surfing safer. I didn't just go 'Hey, here's a computer, here's the internet, off you go'.

      Telling kids not to talk to anyone just increases paranoia - how many kids get lost at the seaside but are unable to ask for help putely because of thier 'decent and proper' upbringing.

      They asked about stuff. We discussed stuff, they were left to surf, to play, to discover the world around them, they approached the world with open eyes - not blinkers on. They are now a lot more grown and not damaged goods. They were also told that climbing trees was fun but to remember the way up and asked not to fall out.

      Your flame is a lit fart, nowt more.

  8. Disco-Legend-Zeke
    Facepalm

    Most Parents...

    ...already know how old their children are. Obviously.

    Just train them to use the tools already at hand.

    Parental controls beat nanny [state] controls every time.

  9. MrSums

    OPENDNS

    OpenDNS provides this as a matter of course - why re-invent the wheel?

  10. Marky W
    Alert

    Mixed reaction

    1. Making tools available = good

    2. Forcing people to use them = bad

    3. Making the ISP use them whether we like it or not = worse

    Being the cynical fart that I am, I can see the progression from one to three being swift, despite any promises that may be given by our much-beloved leaders.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    ahh well

    Here we are again, lobby groups funded by idiots that believe charity is spent on the causes the charities purport to support spouting shit to make us into the puritan society they all believe was so great, fuelled by lies, innuendo, and case studies that have more holes in them than a sieve.

    Sucked up by the tabloid media to inform everyone that something somewhere is doing something to make someone somewhere you care about do something or another that you may not like. Then fired into the brains of the barren soulless idiots that make up most of the worlds society.

    I don't have any kids, so you all can keep the hell away from my internets, and if I did have kids then I'd take care of what crap they pour into their brains myself. Government, think tanks, lobbyists, the moral minority, the outraged masses, the media and, all the rest can go to hell.

    Not to mention the practicality of the whole affair and the complete cluelessness shown by anyone flag waving for this kind of stupidity.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Go

      @OpenDNS Family Filter

      Actually I tested for a youth club it and it's pretty crap.Took me all of 10 seconds to get around. Hint: Google images.

      Try K9 protection instead, it's free (for personal use) and it's rock solid.Even locks safe surf ON, I've tried a lot to get around it and it's dammed good.

    2. Tom Melly

      Because...

      ... if you're in government, the answer to every problem is always more complexity.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits.

    This would be the same UKCCIS that has Phorm as a member?

    http://www.education.gov.uk/ukccis/about/a0076266/council-members

  13. Tom 38 Silver badge
    Flame

    Think of the children

    The main problem with breeders is that when presented with something that they determine is unsuitable for little Johnny, they seek to ban, censor or criminalize that activity immediately.

    Typically, they then present their argument from such a position of superior morality, or rather, paint everyone who disagrees with them as immoral. It makes me fume, although not within 50 yards of a playground.

    1. Ben Tasker Silver badge
      Stop

      Not all Breeders

      Some of us take the sensible view of "my mid, my responsibility".

      That said, I'm sure if it does get implemented it'll be hugely beneficial to my little-un. Had it been around when I was young, I'm sure I'd have learnt loads in my efforts to circumvent it. Probably better for society as a whole though if he learns it trying to get around one _I've_ set up

      1. Ben Tasker Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Obviously

        I meant Kid and not mid

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Obviously

          But what if my child had seen that despicable misuse of the English language?

          It could have ruined his grasp on literacy for life.

          I demand the government force all ISPs to spell and grammar check all internet content immediately.

          1. Ben Tasker Silver badge

            Spellcheck

            Reckon it'll be as good as the iPhone spellchecker? Saw a site recently containing some of the best (Damnyouautocorrect.com), looks like ti could be quite amusing for a while just to see what it manages to churn out!

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Thumb Up

              Damnyouautocorrect.com

              Fortunately child filters don't work like that else little Johnny might get an education he wasn't after.

  14. Chad H.

    Yo Mothers Union

    How about you do a little more Parenting, and a little less Grandstanding.

    If you want filter software, go buy it.

    Until then, how about you actually supervise your kids rather then letting Mr Computer play babysitter?

  15. Industry Observer
    Devil

    Oh Mr Peanut why haven't you got a clue

    "To provide that option, Bailey is calling on the internet industry to offer either a network-level filtering system, such as the one TalkTalk just introduced, or else via "pre-installed software on a new laptop".

    In case Mr Bailey hasn't sussed it yet and as far as I know ISP's don't provide laptops or the software that they contain so why his report is suggesting they should, highlights just how out of touch this report is. He has also said he knows its easy for kids to get around filtering so why you insisting on pushing it then, UKCCIS/Government.

    The cynical side of me makes me wonder if there is a done deal going on behind westminster towers and UKCCIS and their ilk to push through no matter what, these idiotic and foolish proposals.

    Even Talk Talk say you can get around their free network level filtering software so why are they being used as the example of good practice.

    Disgraceful - and I know who will NOT be getting my vote come the Revolution.

  16. dephormation.org.uk
    Thumb Down

    "a consistent level of protection across all media"

    The panopticon.

    Total communication surveillance.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    WTF

    Why don't they just give out advice to parents about how to block sites etc.

    I'm aware most el reg readers don't need such advice, but to the general public it could go a long way

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: how to block sites

      Er, that would be because the list of sites to block are numbered in the thousands (I'm being generous here) and changes every day. Even asking ISPs to do this is stupid. Asking parents to do it is beyond belief.

      The only practical way to achieve what he wants is to arrange for the internet address space to be sub-divided according to legal jurisdiction. Then, you can either drop the packets or you can sue the sender. (For IPv4, it's several decades too late to do this. The address space is totally balkanised. For IPv6 it is merely late, but renumbering is a core feature of the spec, so it would be possible to fix it.)

      Amusingly enough, this is exactly how "real world" things like videos are regulated. Customs officers patrol the border to stop stuff coming in and police patrol the interior to catch those who get past customs (or who started off inside). It's not perfect, but if Cameron is willing to cite it as a proof of concept then he clearly believes it works well enough.

      The ISPs cannot change how the internet works. Heads of government probably can, but not if they waste their time grand-standing and shouting at ISPs.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        spot on.

        Also, most 'bad' sites (like the rest of the ones that I frequent) drop all traffic from net nannies (like bluecoat, websense, etc) and google, bing, etc., etc. So that they show up as 'unknown' in the web filters.

      2. Mark 65 Silver badge

        @Ken Hagan

        But that advice to parents could be along the lines of telling them how to setup OpenDNS couldn't it?

        Nobody is saying you have to tell them how to maintain a blocklist. You seem to have missed the point of the original post entirely.

        1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

          @Mark 65

          "Nobody is saying you have to tell them how to maintain a blocklist."

          Um, the original post was "Why don't they just give out advice to parents about how to block sites etc.". OpenDNS wasn't mentioned. You have a point, but I don't think it was the one in the original post.

      3. There's a bee in my bot net

        Content filtering...

        You don't need to block sites by IP address. You can use a content filter to assess the content of a page and block or allow access based on (various) sets of pre existing rules.

        Sure it isn't perfect, but it stops most users access most porn, gabling and web game sites at work as well as refusing to download files with certain extensions (unless the site is part of an exclusions list i.e. Windows updates etc). Just for shits and giggles one content filter I look after is currently blocking any site that mentions Justin Beiber.

        1. There's a bee in my bot net

          Lol - filter fail

          And as a result of that post it is now blocking this article!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Meh

      Now your getting close to the real reason....

      This little activity has almost nothing to do with protecting children but a lot to do with who controls what we access and how it is accessed. The number of UK ISPs is relatively small and they are easily found. They are a choke point on information distribution.

      If they know what's good for them (and their business...) ISPs will comply..... No reasonable or sensible person could argue against it could they - unless they didn't have uncorrupted children and wholesome family values at the centre of their being.

      If you're using an offshore ISP to circumvent the rules then obviously you must have something to hide.... so let's just have a look, shall we sir/madam...

      A stealthy measure the like of which Ken Clarke would be proud were it in the Financial sector.

  18. Anigel
    FAIL

    This is a title

    As most kids are much more tech savvy than the parents anyway, any locally installed software solution is doomed to failure, just like any network level solution will be defeated by anyone interested in seeing something they shouldn't. All of my nephews mates knew how to get to any site they wanted from the school IT classrooms despite most of the sites they were using being blocked at the network level.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    WTF?

    This is ridiculous, but...

    Where's the organised resistance? Where's our version of the EFF? Where are the protests? I would drop everything to go to a protest against this, but there are none.

    1. Intractable Potsherd
      Thumb Up

      Quite true, AC

      We need an EFF equivalent, (and an ACLU equivalent, but that is a different story) over here in the UK. However, who is interested in setting the group up? Obviously no-one, otherwise it would exist.

  20. Graham Anderson

    ask about parental controls during sign up

    Here's an idea - instead of forcing ISPs to turn on a mandatory opt-out nanny-filter for the entire country, why not make it a part of the signup process online or by phone:

    "So, now we've got you through the sign-up for your new ISP service, we've got one last question for you. Do you have any children in the household?

    "Yes"

    "Would you like us to turn on the nanny-filter for you? You can turn it off at any time by going to your account control panel. Equally, if you don't want it now, you can turn it on at your account control panel..."

  21. Pete 2 Silver badge

    This is an EXCELLENT idea

    Provided it's implemented as follows ...

    ISP contractees get to answer one simple question and the level of censorship applied to that ADSL connection is then invoked completely. All the time. No exeptions. For every user. No other connections are allowed.

    The question is: what is the age of the youngest under-18 who will have access to a computer connected to this ADSL line?

    The degree of censorship is then set to this lowest common denominator. No "9 pm watershed" no exclusions for mummy and daddy. No loopholes for approved websites. Everybody gets the same. After all, you wouldn't like little Jonny or Joany accidentally logging on to an account someone else had left running, or discovering a parents' password and using their account. Nope, if your children really do need this much protection, then it must be applied across the board - think of the children!

    Personally I reckon these accounts would last a couple of months, until all the parents kicked them into the long grass (all except for a few idealists, for whom the question was never about censorship, but about being seen to be better at protecting [or should that be emotionally stunting?] their little darlings, purely for school-gate bragging rights).

    Once this happens we will see the whole initiative for what it is. Not something that's in the childrens' best interests, but merely a sop to remove the inconvenience away from the parents onto some anonymous "them". However, once this abrogation of responsibility has a cost or an effect on THEM, then I fully expect a flood of "the concerned" washing their hands of the whole sorry debacle and realising that everyday life does require people to grow up occasionally and the real trick is to equip our children for that time, not to try and hold back the tide and dumping the task on someone else.

  22. Vic

    Oh good grief...

    Will these people never learn?

    Even if they managed an effective filter, all that'd happen is that everything moves to SSL.

    Until Cameron bans SSL, natch :-(

    Twats, the lot of 'em.

    Vic.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Alert

    BT Acting Swiftly?

    Just today I got an email from BT advertising something called "BT Family Protection".

    The following link appears to lead to a relevant BT website page: http://www.bt.com/btfamilyprotection

    "Take control of your children's safety on the Internet.

    Keep your family safe online with BT Family Protection (in association with McAfee). You can download it at no extra cost – just click on the link below. It's quick and easy to set up and lets you choose the level of protection for each child on up to 3 computers in your home.

    You can also filter out websites not suitable for children by age range or category, block or monitor programs such as Instant Messenger, restrict the times of day children can access the Internet and even get alerts when something happens."

    (Does anyone else remember the AOL ads with (I think her name was) "Lonnie" guiding a young child away from danger and into a safe area?)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Pint

      BWAHAHAHA

      I truly think that McAfee totally works by slowing a machine down so much that kids'll go drink cheap cider in the park instead

      Internet Filtering Complete

  24. Spanners Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Just tell everyone

    "What your kids do on the internet is your responsibility - nobody else's."

    I have 2 kids, now 21 and 16. They grew up with computers. They also grew up with me repeating do's and don'ts. Finally, they grew up, barely noticing it, with me controlling what/where/when was available to them. The only complaint I regularly got was when I forgot to change the times of blocking the internet at the start of school holidays.

    If I had ever bought a PC with filtering software designed and controlled by some right wing american corporate group, I would have had a good long look at it followed by probably disabling or deleting it.

    How do I get a Guy Fawkes mask here?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      How you get an EFG mask.

      Post as anonymous, and don't select any other icon. Like so.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Stop whinging

    Please can anyone point out how the implementation of an optional ISP level smut filter is undesirable in any way.

    It's a good idea - whether it will ever work well enough is another thing entirely.

    Grow up and stop bitching.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Shut your mouth, your IQ is showing

      For the more stupid amongst us, consider these:

      1). Who defines what is filtered

      2). Will the project creep

      3). Who will pay

      4). Why should the UK online populous as a whole kowtow to a few outspoken individuals who seem to not know:

      a). how to be a parent

      b). not know how to install Net Nanny

      5). Anything implemented will immediately be circumnavigated by any averagely intellectual 12 year old, whilst on the machine in their bedroom, left their by said parents assuming the machine to be 'safe', VPN routing through the Ukraine to watch videos of the Taliban shagging donkeys, whilst the rest of us continue to be burdened by this shit

      Good day to you sir

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        A few potential answers

        It's really not that difficult to find potential answers to your rantings.

        1). Who defines what is filtered

        Unspecified as yet - so if you don't like it, don't enable it.

        2). Will the project creep

        Speculation - legitimately complain when it does.

        3). Who will pay

        Not beyond the realms of possibility for those who wish enable it to pay for it.

        4). Why should the UK online populous as a whole kowtow to a few outspoken individuals who seem to not know:

        If it's optional - it's hardly a problem... how did you manage to quantify "a few"?

        4a). how to be a parent

        You merely need to breed to be a parent. Being a responsible parent takes skills that not everyone can manage.

        b). not know how to install Net Nanny

        Maybe it's a few people that realise that a reasonable proportion of the population can't install Net Nanny. Just because you can, doesn't mean that everyone can.

        5). Anything implemented will immediately be circumnavigated by any averagely intellectual 12 year old, whilst on the machine in their bedroom, left their by said parents assuming the machine to be 'safe', VPN routing through the Ukraine to watch videos of the Taliban shagging donkeys, whilst the rest of us continue to be burdened by this shit

        No one said that you had to be burdened. Don't be under the illusion that VPNs can't be blocked.

        > Good day to you sir

        And a very good day to you too.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          you're backwards

          ''Not beyond the realms of possibility for those who wish enable it to pay for it.''

          Actually, the Bailey report suggests an opt-out, not an opt-in, so it'd be that everyone would pay for it and then some people would not use it.

          I expect that the ISPs won't be giving reduced pricing for opt-outs?

          Bailey is also talking about TalkTalk, who have some difficulty with the notion of opting-out, and continue to invade the privacy of those people

    2. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: Please tell me...

      "...how the implementation of an optional ISP level smut filter is undesirable in any way."

      OK, since you ask...

      1) It will cost the ISP money and they'll pass that cost onto you (and me), for reasons that are well known in business circles.

      2) It won't work, for reasons that are well known in technical and legal circles.

      3) Worse, it will encourage bad parents to take even less notice of what their offspring are doing on the web, for reasons well known in psychological circles.

      Net effect: society pays more for a worse result.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Another answer...

        1 & 2 answered.

        3. Proof - none. Pure conjecture.

    3. John G Imrie Silver badge

      Re: Stop whinging

      Please can anyone point out how the implementation of an optional ISP level smut filter is undesirable in any way.

      How do you know its optional?

      How can you find out which sites are blocked?

      Who sets which sites are blocked?

      What criteria are used to block sites?

      How long does it take to get a site blocked?

      How long does it take to get a site unblocked?

      Does this block the entire site or just an inappropriate page, image, movie, link?

      If a site links to a blocked site does it also get blocked?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        More answers

        > How do you know its optional?

        How do you know it's not.

        > How can you find out which sites are blocked?

        Depends on implementation. Disable and see what you're missing if that curious.

        > Who sets which sites are blocked?

        Undefined. Valid question.

        > What criteria are used to block sites?

        Undefined. Valid question.

        > How long does it take to get a site blocked?

        Undefined. Valid question.

        > How long does it take to get a site unblocked?

        Undefined. Valid question.

        > Does this block the entire site or just an inappropriate page, image, movie, link?

        Undefined. Valid question.

        > If a site links to a blocked site does it also get blocked?

        Undefined. Valid question.

        Good post raising reasonable questions that deserve being answered. Again, if you don't like the implemenation, don't use the service - use another ISP whose service you might prefer. Or buy a desktop product that suits your needs.

        1. John G Imrie Silver badge

          > How can you find out which sites are blocked?

          Depends on implementation. Disable and see what you're missing if that curious.

          How do I turn it off, it's being done by the ISP?

          If you don't like the implementation, don't use the service

          Which is fine today, but what happens when this is implemented on the network backbone leaving the UK?

    4. Intractable Potsherd
      Trollface

      This is impressive -

      - many comments before the first troll appears. Are we starting to scare them off?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Troll

        Humm.. again another occurrence of typecasting anyone who has a different opinion than a vocal few as a 'Troll'.

  26. Mycho Silver badge

    One websearch...

    ... finds me this.

    http://www.familysafemedia.com/iboss_internet_parental_contro.html

    So, isps offer something like that for families with children and a real router for people who want their internet to work properly.

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: one websearch

      What about people who want their internet to work properly but who also have children?

      Funnily enough, this iBoss (amazingly, this appears to be a US company who haven't heard that Steve Jobs owns the letter "i") is exactly the "optional-but-universally-applied" filtering that an earlier poster suggested, tongue in cheek. To elaborate, just how long is the iBoss going to remain active once the parents discover that YouTube is blocked, or conversely, once the kids discover that it isn't.

      1. Mycho Silver badge

        People like that

        Can buy a router from Maplin and not use the one provided by the ISP. Everyone wins.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Spanners

    "How do I get a Guy Fawkes mask here?"

    You have to tick the box to post AC and not select an icon.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Mushroom

    get off your arse, you techie agoraphobic

    commenting on here is going to do nothing

    Write to your MP suggesting they stop listening to these nutters

    http://www.writetothem.com/

    DO IT NOW!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Pint

      Can't be bothered to write something?

      Copy this, edit it if you want....

      Dear <your MP>,

      It's with some alarm that I write to you having read a report on David Cameron's stance on ISP level content filtering.

      Whilst I concede that a certain amount of protection should be afforded the UK by the good work done by CEOP and the Internet Watch Foundation, I do not think that the voice of people like http://www.themothersunion.org/ represent a majority, and should not have the political leverage afforded a majority.

      The implications of ISP level filtering (or deep packet inspection in any form) has a potential to limit a wider use of the internet.

      I cite five points:

      1). Instigating ISP level filtering is an incredibly difficult technical overhead which the ISP will have to pass on costs to the consumer, these costs, in my opinion, will further slow the internet roll out across the UK

      2). Anything which slows or hinders the delivery of the internet will have a damage implication to UK Businesses and the thriving of our technical economy

      3). ISPs have, up till now, not been entirely transparent with user privacy or personal data, I refer to the Phorm debarcle here.

      4). As with many things in the world, the internet is not for children. There are many mechanisms already in existence which can help a parent limit a childs exposure to anything that parent does not want that particular child to see without recourse to stifling the internet.

      5). The Mothers' Union, and small organisations of their ilk, do not speak in my name. I am against a nanny state and would want the web to continue to be a medium of free speech.

      I wonder if you could ask Mr Cameron to expain that there are many many options available to parent, most notable of which is SIT NEXT TO THEM AND PARENT when they're using the internet, instead of inflicting badly thought out and unworkable mechanisms on the web population at large.

      Yours sincerely,

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Let me fix that for you.

        Dear <your MP>,

        It's with some alarm that I write to you having read a report on David Cameron's stance on ISP level content filtering.

        Whilst I concede that a certain amount of protection should be afforded the UK by the good work done by CEOP and the Internet Watch Foundation, I do not think that the voice of people like http://www.themothersunion.org/ represent a majority, and should not have the political leverage afforded a majority.

        The implications of ISP level filtering (or deep packet inspection in any form) have the potential to limit wider use of the internet.

        I cite five points:

        1). Instigating ISP level filtering is an incredibly difficult technical overhead for which ISP's will have to pass on costs to the consumer. These costs, in my opinion, will only impede the roll out of high-speed broadband across the UK.

        2). Anything which slows or hinders the delivery of the internet will have damaging implications for UK Businesses and our thriving technical economy.

        3). ISPs have, up until now, not been entirely transparent with user privacy or personal data, I refer to the Phorm debacle here.

        4). There are many mechanisms already in existence which can enable parents to limit their childrens exposure to anything considered unsuitable. These mechanisms are easy to install and set up and are fairly low cost. There is no need to cripple everyone's internet experience simply to satisfy the demands of a vocal minority.

        5). The Mothers' Union, and small organisations of their ilk, do not speak in my name. I am against a nanny state and would want the web to continue to be a medium of free speech.

        I wonder if you could ask Mr Cameron to explain that there are many many options available to parents, most notable of which is SIT NEXT TO THEM AND PARENT when they're using the internet, instead of inflicting badly thought out and unworkable mechanisms on the web population at large.

        Yours sincerely,

        etc

  29. kain preacher Silver badge

    BLNKS

    How many times has this issue come up ?? Is the plan to do this every few years till we have a generation of kids that thinks this is normal ?? Or is it that they think it will ware us down ? Is the idea that if you get enough countries around the world to do this it will seem normal ?

    Looks at the 1st amendment with fear and uncertainty. I know this is happing in the UK but some times I fear it's just matter of time till it comes over here . Politicians on both side of the pond go ape over the idea of protecting kids .

    I'll end this by saying think about the kids. Do you want them to live in world were this BS is normal ?

  30. Old Handle

    This isn't really that bad an idea, is it?

    As long as it's opt-in (in the normal, non-twisted sense of the term) I don't think there's anything wrong with ISPs to offering this service. British ISPs should already have some of the infrastructure from IWF blacklist anyway, all they have to do is add a second layer that can be turned on by user request. And no one says they can't charge for it, I'm sure some parents would jump at the offer.

    1. dephormation.org.uk

      Its a very bad idea

      ... because Bailey recommends it is opt OUT, not opt in

      If it follows the TalkTalk model of 'opt out', you will not be allowed to 'opt out' of surveillance, only the censorship.

      But more significantly, technically, it simply won't do what has been claimed. Censoring the web will not protect anyone's children from content delivered over protocols other than HTTP, particularly so an encrypted protocol like SSL.

      And it still doesn't absolve the parent from the responsibility to supervise their children's communications, because no filter will block grooming/bullying, or simply misadventure by an inexperienced internet user.

      No one can opt out of parental responsibility.

      It is far better that children in the uK are educated to understand the value of their freedom, than a nanny state imposes involuntary mass communication surveillance as recommended by Bailey.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Unhappy

        No one can opt out of parental responsibility.

        I believe that many succeed admirably.

  31. Asgard
    Big Brother

    Oh the irony of Cameron's words

    The Internet is becoming the collective minds and thoughts of the entire planet. No responsible parent would subject their children to all of that without supervision!.

    (Plus if people don't like what they see, then finally welcome to the real human race (yes good and bad) and see that the Internet is just a reflection of real humans. Welcome to what humans are really like, not some false image of humans that the various control freaks want to show humans as, but what humans are really like. Its more than time everyone finally learned what humans are really like, yes the good humans and the bad humans because then at least people are more prepared in knowing what humans can be like. (When people lived in villages everyone knew and could see the good and the bad, but too much of humanity has been loosing touch for too long. The Internet is turning us all back into literally a global village and that is a good thing).

    Its also profoundly dangerous to allow others the power over you to control what you can see and read and therefore know. Don't ever give up your power to know to someone else who then chooses for you. Because as soon as you do, as history has shown so many times, that power to control will be abused for their gain at your expense to lie to you for their gain.

    “"The social response is not something we can leave to chance. We need to make sure we hold businesses and regulators to account in a transparent way," said Cameron. “

    Oh the irony, there I was thinking the exact same thing about government!

    The problem is the more the government seeks to censor the Internet, you just know they will end up abusing a censorship system to try to censor anything leaked about the government. (Australia has already tried this and their politicians have already been caught trying to abuse the censorship for their gain).

    Also look at how long our MP's tried to obstruct freedom of information requests for MP's expenses. It took years and then in the end the only way was for someone to finally steal the information from the government. That lack of openness is the future of the Internet, if the governments get their way in enforcing increasing censorship over the Internet. This shows the MP's don't want openness, because it makes it harder for them to lie to us.

    We need to force more transparency on government, not allow them more ways to evade and so censor transparency on them.

  32. paultnl

    This is a good comment left on the Telegraphs coverage of the story

    Has anyone actually looked in detail at the way Bailey plays with surveys to press his agenda? It would be highly amusing, were it not so worrying (given that this report comes with the threat of state coercion to impose Bailey's views and agenda on the UK).

    For example, at the top of page 26, Bailey asserts that "40 per cent of parents in the omnibus survey for the Review said they had seen things in public places (e.g. shop window displays, advertising hoardings) that they felt were unsuitable or inappropriate for children". There are several serious issues here: one is the taking of the negative minority, rather than the 60% - a much larger percentage than that with which the Tories won the election! - who evidently didn't report seeing such things; a second is the failure to define "had seen" (does this mean many things on a regular basis, or one or two things in the whole three month period concerned?); and a third is the failure to define degrees: what one parent might think unsuitable or inappropriate to children might not bother another at all, these varied parents might have very different views on what if any remedial action is appropriate, and lumping all these personal views into one conclusion is not exactly a shining example of intellectual rigour.

    A more serious problem is with the Ofcom figures (pages 29-30). Bailey reports what Ofcom found in 2010: 74% (an increase from 2009) of respondents felt the watershed was at the right time (and only 9% that it should be eariler); and 72% believe the level of regulation is about right. But he ignores these overwhelming majorities, and advances the minority position, saying that "the fact that some parents report otherwise should cause broadcasters concern". If the goal is to eliminate all disagreement, then the goal is impossible (and undesirable in a free society based on personal and parental responsibility). So, Bailey ignores those who are not "parents", ignores the overwhelming majority who are happy with the timing and regulation of the watershed, ignores - indeed fails to mention - the percentage (a minority, but one that adds to the weight against his view) who will think there is too much regulation or the watershed is too restrictive, and presents an ideologically driven view based on his own preconceptions. He buttresses this with highlighted quotes in larger type from individuals at the top of page 29, while placing the figures reflecting mass opinion in smaller type at the bottom. He reports (page 30) BBC findings from 2009 that "50 per cent said they ‘personally see or hear things on television which you find offensive’" and "40 per cent of the audience reported they had seen or heard something on TV in the last 12 months that they felt should not have been broadcast". Yet he fails to acknowledge that these figures do not support his conclusions. Personal offence COULD be aligned with what he and his imagined "parents" find "offensive"; however, a reasonable person could also find "offensive" a diet show focussing on an individual's eating habits (or their faeces as in the case of some famous examples!), a parenting show displaying a child's behaviour, a politician's statement about immigrants or people on benefits, or a religious figure's assertions about sexuality or the place of women, or whatever. Personal offence or discomfort could be great or minor, could be frequent or very occasional, could make the offended person think the programme should be banned or merely make them switch channel for something less offensive to them personally. Personal offence is as varied as are people themselves, and again, to lump together all these varieties as if they were monolithic support for his own view is reflective of Bailey's predetermined agenda, rather than an objective, evidence-based report.

    Worse still is Bailey's refusal to engage in definitions. If one does not make clear what one means to talk about, and what one means by "sexualized", "offensive", or "inappropriate", then one is essentially waving one's hand and waffling. If there is the threat, or worse the promise, of legislation, that it is imperative that definitions be clear and comprehensively. Otherwise, the public is at the mercy of vague laws that it would be impossible to obey.

  33. Haku
    Thumb Up

    "seek robust means of age verification"

    Good luck with that!

    If kids want to gain access to something - especially regarding computers as they can run rings round adults as they grew up with computers in their lives since day one - the adults don't have a hope, kids will find a way.

    (it's a sarcastic thumbs-up icon)

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Childcatcher

    STOP THIS NOW....

    UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES SHOULD THE GUBBERMINT BE ALLOWED TO DECIDE WHAT IS SUITABLE FOR MY CHILDREN..... AS A PARENT, THAT IS MY JOB.

    What is next? approved reading material? are they going to send me a monthly list of what to feed my child each day of the week? Are they going to set the time in which my child goes to bed? are they going to tell me when I can play hide the pork sword with the missus along with an approved list of positions?

    che guevara Icon please,

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    Go away

    Since Cameron is a lying crook and was not voted for by most of the uk, he should just go away and die

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      to be fair....

      Cameron DID have more votes than any other candidate.

      and when you look at the major flaw in our election process that voting is not compulsory then even when a candidate does get a majority of the votes it is generally not the majority of the population.

      People should be required by law to vote... Attending the poling station to put your X on the paper, even if that X goes in the box for "none of the above"

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "and when you look at the major flaw in our election process that voting is not compulsory.."

        This is a flaw? Funny, I thought it was a major feature.

        Force everyone to vote, and you'll get funny buggers like me putting in a tick for the BNP out of spite. Now, what was that you were saying about a flaw?

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    So much crap, what to comment on?

    "ensure that customers must make an active choice" : given that the ISP cannot know if the customer has children, this can only be effected by making all customers actively sign up to adult content, the default being a bland censored offering. Crap.

    "ID Assurance" - suggested by the article as being the only way to satisfy the need for age verification. Nice idea. Give the govt a couple of years to decide what it even means, then a few more years to decide what it means in detail, then a few more to decide who gets to make ~£500 million out of the tender for the service etc. Maybe after a decade it will be available. And people still won't sign up.

    DC is seriously in need of proper advisors.

    1. There's a bee in my bot net

      ID Assurance project setup costs...

      Not to mention the hundred million or so that will be spend setting up commissions to work on the project and pay consultants for advice and information...

      These things are really (and I hate using the phrase) win-win situations for those involved. Ministers, MPs, Civil Servants etc pay big money during the research and consultation phases of these projects and jobs seem to circulate amongst them. You only have to look at the gateway reviews for the last ID project to see how its done. Perhaps they don't even care about the outcome while they are making hay...

  37. Miek
    Childcatcher

    Some letters and Digits

    What you oppose, you become.

  38. Miek
    Coat

    What the F

    Parents should be SUPERVISING their Cabbage's activities online if they are a all concerned about what they are looking at.

  39. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    Dr Evil has nowt on this here Mothers Union

    So basically the Mothers Union is seeking to abdicate Parental Responsibility to a corporation they pay money to? I doubt i am the only one to be amused by this apparent contradiction in purpose.

    That said i imagine that people who have time to engage in Mothering Unions and their ilk probably can only do so because the au-pair is looking after the kids. Arguably therefore the principle of paying someone else to care for their children on a full time basis isn't that strange to them although it does beg the question why they don't just choose and au-pair who understands the internet and can apply filters that have been available, for free, for years?

    NO ONE should however rely on expensive, pointless, fruitless, ISP level white elephant filters that end up costing US money in terms of OUR overall broadband cost to CREATE THE ILLUSION of protecting someone else's kids who is too lazy or incompetent to do it themselves with local filtering..

    That said i am not completely without sympathy, i think having age rated music videos to go with age rated games and movies and even red / green band trailers is not a bad thing as this would make life easier for the parent and the filters they choose to set especially if said age ratings were in were in the meta data of the content to help out LOCAL filtering as would LOCAL filtering anything with XXX domain would be easy.

    Of course this would only work for some of the internet content that played ball and set the appropriate meta data tags and for the rest well that would require some ACTUAL parenting!, SHOCK HORROR.

    Frankly though its your kids and its your problem, if your worried about them being at risk on the internet then either learn how to keep them safe and teach them how to keep themselves safe or don't let them on the internet. I mean its not as if there aren't people who can help, everyone knows a geek they can ask and many a parent i know have co-opted an elder child to monitor their youngest's (and presumably most in need of protection) facebook activity for example. If all else fails they could just learn.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      META elements

      A million years ago I vaguely recoolect some kind of push for opt-in age flag Meta elements, as far as I know only Disney carried them (pretty much exactly the site I wouldn't want my offspring to frequent actually)

      That went well, and died on it's arse

      also filtering on .xxx ccTLDs would be silly as a simple proxy (like istyosty does for the Mail, would be relatively simple to configure on an offshore box)

  40. Jemma Silver badge
    FAIL

    tell you what Cameron...

    Why dont you stop with all the net porn BS and deal with the police force...

    You know, those berks in blue?

    Like the ones who let a woman and her TWO YEAR OLD DAUGHTER get gunned down hours before a custody hearing - even after they were told the guy was likely to be less than sane. On the same road where my partner used to live.

    Or the ones who ignored weeks of complaints and requests for assistance - and whose inaction led to a mother and her three year old daughter being knifed so badly they both ended up in ICU.

    On the other hand, David, I suppose you could say that it means one less kiddie possibly able to find porn on her parents computer in the future - so in your language thats a 5 by 5 is it not?

    And thats not to mention the piglets who get away with ramming into a 16 year old at 90mph or videoing a taxi driver while he guns down half the local population AND DOING PRECISELY NOTHING...

    You make me nauseous David Cameron, and embarrassed to be English. You are inept, inane, incompetent and you and your cronies have done incalculable damage over the world since you weren't voted in.

    Stop f^&*ing about with god-botherers and prudes and start doing something useful. Getting the reichspolizei to do their job would be a good start... you know, listening to people and protecting them when they need protection. I almost think we should instigate the roman system. Every time there is a monumental-class cock up of epic proportions by the police (the three mentioned above for example, not to mention a certain non-protester, you know the one "of course he wasnt murdered, because we wouldnt allow the jury to decide it was murder") that the management team of that force be led out - stood in line - and every 10th person gets their brain blown out. That should be a suitable incentive for a little esprit'd'corps...

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I say one thing:

    Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

  42. Winkypop Silver badge
    Trollface

    We need a dot-god gTLD

    Then all the kiddies can go and play happily on the Internet with the nice, cardigan-wearing, happy-clappy, young-earth, religious types.

    On second thoughts, perhaps not....

  43. M Gale

    Mmmm ISP level filtering.

    That'll be the shit that most mobile providers in the UK do already. The stuff that's very good at blocking Playboy or Penthouse or Encyclopediadramatica, but completely crap at blocking anything more obscure. Like furry pr0n, perhaps. Or basically, any site not on the filter list. Or private servers. Or stuff sent via instant messages. Or pasted onto Facebook. Or.. well, provide your own example here.

    That and this mobile connection I'm currently connecting to has absolutely no problems allowing me to post onto a forum that is best described as "loosely" moderated. Not that I'd ever describe The Moderatrix as "loose", you understand. I value my appendages. Still, PG the register ain't, you bunch of cuts plus the letter N.

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Also see BBC comments

    Including such gems as "most people still think the internet is a toy" "Computers are for kids" etc

    Hmm seems the right wingers out there have realised they can gain traction with joe public by sock puppeting all over internet forums for an example check out the ctv.ca news site on any store about Stephen Harper and note the similarity of many comments in terms of phrasing etc despite the user names being different

  45. Anonymous Coward
    WTF?

    Ag!

    Already my Vodafone dongle won't let me connect to Flickr. Apparently I need to phone them up with credit card details to hand (I bought the fucking thing with a credit card, FFS) in order to tell them that, yes, it IS OK for me to upload my holiday photos.

    Not only is this the nanny state, but the nanny is Louise Woodward.

    1. dephormation.org.uk
      Big Brother

      You can also

      Go into a Vodafone store and ask (and if you look old enough, no credit card details are required).

      Sadly, refusing the censorship will not stop them harvesting your private/confidential communications, sending the details to Bluecoat in California, and then replaying your requests to see what you've been looking at.

  46. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    why dont they...

    why don't the tambourine tapping cardigan warring painted on smile warring god fearing cretins go and set up there own ISP and have all the filters set up to block everything that they feel is not good...

    Then try and market it as an ISP that will look after the moral hygiene of your children. Will not allow you to download "stolen" music or films, blocks P2P... .

    Then keep it running without any financial aid from the government.(read as " from me").

  47. ph0b0s

    Biggest facepalm ever...

    "To provide that option, Bailey is calling on the internet industry to offer either a network-level filtering system, such as the one TalkTalk just introduced, or else via "pre-installed software on a new laptop"."

    "pre-installed software on a new laptop", yeah it's called Windows 7 and with it's browser, it has all the easy to setup child controls you will ever need.

    Done can we all go home now. Really can someone just point out the this guy that what he wants is already there....

    ISP level filtering is not the way to go, thats why these things have been put in OS's and browsers, where they actually work. It's like trying to do something with the tyres on your car in to make it go faster without doing anything with the engine and then not understanding why expensive tyres only give you a little bit of a performance increase.

    The only reason that a government would want this in place is so they have a filtering infrastructure in place for their own agenda, under the cover of child protection....

  48. Badvok
    WTF?

    Can you read?

    Which bit of "Bailey's recommendation points to ISP customers needing to make an "active choice" over what content they want their children to see online. In other words, they get the final say on what is filtered out." did all the above irate commentards fail to understand?

    I can't see the harm, though I do understand that ISPs could be unhappy because this might eat into their margins in an already tight marketplace.

    1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

      Naive?

      Your "active choice" means having to ask politely to be allowed to see what you have every right to see anyway. And if you'll be nice they will possibly let you see some of it, sometimes...

      Today you will have to ask for porn, tomorrow - for Wikileaks, the day after - for anything that is not judged to be moral by the Central Scrutiniser. One day you won't need to ask for anything - they won't let you anyway.

      Still don't understand?

      1. Badvok

        Tin Foil Hat Brigade Alert!

        Not naive, I just don't see a conspiracy around every corner. I read that paragraph as meaning they intend an opt-out option for content filtering rather than the current opt-in which seems reasonable to me given how few have the knowledge to opt-in in the current set-up. Most of the above commentards who failed to actually read the article saw it as a proposal for mandatory content control without any option to turn it off,

        1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

          Conspiracy

          Did I mention conspiracy?

          You don't need conspiracy - the perfectly natural and spontaneous process of mission creep and vested interests will ensure that it will work like that without any conscious collusion between any particular people.

          Opt-out is not a simple "option to turn it off" - you will have to ask for permission to have access (and will have to satisfy their requirements). That permission may be granted or may be withheld. That fundamentally changes relationship between you and the ISPs and between ISPs and the Govt.

          In addition, once the filtering infrastructure is in place for porn, it can and will be used for anything else. The temptation will be irresistible - you will see how anti-terrorism and national security and all sorts of other important reasons will immediately arise which will require blocking this or that content.

          But in fact, of course, you will not see - because it will all be done secretly and the only thing *you* will see is 404 when you want to look at wikileaks or NAT error when you try to use torrents...

  49. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    ah

    Did someone just bring down the Mothers Union site?

    portal error: Sorry, an exception occured

    System.Data.SqlClient.SqlException: An error has occurred while establishing a connection to the server. When connecting to SQL Server 2005, this failure may be caused by the fact that under the default settings SQL Server does not allow remote connections. (provider: TCP Provider, error: 0 - No connection could be made because the target machine actively refused it.) at System.Data.ProviderBase.DbConnectionPool.GetConnection(DbConnection owningObject) at System.Data.ProviderBase.DbConnectionFactory.GetConnection(DbConnection owningConnection) at System.Data.ProviderBase.DbConnectionClosed.OpenConnection(DbConnection outerConnection, DbConnectionFactory connectionFactory) at System.Data.SqlClient.SqlConnection.Open() at System.Data.ProviderBase.DbConnectionClosed.OpenConnection(DbConnection outerConnection, DbConnectionFactory connectionFactory) at System.Data.SqlClient.SqlConnection.Open() at CM.PortalSettings.getActivePageFromDB(Int32 pageID, String pageToFind, Int32 portalID)

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