back to article PHWOAR! Huh! What is it good for? Absolutely nothing, Prime Minister

The government wants to stop children getting easy access to hard-core pornography: but the interwebs have exploded in righteous indignation at the apparent emergence of a police state. The Prime Minister wants ISPs to filter pornography, just as mobile operators have been doing for half a decade or so. Users wanting to access …

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  1. DJ Smiley

    Well the comment about O2 on 3G is incorrect.

    All mobile operators supply a way to block adult content simply by letting them know, you can also block other services such as premium rate phone lines etc.

    How do I know? Well I have a work phone on O2, and in some cases I need to check access to things and this may end up being of an adult nature. :D There is nothing blocked other than the default list which blocks cp.

    1. diodesign Silver badge

      Re: DJ Smiley

      "I have a work phone on O2"

      There's the reason. Business contracts do not enable filtering by default. Personal contracts (eg: mine) do.

      C.

    2. Goldmember

      It's the other way round. Personal contracts are blocked by default, and you have to let the network know to turn off the filter. I did this on my O2 contract with a £1 credit card payment, which was later refunded. It's a bit silly really, as you can't technically take out a phone contract if you're under 18, but I suppose they don't bother differentiating between contract and PAYG with regard to filtering.

      1. Irongut

        I have a personal phone on Vodafone. Have never asked them to opt me out of anything or make any specific content available. I can access porn on it no problem, even when abroad. This has always been the case.

        1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

          I, too, have a personal phone on Voda. It never used to block anything, until I changed my contract a few years back tog et a better price and new phone, at which point they started blocking 'adult' content even though I had been a contract customer for around fifteen years. I had to phone them up to get it removed, which they quickly did over the phone. TBH, any child with the motivation could probably impersonate an adult and do the same.

          It is worth noting that what they deem to be 'adult' content is not just pronography, but a much wider definition, such as gambling sites (including the national lottery) and some news outlets.

          There is a significant difference between the blocking of adult material on a single mobile device, which has a very good chance of being used solely and unsupervised by a child, and blocking specifically pornography on a fixed line which is shared by a number of devices. There are plenty of filtering products out there for those who don't want to supervise their child's internet access, and most ISPs offer an OPTIONAL filtering service.

          The issues most people have are the default stance of blocking things and people having to opt out, the creeping censorship this entails, the list of people who have opted out, and the uses this list may be put to, and the implication that it is the state's job to supervise the parenting of children within the domestic setting. These are but a few objections, I'm sure you can find plenty of other reasonable ones.

      2. DJ Smiley
        Paris Hilton

        O2 might turn this on by default for contracts, but all operators don't.

        The number of parents who buy their kid's contract phones, and never inform the operator that a under 18 is operating the phone means we have many "WHY DID YOU LET LITTLE JOHNNY CALL THOSE LINES!" customer complaints, after little johnny has made it very clear he is pretending to be 18.

    3. rh587 Bronze badge
      FAIL

      Both Orange Safeguard and Vodafone's Content Control block sites which "could be deemed offensive".

      In this case I found I was unable to access the site for the International Shooting Sports Federation (which is mandated by the IOC no less to regulate the Olympic shooting events) because it "has to do with nasty nasty guns" and "could promote firearms crime", which anyone even faintly familiar with the Olympic Shooting events will know is an utter crock.

      They also ban shooting's national governing body (NSRA) and my club's site. Which is annoying.

      I can see a case for blocking hunting sites for under-18s on the premise there might be images of dead animals (although I wouldn't agree with it - groups like the RSPCA make a living by putting footage of animal abuse on pre-watershed TV) but for target shooting? No, not a hope. They have no business censoring it.

      Interestingly the International Fencing Federation is not banned, even though the same line of reasoning surely suggests that swordplay would promote knife violence! And knives are much more readily available than firearms to our yoof!

      So I think the inevitable concern is mission creep - mobile providers are already blocking perfectly legal stuff "with the potential to offend", including Olympic sports and stuff that really isn't offensive by any sort of objective measure. I don't see that porn blocks will stick to porn - mission creep is the raison d'etre of bodies like the IWF. Whilst CEOP's job is spelt out in it's name, I can see the Internet Watch Foundation spreading it's wings to Watch rather more areas of the Internet than it's founders intended.

      Plus, the whole strong-arm the search companies and block at ISP level ignores the more pressing issue of identifying where that abuse exists in the UK, rescuing the kids and dealing with it (and data-sharing with foreign bodies where it's outside the UK).

      As it is, this sums up the current position:

      "Hurrah, we've made it hard(er) to find child porn on the internet!"

      "Yes, but what have you done to actually stop the kids being pimped out in the first place?"

      "Oh. Well, err, that's complicated. You actually have to find them first. Difficult. Expensive. Takes time. Strong arming the search companies is cheap, easy, and makes good headlines."

      1. David Hicks
        FAIL

        To add to the list -

        I was at a music festival last year, and couldn't look up the program of events on my phone because Orange decided that it was adult content.

        The conversation about what and what is not appropriate to put in a filter has most definitely not been had. Pornography should not be singled out. Sex and the display of sex is far less offensive than many, many other things we allow and should continue to allow unfilterered.

        It should not be the childrens internet by default, and children are exactly the ones that will find their way around the blocks fastest.

      2. Naughtyhorse

        what have you done to actually stop the kids being pimped out in the first place?

        Now there is the nub of the issue.

        I have never heard any evidence anywhere from anyone even suggesting that the victims portrayed in CP would not be victims of abuse if the camera wasn't there. Someone prepared (given the opportunity) to abuse a child for profit, is exactly the sort of person who will (given the opportunity) abuse a child for no better reason than they can.

        Offender motivation is very complex and the profit motive never features on the list. (just for the record - victims by and large do NOT go on to become offenders either)

        I was a victim as a child, photographs were taken, I'm now a middle aged man, eventually I have been able to address many of the issues/difficulties/problems that came about as a result of being abused. Some things I haven't been so successful with, and I can accept that I probably never will, and thats ok (well it's a metric fucktonne short of being ok, but I am where I am :-D). It's taken me around 40 years to get here, and I'm doing ok.

        The pictures?

        I don't know if they still exist, and TBH I don't much care. Compared to all the other horrors of my everyday existence as a little boy, It didn't make a whole lot of difference to anything.

        It's not on my top ten of things to get pissed off about now, not even on the top 100.

        For sure CP online needs to be eradicated if possible (which I highly doubt) And people trafficking in this stuff need to be dealt with. Yet it continues to amaze me that some dribbling fuckwit with a few dozen pictures on his PC is treated as the same kind of animal as a degenerate priest or DJ who is responsible for actively ruining the childhood's and shattering the personal development of dozens if not hundreds of young people. Directly causing (typically) decades of suffering in silence, and further decades of therapy and the BEST you can expect is to acknowledge that most of your life is missed opportunities, assuming that is that one of the many suicide attempts along the way didn't turn out to be more than an attempt.

        The only reason for the disproportionate treatment of CP possessors that I can come up with is that dribbling fuckwits are easier to catch, and that creates the impression that something is being done, when it really isn't. I guess in about 30 or 40 years time people will be looking askance at attitudes around the turn of the century that paid lip service to addressing the issue of child abuse, but did little to actually try to help the victims. In the same way that we treat the attitudes in the 50's 60's 70's from the exalted moral high ground we now feel we occupy.

        Abuse is real, it's happening everywhere. In more than one house on your street. Today. Some of the victims will die, most will never confront their issues, those that do will devote years and years of 'crying in a room full of strangers' to get there.

        But you can sleep well, dave cameron is on the case.

        1. jonathanb Silver badge

          Re: what have you done to actually stop the kids being pimped out in the first place?

          I don't think anyone is suggesting that eliminating child porn will completely stop child abuse. However, one thing is for certain, it isn't going to lead to an increase in child abuse, and it might reduce it a bit. So for that reason it is worth doing.

          1. Mad Mike

            Re: what have you done to actually stop the kids being pimped out in the first place?

            'I don't think anyone is suggesting that eliminating child porn will completely stop child abuse. However, one thing is for certain, it isn't going to lead to an increase in child abuse, and it might reduce it a bit. So for that reason it is worth doing.'

            I'm not aware of any studies on child abuse, but I am aware of studies on porn that suggest removing porn will actual increase sex crime. The reason is simple. Some will always commit sex crimes. However, there is a large chunk in the middle that get their kids through looking at porn. Therefore, they never move onto sex crimes. I'm not aware of any study that has ever suggested a causal link between porn and committing sex crimes. Yes, people who commit sex crimes normally use porn, but it doesn't mean porn caused it.

            So, you have these people who don't commit crimes, but get off on watching porn. Now, take that away. Some will still not commit crimes and will simply live without the porn. However, another part of that group will need to get their kicks somewhere. As porn is no longer available, they will move up to sex crimes. Therefore, you are causing more sex crimes.

            So, your assumption it can't make the situation worse is contrary to what several studies have found (in relation to porn and sex crimes). So, your assumption could well be wrong. You are mistaking correlation with causation.

            Additionally, if you look at the stats, most countries with more lax porn laws actually have lower levels of sex crimes than the UK. So, there is evidence that the reverse is true.

            This is not me saying that child abuse should not be wiped out (or as close as we can get). However, you only do that by controlling the people that would do it. Not those that would look at it. Those that would actually do it. If you had 100 people who carried out child abuse and 10,000 who looked at the videos, is that better or whose than 200 people carrying it out and nobody looking at the videos? In one case, you have 100 victims, in the other 200. Which is worse? If you manage to stop everyone watching it, but more 'graduate' to actually carrying it out, are you making the situation better or worse?

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Dear Dave

      I see that your time at Eaton has had a profound effect on you life. I wonder whether it was those late night dorm raids, the fagging or the rough and tumble jinx you took part in that has influenced your life. Granted the use of the cane in your day, being thrashed by the older boys , was a little over zealously done but rest assured that it was only done to you as a right of passage. It has made you into the man you are today.

      For the rest of us, the unprivileged oiks, we were not able to experience such a privileged upbringing as you had. You even got up to a lot of high jinx at Oxford did you not.

      However give us the benefit of the doubt over our own lives. Most of us can make rational decisions without being influenced by hang ups. We are a sensible bunch and don't need to be nannied by the State. I know this is hard for you to understand, you have after all never had a real job in to real world since you were closeted from birth to being PM.

      Let us make our own decisions and treat us like adults.

    5. jonathanb Silver badge

      O2 blocks things like some clothes shops and tattooists as being "adult content"

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sort of agree except for one massive glaring problem...

    Most systems now by default censor anything with the words gay, lesbian or bisexual in them. This cuts of a news, shopping you name it.. And guess what not everything with those words is porn.

    1. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

      Re: Sort of agree except for one massive glaring problem...

      This ZDNet article contains evidence of that happening on Tumblr's mobile app.

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My mobile network (voda) doesn't block at network level. There is an app on phones by default by my experience (of the nottingham store) is that at the time of launch they had so many people walking in for support (ie getting it removed) that they now simply offer to remove it for EVERY customer over 18 before they hand the phone over.

    However long ago they launched this system this is still the case to this day.

    I wonder if any other reg commenters have a similar experience at other voda stores? did your phone come with the filth-filter on? Mine didn't.

    I thought that was about the only part of this article I could comment on without getting worked up. What a crazy position. Do you, dear author, honestly believe this will prevent teenagers accessing porn? I don't. not for one second. I think the author serious under-estimates the ability teenagers show in getting round already existing systems and that's all I'll say for fear of begining a rant. Mind you, I suspect that's the point of this article getting published. I'm sure the author beleives what he's written, but from an editorial point of view...obvious troll is obvious.

    1. Bert 1
      FAIL

      My Mobile provider (virgin) came with a filter already applied.

      It prevented access to forums, so I disabled it within 24 hours.

      1. Version 1.0 Silver badge
        Happy

        Filter fail

        T-Mobile blocked fanfiction.net in the US so the first thing I had to do with my 13 yo daughters phone was allow "adult content" ... of course, T-mobiles arse is covered and that's all that really matters isn't it?

        The entire argument has nothing to do with porn at all.

    2. Fibbles
      Facepalm

      The comparison between mobile and fixed line networks is so mind numbingly stupid. Mobile networks have filtering by default because a teenager can wander into a shop anywhere in the country, hand their pocket money to the salesman and buy a phone with a pay-as-you-go sim outright. No contracts, no paperwork, no parental oversight.

      When was the last time you heard of a 14 year old getting a fibre line installed to the family home without their parents noticing?

      1. rh587 Bronze badge

        I think possibly the point is that whilst the default on/off debate is one thing, what is notable is that mobile providers are not filtering porn but "objectionable content" - including music festivals, Olympic sports, etc, etc presumably based on a stunningly crude and broad-ranging set of keywords with pretty much no transparency or procedures in place for getting your site un-filtered if it gets swept in erroneously. There is no reason to suspect that a landline filtering system would not creep out to cover all sorts of things that the government decided were "undesirable".

  4. Frank Zuiderduin

    ...who don't know one end of a CAT5 from the other.

    Because the difference between both ends of a CAT5 is...?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      ...the pin connection order if it's a cross-over cable. Although, yeah.

    2. Khaptain Silver badge
      Coat

      One end is for the computer, the other is for the wall, if you mix them up your data will flow the wrong way.

      1. SuperTim
        Joke

        I'm OK

        I use CAT6 so don't have to worry about either end of a CAT5...

        I am dead ace at the interweb and know where all my megabytes are going to on my hard drive or laptop.

    3. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge
      Coat

      > Because the difference between both ends of a CAT5 is...

      Both male, how shockingly pornographic

      1. Dunhill
        Angel

        if you put it straight in the female it is wrong

        if you put it twisted in the female it is right

    4. Allicorn

      > the difference between both ends of a CAT5 is...?

      Meditate enough upon this 5000 year old IT industry Zen koan and you may achieve enlightenment.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Because the difference between both ends of a CAT5 is...?

      I think the author is trying to demonstrate his superiority in the same way as Basil Fawlty trying to tell a guest that he was a wine expert saying "most guests here wouldn't know the difference between Bordeaux and Claret"

    6. BOFH Jr.
      FAIL

      "...who don't know one end of a CAT5 from the other.

      Because the difference between both ends of a CAT5 is...?"

      That was a joke. You didn't get it.

    7. Bernard M. Orwell Silver badge

      One end is correctly plugged into a device, properly audited, asseted and configured....

      ....the other end is lost. Somewhere in the patch panel. We're not sure where.

    8. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      ..,.the mouth and the arse. You soon know if you stick your appendage in the wrong end, I can tell you.

      Claude Balls.

  5. Kevin Fairhurst

    "A surprising number of parents simply assume the internet is already filtered, just like the TV has a watershed, and their children are wandering unprotected on an open network parts of which are really quite unpleasant."

    The answer is to educate the parents, and to get them to have responsibility for their children. A half arsed PR stunt to make people think that working filters are in place will ensure that those parents will continue to let kids use the Internet unfiltered, as the kids will have found a proxy to get around the blocks!

    A default filter does NOT solve the problem. It needs a programme of education as well. Any ISP level filter needs to sit alongside software controlled by the parents, so that they have finer control over what is and isn't blocked.

    Parents also need to ensure that they still have anti virus and anti spam software installed on their windows machines, but it would not surprise me in the slightest if those of a less technical bent assume that this filter will also filter out that kind if thing...

    1. Code Monkey
      Childcatcher

      You seem to be suggesting that parents take responsibility for their children. That's not the 21st century way!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        It's no accident, either

        "You seem to be suggesting that parents take responsibility for their children. That's not the 21st century way!"

        And it's not just communist and fascist governments that do everything they can to break up the family, and make themselves the hub of every individual citizen's life. Every modern government does that. The more they can replace parents and grandparents, the more money they can justify grabbing and the more control they can assume over our lives. Driving down pay through inflation and taxation (as suggested by Lenin) has so far enabled them to force most mothers to go out to work, leaving a huge gap which must be filled by business and government.

        It's actually very funny. During much of my life I was subjected to a torrent of propaganda about the wicked communists and how our way of life was the exact opposite of theirs. That turns out to be true in one respect at least: Karl Marx predicted that the State would eventually wither away. Whereas in the freedom-loving democratic West, the State is steadily growing and extending its power over everything we say and do.

        1. John Sanders
          Mushroom

          Re: It's no accident, either

          You're right mate, only that you fail to see that we're in the situation we're in because the left owns the culture in the western world.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: It's no accident, either

            I thought it was Tory boy doing this? If he's your idea of leftist you must wear nothing but brown shirts...

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: It's no accident, either

              Some right wing nut jobs think Tory Blair is a socialist. I guess that's because his political party name included the word 'Labour' whereas his policies from day 1 were to the right of Thatcher.

              1. Goat Jam

                Re: It's no accident, either

                If you consider the political spectrum to be a circle with the farthest right being on degree 1 and the farthest left being on degree 359 then you will see why there is is very little difference between the left and the right, when taken to extremes.

                Where the most noticable differences occur are around the 90 and 270 degree points.

                HTH

              2. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: It's no accident, either

                @AC ( Posted Tuesday 23rd July 2013 22:21 GMT) :

                "Some right wing nut jobs think Tory Blair is a socialist. I guess that's because his political party name included the word 'Labour' whereas his policies from day 1 were to the right of Thatcher."

                Eh? Occasionally I run into someone who says this and assume they must be troll or nuts. Under labour we had as much money thrown at anything to reduce its effectiveness. We have the welfare state which ballooned under labour, same with the public sector, same with tax. We had boom years and we had nothing left at the end of it. We had reduced employment (they were all hiding in the public sector) and the compulsory membership of the EU. And when this gov got in (any gov would have to do it but labour) they had to cut down huge excesses of bureaucracy that cost us for the pleasure. And while it wasnt blair in the end it was still a socialist party who wanted to make cuts to make thatchers eyes water but borrow to fund their welfare state. Two statements that are incompatible but pander to the voters to stay in power.

                Hope that helps

            2. Goat Jam

              Re: It's no accident, either

              I don't even live in the UK and I can tell that Cameron is a soft leftist.

              It's a common disease amongst people who mislabel themselves as conservative these days, unfortunately.

              The problem is that modern leftards have moved so far to the left now that they are brushing up against where the far right lives and the more centrist conservatives have moved to the centre left position to fill the vacuum left behind.

    2. JetSetJim Silver badge
      Paris Hilton

      Watershed

      "A surprising number of parents simply assume the internet is already filtered, just like the TV has a watershed, and their children are wandering unprotected on an open network parts of which are really quite unpleasant."

      So why not apply this filter in the same way as it is on the telly - i.e. turn it on before 9pm, off afterwards (until some arbitrary time in the dead of night)?

      Personally, I'd prefer the control to reside in the devices, rather than in the network, but then I'm literate enough to police my kids network connectivity.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Watershed

        "I'm literate enough to police my kids network connectivity."

        Which is an adult, considered position. I respect that!

        I have no respect for those who dump their responsibilities onto the rest of society. (Explains why I dispise huge swathes of the 'Glish)

        If you want to keep your child safe, LEARN what the risks are and how to overcome them! I can then have hope in society and believe that I'm not surrounded by selfish dumb "people".

      2. MrXavia

        Re: Watershed

        I would prefer controls in the router than the ISP, that way I can still have my porn while locking down my kids devices so tight they can't even open a VPN tunnel!

      3. Richard Gadsden

        Re: Watershed

        "some arbitrary time in the dead of night" 5:30 am. Facts wot most people can't remember.

    3. monkeyfish

      To be fair, the article already said that teenagers will find a way around it, and AFAIK that's not the point of filtering. Filtering wont ever stop a determined individual from accessing what they already know is there. What it stops is little Jonny 5 yr old from finding what is there in the first place. Though saying that, obviously little Jonny shouldn't be given unsupervised access anyway, but still.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Jonny 5 year old would see porn, and click back and go back to trying to find whatever he wanted...

        As a parent you need to get your kids balanced before they start searching for that stuff..

        Nudity should not be a taboo... but I bet places such as the british naturism website will be blocked by this!

        1. Mad Mike

          @AC.

          '

          Jonny 5 year old would see porn, and click back and go back to trying to find whatever he wanted...

          As a parent you need to get your kids balanced before they start searching for that stuff..

          Nudity should not be a taboo... but I bet places such as the british naturism website will be blocked by this!'

          Too right. Adults are all too quick to put their bias on other people. A 5 year old will see nudity or whatever and be totally uninterested. They were looking for something on Elmo from Sesame Street or whatever and will simply ignore it. Older ones, who understand a bit more are probably already looking for this stuff anyway. It's amazing how many adults attribute sexual thoughts to children way too young for this simply because the adult has sexual thoughts. School know about this and its a common theme in complaints. Parents complain that their 5 year old girl was grabbed inappropriately by a 5 year old boy. This all goes ballistic and they fail to see sense because they're looking at it with sexual eyes rather than through the eyes of a 5 year old. Their daughter gets upset because of what their parents are suggesting. In reality, they were simply playing tag or whatever in the playground and there was absolutely nothing sexual about it at all. However, the boys parents need to get involved etc.etc. My wife sees this sort of thing in school all the time.

          1. Amorous Cowherder

            "Jonny 5 year old would see porn, and click back and go back to trying to find whatever he wanted...

            As a parent you need to get your kids balanced before they start searching for that stuff..

            Nudity should not be a taboo... but I bet places such as the british naturism website will be blocked by this!'"

            I have no problem with my 10 year old daughter seeing nudity, she's seen us both nude, we've never make a fuss about nudity in our house, she just thinks people look funny in the nude ( "wrinkly pink suits" ). Before she had sex-ed classes, we talked to her about sex, relationships, consideration for others and respect for herself. However by the same token there's a big difference between sensible having-to-live-in-close-proximity-nudity of the family with acceptance of the human body in all it's glory, and then seeing complete over the top video of someone ramming a 12 inch dildo up someone else's arse, no matter how lovingly it might be done! I have no issues with my daughter who might happen to see us stepping out of the shower but I wouldn't want her to see me and the Missus enjoying some adult fun, it's not appropriate.

            The world is not black and white, yes or no as some people seem to think it is, there are a billion grey areas to consider about how far is too far.

            For the record I too have no problem with the idea of blocks HOWEVER...I don't want them as I know that the security services and our ever so wonderful government will simply see it as the thin end of the wedge. First they appease the Mumsnet/Daily Mail crowd ( assumes voice of typical DM reader: "I mean who could argue with blocking porn for the kiddies, only a pervert!" ) next thing subtle little changes creep in, you can't access Amnesty Int, you can't access protest groups against the arms trade or abuse in countries our Gov is friends with, like the Arab nations, for fear of upsetting them. I am against the blocks as they will, no doubt about it, eventually lead to the death of free speech.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Naturism ?? That were porn when I were young.

          You've reminded me of my first glimpses of the female breast (since my infancy) and (definitely) my first glimpses of muff.

          Health & Efficiency, nicked from the WH Smith bookstall on Egham station by a classmate in the 1st year at secondary school. How we all crowded round it. How we all ogled.

      2. Matt Siddall

        So?

        "What it stops is little Jonny 5 yr old from finding what is there in the first place."

        So? I remember when I first found out about the mechanics of the whole business. I was about 8, and I remember thinking something along the lines of "errrrgh!" I just figured adults were wierd, and I'd never want to do that. I certainly wasn't interested in porn, and the naked female form held no appeal for me. If I had stumbled onto a site full of it, I'd not really have known what it was all about and I'd definitely not have been interested.

        The point is that seeing sexual images is not going to do Little Jonny any harm unless there's already something wrong - he'll just shrug and move on to pokemon, or moshi monsters, or whatever the kids are into these days.

        What harm does it actually do?

        (now if we're talking about child porn then I can see that there might be odd assumptions created in little Jonny's brain - and incidentally it really bugs me that there's no H in his name, even though he doesn't exist - but that stuff isn't easy to stumble onto and is already hidden/removed as quickly as possible)

      3. Tom 35 Silver badge

        Not just little Jonny

        It's the whole house. The adults can't access stuff they might need for work, or just want to see, so they turn it off. Now no protection for little Jonny.

        Much better to put a filter on little Jonny's computer. For a 5 year old as simple as using a safe DNS service.

        It's not fit for purpose. Unless the purpose is to make points with the Think of the Children crowd.

        1. JeremyH

          Re: Not just little Jonny

          Easy solution: don't buy Little Jonny a computer! Buy him a tin drum, a crossbow or one of those fun toys that loving Uncles would buy their beloved nephews and, as these are enlightened times, nieces. Little Jonny will have much more fun with a crossbow.......

        2. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

          Re: Not just little Jonny @ Tom 35

          "t's the whole house. The adults can't access stuff they might need for work, or just want to see, so they turn it off. Now no protection for little Jonny."

          Yes, this is what I've been thinking for a while. However (devil's advocate hat on), some parents who haven't thought about it before might think about the problem, and learn about ways of filtering by device. This would be a net gain in computer literacy, and so a technological good.

          Comments made by others here about what children perceive as "bad" are well made also. Children (as in actual children, those pre-puberty) do not have the equipment to have any interest in or understanding of sex. It is sex-obsessed adults who project their ideas on to the children, and it is *that* which causes the problem. This derives directly from the resurgence of a really nasty puritanical streak that ought to have diminished with the reduction in people going to church, but which has perversely grown to near Cromwellian proportions.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Excellent point, well made

      "Parents also need to ensure that they still have anti virus and anti spam software installed on their windows machines, but it would not surprise me in the slightest if those of a less technical bent assume that this filter will also filter out that kind if thing..."

      It is not up to the ISP to prevent viruses, it's up to the user to learn and apply security.

      Blocking porn at the network level means that the mumsnet crowd will never learn, which is worse! Far worse!

      If porn is so unnatural/unhealthy/bad, why is there so much of it?

      If you see porn as unnatural/unhealthy/bad, those are attributes that YOU are applying, denying the truth. Teaching kids about sex has always been an issue parents have shyd away from because they don't know the truth or their religious beliefs make them think it is evil. These are the worst type of parents and will only prodcue another generation of fked up kids, and the cycle starts again!

      Grow a pair and teach your children properly!

    5. Synkrox

      You expect to teach all parents how to filter the internet and enforce fine-grain control over each device?

      Yes, parents SHOULD take responsibility for their kids, but a lot don't know/understand/care and its the kids that suffer when they come across stuff that they shouldn't.

      Honestly if you are that bothered about looking at filth then turn YOUR filter off. Hardly a big deal and some protection is better than no protection for those that do need it.

      1. Mad Mike

        @Synkrox.

        'You expect to teach all parents how to filter the internet and enforce fine-grain control over each device?'

        You simply buy a readily available product to install on their PC. They're not perfect, but they're very easy to use. Problem is, some parents don't care enough to pay the money. Another alternative would be for government to pay for the development of such a product and then supply it free on request.

        'Yes, parents SHOULD take responsibility for their kids, but a lot don't know/understand/care and its the kids that suffer when they come across stuff that they shouldn't.'

        Yes, I appreciate that. However, if children suffer as a result of their parents neglect, that is the job of social services. However, whether they do suffer as a result of no filtering is far from proven anyway.

        'Honestly if you are that bothered about looking at filth then turn YOUR filter off. Hardly a big deal and some protection is better than no protection for those that do need it.'

        No, I am a caring parent and therefore have implemented a suitable solution to try and get the worst of it. It's by no means perfect and I'm quite aware my eldest has found ways round it. But then, he is 16, so less of an issue now. Not caring or being unwilling to learn enough to do it are simply symptoms of bad parenting. A caring parent will learn if necessary.

  6. g e
    Holmes

    Which is all OK until you consider

    Is the blocklist a centralised gov't controlled DB of stuff?

    In which case expect scope creep, especially as soon as Big Meeja start backhanding their pet politicians (as then they'll no longer need a court case per block) and that's just one example of where it'll all turn to shit.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Which is all OK until you consider

      Exactly. We're moving away from "we think that criminal acts are wrong, the courts will judge you if you commit them" to "we know that criminal acts are wrong, the government will prevent you from commiting them". Is there a better definition of a police state?

    2. TheOtherHobbes

      Re: Which is all OK until you consider

      Meanwhile sites like liveleak, which have improving things like "Woman fatally shoots man at Houston gas station then films his body" in their featured content, will continue unmolested.

      As will the slightly perplexing establishment links to certain activities we're not allowed to mention on here, but which are covered on sites like Exaro.

    3. Mike Richards

      Re: Which is all OK until you consider

      Good point - and will the names and addresses of people who choose to switch off the filter be stored centrally, or will the record of them doing so be accessible to the police? Because I can see problems with that - perhaps schools will start asking prospective teachers if they use a filtered internet connection, and we can imagine the media feeding frenzy if the suspect in a murder or abuse case is found to have turned off the filters - because - you know - internet is bad...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Which is all OK until you consider

        "Will the names and addresses of people who choose to switch off the filter be stored?"

        A good question, and I bet you a straight answer will go like this:

        "All will be done according to the letter of the law, unfortunately, as you must understand the details need to be kept secret. Neeext!"

  7. Ian 62

    The devil in the detail

    Can we see the list please?

    The list of sites/content/genre that they've deemed to be Adult and requiring filtered?

    Can we know who is on the committee please?

    Is advice to curious teenage LGBT on that list?

    Is advice for teenage safe sex on that list?

    Are historic great works featuring cherubs and teenagers on that list?

    Are album covers on that list?

    What happens if at visitor uses my unfiltered internet connection and is offended by the pron apparently FORCED on them? Am I held liable for supplying pron to visiting children?

    What happens if the ISP filter fails? Are they held liable for negligence?

    What stops the list expanding into other things mumsnet disapproves of? Fundementalist religions? Abbortion? Drugs? Violent video games/films?

    Who gets to be the 'other' voice here? The mumsnet lobby has secured the ear of "Call me Dave", where is my voice on the committee?

    1. oddie
      Happy

      Re: The devil in the detail

      If we do get a filter i will certainly be campaigning for mumsnet to be added to the filtered out part of the net and not accesible unless you opt in to it.. it seems to have ideas (not necessarily covered in this article) that I don't want instilled in the young and impressionable.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Big Brother

      Re: The devil in the detail

      Some good points there.

      However I'm in as long as they block the Daily Mail as I don't want my kids to grow up bigoted, reactionary, small minded, scientifically illiterate and politically to the right of Mussolini.

      1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
        Happy

        Re: The devil in the detail

        "However I'm in as long as they block the Daily Mail as I don't want my kids to grow up bigoted, reactionary, small minded, scientifically illiterate and politically to the right of Mussolini."

        Fair point.

        So where will you getting your supply of JB in future?

      2. TeeCee Gold badge
        Coat

        Re: The devil in the detail

        Fair enough as long as we also block the Grauniad, as I don't want mine growing up as effete, handwringing lefties and they get quite enough eco-brainwashing at school thanks.

        1. hplasm Silver badge
          Devil

          Re: The devil in the detail

          Block all of the news rags- they have print. Why do they need to clog up the 'net too?

      3. Anonymous John

        Re: The devil in the detail

        If you look at Mailonline's sidebar of shame, that should be certain. It's full of nudity, one year olds wearing bikinis, under-age girls described as all grown up, etc.

        I can remember the press getting upset about children swapping floppies with nude images twenty years ago. Mankind survived. Twenty years from now, we'll have porno 3D holograms. So what?

        1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
          FAIL

          Re: The devil in the detail

          "I can remember the press getting upset about children swapping floppies with nude images twenty years ago. Mankind survived. Twenty years from now, we'll have porno 3D holograms. So what?"

          And naturally the jails will fill with nubile young people on possession, mfg and distribution of CP (because they will were underage at the time.

          A nice little treat for the actual violent robbers, murderers and rapists serving long sentences with plenty of "free" time on their hands.

          Fail for this jackass law and it's completely predictable consequences

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      'The devil in the detail'..... ..... We all know where this is going...

      #1. Multiple sites can be hosted under the same IP. We know from Auz that innocent people i.e. Dentists can end up blacklisted due to assumptions and net ignorance. We also know filters will 'slip-in' to benefit political or religious agendas. So exactly who maintains this list? Where is the list right now, I want to see every site blocked?

      #2. Porn Spam can be sent from Mom and Pop businesses ala website hijacking. Presumably innocence will be no excuse for crimes permitted under small biz website names... Will they end up blacklisted too?

      #3. False Positives..... There were always be some. For instance, I need to locate a golden coloured shower head.... Will that trigger the 'Golden Shower' filter? Being tongue and cheek here, but you get the idea...

    4. Justicesays
      Trollface

      Re: The devil in the detail

      This list is totally separate from the list of illegal stuff, and so I can see no reason why the filter list itself should not be accessible in its entirety to anyone who wants to see it.

      Hang on, just thought of one, the list is provided by a "3rd party" and thus is "commercially confidential" , if they just let you see it you could copy it and start your own government censorship business!

    5. green_giant
      FAIL

      Re: The devil in the detail

      Good list and the filters can and do fail!

      http://beusergroup.co.uk/index.php?id=954

      FIXED: Blocked sites accessible!

      2013-06-23 06:43:59, by drsox

      EDIT: 2013-06-24 21:54 - The site has been re-blocked. However raises a good point about the efficacy of ISP based blocks which are easily circumvented or, as demonstrated, go wrong!

      An IRC user alerted us that court-mandated blocks on websites such as ThePirateBay seem to either have been removed or the system to block them has failed!

      The user reports, and we have tested, that ThePirateBay, Fenopy and kat torrent sites are accessible again after being blocked for around a year!

  8. Dazed & Confused

    It's poorly implemented, though.

    I was moving house, so bought a 3G dongle to last me while Virgin got their act together.

    I'm a photographer, and was using Flickr at the time. It was blocked.

    I rang up and said I wanted to unblock Flickr. They said they could switch off the filter, but there was a £1 charge on my credit card to prove I was an adult. (Apparently 1p, or a refund afterwards, wouldn't be enough proof.)

    I pointed out I didn't need the filter off I just wanted Flickr - the biggest photo site in the world at the time. Nope - all or nothing, and a £1 charge.

    One this is implemented I can see ISPs rushing to get Reddit, Tumblr, even Twitter added to the block list - simply so that they can charge £1 to unblock 'adult content'. Unblocking will become the first thing people do, just to get access some core, 99% 'innocent' sites - thus invalidating the whole system, and making the only winners the ISPs.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It's poorly implemented, though.

      so that they can charge £1 to unblock 'adult content'

      This is what mobile phone companies do ... "adult" content is block by default and to remove the block you need to demonstrate you are over 18 and the simplest way is to show you have a credit card (won't be issued to under 18s because I think they can't be held liable for credit debts) and they check this by making a £1 charge to the account and if that succeeds they then send a £1 refund and remove the block. So its not a £1 charge to unblock.

      1. Captain Hogwash Silver badge

        Re: "...simplest way is to show you have a credit card..."

        They already know you are 18 or over if you pay your bill by credit card, yet they still make the charge. I certainly didn't get a refund from my previous supplier under these circumstances. I was ripped off plain and simple.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "...simplest way is to show you have a credit card..."

          @Captain Hogwash

          " I was ripped off plain and simple."

          No. You are whingeing like a tight git.

          You can barely buy a Mars bar for a quid these days.

          If access to Flickr was that important then it was worth a pound.

          1. Anonymous Coward 15

            Re: "...simplest way is to show you have a credit card..."

            Depending on the network you may be able to go into one of their shops with ID to prove you are an adult.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: "...simplest way is to show you have a credit card..."

              Not quite true, I had huge issues when I joined T-Mobile. Being bankrupt I do not qualify for any credit card. T-Mobile refused to accept my debit card as proof. It HAD to be a credit card.

              I went to a T-Mobile store to get the block removed. Took passport, photo license, birth certificate and a bunch of other proofs of id. The young man at the counter called a number, told them that he had verified that I was over 18, told them what proofs of id I had brought. Then said to me..

              "I'm sorry, but they are insisting on making a credit card charge. Nothing else is acceptable."

              Fortunately the store manager called someone else, and got it all sorted.

              So, I can well see some suppliers refusing proofs of id, and insisting on the credit card charge.

              Also I didn't want access to the porn, I wanted access to eBuddy, which for some reason, was included in the block.

          2. Captain Hogwash Silver badge
            FAIL

            @AC 12:08 GMT

            It was Dazed & Confused who wanted Flickr access. I didn't say what I wanted access to (not porn though.) As to whether or not it was worth spending an extra pound to access something I'd already paid for, you can only speak for yourself. Don't presume to speak for others.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It's poorly implemented, though.

      "One this is implemented I can see ISPs rushing to get Reddit, Tumblr, even Twitter added to the block list - simply so that they can charge £1 to unblock 'adult content'. Unblocking will become the first thing people do, just to get access some core, 99% 'innocent' sites - thus invalidating the whole system, and making the only winners the ISPs."

      Exactley! Only mumsnet are not capable of understanding this!

      And they wonder why they get "wash the dishes and cook my tea"?

      They are making themselves look stupid.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It's poorly implemented, though.

      "Once this is implemented I can see ISPs rushing to get Reddit, Tumblr, even Twitter added to the block list"

      Well Reddit, Tumblr and Twitter are all full of porn. These are actually sites where people are likely to accidentally find porn, whereas www.bigboobies.com is not so likely to be typed in accidentally.

      But you can imagine the out cry of what used to be called the "chattering classes" if they suggested blocking Twitter. Perhaps its because they like to be able to see when their favourite adult entertainment entrepreneur is currently available, which seems to be one of its uses.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    There is a fundamental difference.

    Installing a rock solid content filter on a (windows) pc is a piece of pee.Blue coats K9 protection is free so not even a cost to it. But like all filtering it has it's issues (horrorscopes are classed as occult)

    Content filters on phones are pretty easy to get around and always have been, usualy just delete the app.

    The big difference is there is no whitelist the average Joe can allow.

    So say I want my kids to go to say...learnaboutsexinasensibleway.com or imamanwhatthehelldoiknowaboutperiods.co.uk or debunkingsexualmyths.org but it's blocked. How do you allow it?

    Yes I will talk to my kids, but at times, they want to find things out for themselves.

    And then what next? "Terror" sites (please define a terrorist, A Jordanian will have different views than you or I, what about right wing parties, communists, how about sites that show junk food, or beer or anything else that may upset little Johnny.

    Thanks, but I think that I'm better placed to look after my kids than some pubic school educated dick that forgets his kids in the pub.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Meh

      "Blue coats K9 protection is free so not even a cost to it. But like all filtering it has it's issues (horoscopes are classed as occult)...So say I want my kids to go to say... debunkingsexualmyths.org but it's blocked. How do you allow it?"

      Come off it! There can be no univerally agreed whitelist, but K9 is easy to use and robust, and very easily customised. The defaults are to filter for starch-collared US Christian values, but that's OK. I've permitted some categories and sites I want them to have access to, but as a starting point better to have excessive filtering rather than let some of the unpleasant rubbish through. Children will struggle to get round it (and if they can then there's probably nothing to stop them getting round other barriers), but adding exceptions by category, or by specific website is very easy for the K9 administrator (ie you). And if it's on a machine also used for "adult purposes" then it's easy to bypass all filtering in administrator mode for preset periods, at the end of which it reverts to normal filtering.

      So if you want your kids to look at "Occult", you just allow that category and leave all else blocked. Or you sit with them, agree which horoscope sites they want to look at and you're happy with, and add the individual sites in the permitted exceptions. No big deal at all. My kids know that their machine welws are filtered, and they don't have admin rights for Windows; they know they can ask for specific sites to be permitted if the default settings don't allow it, and they've got a good case.

      I shall be turning Cameron's filter off as a matter of both principle and of practice (well, because....), but I'm now fairly relaxed about what is being proposed. I'm more angry that it comes from that twerp Cameron, than about what it actually is.

      1. graeme leggett

        @Ledswinger

        you're right about miscategorising Horoscopes - they should be under "scams, "load of old bollox" or "you're having a laugh"

    2. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

      > some pubic school educated dick

      Hmm...

    3. Zot
      Alien

      "Horoscopes are classed as occult"

      And so they should be! Along with ALL religious bias, propaganda, and general belief in anything intangible. ;)

      1. freeman-number-2
        Paris Hilton

        Re: "Horoscopes are classed as occult"

        >"Horoscopes are classed as occult"

        >And so they should be! Along with ALL religious bias, propaganda,

        >and general belief in anything intangible. ;)

        Anything intangible? Ever tried touching zeroes or ones?

        Thought not.

        'WHAT really alarms me about President Bush's "war on terrorism" is the grammar. How do you wage war on an abstract noun? It's rather like bombing murder.'

        Terry Jones, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1364012/Why-grammar-is-the-first-casualty-of-war.html

        Paris, because she prefers the tangible.

      2. tony2heads
        Happy

        Re: "Horoscopes are classed as occult"

        Electromagnetic waves (as in WiFi and 3G) are also intangible. The ADSL signal is intangible (but the cable is not) Ergo this whole debate is nonsense!

    4. Martin Chandler

      "I think that I'm better placed to look after my kids than some pubic school educated dick that forgets his kids in the pub"

      ... well, just disable the filter! No need to get so angry about it :) Just as parents take responsibility for their children's TV/DVD viewing regardless of the watershed, so too should they take responsibility of their web surfing regardless of the filters that are in place.

      This measure is meant to help reduce the the ease with which porn can be accessed. Currently its so easy, you can do it accidentally. I know of an example when someone wanted to access the web site for the popular UK camping and outdoor shop called Blacks but got part of the domain wrong when typing the web address and was promptly faced with very explicit porn images without any prior warning, right on the front page. Those aren't images you can easily erase from a child's mind and so all the better for measures which help reduce the possibility of this thing occurring but do not in any way impede your ability to take control as you still have the opt out. Simples.

      People here are clearly trying to present this measure erroneously as something which is the complete solution to protecting children from porn and/or the government making moral judgement on the whole concept of pornography, It is neither of these things.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Define a terrorist"

      ""Terror" sites (please define a terrorist..."

      Block everything connected with the US government and its armed forces. That'll take care of 90% of the problem. The rest is noise.

      (If you're sceptical, count the number of violent deaths and maimings caused by various organizations in the last 50-60 years. You'll find only one that is pushing, or actually over, 10 million).

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Easy, there

      It's not exactly that he's public-school educated. It's more that he is technically uneducated.

      Alan Turing was public-school educated.

    7. fishdog
      Mushroom

      There is a fundamental difference.

      Indeed there is.

      But dont expect the reflexive authoritarian apologists to understand the difference between (A) discrete business operating (or not) filters of their choice as part of their own sales & marketing approach, and (B) their customers doing likewise, as responsible parents, and (C) government imposing a mandatory & centrally coordinated filter system on every business and individual.

      The opportunities for abuse in the one case are relatively minor and contained; in the other, they are universal and inevitable.

      Already Cameron has tripled the list of VERBOTEN! categories from kiddy porn to kiddy porn + violent porn + 'self-harm' sites (and no freakin idea what he means by that, as I suspect he has no idea what it means), and the filters arent even working yet.

      If you're not bothered by this proposal you are either (A) an idiot, (B) an authoritarian, or (C) both, i.e. David Cameron.

    8. Mike Richards

      'But like all filtering it has it's issues (horrorscopes are classed as occult)'

      That's an unbelievably crass and stupid thing.

      It should be filed under 'Metaphysical bollocks'

      1. freeman-number-2
        Paris Hilton

        'Metaphysical bollocks'

        Struggling a bit with that concept. Only encountered them in a physical context.

        Paris. Just, Paris.

  10. Titus Technophobe
    Thumb Up

    Normalization with the real world......

    I entirely agree with this article. Also as I have previously noted how is this different from existing rules on pornography

    In cinemas they don’t let you watch it until you are 18, in newsagents again 18 and it is on the top shelf, and on the TV there is the 9 PM watershed.

    Since it is now very much a normal part of life, so why should the internet have special exceptions?

    Why should the access to pornography on the Internet be any different from WH Smith?

    1. Mad Mike

      Re: Normalization with the real world......

      Why? Really simple. Two reasons. Firstly, this introduces censorship, which will then get huge scope creep. Secondly, none of the above actually work. I know of tons of under 18s who get into 18 films. Do you really believe some magazines are not seem by young kids? The 9pm watershed is a joke as most kids stay up past that today, even when very young.

      1. ISYS

        Re: Normalization with the real world......

        I think a lot of people are getting over excited by 'censorship' here. That is like saying gun control, laws against murder, rape etc are controls over individuals rights. The Internet is basically a big library and never before have you been able to walk in to a library and view hard core porn no matter what you age.

        It is true what the OP said. Pre-Internet days if you wanted to see porn you would either have to obtain a grumble mag, a video or go to Amsterdam.

        Most mags were in the newsagent, on the top shelf and had their front cover, well, covered. Children knew they were there but were unlikely to get hold of one unless they found one or were given one.

        Magazines that catered for people with more 'adventurous' interests were to be found in sex shops or via mail order and were very unlikely to get in to the hands of anyone other than the original purchaser.

        The Government seem to be trying to get back to this situation which is no bad thing. They are not saying you can't view porn, just that if you want to you have to actively go and get it - just like before and that it should be difficult for children to stumble across it, especially the harder core versions.

        This first step will not be perfect - no new system is and people will find ways round it

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Normalization with the real world......

          "They are not saying you can't view porn, just that if you want to you have to actively go and get it"

          What they say, and the reality of the situation are 2 completely different things. You'll be able to opt in to having the filters applied and still be able to access the filtered content. The filtering is as good as worthless. They know it, you know it, I know it.

          By all means filter out illegal porn and actively pursue the perpetrators across international borders. Surely no-one can argue against that? But as for the legal stuff, leave that to the individual or parents to control.

          As for the argument about accidentally stumbling across porn, that's easily solved with a little education and trust in your children. If you can't trust the kids in question not to follow the rules, you will be able to trust that they will get around the filters in no time at all. And if a child is too young to comprehend the rules then I'd venture they are too young to be left unsupervised.

        2. freeman-number-2
          Facepalm

          Re: Normalization with the real world......

          'The Internet is basically a big library and never before have you been able to walk in to a library and view hard core porn no matter what you age.'

          Doh!

          You seem to have broken your simile in the same sentence in which you introduced it.

        3. freeman-number-2
          Facepalm

          Re: Normalization with the real world......

          'The Government seem to be trying to get back to this situation which is no bad thing.'

          No.

          The Government seem to be trying to determine what legal material should be accessible by adults, which is a bad thing.

      2. Titus Technophobe

        Re: Normalization with the real world......@Mike

        Why? Really simple. Two reasons. Firstly, this introduces censorship, which will then get huge scope creep.

        It seems to have happened for years on the Mobile phones, and indeed the real world. Why is this any different?

        Secondly, none of the above actually work. I know of tons of under 18s who get into 18 films. Do you really believe some magazines are not seem by young kids?

        True. I may even have obtained such magazines myself, but they were hard to get and I had to make an effort. Whilst it might not have been my parent's choice, it was mine.

        The 9pm watershed is a joke as most kids stay up past that today, even when very young.

        By 9 PM there is a chance their parents are around to supervise.

        1. Mad Mike

          Re: Normalization with the real world......@Mike

          'It seems to have happened for years on the Mobile phones, and indeed the real world. Why is this any different?'

          Just because it has happened for many years on other things doesn't make it right. Personally, I'm very against censorship of any kind (I accept some has to happen, but I want it to be as little as possible) because it allows oppression and prevents dissidents from getting their message across. Dissent is very important in any properly functioning society. Any block on that is to be discouraged.

          Even if you don't agree with what someones saying, the best way is to argue the point and show he is wrong rather than just censor him. That just makes him a martyr.

          'True. I may even have obtained such magazines myself, but they were hard to get and I had to make an effort. Whilst it might not have been my parent's choice, it was mine.'

          Really. Don't know what sort of era you're talking about, but in the 80's when I was a teenager, they were two a penny and readily available.

          'By 9 PM there is a chance their parents are around to supervise.'

          The kind of parents who don't care enough to supervise their children on the internet or put suitable technical solutions in place are exactly the kind that won't be around at any time to supervise their TV viewing habits, whether before or after 9pm.

        2. freeman-number-2
          Thumb Down

          Re: Normalization with the real world......@Mike

          'It seems to have happened for years on the Mobile phones, and indeed the real world. Why is this any different?'

          Perhaps could could post directions to the 'real world' you inhabit?

          What's that, it's in your head.

          Oh.

          Nostaligically remembering the days when boys were sent up chimneys, because that sort of thing had happened for years in the real world.

          1. Titus Technophobe

            Re: Normalization with the real world......@freeman-number-2

            On the basis of your points some of which I have answered, and some of which are just stupid, you would be one of children whose Internet connection is paid for by parents who are unlikely to knock the content lock off?

            So anyway if you study a bit and work hard you might think of some better arguments. As a bonus you may learn to by-pass the content lock. Indeed later on you may even have the money to buy your own Internet connection. It would seem that you should be thanking the UK Government for providing you with both the motivation, and spare time.

    2. Mage Silver badge
      Childcatcher

      Re: Normalization with the real world......

      # 1 :

      The main problem is that Filters and Block lists block stuff that is NOTHING to do with Porn or Sex.

      # 2 :

      The second problem is who decides? If a Government they can eventually just add anything that annoys them (again need not be Sex related).

      In 1920s Ireland the Film Distributors had to pay for the censorship, and a flash of too much leg might get a film banned, so more and more films not even submitted.

      The US today fines TV companies millions if there is an accidental flash of nipple. More exposed flesh and more pornagraphic is Free To Air in Germany and Poland (after the watershed times though).

      # 3 :

      The third problem is that the main issue is the source, if it's illegal content the source ought to be brought to court and tried.

      So while I agree with the argument of accessible content vs Shops and Cinema and UK TV, in practice this will "break" innocent content and can be subverted for political ends.

      This is extra judicial, un-democratic and doesn't work in so many senses. Today in Ireland the the usual "suspects" are howling that this brilliant UK idea should be copied.

      I think it's a cynical attempt to curry votes by Cameron. It will cost subscribers money and make totally unrelated content impossible to access unless you set up a proxy or vpn server in a less stupid Country.

      1. Titus Technophobe

        Re: Normalization with the real world...... @Mage

        1. Blocked Sites What like gambling which should be blocked? Then again do you mean sites that are blocked by mistake which Bill’s article talks about?

        2. Who decides You could Google more on this one. In summary I think at the minute it would fall back in the end to either the courts (obscene publications act) and the British Board of Film Classification.

        3. Sources brought to court for trial Why do you think that this won’t still happen?

        This is extra judicial, un-democratic and doesn't work in so many senses

        This is a regulation which brings the Internet in line with other channels of pornography distribution in the UK. The regulation is enforced by the courts and implemented by the duly elected government. How did you conclude that this is any of either extra judicial, un-democratic, or unworkable?

        I think it's a cynical attempt to curry votes by Cameron…….

        So if the whole thing is so un-democratic how is this going to get him more votes? Also he is a politician isn't this what he supposed to do?

        It will cost subscribers money and make

        As noted above other channels that supply this material already incur these costs why would the Internet be special?

        totally unrelated content impossible to access unless you set up a proxy or vpn server in a less stupid Country.

        You could also just knock the content lock off?

    3. Sorry, "Sorry that handle is already taken" is already taken.
      Facepalm

      Re: Normalization with the real world......

      "and on the TV there is the 9 PM watershed."

      After which ANYONE with a television set can access the material broadcast. There is no filter in place. So it is the responsibility of the parents to prevent their precious kiddywinks from seeing the smut.

      Just as it should be the responsibility of the parents to prevent those same kiddywinks from seeing the smut on the internet by supervising them when they are online.

      It's very simple: Don't allow your children to have a computer in their bedroom, just as my parents didn't allow me to have a television in my bedroom when I was a child. If you only allow your child properly supervised access to the medium by which such things can be viewed you control their access and you know they are not seeing anything they shouldn't.

      As for cinemas and WH Smith: There is no catch all filter in place. There are, however, adults providing proper supervision of the children in order that they do not come into contact with the grumble mags and flicks. (Are you spotting a connection yet?)

      Really, if you can't handle the responsibility of bringing up a child properly, don't have kids.

      1. Titus Technophobe

        Re: Normalization with the real world...... @Sorry,"Sorry etc etc"

        Errm I’m assuming you either don’t have children, or are like super parent on the dole or something?

        Nowadays children get set work that may have to be done at home on lap top, parents due to the austerity measures just have to work later than their children. Usually not beyond 9:00 PM I guess that may be has something to do with the watershed being at this time.

        Cinemas, WH Smith and other purveyors of fine literary materials are supervised by adults who won’t sell pornography to children because the law says they should not. Now you could argue morally that they wouldn't anyway, but you can bet somebody would.

        Final question, assuming that you are basically childless, how hard is it to knock a content lock off?

        1. freeman-number-2
          Paris Hilton

          Re: Normalization with the real world...... @Sorry,"Sorry etc etc"

          '... parents ... have to work later than their children. Usually not beyond 9:00 PM I guess that may be has something to do with the watershed being at this time.'

          9pm?

          Never come across that 'usually'.

          Paris, because she hasn't either. Yet.

    4. Dr Wadd

      Re: Normalization with the real world......

      If that were the case we'd only be able to access pornography via WIFI at train stations as I believe those are the only branches of WH Smith that still stock pornography, they pulled it from their high-street stores many years ago (excepting magazines like FHM and Nuts, which I've always assumed were for men too cowardly to buy real porn). Of course, Smith's "think of the children move" was somewhat hypocritical as at the time at least they were one of the largest, if not the largest, distributor of pornographic material to independent newsagents.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Easy Answer

      "Since it is now very much a normal part of life, so why should the internet have special exceptions?

      Why should the access to pornography on the Internet be any different from WH Smith?"

      You can turn the TV off, you can decide not to go to WH Smith. You can allow your children to use a computer/smartphone with filtering software in place.

      If you block everyone at the network level, you will never LEARN.

      Is that what you want for your children? No, I didn't think so!

      Or if you do, supply your adress so it can be passed to child protection services.

    6. freeman-number-2
      Facepalm

      Re: Normalization with the real world......

      'Normalization (sic) with the real world......

      I entirely agree with this article. Also as I have previously noted how is this different from existing rules on pornography

      In cinemas they don’t let you watch it until you are 18, in newsagents again 18 and it is on the top shelf, and on the TV there is the 9 PM watershed.

      Since it is now very much a normal part of life, so why should the internet have special exceptions?

      Why should the access to pornography on the Internet be any different from WH Smith?'

      Hell, why settle on the ISPs? Catch the problem at source: filter electricity. On (off) by default. About time they took their share or responsibility for protecting our youff!

    7. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

      Re: Normalization with the real world......

      When you go into the cinema to watch a film the Party does not approve of, do they scan your passport and add the details to the sexcrime list? Likewise, at the news agents, if you want to buy the wrong magazine, does the Party have to know? Do you have to send off for a special TV license to watch after 21:00?

      The purpose of this law is to create a chilling effect. The law is vague so you do not know if you are committing a crime. Better to stay away from anything controversial in case the ministry of love send you to a joyfarm.

  11. Steve Williams

    The filtering seems a bit too general.

    What I mean is: Dad sits in front of computer setting up new internet account. Question: do you want p0rn filtering or not. Big decision: does Dad forego the pleasures of unrestricted access after wifey has gone to bed to protect the children, or does he say Naah show it all?

    Seems to me a system of user accounts tied to the provider account might be more useful. Mum and Dad can see and do what they want, kiddies are restricted for their own safety. When they are 16 (or 14, or 35) their account can be updated to see what they want.

    1. J.G.Harston Silver badge

      Re: The filtering seems a bit too general.

      "Dad sits in front of computer setting up new internet account. Question: do you want p0rn filtering or not."

      That is pre-assuming that little Tarquine is going to log on as Dad to use the intertubes. If Dad sets up the system that way he deserves everything that follows on.

    2. Stuart Gepp
      Holmes

      Re: The filtering seems a bit too general.

      What happens when Mummy is 14 years old herself?

      The whole thing is yet another stupid example of how the politicians need to protect everyone from an evil thing to justify their own existence.

      Hardship and bad things happening are what builds people into independent, functioning adults. If you wrap a child in cotton wool and protect them from every evil influence all you get at the end is a fully grown child who cannot deal with anything bad. Guess what! the world is full of bad things and you have to cope every day with something you'd prefer not to. You cannot know in advance what it will be. If you don't know how to cope you won't.

  12. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    As for the idea that ISPs, and by extension the UK government, will get a list of those who like porn that makes no sense. One might equally be a fan of spoof religions, or Strawberry Vodka, or even pretty underwear, all of which are firmly labelled "adults only" in the metadata and thus could easily end up on the wrong side of any content filter

    Which actually makes the opposite point. Anyone who just wants to order vodka or pretty underwear online is now going to have to tick the "show me evil PORN" button, both ending up on the ISP list, and having to explain to the family why "daddy turned the porn filter off".

    Besides, most El Reg readers are not so much worried about the "why", as by the impossibility of the "how". This is being presented as a way to stop perverts accessing really nasty, illegal, porn. It won't make the slightest difference. Just like DRM on a music file, it will inconvenience ordinary folks, while doing absolutely nothing to control the real problem. It's just another half-baked idea from a government which seems incapable of thinking through anything before making rash statements. If it was a business it would already be in the bankruptcy court.

    1. Bert 1
      Flame

      [rant]

      This pisses me off so much...

      I have filtering to protect my kids, but it is very constraining for me too.

      Not only do I have to temporarily disable it to get a grumble fix, I have had to do the following this year.

      1) Remove gambling filter to allow pokemon to be played.

      2) Disable filter temporarily to allow drugs sites to be accessed for purchase of homebrew supplies.

      3) Disable the filter temporarily to purchase a pen knife.

      This "default on" filter will last about a week in most households - even the "responsible" ones.

      [/rant]

    2. Martin Chandler

      "This is being presented as a way to stop perverts accessing really nasty, illegal, porn. It won't make the slightest difference"

      Unfortunately, you can blame the media for that (and probably also the government). This is about making it harder for children to access porn (not impossible, just a bit harder). However, the announcement came amongst the other news that the government is trying to enlist the help of the big search engines to make it harder for people to use their search engines to find illegal pornographic material, hence the confusion.

      "most El Reg readers are not so much worried about the "why", as by the impossibility of the "how"

      Reading the comments, it seems to be split on both these points. People seem to be taking a view to this measure similar to how Sepp Blatter did with Goal Line Technology until recently i.e. that if its not perfect then we shouldnt impement it. Well he has seen the error of his ways and realises that while no technology is ever going to be perfect, it can at least help.

      And for those of you that disagree, just disable the filter.

      1. Mad Mike

        'Unfortunately, you can blame the media for that (and probably also the government). This is about making it harder for children to access porn (not impossible, just a bit harder). However, the announcement came amongst the other news that the government is trying to enlist the help of the big search engines to make it harder for people to use their search engines to find illegal pornographic material, hence the confusion.'

        A bit harder? Depends what you mean by a bit? 15 minutes of research for any decent teenager and they will be through it. So, the kind of a bit harder that doesn't really matter. As to illegal pornographic material...I think you need to read the laws surrounding this. I suspect they were deliberately left with very wide interpretations to allow maximum misuse. This has already happened many times.

        'Reading the comments, it seems to be split on both these points. People seem to be taking a view to this measure similar to how Sepp Blatter did with Goal Line Technology until recently i.e. that if its not perfect then we shouldnt impement it. Well he has seen the error of his ways and realises that while no technology is ever going to be perfect, it can at least help.'

        I don't really see what this has to do with football at all. Goal line technology is pretty damn good. Not perfect, not solution ever is, but very, very good. Sebb Blatter refused to implement for reasons only known to him. Any argument based on the technology not being reliable enough was clearly crock. However, this is the other way around. The technology is rubbish. Far from being not perfect, it's an absolute crock. So, why would you implement it?

  13. Mad Mike

    How naive!!

    The issue here is not the content that is being blocked and censored, but the process.

    All through history, there are examples of where censorship has been used and it always starts light and then gets progressively tighter and tighter. Once you seriously start on the censorship route, it will get progressively tighter, of that you can be sure. It might not affect you right now, but at some time it will. Also, because of the way the internet works, censorship is ineffectual. There are far too many ways of getting around it. So, it is completely ineffectual for the purposes spouted by Cameron and the nutters that appear on TV every night. They have a desire for control (which I understand to a point), but are backing something that simply won't give it.

    Any self-respecting teenager should know how to get around these restrictions and therefore no teenager will actually be protected at all. Indeed, as they will; be required to get around the restrictions, the chances are they will be more likely to come across the really bad stuff. So, far from protecting them, it could actually make the situation worse. Great result....not!!

    The former head of CEOPS (can't remember his name) put it best. The internet is simply a conduit for content, the same as magazines and videos etc. of old. We are dealing with an effect, not the cause. Unless you catch and deal with the people who perpetrate this sort of thing, you're actually achieving nothing. These are exactly the people this change will do nothing against. They already operate way below this level.

    The solution they're talking about is technically flawed and simply won't work. Not only is it so simple to get round, but the lists etc. will constantly be out of date and inaccurate. Banning certain search terms will also cause mayhem. This sort of thing was tried early on and found to be highly unreliable. Constantly impacting all sorts of perfectly reasonable requests. Scunthorpe, Sussex, Wessex etc.etc.

    Finally, this continues with a very dangerous tend. The removal of parenting from parents. For years now, the governments and others have been eroding the role of parents more and more. Perhaps this is the cause of all the issues with teenagers these days? Far from removing parental responsibility, we need to be reinforcing it. Ensuring that parents know it is their duty to control and protect their children, not the governments etc.etc. This change will simply encourage parents to allow unlimited access to the internet in the sure and safe knowledge their children are safe. No matter how good this system, it won't catch everything (far from it) and children will get round it. So, it's perpetuating parents to not care and live in a dream world. This is very, very dangerous. It is a parents duty to ensure there children are safe online, whether through positioning the computer in a shared room (say lounge) or through appropriate technical measures.

    1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

      Re: How naive!!

      "For years now, the governments and others have been eroding the role of parents more and more. "

      I see this more the other way around. Too many parents want to their childs best friend rather than parent and have absolved themselves of responsibility, opening the door to more government control.

      1. Mad Mike

        Re: How naive!!

        @Sir Runcible Spoon.

        I agree to a point. There are without doubt parents who can't really be bothered with parenting. However, is taking the role over from them the right approach. If they don't want to be parents or can't be bothered/aren't capable, surely social services should be involved. Either way, putting half arsed solutions such as this isn't going to fix it and willy simply encourage them to not bother.

      2. freeman-number-2
        Meh

        Re: How naive!!

        '"For years now, the governments and others have been eroding the role of parents more and more. "

        I see this more the other way around. Too many parents want to their childs best friend rather than parent and have absolved themselves of responsibility, opening the door to more government control.'

        Both. I think.

        Perhaps sciety's more complex than it used to be?

        Or stuff happens faster and more people can't keep up and opt for simpler routes?

    2. Werner McGoole

      Re: How naive!!

      The rather transparent attempt by the PM to conflate this type of filtering with the blocking of illegal child pornography (which already happens of course) in order to justify it also raises suspicions.

      One should actually ask why those cases he cites (of child molesters having access to child pornography) weren't prevented by the filtering already in place. In an ideal world, members of the press would already have asked him that question in public, but these days it's beyond them it seems.

      And speaking of conflation, did anyone notice how Cameron conflated Google with ISPs when he claimed that "internet companies" are responsible both for finding information and delivering it to you? So that ISPs have to be held accountable for the content.

      I'd have loved to see (say) Jeremy Paxman interview Cameron and point out that Google and Virgin are actually different companies. The idea of Cameron having to wriggle out of that on a subject he knows sweet FA about is quite appealing. Oh, well, we can dream...

    3. Martin Chandler
      FAIL

      Re: How naive!!

      "All through history, there are examples of where censorship has been used and it always starts light and then gets progressively tighter and tighter"

      Always?? #FAIL

      Just look at TV and movie censorship. That has gotten progressively more permissive. I think the majority of people would agree that (good or bad) the censorship changes have been triggered by the changes in society and not by some evil overlord who wants to take all control away from the viewing public like you are trying to imply will be the case with this.

      There are all sorts of restrictions in place for all sorts of things, many of which are imperfect but help towards a goal. At the end of the day, you dont have to accept the filter.

      1. Mad Mike

        Re: How naive!!

        @Martin Chandler.

        Fair point. My use of always is somewhat strong. However, MANY times in history, censorship has been used to ultimately persecute.

      2. freeman-number-2
        Holmes

        Re: How naive!!

        'Just look at TV and movie censorship. That has gotten [become?] progressively more permissive.'

        Really?

        There are many things that would have been acceptable in the media, films, etc., 20-30 years ago which are taboo now.

        What's acceptable is a moving definition, and not in a constant direction; always has been.

        1. Titus Technophobe
          Thumb Down

          Re: How naive!! @freeman-number-2

          The only things I can think of that 'would have been acceptable in the media, films, etc., 20-30 years ago which are taboo now' are:

          Racism

          Homophobia

          Smoking

          Almost everything else, and certainly in terms of pornography, is more permissive. Perhaps you would like to back this statement up with some examples?

  14. Pete 2 Silver badge

    Be careful what you wish for

    > stop children getting easy access to hard-core pornography

    So if you were a smut-propelled website, making your living from mucky ads on dodgy pages and suddenly you found that a goodly proportion of your income had gone, due to the UK's new filters - what would you do?

    As a provider you could start advertising: but if the filters are still in place your customers are blocked just as surely as before. You could give up and get a proper job - though I don't know what, errrr, openings there are for ex-sex workers trying to go "respectable".

    Or you could make your website look like an ordinary one, so that the sirens¹ don't go off any time someone clicks on your URL. Of all the alternatives, that last one seems like the most successful ploy for continuing to lead your life in the style to which you've become accustomed.

    But: there's a downside. Not to you, or your pervy punters. The problem is for everyone else: who hasn't opted out of naked viewing (on the screen, not in front of the screen). Since you've tweaked your website to avoid the filters of poverty, it's now far more likely that people who aren't searching out pleasures of the flesh will stumble across your website without any warning, so successful is your filter-busting camoflage. You never know, your mother might even discover your real occupation!

    So while porn-filters sound like a good idea, ultimately they might have the opposite effect: by requiring the less salubrious websites to appear mainstream, it would be more likely that visitors wouldn't just be people actively looking for stimulation, but ordinary folk who found them by accident.

    [1] the audible kind, not the ones that lure unwary travellers to their doom - though maybe that's what porno websites will do.

  15. Khaptain Silver badge

    Technically Literate Children

    Children have endless amounts of imagination and lots of time on their hands. They will persue the web endlesssly looking for ways to circumvent these kinds of restrictions, sloqwly but surely they will find the method/program/proxy etc etc . When they do find the circumvention method they will then spend hours circulating that information to other children.......

    During this time dear old Mater and Pater are completely oblivious and feel quite smug that their children are apparently protected from the "horrors" of the web.

    Never treat children like fools, they will show you up every time...... Imagination is far more powerfull that any lock will ever be...

    1. Synkrox

      Re: Technically Literate Children

      My 8 year old son doesn't know about porn on the internet so he wont go hunting for ways to access it. When he is older, maybe, but by then he should be closer to understanding what it is. We all drank and smoked younger than we should have, but within reason.

      My kids know about booze, but it doesn't mean I steaming drunk around them and leave glasses of vodka around.

      Lets try and do whatever we can, however small to preserve the innocence of childhood (whats left of it)

      And then turn it all off to go make a rope swing , fall off a bike, and fix the car with dad :-)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Technically Literate Children

      Jolly good point old chap.

      One would think the religious lobby that perpetuates this sort of 'ban everything' mentality would understand the concept of 'forbidden fruit'. Anything that is prohibited is a temptation.

  16. kempsy

    Allowing the children unsupervised on the internet is akin to letting them roam the streets unsupervised, perfectly possible but it relies on every other member of society being a nice and reasonable person and children having the common sense not to wander into unsuitable areas.

    1. Mad Mike

      Absolutely agree. However, that's exactly what this will lead to. After all, the ISPs etc. have taken care of all the bad stuff haven't they, so safe to let the little one do what they like online...............The ISP will protect them. So, far from helping, this is actually hindering.

  17. Lloyd

    There is an upside

    I suppose at least one good thing will come out of this, the IT literacy of teenage boys will increase as they find more ways around the pron blocks. Parents will NEVER be able to stop teenage boys insatiable desire for pron.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: There is an upside

      Actually, this is all a secret plan to encourage people to send their porn by snail mail, hence vastly inflating the Royal Mail's profits, prior to selling it all off.

    2. Tim Jenkins

      Re: There is an upside

      "Parents will NEVER be able to stop teenage boys insatiable desire for pron."

      Very true. What they WILL need to do, however, is have an even more tricky conversation than our parents did with us. Never mind the 'birds and bees', it will have to cover one birds two bees, bi-bees, older birds with younger bees, BILFS, beehiving...

      Or possibly something on the lines of; "Son; it's entertainment, and frankly the chances of you ever finding anyone who will actually do that sort of thing with you are rather less than finding an articulated lorry that will turn into a giant sword-wielding robot. Sorry about that. Now go wash your hands."

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: There is an upside

        "it will have to cover one birds two bees, bi-bees, older birds with younger bees, BILFS, beehiving..."

        Two birds one cup?

        1. hplasm Silver badge
          Happy

          Re: Two birds one cup?

          One cup of bees?

          Sounds like a recipe....for something.

          1. Ben Tasker Silver badge

            Re: Two birds one cup?

            @hplasm

            To be honest that just reminds me of an Eddie Izzard joke - covered in beeees

        2. Anonymous Coward 15
          Devil

          Re: There is an upside

          Winnie the Pooh getting stuck in the honey tree?

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This is yet another move by the "decentralisation is good" party to um - centralise control. FFS, my cheapo router supplied by the ISP comes with a family friendly site filter. That's be the right place to put a filter. Sure, have home routers have that enabled by default. People are lazy. But going back to your ISP so you can get access to some random site they've blocked because it sometimes hosts pictures of naked people / people in underwear / etc etc.

    And also if and when my children are able to get round the filter on the router, then it's too late to be worried about them finding porn on the internet. All you can do is teach them to use the internet responsibly. And then hope.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Children are getting far more access to pornography than they used to, and it's not doing them any good at all."

    Please provide the proof that leads you to make that statement.

    "Western society increasingly covers real bodies while exposing the plastic perfection at every turn,..."

    Which western society do you live in? Certainly not any that I've experienced where the opposite is true.

    "....leading to an explosion in genital plastic surgery, for those who can afford it, and a plethora of issues around self-image for those who can't. "

    Or are you saying ladies wearing the Burka cause of others to resort to cosmetic surgery?

    "Manufactured porn creates expectations to which the sticky fumbling of teenage exploration can't compare, and which is hardly comparable to the dodgy magazines and saucy VHS of yesteryear."

    I will not question the obvious deep knowledge of the subject that you have accumulated which enables you to make this particular statement.

    1. Gordon 11

      "Children are getting far more access to pornography than they used to, and it's not doing them any good at all."

      That issue should be whether it's doing them any good, but whether it is doing them any harm.

      If we banned things because thy were neutral there wouldn't be much left to do.

  20. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

    A lot of the arguments against porn blocking sound like the arguments made against gun control - basically "I'm responsible and everybody else should be too". Noticing that forced me to consider my own position and made me change my mind. Network level porn control is, on balance, the lesser of two evils and we should focus our energy on making sure it works well - e.g. it doesn't outlaw LGBT.

    Let the downvotes roll in.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Erm no. It's just the focus is on "smut" when if there's anything that needs to be filtered it is gun violence, be-headings and extremism.

    2. Mad Mike

      Ah yes, the usual argument. Easy to shoot this one down. Since some of the most draconian gun control measures were introduced in this country, exactly what has happened to the gun crime rate? Has it come down or gone up? I'll give you a hint, massively up. The reason is simple. The problem was never the legal gun owner. In general there was no issue there. Very, very occasionally one would go off the rails, but it was very, very rare. The whole problem was around those who held guns illegally. Always was and always will be. The vast majority of gun crimes are committed by people with guns that would never have got a firearms certificate anyway, even under 1980s rules.

      Again, the same applies here. People who are going to abuse children will do so. People who are going to commit sex crimes, will do so. Contrary to what the Daily Mail etc.etc. say, nobody has ever established a causal link between porn and sex crimes. Indeed, many of the studies show the reverse. Some studies have even suggested that some people who would have been happy with pictures and videos will turn to committing actual crimes when that is taken away. So, this change could actually INCREASE child abuse and sex crimes.

      I'm not going to downvote you, because we should be trying to stamp out these crimes. There's nothing wrong with that sentiment. However, politicians are amazingly bad at knowing the difference between correlation and causation. They assume that if a correlation exists, causation is proven. This is absolutely not the case. Most correlations are actually total coincidence.

      1. Pete 2 Silver badge

        Saving face

        > People who are going to commit sex crimes, will do so

        I don't think the reason parents want to prevent their chldren seeing naked bodies (and these seems to be where 99% of the pressure is coming from) has nothing to do with crime, exploitation, self-image (probably the most bogus "argument" of them all) or any of the other frequently cited reasons. ISTM the real reason is simply that they feel uncomfortable discussing such "adult" topics with their kids and will go to extreme lengths: including denial, demonising sex and making the inquisitive youngster feel like they are "bad" or "dirty" for asking, simply to avoid the embarrassment they would feel if they had to talk about it, themselves. (Or possibly because they are so ignorant of the subject, they don't wish to be questioned and have their own lack of knowledge revealed.)

        If so, then this is exactly the wrong approach as it's just human nature for people to want something more if they are denied it. Or to make them more convinced it's worth finding out about if their parents keep avoiding the subject.

    3. A J Stiles
      Holmes

      Obvious Difference

      A lot of the arguments against porn blocking sound like the arguments made against gun control - basically "I'm responsible and everybody else should be too".
      And if anybody had ever been hurt as badly by looking at pictures as they have by guns, you might have a point there.

    4. Graham Marsden
      Thumb Down

      @Brewster's Angle Grinder

      You say "We should focus our energy on making sure it works well - e.g. it doesn't outlaw LGBT", but *how* exactly are you going to achieve that except on an individual, case-by-case basis?

      How do you create a filter which outlaws "porn" without blocking access to sexual health sites or breast cancer sites or LGBT advice sites all of which "children" (defined as "anyone under 18") might have a legitimate reason for accessing?

      The answer is, of course, you can't. All this proposal does is justify Nanny State censorship (which is an act of stunning hypocrisy from the Tories who criticised Labour for wanting to introduce Nanny State legislation!) and trying to justify it as "the lesser of two evils" is nonsense.

      If you want to be protected from "evil" that's your business, don't treat everyone else like children because you can't trust yourself to act responsibly.

      (PS and dragging in Gun Control is just a massive red herring, there should be a Godwin equivalent...)

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Simple Arguement

      "A lot of the arguments against porn blocking sound like the arguments made against gun control - basically "I'm responsible and everybody else should be too". Noticing that forced me to consider my own position and made me change my mind. Network level porn control is, on balance, the lesser of two evils and we should focus our energy on making sure it works well - e.g. it doesn't outlaw LGBT."

      Simple mind!

    6. Ru

      Network level porn control is, on balance, the lesser of two evils and

      Is it really? It isn't at all clear to me that the ease of access to pornography in the modern world is causing catastrophic social damage and an epidemic of sexual assault, and a little research suggests that there's no strong evidence in favour of that theory.

      On the otherhand we risk ham-handed censorship and giving our governments yet another tool of spying and oppression. I'm wondering what you weighed your balance with, at this point.

      we should focus our energy on making sure it works well - e.g. it doesn't outlaw LGBT.

      Given the sheer amount of cultural nuance and context that might distinguish porn from not-porn, I propose that the classification problem is AI-hard. Categorising the entirety of the internet would be a sisphyean task for humans, after all, and any simple automated system is merely enumerating badness and we should all know how well that works.

      Technology is not an appropriate solution for all problems.

    7. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

      I'm replying to everybody in one post here...

      Anybody who thinks this is censorship is wrong: you can opt out the filter. I will disable it myself. If you can argue against the filter in principle, then you can use the same argument when "exposed" as having disabled it. (I also like the idea of disabling it after 9pm.) There won't be a slippery slope if we are vigilant.

      I agree classifying porn is hard and that legitimate sites will be captured. That was the thrust of my point: lets ensure we know which sites are blocked; lets ensure there is an appeals process that is fair and transparent; lets ensure legitimate sites aren't captured. Also, you can't argue there is good client filtering software and then argue that network filtering will be shit. Network filtering will be as good or as bad as desktop filtering.

      The evidence for harm is mucky. But any damage will be long term and subtle, hence my decision, on balance, to be cautious.

      I won't rerun the gun control arguments; I have looked at the numbers and formed an opinion. I agree responsibly produced porn are categorically different from guns, but I was struck by the similarity of the arguments: they are both about balancing the freedoms of individuals who can behave responsibly with those who don't and the net harm that will result from the irresponsible people.

      I will make one other point that I've not seen made: while I can install filters and supervise my kids, I can't be there when they are round a friend's house.

      1. Mad Mike

        Re: I'm replying to everybody in one post here...

        'I will make one other point that I've not seen made: while I can install filters and supervise my kids, I can't be there when they are round a friend's house.'

        Agreed. However, how does this help there either? After all, they could have turned the filter off!! As a responsible parent, you should maybe ask them where the computer is etc.etc. and act accordingly. Maybe find out what their policy is?

        'The evidence for harm is mucky. But any damage will be long term and subtle, hence my decision, on balance, to be cautious.'

        Agreed, but if seeing something causes you to do it, what about violent films? Presumably, these should all be banned as well? After all, the exact same argument would apply. The killers of tomorrow are bred watching the violent films of today......

      2. freeman-number-2
        Meh

        Re: I'm replying to everybody in one post here...

        'I will make one other point that I've not seen made: while I can install filters and supervise my kids, I can't be there when they are round a friend's house.'

        Presumably your 'parenting' has not resulted in your being able to trust your kids; which wouldn't mean expecting them to do everything as you wish but, rather, developing an independence as they mature which is broadly in keeping with your principles and their their transition into adults.

      3. Graham Marsden
        Thumb Down

        @Brewster's Angle Grinder

        So let's say, arguendo, this is successful and *all* porn is blocked and your kiddies are safe from it. Do we all live happily ever after?

        Well, no, because you've not blocked any of those clips of terrorists beheading victims or Saddam Hussein being hanged or the Taliban executing women with a bullet to the head in the middle of a football field or...

        Where does it stop? When do we say "ok, now we've blocked children from all the nasty stuff, the world is a better place for it"?

  21. A J Stiles
    Mushroom

    Missing the point

    The point is, we are adults, and it is up to us what we watch online. Personally, I think once you've seen one naked body, you've seen them all. But if someone else wants to look at pictures, and as long as looking at pictures is as far as they take it (emphasis added for the benefit of the hard-of-thinking), that is nobody's business but theirs.

    Instead of trying to make The Internet "family friendly", the Government should simply recognise that it is inherently unsuitable for unsupervised minors, and tell parents to keep an eye on what their offspring are up to.

    Also, maybe introducing a dose of proper sex and relationship education in schools might help a little bit. Just saying.

    Because this isn't really about pornography. It's about the free and open exchange of information, and whether or not the government of the day can try and keep you from knowing certain things.

    1. Jess--

      Re: Missing the point

      As a child (around 7 years old) I knew the mechanics of sex and already understood that not all relationships were male & female, this was taught to me along the lines of "not all people are the same, if what they choose to do is not harming you or anyone else is there any reason to have a problem with it?)

      with it being taught as a question rather than the more common "this is wrong" approach it left me to make up my own mind about what was acceptable or not.

      Porn came up a few years later with the usual hedge find of a magazine, my parents approach was "If you enjoy looking at it then look at it"

      a couple more years pass and a copy of a copy of a betamax video fell into my hands (showing my age here) and my parents approach was "watch it if you enjoy watching it... But be aware that what you are seeing is all done for the camera and you are never likely to experience sex similar to what is on the tape"

      on the whole I think my parents approach was very balanced, allowing me to make my own decisions (and mistakes) while always being there to answer any questions I had (or discuss possible answers if there was no right answer"

  22. ChrisPW
    FAIL

    > Right now an O2 customer on a 3G network, at 2.1GHz, can't access pornography

    Wrong. Right now an O2 customer on a 3G network can't access SOME pornography and lots of other sites/services that are in no way pronographic. Getting access to boobs will take all of about 30 seconds of google time. The current mobile implementation of blocking is actually a perfect illustration of why it is a stupid idea.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Governments can't be trusted. Once something is in place they gradually nudge it to where they really want to be.

    So in the case of student fees, they wanted it to be expensive, but they started low and kept raising it gradually.

    Same with rail fares, they keep going up as subsidies go down.

    So the Internet is next, firstly an "opt-in" will be implemented. Then gradually certain classifications of content will be deemed illegal and permanently blocked.

    Before long you won't be able to access anything the government hasn't approved of.

    1. lawndart

      The website you have been trying to reach has been blocked.

      Reason: Political party in opposition to the current party in office.

      Redirecting you to the incumbent party website.

  24. Yet Another Commentard

    Some disagreement here

    "but just as we feel confident sitting them in front of the TV before nine..."

    The TV is not a babysitter. Do things with your children, sure watch TV with them, but don't dump them infront of it. As for the "confident" bit I assume that you have never accidentally strayed up into the channels 900+ on Sky, and no child has ever watched their parents putting in a four digit PIN on 12 rated films before the watershed?

    "so we should be able to log them onto the internet without having to look over their shoulder the whole time"

    I would suggest having the PC in a public room into which you randomly wander, noticing a panicked ALT-TAB or whatever should be pretty obvious. Or if you like having a router log and every Sunday morning you and the children go through every website accessed by them so you feel a part of their world?

    "(which limits their freedom in other ways)" care to list three? Why is everyone else's freedom to be curtailed just to make you think your kids are not looking at smut? Note the word "think". We have all grown up, and while this makes life a little more difficult for them somehow every generation has found a way to look at pictures of naked people. THIS WON'T HELP FOR MORE THAN AN HOUR. Once the first kid at school learns how to circumvent it, every kid in school will know. In my day we had jazz mags at school from the kid whose dad owned a newsagent, there will just be the electronic equivalent.

    "becomes impractical as the number of children increases)." Your choice to have more kids than you can deal with, not mine. Why should that inconvenience me to get back some websites that will inadvertantly get blocked (and some will, witness notes on Flickr and Tumblr above).

    "As for the idea that ISPs, and by extension the UK government, will get a list of those who like porn that makes no sense. " Citation needed. It makes perfect sense, imagine Percy Dribblemouth is accused of child molestation. Added in will be the prejudicial "AND he wanted porn on his laptop." It makes as much sense as the Government wanting to record each and every internet dealing each of us have. Luckily that makes no sense either, oh wait...

    Responsibility for what your children do online, or offline vests with parenting. They are your children, and your responsibility. Just because you can't be bothered to parent them, or you don't trust them (now, who is to blame for a lack of trust), does not mean that every other soul in the country has to be inconvenienced.

    1. J.G.Harston Silver badge

      Re: Some disagreement here

      Kiddywinks can get "porn" before 9pm on TV, Just type "470" on my remote and you get a static picture of a scanty-clad lady with a caption saying "You have not subscribed to the Adult Channel".

  25. AussieCanuck46

    They Won't Listen, Nor Could They Understand

    I appreciate the good intentions of the politico's, however poorly formed their plan. And I appreciate the good intentions of the techies who wish to educate said politico's about its futility. I'd add my voice too, except that it wouldn't work any better than their plan.

    I'm afraid all we can do is let them implement that plan until its futility is demonstrated. It'll cost a bundle alright, and they'll never admit it was a silly idea, but within ten years or so they might find some sly way to shift the attention closer to where it belongs and still claim victory. That's all they really want after all, to claim they've protected the children, not to actually do it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: They Won't Listen, Nor Could They Understand

      "I'm afraid all we can do is let them implement that plan until its futility is demonstrated"

      You may be a bitch, rolling over to take it, I am not!

      Let's NOT wait 10 years and FAIL ANOTHER GENERATION!

  26. Amazon Wageslave
    Stop

    some evidence would be nice

    "Children are getting far more access to pornography than they used to, and it's not doing them any good at all."

    [Citation needed]

    What you wrote is commonly believed, but the evidence is sketchy to say the least.

    1. Mad Mike

      Re: some evidence would be nice

      'What you wrote is commonly believed, but the evidence is sketchy to say the least.'

      Not only that, but the logical conclusion if it is correct. If watching porn makes you commit sex crimes, then presumably watching violence makes you violent? Oh dear, there goes a large chunk of Hollywood. Presumably anything with a certificate over 15 should be banned as it clearly does people harm?

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Internet, meet wedge (thin end of)

    How long before tobacco, alcohol, guns, knives (including innocuous things like cheese graters), glue, aerosols, pharmaceuticals, etc. etc. disappear courtesy of this filter? Together, presumably with the rest of any site that happens to include these things, or pictures thereof, amongst its other stuff? To this, add other political footballs like junk food.

    And that's just following the current idea to its logical conclusion, even before we get on to abuse of the system for suppressing political ideas.

    The internet is a sharp tool. It's never going to be both useful and unconditionally safe for children.

    1. btrower

      Re: Internet, meet wedge (thin end of)

      Re: "The internet is a sharp tool."

      That is an excellent way to put it.

      I am relieved that most comments oppose this stuff, but worried that the wrong arguments are being put forth. As a matter of principle, we cannot agree that it is OK for some people to decide what the rest of us can see and say. Allowing that thin edge to gain entry is akin to being a little bit pregnant. There is no such thing as 'a little bit of benign State censorship'. It is precisely that thin edge that is the most dangerous. It breaches our defenses. We have to draw a vary hard line there and I, for one, would like to see some sort of legislation that makes it much more difficult for these morons (apologies to actual morons) to mount this kind of assault on the commons. These idiots who think they know better than everybody else when they can't even tell that both ends of a Cat-5 have the same RJ-45 plug should not be given any say whatsoever in what *I* can access. By their line of reasoning, we should basically be shutting down *their* access to the Internet. Their speech is actively doing a lot more harm than a picture of somebody in their underwear.

      Be clear, it starts with underwear, but it ends up at heretical speech and the most heretical speech of all is to challenge the State. If you allow them to inhibit any communication at all it will end up with a loss of your rights to that and much more.

      It is clearly a difficult concept for people who have trouble with simple things like cables to grasp, but we need to try to hammer it into their heads: The *law* that allows them to restrict our access to things will restrict our access to things. They will *claim* that they are only restricting 'bad' things, but who defines what is 'bad'? Clearly they are the last people who should be rendering a decision on this kind of thing. This is a slightly difficult concept and they can't even deal with simple things like whether or not something is symmetrical.

      I am not being sarcastic with the above. The person who can't get his short article straight is presuming to lecture network people on network access? That is his argument to get us to allow him much, much greater scope to amplify the effect of his mistakes. I support his right to publish something stupid. I do not support his desire to restrict everything I read to only things that stupid.

      We already have, in Britain especially, a highly invasive creepy State waging a very active war on its own citizens. Instead of arguing about the *extent* to which they can have even more power, we should be discussing how to roll that power way, way, way back.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Its the lists the ISPs have...

    If the person with the internet account in a given household decides to opt out, the ISP will record that decision in a list.

    The lists will eventually get hacked. Either by random idiots, or tabloid journalists or others...

    See the point?

  29. P. Lee Silver badge

    How is it different to phone-network filters?

    Scale. I think most people still see a phone system as something you shouldn't really regard as being general internet access. The allowances are lower and filtering is therefore possible.

    The issue isn't really porn. The issue is building infrastructure capable of taking such a keen interest in your traffic. The cries of "police state" are not for filtering particular things but for building application proxies which pull apart everything you do online, examine it and then reassemble the request, injecting or removing arbitrary data and then making the request on your behalf. This is less like policing the top shelf at wh smiths and more like opening all your mail to check for and possibly modify mail orders.

    For the tiny IWF KP list, people can see the reasoning and there is an assumption that the technical burden is low. Filtering the massive amount of pron online is assumed to be a massive undertaking involving huge costs. At that point, people begin to ask if the money isn't better used elsewhere; failures in the system become more apparent and motives for such a system are increasingly called into question.

    I see no reason to legitimise PRISM by dressing it up a child protection.

  30. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

    "children are

    exposed to far more porn these days than before "

    Well banning the sun and the daily wail from runningpage 3 girls and sex stories about who shagged who last night should take care of 90% of that..................

  31. xyz

    The best quote I saw about this (from ATS.com)

    Originally posted by Rocker2013

    It's not my job to give up my rights and freedoms and risk massive government intrusion into the freedom of the net just because you can't be bothered to learn how to restrict your internet access or you have the complete inability to tell your kids NO.

    I am not a parent, I am not a nanny, I am not your child minder, I am not responsible for your kids and your inability to learn how to keep them safe.

    Nuff said!

  32. Crisp Silver badge

    Children are getting far more access to pornography

    Then stop allowing your children to access pornography.

    If children were getting far more access to cars, you wouldn't ban cars. You'd remind parents to keep the keys safe.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    opt-in scheme...the technically illiterate wouldn't know to select it

    your assessment as in the title is cobblers:

    1) if somebody is literate enough to click on a link and tick a box, then they WOULD "know to select it"

    2) are you implying, that those selecting to "opt out" (of filtering) are more literate?

    ...

    Nah, which is exactly the plot, they won't bother, and wean off "pron" this way. Shock therapy, unless, in their desperation, they step on a learning curve. Fast.

  34. silent_count

    Just curious.

    I wonder if your internet bills will get cheaper. If you're paying £10 per month now, and the government filters seventy percent of the internet, will your bill be reduced to £3 ?

    Personally I'm against any kind of cens [THE REMAINDER OF THIS MESSAGE REMOVED BY A GOVERNMENT WHO WANTS THE "WONT SOMEBODY THINK OF THE CHILDREN" VOTE... ERR... FOR YOUR SAFETY]

  35. Fink-Nottle

    Commercialism

    The author argues that porn is bad for children as it skews a child's self-image; and that the proposed filters will allow kids to wander the internet safely, protected from those parts of the network 'which are really quite unpleasant'.

    He seems to have overlooked that advertising has a larger role than pr0n in influencing children's body image, perceptions and values. Youngsters online are subjected to constant bombardment of images of 'beauty' and 'perfection'. Commercialisation of the internet inevitably leads to content that encourages child consumerism.

    The obvious solution is to limit kid's exposure advertising on the internet - perhaps through opt-out ad blockers?

    1. David Pollard

      Re: Commercialism

      It's difficult to assess the relative harm caused by 'guilt aisles' selling sugar on the way to the supermarket checkout or premature sexualisation by teen magazines and fashion.

      Contemporary interest in trashy porn may well decline over time in favour of more subtle and erotic versions, as in Roman, Greek and Indian depictions. The impact of advertising is likely only to get worse.

    2. Tom 35 Silver badge

      Re: Commercialism

      Don't forget the "Entertainment NEWS shows"

      who is sleeping with who

      what $10,000 dress is in

      who is in rehab this week ...

      Plastic porn is more a reflection of plastic Hollywood not something originating with porn.

  36. JonP

    arse covering

    I'm getting the impression that the government knows full well that these measures won't work or will cause more problems* than they solve, but getting people to opt-in to unfiltered internet access (or actively bypassing the filter) means that responsiblity for what someone accesses is laid firmly at their own feet; they won't be able to turn around and say 'I came across it accidently while clicking on a link.' - they've made a decision to have unfiltered web access. Plus it has the advantage of placting the mumsnet types. The privacy issues are mostly academic as the ISPs log everything you do anyway so making you opt in before visiting those dodgy sites is mostly immaterial.

    *for first world values of "problems" ...

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Darwin Awards (cont)

    "Western society increasingly covers real bodies while exposing the plastic perfection at every turn, leading to an explosion in genital plastic surgery, for those who can afford it, and a plethora of issues around self-image for those who can't."

    Think of it as evolution in action.

    Besides, there is no such thing as society. Or hadn't you heard?

    1. Ru

      Re: Darwin Awards (cont)

      Besides, there is no such thing as society. Or hadn't you heard?

      Sure there is! Its the stuff that we're all in, together! Or at least, that was some kind of s-word.

      1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

        Re: Darwin Awards (cont) @Ru

        The old bag Thatcher said "there is no such thing a society". Apologists have tried to put a positive spin on it ever since, but in the context she said it, it is clear she meant exactly what the words say. Selfish bitch never changed, and dementia was too good for her.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Darwin Awards (cont) @Ru

          @Intractable Potsherd:

          "The old bag Thatcher said "there is no such thing a society". Apologists have tried to put a positive spin on it ever since, but in the context she said it, it is clear she meant exactly what the words say. Selfish bitch never changed, and dementia was too good for her."

          From what I have seen and heard it is the critics of thatcher who has spun the words to make her out as a selfish bitch. Telling people that the lazy will not be endlessly carried by the workers is not a bad idea. Promoting responsibility and the virtue/curse of personal choice/responsibility should be taught and promoted. I guess she did seem harsh to those enjoying the free ride at everyone (and the countries) expense. However I dont see those people supporting the banks when they did the same

  38. Graham Marsden
    Childcatcher

    @Bill Ray - We are not responsible for bringing up YOUR children!

    When you choose to become a parent you are taking on the responsibility for bringing up that child and protecting it from whatever you think it needs to be protected from.

    That's *YOU*. Not me, not the Government, not your ISP, not anyone else but *YOU*!

    This "Won't Someone Think of the Children" nonsense that Cameron is coming out with is just a desperate and hypocritical attempt to claw back some of the voters he's lost to UKIP by creating a phony moral panic which will sit well with the Daily Mail reading public of Middle England.

    I'd also point out that he's already rowing back from what he's already said (see http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/family-filters-wont-block-soft-porn-david-cameron-retreats-in-war-on-internet-porn-admitting-there-will-be-problems-down-the-line-8726991.html) as it becomes clear that he's totally clueless about the actual effects of what he's proposed.

    Do you support the Great Firewall of China? Do you want to see the Great Firewall of Britain? No? Because that's what you're supporting!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: @Bill Ray - We are not responsible for bringing up YOUR children!

      "That's *YOU*. Not me, not the Government, not your ISP, not anyone else but *YOU*!"

      Exactly so. And, may I add for those who refuse to get the point, not "society" either. Abstraction is a powerful tool for those who understand it and know its limitations. But far too many half-educated people nowadays are flinging abstractions around thoughtlessly and acting as if they were real things. Society will not do anything unless specific human beings take the appropriate action.

    2. J.G.Harston Silver badge

      Re: @Bill Ray - We are not responsible for bringing up YOUR children!

      "When you choose to become a parent "

      Beg pardon? "Chose" to become a parent? That actually happens? In my experience, with 90%+ of parents it's "ooo, a baby". No choosing involved, it just happens.

      1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

        Re: @Bill Ray - We are not responsible for bringing up YOUR children!

        And in 90% of that 90% of cases, it is choice by stupidity. Terminations are available: if the woman chooses not to, she made a choice to become a parent. These women, who tend* to be more technologically clueless, resent having become mothers and overcompensate for it by being over-protective and joining mumsnet et al. Thus we get stupid ideas like the internet filter ...

        1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

          Re: @Bill Ray - We are not responsible for bringing up YOUR children!

          I missed the footnote in my previous post (not that many will be reading this far down the postings!)

          * Note that I specifically say "tend to". I am not generalising beyond what is observable.

  39. Duke2010

    Its not the filter

    I dont think anyone has an issue with an ISP level porn filter, its a good idea. Its the default on option that has people up in arms. Surely just a compulsory question when you get the new broadband, "do you want the adult filter switched on?" is enough? ISP taking the lead to educate their customers on the filtering options if they have kids etc.

    Take me for example, I live with my GF, have no kids and no kids ever likely to access wifi. Why is this censoring being added to my line by default? I have O2 and find some perfectly legit sites are blocked. Switching the filter on by default creates a feeling of your doing something bad by getting the filter turned off.

    Blanket censoring is too far, its nanny state. The Gov is itching to take control of the internet and it will only get worse.

  40. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Flame

    The very thin end of a *very* long wedge.

    This "Think of the children" hysteria is exactly that.

    The internet was built by adults for adults. In adult societies such protection is opt in IE "Please filter me" and assumes adult behavior otherwise.

    "But children need protecting"

    True, but that's what parents are for and if you can't protect your children either a)Don't have them in the first place or b) Hire someone who can.

    This is not really about this TOTC bo**ocks people are being fed it's about starting a list and getting people used to being monitored. I smell the fishy fingerprints of Number 10s "nudge unit."

    You won't like how fat the fat end is or where it's going to end up.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The very thin end of a *very* long wedge.

      "You won't like how fat the fat end is or where it's going to end up."

      Thanks, John Smith 19. I wish I could have expressed it half as well. If I had 500 upvotes, I'd have them delivered to you by truck.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The very thin end of a *very* long wedge.

      John - The "think of the children hysteria" is just the same as the "fuck the children, I want free access to porn hysteria" It's just that, hysteria. It doesn't change the fact though that, by definition, children don't know what's good for them, that's why they aren't allowed to vote, drive, drink, smoke, marry, etc. Society has to look out for children.

      What seems particularly disturbing with this debate is that lots of people want the Internet to have different laws to the real world. In the real world porn isn't available to children, it's kept away from them and is censored, albeit minimally.

      1. Mad Mike

        Re: The very thin end of a *very* long wedge.

        'What seems particularly disturbing with this debate is that lots of people want the Internet to have different laws to the real world. In the real world porn isn't available to children, it's kept away from them and is censored, albeit minimally.'

        Absolutely not. In the real world, porn is available to children. The control around porn in the printed sense are laughable. Indeed. there has been quite a lot of talk around the current crop of 'lads mags' and similar womens publications (Cosmopolitan etc.etc.) that are arguably as pornographic as true porno mags were a couple of decades ago!! So, let's not try to pretend that porn other than on the internet is not freely available most children, certainly teenagers.

        Your statement is also based on the assumption and notion that porn (of any type) is wrong and bad for children. Now, whilst I wouldn't want young children seeing porn, teenagers are maybe a bit different. The attitude in this country is a lot more conservative with many countries in Europe which are much more open about it and actually don't have any worse (of in some cases better) sex crime rates!! So, is the assumption that porn is bad and wrong etc. actually a valid assumption. I'm not really aware of any study that has found a causal link between porn and sex crime. Plenty of correlation, but we all known that correlation doesn't equal causation. Anyway, if it does, hasn't we better ban violent films as they are clearly making our children violent by the same mechanism?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The very thin end of a *very* long wedge.

        "What seems particularly disturbing with this debate is that lots of people want the Internet to have different laws to the real world. In the real world porn isn't available to children, it's kept away from them and is censored, albeit minimally."

        The answer to their problem is remarkably simply.

        Ban children from the Internet in the same way they are banned from doing anything else where you need to be 18+.

      3. freeman-number-2
        Meh

        Re: The very thin end of a *very* long wedge.

        "In the real world porn isn't available to children, it's kept away from them and is censored, albeit minimally."

        Is that so?

        Funny, I thought I remembered night after night of politicians and news programmes showing real life "video games" being played out over Iraq... cold or smug smiles accompanying talk of "daisy cutter" bombs... hundreds of million-dollar missiles being fired every day... citiies and culture and infrastructure being flattened... talk of "collateral damage" and "extraordinary rendition"... death-tolls estimated as 100,000... 200,000... mostly civilian, brothers, sisters, fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, you know, just like in all countries.

        Perhaps I imagined it. Perhaps I confuse pornography with obscenity, lust for sex with lust for killing.

        Still, whatever it's called, it's reassuring that such 'content' (and the underlying acts), which are unsuitable for children to encounter - or the next generation, or anyone, really - will be unavailable to children under the new proposals.

        That is what DC's rules are trying to accomplish, isn't it?

  41. Flywheel Silver badge

    "Western society increasingly covers real bodies while exposing the plastic perfection at every turn, leading to an explosion in genital plastic surgery, for those who can afford it, and a plethora of issues around self-image for those who can't"

    Have you watched pre-9pm trash TV lately? Gok Wan, Embarrassing Bodies, Botched Up Bodies.. Dave and his Chums need to address that first!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Good point.

      I personally find those pagaent programs in the states a bit disturbing. They seem to be making their children dress up in sexy outfits, and performing sexy moves etc. and then they complain that their children are being sexualised - these kids are being trained to be pole dancers from the age of 2 !!

  42. btrower

    The worst sort of tyranny

    “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.” -- C.S. Lewis

    1. Don Jefe
      Meh

      Re: The worst sort of tyranny

      Nearly all large scale evils ride the white horse of good. Rarely does a leader come along who espouses "go forth and do evil", their actions are undertaken with a creed of "these things are for the Greater Good".

  43. jmk89
    Thumb Down

    The problem is...

    The problem is that ISP's do indeed use various methods to block sites containing the likes of indecent images of children, these methods make it easy to spot people attempting to access these websites, as they have to go to great lengths to do so, and stick out like a sore thumb.

    Once you start applying these methods to other things which aren't illegal but which various groups may dislike for various reasons (such as Youporn, the Pirate Bay etc) then it muddies the waters, and makes it more difficult to spot those accessing the really illegal stuff, as everyone is taking the long way around for much more benign reasons.

    1. Old Handle

      Re: The problem is...

      I don't much like your implication that anyone who uses any sort of proxy must be a paedo, but this will no doubt increase awareness and use of various censorship circomvention technologies.

  44. Graham Marsden

    Don't write to El Reg, write to your MP!

    As I've already pointed out in another thread, there is a petition here http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/51746 which currently has over 13,000 signatures, however if you *really* want to make your voice heard, write to your MP.

    Go to http://www.theyworkforyou.com and tell your MP that you don't want to be treated like a child by the Nanny State or see the Great Firewall of Britain introduced.

  45. This post has been deleted by its author

  46. codemonkey

    Will google be censored

    I mean, what I wanted to know about the latest scandal involving MPs; MP has under-age sex with teenage boy. Or something to do with abuse of anyone? Rape Victim harassed by nutty DJ.

    If you've got kids and you want to keep them safe on line, take responsibility. You don't buy them a chain saw and let them go into the garden, so step up and take responsibility for your own offspring. Don't expect every one else to "help" you. A step for a hint, don't let them use the net unsupervised.

    If we go further down this path then then we'd all just best set our proxys to that one in China and be done with it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Will google be censored

      What about those kids who's parents don't care, should they be left to fend for themselves or should society step in?

      1. Yet Another Commentard

        Re: Will google be censored

        @AC 12:12 I think intervention at the PARENTAL level is required, not at the child level.

        The more you make parents think that "society" (whatever that is) is responsible for parenting the less parents will care, causing a positive feedback loop.

        An analogy - down the road from me is a house with a dog. Said dog keeps escaping and digging up other neighbours' gardens. So they took to returning the dog. The owner thought this was great, the dog defaecated elsewhere, had a good walk without supervision, may get fed by another family, in other words "society" looks after him.

        Now the neighbours have had enough and all the owner will say is "if you can make him stay in our backyard then we'll keep him here." This is likely to lead to the dog getting killed by a passing car as he's chased out of various gardens. Do you think the owner is doing the right thing?

      2. Don Jefe
        Windows

        Re: Will google be censored

        A major problem with 'Western Society' is this idea that society can eliminate all unfortunate circumstances from the world.

        It is a problem that ultimately either drives society backwards or stalls positive growth of any kind. Some things are well suited for 'society/government' to fix, but 'society' paints with broad brushes often creates more fringe cases than it was trying to fix.

        Making laws to 'save' exceptions removes the need, even disallows, Human compassion and individual intervention. Making laws, as you propose, effectively makes the 'problem' someone else's; tosses that person into the vast, oily machine that is Government Compassion. Asking to government to solve all misfortune is the road on which tyranny and religious legislation marches.

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "The Prime Minister wants ISPs to filter pornography, just as mobile operators have been doing for half a decade or so. Users wanting to access adult content will have to opt in, just as wireless users do today, and everyone else will get a censored version of the internet with the naughty bits removed, which sounds reasonable enough but has half the internet up in arms."

    Your misguided version of "reasonable" is dangerous!

    What is reasonable is that those who do want a filtered internet should be responsible for doing so.

    Stop trying to dodge your own responsibilities, doing so makes you a complete and utter flake and should not be allowed to have any responsibility. I believe that you should be monitored by social services. You clearly demonstrate that you do not have the capacity to know right from wrong and present a danger to those around you.

    Sad people trying to blame others for their own failure!

  48. Flubjub

    mobile operators blocking adult content...

    "mobile operators have been blocking adult content for years with few complaints"

    But surely they block ALL adult content.. Alcohol related, gambling, etc. Not just grumble. This is fine, as it's clearly focussed on ensuring a restriction of access to content based on age - whereas the proposed ISP changes are not, afaik, proposing to restrict all "adult" content - just "pornography".

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: mobile operators blocking adult content...

      The Tor website was blocked on my mobile with an adult warning displayed instead. Nothing to do with porn but I had to call up and ask for the adult block to be removed before I could access it which was a day after I actually needed to access the site.

      Innocent sites are always caught up and many can not be removed from the list. Torrentfreak is a news site but many major block lists block it as being P2P. Nothing to download on the site, just a news site. So who will control all these lists fairly?

  49. Synkrox

    Sense at last

    Finally, some sense. I'm a NM at a secondary school for girls in Birmingham.

    I wholeheartledly agree with everything you have said. It's all very well Reg readers going "pah! DNS based blocking!?" but most people have no idea what DNS is, let alone how to change it.

    Yeah there will be how-to guides springing up, but my 11 and 8 year old kids that are encouraged to use the internet for homework wont be looking for that. No system is infallible, but this is a great idea. A lot of parents simply don't realise what their kids are up to and the kids certainly don't realise the wealth of gross stuff that's on the net even by "adult" standards.

    Next stop - social networking sites, they need to take responsibility for keeping their house in order. I don't see why FB and the like should be letting kids see beheading videos.

    1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: Sense at last

      > most people have no idea what DNS is, let alone how to change it.

      the ones who want to find a way around it will learn quickly enough. Unless the government bans that information too.

      > the kids certainly don't realise the wealth of gross stuff that's on the net

      but telling them that it's been filtered is one way of making damn sure they'll go looking for it, and if you think your 11 year old won't be doing that in a few years time you're way too naive to be working with children.

      1. Synkrox

        Re: Sense at last

        >if you think your 11 year old won't be doing that in a few years time

        You said it yourself:

        A few years time.

        So my 8 year old will be in a few more years time.....

        Which is pretty much what I would anticipate.

        My 11 year old will be drinking in a few years time too. Doesn't mean she will be getting her hands on the booze today.

        Kids are born innocent and develop maturity in line with understanding and responsibility. The fact they can get something at 18 is not an excuse to give it them at 7.

        1. Mad Mike

          Re: Sense at last

          'You said it yourself:

          A few years time.

          So my 8 year old will be in a few more years time.....

          Which is pretty much what I would anticipate.

          My 11 year old will be drinking in a few years time too. Doesn't mean she will be getting her hands on the booze today.

          Kids are born innocent and develop maturity in line with understanding and responsibility. The fact they can get something at 18 is not an excuse to give it them at 7.'

          Absolutely agree, but how does this solution prevent that? Anyone who's been in IT for any length of time can remember the days of the original content filtering. How it caused so many problems with false positives/negatives it was just a nightmare and not worth the grief. I remember Websense (downloaded URL lists) blocking the conservative website as extreme politics, but allowing the BNP!! This will result in so much grief, many households will have to turn the filter off. I also remember a friend who looked up Molten Brown (as in the cosmetics) and managed to get into a porn site by accident. So, are we banning Molten Brown as search terms and doing a company out of business? If it was on a per person basis, I would have more support, but it isn't and is never likely to be. So, it is doing absolutely nothing to protect your 7 year old and just inconveniencing everyone.

          Also, if your 7 year old with no sexual feelings found a porn website, I imagine they wouldn't care less. Probably wouldn't understand and would go back to looking for Elmo of whatever. If your child is of an age and sexual maturity where it means something to them, then you should have already spoken to them about it and therefore they should be savvy.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      FAIL

      Re: Sense at last

      @Synkrox

      " A lot of parents simply don't realise what their kids are up to..."

      And there lies the complete failure of your argument. Parents /should/ realise what their children are up to. If parents take the time to foster an honest and open relationship with their children, they (the children) will have no problems being open and honest in return. I happen to be able to say with with some authority as I am a parent.

      "Next stop - social networking sites, they need to take responsibility for keeping their house in order. I don't see why FB and the like should be letting kids see beheading videos."

      Seriously? You think that social networking sites are the big evil for such videos? I'm assuming you say that because that's the only source you have read about in the headlines lately.

      Sure, I don't want my kids watching stuff like that, but I don't lay the blame with social networking just because it's the one under the microscope or in the headlines. Anyway, if it's not illegal, it's MY responsibility as a parent to resolve the issue (which I, and yes... even you, can do probably far more efficiently than these silly filters).

      Anyway, if your kids are 8 and 11 they should not be on Facebook and if they are not then it is not your place to labour under the misapprehension that you have a right to dictate how I and other parents manage their children.

      Maybe you just like to live with the illusion of safety? After all that's all these filters really are.

      1. Synkrox

        Re: Sense at last

        >Parents /should/ realise what their children are up to

        Good luck educating the parents of the UK, I look forward to hearing your proposal for that scheme. Ever seen Jeremy Kyle? There are 50,000 kids in the UK that have had to be placed in foster care, and those are just the ones bad enough to be taken from parents entirely. Your happy 2.4 home might not be one of them, congrats. turn off the filter and have the relationship with your kids you describe. But next door little Mercedes could be watching an ass smoothie and wondering if its normal.

        >Anyway, if your kids are 8 and 11 they should not be on Facebook

        They aren't, thanks for your concern,despite their protests because "their friends are"- but as a NM at a secondary school I think I can give a pretty good insight into what's going on with young people from 11-18 as I have around 1000 to look after on a daily basis.

        >Seriously? You think that social networking sites are the big evil for such videos?

        They dont make the videos, but they should be more responsible for dealing with what is posted on there and preventing it redistribution. Should we allow the BBC to show beheadings too?

        >Maybe you just like to live with the illusion of safety? After all that's all these filters really are.

        In your opinion, because you read the Reg and know how to get round them. I don't want my kids, or anyone else's kids stumbling across stuff by accident. That's the point of this. Noone is claiming it to be an undefeatable firewall.

        1. Mad Mike

          Re: Sense at last

          'Good luck educating the parents of the UK, I look forward to hearing your proposal for that scheme. Ever seen Jeremy Kyle? There are 50,000 kids in the UK that have had to be placed in foster care, and those are just the ones bad enough to be taken from parents entirely. Your happy 2.4 home might not be one of them, congrats. turn off the filter and have the relationship with your kids you describe. But next door little Mercedes could be watching an ass smoothie and wondering if its normal.'

          So, what you're suggesting is we assume every parent is an idiot and stop trying to raise the standard of parenting. That is a guarantee that things will get worse no matter what else we do. A lot of the problems today is the standard of parenting and on the few occasions I've seen Jeremy Kyle, I'm amazed half of them haven't had their children taken from them. Teenage girls don't generally get pregnant because they've seen a few skin flicks. They get pregnant because their parents probably did as well and now it's quite normal. Plus, of course, all the benefits available. A good few through simple ignorance and stupidity. All these are cured by quality parenting, something you wish to ignore and simply move to an internet filter instead. That'll work then......not.

          'They aren't, thanks for your concern,despite their protests because "their friends are"- but as a NM at a secondary school I think I can give a pretty good insight into what's going on with young people from 11-18 as I have around 1000 to look after on a daily basis.'

          Interesting that you think staff working in a school have a better idea of what children do than their parents!! I certainly hope that isn't the case in my case. Remembering back to my earlier years, I remember what a lot of teachers thought was happening and it used to amuse us no end to manipulate this to our advantage. The teachers who had realised were normally the ones who were ignored and this is especially so now with league tables etc. After all, teachers can't possibly admit what's happening as that would result in a trip down the tables etc. and failed OFSTEDs etc.

          'They dont make the videos, but they should be more responsible for dealing with what is posted on there and preventing it redistribution. Should we allow the BBC to show beheadings too?'

          You know something, in some senses I do. People are so divorced from reality these days, I think we need to go back the other way a bit. I'm forever amazed that children are quite willing to eat meat all day long and yet the TV has to show all kinds of warnings etc. whenever the insides of an abattoir are shown. Quite happy to eat it, but not so happy to understand how it got on your plate. Perhaps if people saw and realised some of the more nasty elements of the world, they might care more about some things or in the case of MPs, make better decisions. It's very easy to talk about beheadings and be all righteous about it when you haven't seen one. It's all words. However, when you've seen one, you realise it's about a lot more than that. Same for any form of execution and many other things. Too many people talk about things they've never experienced or even seen (including most MPs) and frankly it shows.

          'In your opinion, because you read the Reg and know how to get round them. I don't want my kids, or anyone else's kids stumbling across stuff by accident. That's the point of this. Noone is claiming it to be an undefeatable firewall.'

          If your kids are intelligent and talk to their friends, they've almost certainly already got the knowledge to get round these right now. So, how is implementing this doing any good at all? Clearly, you've never seen what kids look at on your schools computers as I know for certain they've got round all the filters in my local schools. Quite a lot of the wireless networks are also cracked and they're using their mobile phones on the schools wireless!! The whole point of this debate is that generally kids that stumble across it by accident will just move on and not care. Those that search it out at some point will find a way round the system. This is largely because the two groups are pretty much age based.

        2. freeman-number-2
          WTF?

          Re: Sense at last

          "But next door little Mercedes could be watching an ass smoothie and wondering if its normal."

          I thought you said you worked in a school in Birmingham. That is Birmingham in the UK, isn't if? Not, say, Birmingham, Alabama?

          So, perhaps you ought to know the difference between an ass and an arse? Being connected with education and all, even if only by virtue of being being the school filter tsar. They probably do have dictionaries in your school. Or you could ask an English teacher.

          1. Synkrox
            FAIL

            Re: Sense at last

            Thanks for being so pedantic, however the website to which I am referring is asssmoothie (dotcom)

            The internet doesn't care where you live, so yeah, its an american spelling, of an american website.

    3. Brenda McViking
      Stop

      Re: Sense at last

      You're hopelessly naive if you think that an 11 year old hasn't seen things in the playground that would make your hair curl. Kids have the ways and means to distribute files, via phones, memory sticks, whatsapp, you name it - they'll have seen stuff of the most extreme hardcore nature (and most likely illegal) by age 12, I guarantee it. You're kidding yourself if you think otherwise.

      ISP filters DO NOT WORK, all they do is add pointless inconvenience to the average user. I can imagine it now - trying to access instagram or flikr in starbucks - sorry, our free wifi is family friendly, and uses government approved ISP filter lists. Public libraries wifi - "sorry, that research material is classified as adult material and unsuitable for our family library." The internet is most useful when it is available widely - and government guidelines coupled with opt-out mean that you will only get government sanctioned internet in the future. That's not on.

      It is censorship. It's not a great idea, and people with views like you are actually harming children by destroying responsibility toward them - and that is far greater than the harm done to them by viewing "naughty things" on the 'net. It is NOT societies responsibility to parent properly, FULL STOP.

    4. freeman-number-2
      Headmaster

      Re: Sense at last

      "Finally, some sense. I'm a NM at a secondary school for girls in Birmingham."

      You are just the sort of school network manager that our kids need. Who else can we trust to prepare them for the world?

      Parents? Can't trust them. Teachers? Them neither.

      Hey, do you know what was on the piece of paper I found in my son's school bag? Shocking. When I threatened to ground him he admitted that others in his class have drawn similar things. Can you believe it? Disgusting!

      Seeing how you know about such things, perhaps you can help me. What I want to be able to do is filter out all use of paper. In his bedroom, at school, at his friends' houses. If you could see what unsupervised kids of today get up to with a pen and paper you'd be truly shocked. In fact, I want paper to be banned by default. Parents who are irresponsible enough to want their children to access paper should have to opt in. Their names should be kept on a register.

      1. Synkrox

        Re: Sense at last

        You will be pleased to know your sarcasm isn't wasted on me :-)

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Citation needed

    "Children are getting far more access to pornography than they used to, and it's not doing them any good at all"

  51. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The lack of Pron on 3G has more to do with "limited bandwidth" than "less paedophile friendly".

    The cheapest solution, BTW, would be to route all our internet traffic through Saudi Arabia.

  52. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I could certainly see good reasons for putting McDonalds or Cadbury's on the blocked list....

  53. JimmyPage Silver badge
    Big Brother

    It's NOT the filtering

    it's the suggestion that Google et al should be required to adulterate their search results, if a user types in a "certain phrase". Because it's axiomatic that that phrase will go from being "Child sex pictures", to "Tory party plans".

    Also, yesterday on R4, Cameron hinted that Google et al might be required to inform the authorities, if a person uses certain search terms.

    Now Mr Ray may be happy with that, but I for one am not, and have already started researching for a router that will support a VPN so that my household is out of scope for this.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It's NOT the filtering

      " Because it's axiomatic that that phrase will go from being 'Child sex pictures', to 'Tory party plans'"

      Dont forget to add "elm guest house monday club" to the list.

  54. Anonymous Coward 101

    Presentation

    Taken for itself, the porn blocker is debatable. But it was the way Cameron presented it: he (or his 'advisor') explicitly linked child pornography (or 'child abuse images' or whatever we are supposed to call it now) to bog standard porn.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-23401076

    In other words, the new law is being made in a spirit of hysteria.

  55. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge

    Let's be clear: most UK ISPs already censor the internet using the Internet Watch Foundation's list of sites hosting child porn, and mobile operators have been blocking adult content for years with few complaints, so it's far from obvious what everyone is making such a fuss about....

    Umm... is this for real?

    These arguments are so poor and condescending, that either:

    a) El Reg wants a controversial piece to up the comments, and commissioned this one from Bill Ray (who obviously doesn't believe the argument he's making himself), or

    b) El Reg (in common with all the political parties) thinks that we're all as thick as two short planks, behave like sheep, and have no comprehension of individual freedom....

    1. BlueGreen

      agreed @Dodgy Geezer

      Smells like yet another Reg leash-yank make-them-bark piece. Getting tired of them, too.

  56. QuinnDexter
    Flame

    Justification

    Previous posts such as Ian 62's, Dazed and Confused, and Lost All Faith's and others have asked who controls the blocked list, asked what's on it now, suggested dad will switch it off cos dads like porn, discussed the boundaries of what is pornographic and what is educational, where does LGBT fit, and a plethora of other questions and statements that I would echo, but won't, due to echoes being annoying.

    An issue I have is HOW this is being done. I had the pleasure of driving from Glasgow to Manchester yesterday and heard all the spin coming from the Prime Minister's Adviser on the Commercialisation and Sexualisation of Childhood. (I assume she is anti- these things, and not advising on how to make them more efficient). So there were two thing being brought in yesterday - a clamp down with an unavoidable opt-out family filter which limits access to adult material, regardless of its pornographic content or not. And also, a cracking of the whip at Google et al to ensure that access to any rape-related pornography is stopped, but the Government has stopped short of actually legislating on the second one, and have left Google et-al to be our moral compasses, whilst giving the Government the opportunity in the future to beat them up more about not doing enough about it. ("We're only bringing these new restrictive laws in because Google didn't do a good enough job when we asked them to"). I am actually more comfortable with Google et al being moral compasses over UK Politicians.

    Anyway, the Prime Minister's Advisor on Corrupting Kids didn't start talking about either of these things. She first talked at length about child porn, *not* children accessing porn. She described the work CEOP was doing and the fact that every image is a crime scene and how any limits and changes and restrictions being brought in is all being done for the safety of British children and keeping our British children safe and making sure they weren't caught up in child pornography, because they are British and need to be safe. She stated that pornography on the internet was only two clicks away from child pornography.

    Regardless of the fact that legal multi-billion pound porn business needs to do everything it can to distance itself from illegal porn, she is actually very accurate, in that one click will take you to a search engine and another click will take you to child porn.

    The unproportional reaction, this over emotional, inflamed melodramatic response to a real issue, and not just linking it intrinsically but intertwining it with a much more serious issue, building the fear of repercussions, because if we don't put this in place this will only end in British children being used in child pornography. "Don't agree with the web filter? Well then you must be FOR child porn. And if that's the case then you should be on a register." It is that which sticks in my stomach. The temperature of the water has been increased a couple of degrees and the frog is asking for the loofer - people, including reporters, feel awkward in questioning her reasoning - the last thing a BBC reporter wants is to be tarred with a brush that aligns them in any way with Jimmy Saville in the eyes of the Daily Mail or the sheep who accept these restrictions openly unquestioning.

    The author wrote: -

    "Honestly, though, Everyone knows one should educate one's children, teach them proportional reactions and try to prepare them for a time when one won't be around to help them deal with the world, but just as we feel confident sitting them in front of the TV before nine so we should be able to log them onto the internet without having to look over their shoulder the whole time (which limits their freedom in other ways, and becomes impractical as the number of children increases). Right now that's technically possible, but too complicated for millions of users."

    If it's too complicated for one to raise ones kids properly, or if one is too lazy to put effort into raising ones kids, then one should not have kids. Instead of combating the ignorance (and I do not mean that in the pejorative sense) of some, the whole population should not have restrictions put in place over them. Perhaps address the problem rather than creating a workaround? The first step should be to remove the ignorance.

    If three months after its launch and 70% of the population have opted out of the filter (This filter will remain in place in most houses right up to the point where dad needs to exercise his wrists or mum needs an online bingo fix) will more stringent restrictions be put in place because people ignored this one?

    "The government is actually quite a bad regulator of the internet"

    Claire Perry MP

    Prime Minister's Adviser on the Commercialisation and Sexualisation of Childhood

    31st May 2013

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3gbc_8XMfII

  57. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    ref. The devil in the detail

    Can we see the list please?

    The list of sites/content/genre that they've deemed to be Adult and requiring filtered?

    Can we know who is on the committee please?

    Is advice to curious teenage LGBT on that list?

    Is advice for teenage safe sex on that list?

    Are historic great works featuring cherubs and teenagers on that list?

    ....

    This is for us to know, and for you, not to worry your little head about. Unless... given the depth of questions asked, you don't happen to have any vested interest in the subject, do you? Because, you know, we might want to chat to you about it. Or take a peek at what you store on your hard drive....

  58. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fuss over nothing, it's only natural body parts

    Normal media offerings do more to damage young people's self esteem than any porn does. TV and magazines are full of unrealistic 'perfect' body shapes that will demoralise anyone with less than 'ideal' looks. And if we're not celebs, then we're worthless. Fix that first, I suggest.

    Besides, kids avoid porn until they're ready for it. I used to be fascinated by the mags I found under my parents' bed, but my son is older now than I was then, and has yet to pass the "ewww!" phase when it comes to lady parts. When he's old enough, and able enough, to find mucky piccies on the www, he'll deserve the reward. And we're open and honest enough in this household to joke about almost anything, and make sure they understand all the oddness and strange things in the world. I'm sure he'll be fine.

  59. Tom 35 Silver badge

    Think of the idots

    "the majority of internet users who don't know one end of a CAT5 from the other"

    Maybe because there is no difference?

    "A surprising number of parents simply assume the internet is already filtered"

    "but the technically illiterate wouldn't know to select it"

    Everyone, please think of the stupid people.

    If someone is THAT technically illiterate their web browser window is going to be 1/2" after you add all the toolbars.

    " so by forcing everyone to make a decision the new scheme will force those who opt out to think about what they're doing."

    Opt in is just as much "forcing everyone to make a decision" as opt out. Think about what your doing? As in do you want to be on the I'm a pervert sicko list?

    So "think of the children" is not enough. Now it's "think of the children of stupid people".

    And as others have said... The devil in the detail

  60. OhDearHimAgain

    The main problem I have with this is its a simple Yes / No - well at least my mobile operator's is.

    I'm happy to have most stuff blocked, but (for example) they blocked match.com - hardly what you would call hardcore porn, so I had the blocked removed, which then opens the flood gates to everything, including all the illegal stuff(?) - if the filter is too draconian it makes itself useless - but the problem is what we classify as "acceptable" is very much down the the individual.

    And that's where all forms of censorship break down - at the margins - we can all agree that kiddy porn etc should be blocked, but download some of the free filtering s/w produced by far-right American groups and you'll find all the gay & bisexual sites start disappearing.

    I use a filter list maintained by a group of European Universities - its a pretty good balance, but I can still black / white list sites I want or don't want without the all or nothing typical of blocking at the ISP.

  61. Irongut

    "look over their shoulder the whole time (which limits their freedom in other ways, and becomes impractical as the number of children increases)"

    How exactly does it become impractical as the number of children increases? As the number of children in the world increases so does the number of parents. If you mean the number of children in the family then I say if you can't properly care for 2 or 3 children at once you shouldn't have them!

  62. Steve Martins

    google - taking parenting to the web

    "What if I want my child to visit learningaboutsexualissues.com"

    yes - you are right, the internet should replace you as a parent and take all responsibility for educating your child away from you and serve it up through a web search.

    For those who want to be involved in their childrens upbringing there are plenty of other resources, and I'm sure these filters will still allow useful content through.

    Anyone who opposes this move obviously thinks its fine for young children to see an inappropriate pop up - it only takes a non-tech-savvy horny adult to click a few links on an unpatched machine and a child will soon be crying at a picture they are too young to deal with emotionally.

  63. Alan Brown Silver badge

    Not much complaint?

    Let's see

    Saracens rugby club website blocked

    A couple of tech sites blocked.

    Wikipedia (briefly) blocked.

    Which of these is a grumble flick outfit again?

    The only reason there are few complaints is that one (loud) complaint to the telcos gets it switched off - no explanation whatsoever as to _WHY_ these sites were ever filtered in the first place.

  64. Anonymous Coward
    Gimp

    Ha ha!

    The (only?) reason why dissenters don't want an opt-out filter applied is because they don't want the embarrassment of asking for it to be removed! I'm thinking of the similar premise in 'Lock, Stock...'

    All the other arguments for 'people will just get around it', 'educate the parents' etc might be partially true, but just because it won't work in 100% of cases doesn't mean you shouldn't implement it (on that basis alone).

    And next time you're having a cheeky glimpse at the latest big busted beauty earning her corn on t'interweb, just picture your own daughter...

    1. Mad Mike

      Re: Ha ha!

      'The (only?) reason why dissenters don't want an opt-out filter applied is because they don't want the embarrassment of asking for it to be removed! I'm thinking of the similar premise in 'Lock, Stock...''

      No, it's because bigots will use it against you at every opportunity. I can imagine that being something that gets revealed on a CRB check. After all, they're already trying to make the link between watching porn and being a child molester/sex criminal. And, yes, embarrassment comes into it as well. Why make a whole raft of people embarrassed when the solution won't even do any good at any level!! That's pointless and actually quite nasty in its own right.

      'All the other arguments for 'people will just get around it', 'educate the parents' etc might be partially true, but just because it won't work in 100% of cases doesn't mean you shouldn't implement it (on that basis alone).'

      This is a matter of degree. It it took a long time, or a lot of knowledge to get round, then maybe this argument would hold up. However, as it takes about 15 minutes research on the net and most kids learn how to get round it in school these days (from their peers, not the school), then what's the point. In other words, if the solution were 90% effective, fair enough. However, as this one is certainly not out of single digits and arguably barely above zero, what's the point.

      'And next time you're having a cheeky glimpse at the latest big busted beauty earning her corn on t'interweb, just picture your own daughter...'

      And now you reveal your real feelings and motivation. If your daughter (or mine) has chosen this as their career path, that's their choice. We can like it or not, but once they become adults, it's their choice. We can try to talk them out of it, point out all the negatives etc.etc, but if they continue, that's what being an adult is all about. It's their lives. Given the way films are going these days, presumably you wouldn't want your daughter appearing in Hollywood blockbusters either?

      Seems like you're very conservative and uneasy around anything related to sex.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Ha ha!

        "No, it's because bigots will use it against you at every opportunity. I can imagine that being something that gets revealed on a CRB check."

        Crikey, you seem to think that the CRB process is foolproof (and that in depth). Sadly, it isn't. It doesn't capture all the weirdos. But, hey, it does capture some, so that's a plus point. See also below...

        "Why make a whole raft of people embarrassed when the solution won't even do any good at any level!!"

        Do you have any hard evidence to suggest that it won't do ANY good? Those that can bypass it will, those that can't (or don't know) won't. So I'd suggest it will do SOME good. Perhaps not as much as the lawmakers would like, but some. It'll certainly help out those parents who have tried to educate their children, but, you know, they are in their teens and don't listen. But kudos to you for (sort of) admitting you'd be embarrassed to have the porn filter lifted. So would I...

        "If your daughter (or mine) has chosen this as their career path, that's their choice. We can like it or not, but once they become adults, it's their choice. We can try to talk them out of it, point out all the negatives etc.etc, but if they continue, that's what being an adult is all about. It's their lives."

        It is indeed their choice. But you'd be a little gutted, wouldn't you? And you wouldn't want your mates letching over her, would you? All I'm saying is just think about the fact that it's someone's daughter the next time you have a cheeky view; it'll change your view on the world.

        "Given the way films are going these days, presumably you wouldn't want your daughter appearing in Hollywood blockbusters either?"

        Ridiculous.

        "Seems like you're very conservative and uneasy around anything related to sex."

        It's very difficult to respond to this without sounding anything but, but after having spent my formative years (and quite a few thereafter) in a rugby club where the attitude to porn was extremely relaxed, I'd say you were a little off here. Let's not just assume that all those in favour are 'conservative and uneasy' and those against are porn junkies that don't want to have to 'fess up.

        1. Mad Mike

          Re: Ha ha!

          @kingsmill

          I think you're missing the point here.

          'Crikey, you seem to think that the CRB process is foolproof (and that in depth). Sadly, it isn't. It doesn't capture all the weirdos. But, hey, it does capture some, so that's a plus point. See also below.'

          Nope, I don't think the CRB check is foolproof. I think it is almost as badly implemented as the idea of an internet block. It may catch a few people, but has been shown many times, also allows huge numbers through. What I was saying is that they'll probably put refusing the filter down on a CRB check as some sort of indicator that you like porn and are therefore probably at least partway to being a kiddie fiddler. That is such a leap and so far from the truth, it defies belief, but is a likely misuse of this sort of list.

          'Do you have any hard evidence to suggest that it won't do ANY good? Those that can bypass it will, those that can't (or don't know) won't. So I'd suggest it will do SOME good. Perhaps not as much as the lawmakers would like, but some. It'll certainly help out those parents who have tried to educate their children, but, you know, they are in their teens and don't listen. But kudos to you for (sort of) admitting you'd be embarrassed to have the porn filter lifted. So would I...'

          I won't be in the slightest embarrassed. What's to be embarrassed about? However, I do understand that some people will be and I don't see the point of making them embarrassed for no benefit. If this was likely to work at anything about minimal level, I would say this is an acceptable exchange, but it won't. So, why make people embarrassed for no benefit? That strikes me as pretty poor behaviour and some sort of moral revenge by the holier than thou. People who think sex and naked bodies are somehow wrong and perverse etc. (from your reply, I'd include you) getting their own back on people who simply accept sex and nakedness as part of nature and life.

          'It is indeed their choice. But you'd be a little gutted, wouldn't you? And you wouldn't want your mates letching over her, would you? All I'm saying is just think about the fact that it's someone's daughter the next time you have a cheeky view; it'll change your view on the world.'

          No, I wouldn't. Would it embarrass me? Probably, yes. Would I dislike my friends letching over her? Probably, yes. But, I'm a good enough parent to put my embarrassment and discomfort to one side in order to support my daughter in her choice of lifestyle. It's interesting here that you identify daughters particularly, as if you view it as acceptable for a son to take part in porn, but not your daughter? What's the difference? Suggests more than a whiff of sexism on your part methinks.

          'Ridiculous.'

          So, you don't have any reasonable response to my comment about your daughter taking part in a Hollywood movie in less than full attire and therefore resort to offhand distain. Actually tell me why appearing in a Hollywood film naked and having sex with someone is particularly different? Are they still naked? Are they still appearing to have sex (whether actual or not)? From your earlier comments, I would suggest you would care very much about this, but don't want to undermine your case by admitting this.

          'It's very difficult to respond to this without sounding anything but, but after having spent my formative years (and quite a few thereafter) in a rugby club where the attitude to porn was extremely relaxed, I'd say you were a little off here. Let's not just assume that all those in favour are 'conservative and uneasy' and those against are porn junkies that don't want to have to 'fess up.'

          I'm afraid all your replies point towards my comments. You seem to be trying to take the moral high ground and am clearly (by your own comments) uneasy with nakedness or sex in general. Maybe this is as a response to the porn you saw at the rugby club. I don't know. However, I don't really need to reply to this, as your previous replies speak volumes for me.

        2. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

          Re: Ha ha! @kingsmill

          "It is indeed their choice. But you'd be a little gutted, wouldn't you? And you wouldn't want your mates letching over her, would you? All I'm saying is just think about the fact that it's someone's daughter the next time you have a cheeky view; it'll change your view on the world."

          Not half as embarrassed as if I found she'd been writing this sort of shit on an internet forum. Or become a Tory MP. Or regularly read neo-puritan crap on mumsnet. Personally, given how hard it is to get a good job through the accepted routes, I would not blame her one bit for taking the option to make some good money by using her feminine attributes, and as long as she enjoyed it, I'd be very proud, just the same as if she made money through sport or becoming an actress.

          Children become adult and therefore sexual beings. If you have problems with that, then you have failed as a human being, let alone a parent.

    2. freeman-number-2
      Facepalm

      Re: Ha ha!

      "And next time you're having a cheeky glimpse at the latest big busted beauty earning her corn on t'interweb, just picture your own daughter..."

      Now there are some who might think that having posted such a phrase on the Internet makes you ripe for a visit or some special monitoring or being placed on a register that you won't know about, although you might feel the effects in a future job interview.

      See the problem now?

  65. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If this is the start of net censorship 101...

    .... Why not go the full mile and filter Spyware, Malware and Viruses too? After all home security products are useless, we know this from past Reg articles …..

    1. Serif

      Re: If this is the start of net censorship 101...

      Good idea. Then we'll have someone to sue when we get a virus.

  66. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Net filtering won't block BitTorrent adult vids anyway, right?

    So what is this nanny-state exercise really about?

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  67. This post has been deleted by its author

  68. Snark
    Megaphone

    He speaks with a forked tongue

    That Independant article is actually very interesting -

    "Speaking on the BBC’s Jeremy Vine programme, Mr Cameron said what would be included in the filters would evolve over time. “The companies themselves are going to design what is automatically blocked, but the assumption is they will start with blocking pornographic sites and also perhaps self-harming sites,” he said.

    “It will depend on how the companies choose how to do it. It doesn’t mean, for instance, it will block access to a newspaper like The Sun, it wouldn’t block that - but it would block pornography.”

    Mr Cameron said he did not “believe” written pornography, such as erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey, would be blocked under the plans. But he added: “It will depend on how the filters work.”"

    So wait, he is relying on the ISPs to work out how and what they will block, so does this mean different ISPs will block different things (and will worry about the govt coming down on them for not doing a good enough job?). You are not going to block soft-core porn (yet) or exploitation of children and over-sexualisation of them (which in my mind is a lot worse than adult porn being out there). He doesn't think it will stop written porn which lets face is can have lots sicker stuff in it as it's made up and people can write whatever comes into their deviant little heads?

    The kicker for me though is "may block self-harming sites". Wait, where did this come from? This was all to save the children from future child molesters! No, if this is an argument about whether these things should be available to our kids then make it an argument about this. I get sick of people using the "our children aren't safe" argument to push through whatever agenda they have. If this is about society deciding that this should be restricted as per shops then make it an argument about that, don't mix it in with the (quite real) war against child abuse. Don't water down the impact the real issue has by using it as emotional blackmail to get your way (if you don't agree you must be in league with the child molesters).

    I don't disagree that self-harm sites are a "bad thing" and I'd rather have the opportunity to decide them blocked on a network level, but that definitely doesn't fit in with how this is being sold. It seems feature creep already.

    If you want internet providers to be more responsible then fine, get them to offer family locks at no cost so people can use them without having to get too deep into their computers. Make consumers decide they want it though so a parent has to actively decide I want this for my children and takes some responsibility for their own kids. Make them think about what it can and can't do as they've decided to turn it on.

    1. billse10

      Re: He speaks with a forked tongue

      "If you want internet providers to be more responsible then fine, get them to offer family locks at no cost so people can use them without having to get too deep into their computers. "

      On the other hand, that means telling voters that they actually are responsible for their own actions and activities & saying they can't blame unnamed others. No politician is going to do that ....

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: He speaks with a forked tongue

      If you look up "Girls (Screaming) Aloud" or just UK Internet Censorship you'll find that they DO want to prosecute written materials, and presumably all those Japanese cartoons will also definitely make it into the category.

      Bottomline is they don't want you to even THINK about it.

    3. Tim Almond
      Facepalm

      Re: He speaks with a forked tongue

      "So wait, he is relying on the ISPs to work out how and what they will block, so does this mean different ISPs will block different things (and will worry about the govt coming down on them for not doing a good enough job?). You are not going to block soft-core porn (yet) or exploitation of children and over-sexualisation of them (which in my mind is a lot worse than adult porn being out there)"

      No. the ISPs aren't worried at all, because they know that it's just PR guff. One is filtering (TalkTalk) and has a niche. Some parents are especially worried about it and switching to them.

      The other 3 big ones are being begged by government SpAds to carry on as they are, but to manipulate the wording so it looks like "on by default", but isn't. Not to protect kids but just to make Cam look good. But as that was leaked by one of the ISPs, I think we know how they feel. And then there's dozens of small ISPs out there that aren't being addressed by that letter.

      My guess, the ISPs haven't agreed to anything. They didn't when Clare Perry lied that they had agreed to act a few weeks ago. But while you can go to war with a junior MP in Marlborough, you can't really do the same with the PM. My guess is that they'll ignore it. Cam is toast as PM anyway, so string it out long enough, the problem will go away.

  69. Oz
    Holmes

    I was watching the News last night, about this very subject. They interviewed the mother of April Jones, in tears, saying that this filter could have kept her daughter safe. Whilst she is understandably upset, I see that comment as scare mongering and of no real relevance. Extreme porn is already blocked and, as Mark Bridger is an adult, he could easily unbolck the fiter and then carry on browsing naughty sites (within reason) unhindered.

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Yes, she is understandably upset. A responsible editor would have noted that her argument was completely bogus and been kind enough not to splash her across the nation's screens and make her look like a fool.

      Very sad that no-one on the programme thought to do this. But then, modern news does seem to "get off" on distress and wallow in gory details. I'm sure it is unhealthy. Perhaps it should be blocked.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      What I don't understand is why it's assumed that there's a linear chain of cause and effect between looking at nasty porn and murdering children. It seems at least as likely that the two things have the same cause, i.e. the guy has a screw lose, and one follows the other only because of the timing of the opportunity.

  70. Paul Shirley

    "family-friendly content filters" != "porn filter"

    We don't need to worry about feature creep, it starts off with a full dose of it, already seriously creepy.

    I already know that O2 sometimes (always?) consider looking up opening times at a pubs website to be an adult activity, blocked by default. 'Family friendly' is such a flexible term, authoritarians cant resist it.

    Ignoring any pure censorship issues, this is a policy where the implementation won't match the sales pitch, where parents will be pressured to accept whatever the government and pressure groups want hidden if they want the dubious headline benefits. It's a broken filter and it was designed that way by cynical, untrustworthy and controlling thugs.

    1. billse10
      Facepalm

      Re: "family-friendly content filters" != "porn filter"

      "I already know that O2 sometimes (always?) consider looking up opening times at a pubs website to be an adult activity, blocked by default" - which has a certain irony, given the wifi in at least one local pub is provided by .. O2 ..

  71. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How about premium rate phone numbers ?

    Presumably, for the sake of consistency, they will be "opt in" too ?

  72. Scott Broukell
    Joke

    Ah! Well ........

    Easy Come

    Easy Go

  73. Stonedecroze

    It should be OPT IN

    I agree it should be OPT IN.

    And to those people complaining that certain web sites will get blocked, "JUST OPT IN YOU MORONS".

    I have no desire to set up and maintain my own content filtering to protect my children, no matter how easy it may be.

    There is a top shelf at the news agent, there is the 9pm watershed and there are dedicated porn shops. There is NOTHING to protect unsupervised children on the internet where the content is far worse.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It should be OPT IN

      "I have no desire to set up and maintain my own content filtering to protect my children, no matter how easy it may be."

      Then it's your fault if they find something they shouldn't that could have been blocked by that filtering. The fact that you do not want to protect your children is not a reason for allowing the government to censor the Internet, and do so in such a stupid way.

      1. J.G.Harston Silver badge

        Re: It should be OPT IN

        "I have no desire to set up and maintain my own content filtering to protect my children, no matter how easy it may be."

        Likewise, I have no desire to teach my children road safety and the Green Cross Code, no matter how easy it may be.

    2. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

      Re: It should be OPT IN

      "I have no desire to set up and maintain my own content filtering to protect my children, no matter how easy it may be."

      Then what exactly are you doing on this website?

  74. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Mission creep

    The IWF blocking had the same uproar by those suggesting it would be used to block things other than child porn. We had people come along and say it would not happen and that they agree with it, such as this register page. What then happened was the same technology was then used to block websites that media organisations wanted to block.

    Mission creep happened then and it will happen more. There has already been talk of blocking streaming video websites.

    This is being pushed, via the governments psychological departments way of getting general acceptance, due to media organisations lobbying and the US governments political bullying to block media in the future with the added bonus that the governments can also block whatever they want, whenever they want.

  75. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    We need 'Yes Minster' to lampoon this.....

    Its a Politician's 'perfect 'solution for a 'perfect world.... "Why Opt-In Porn Is a Terrible Idea"...

    http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2013-07-22/why-opt-in-porn-is-a-terrible-idea#r=rss

  76. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sugar and over-protection does more damage to kids than porn.

    "Children are getting far more access to pornography than they used to, and it's not doing them any good at all. "

    Honestly, what made up statistics suggest this exactly? At least have about 5 different Universities and get them to do 3 rounds of research over 10 years before I'd believe it.

    Internet porn has been available since the dawn of the internet. Even those of us who are now 30ish GREW UP WATCHING PORN! and before that, we used to go into corner shops and get FHM, Playboy, NUTS etc.

    _SOME_ people have an inherent dislike of porn, fair enough, but that shouldn't stop the rest (I would guess at the very very least 33% of the entire adult population) from accessing it PRIVATELY.

    There is a lot of mixed messages going around, "it's about the children", "it's about child abuse", "it's about violent porn" etc etc... but let's face it, children watching porn will most likely only provoke a "Daddy what are they doing?" question, it's all part of sexual education, kids around 13 may start "relieving" themselves over it, but hey guess what! It's natural. Organic.

    Issues with paedos etc will always exist whether you default-on filter porn or not, and they already have systems to tackle them.

    Let me ALSO remind you that this isn't just about porn. Cameron had said he is looking at warning pop-ups to come up if you do even a simple SEARCH for terms that maybe illegal.

    He has NO mention of what he will do with the data, whether the data is anonymized or stored in a clear-text public database? This isn't just a breach of liberty, it's a potential privacy disaster that may lead to blackmail and other crap.

    Also, the fact that with the exception of the "possession" of violent porn, the rest is just targeted specific for the internet. If you care about your children so much then ban The Sun page 3, ban teen models, ban FHM/Playboy/Nuts, ban books like 50 shades of grey.

    Dont' even try and bring up moral, what exactly is immoral about porn? This isn't the dark ages! Just because our society keeps porn and sex in the bedroom and seldom talk about in public doesn't MEAN it is immoral!

  77. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You do have to ask yourselves this question. What is immoral about porn? Is it because the bible said so? If so isn't homosexuality the same?

    Oh no wait - Cameron wouldn't dare get into that arena because it's backed not just by the homosexual rights groups but also feminists!

    Let's not kid ourselves, most of us who're against this are male understandably, and we're being condemned because we are not known to complain nearly as loud or as persistent as any other group.

    Morality is often subjective. I could say that in my point view it is totally immoral to bar healthy male from accessing porn without anyone else knowing. Fox hunting is also immoral, but the rich guys in parliament doesn't seem to mind it.

  78. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Kids growing up and their "moral" health

    I'm quite sure that the kids that rioted a couple years back and the kids that cause a scene at football stadiums aren't under the influence of porn.

    If you want to think about the children, please, get rid of the over-protective bubble they're being wrapped in and let them experience real life.

  79. Drefsab

    The biggest danger I see in this is lazy poor parents.

    Instead of sensible restrictions such as monitoring what you children use, only allowing them to use a computer in a comunal room, actually being a parent.

    Instead what I see happening is parents who will think oh the goverement filtering will do my job for me I don't need to monitor their usage. Never mind that the filters will be weak and easy to circumnavigate or that chat rooms and other such places where they could be at risk from wouldn't be filtered.

    The lazy parents will just let their children do what they want without supervision and then when they get access to something they shouldn't or someone tries grooming them they will act all shocked and blame the ISP's.

    I for one maintain a strict control over what my children access and its supervised at all times and unless your doing the same then I don't think you have any right to complain to anyone about what your child accesses online.

    Anyway Im not about to take parenting advice from someone that leaves their children in the pub.

  80. Old Handle
    FAIL

    This article seems to take for granted that protection is inherently more important than freedom. Why is it a problem that technically inept people might be exposed to porn, but acceptable that technically inept people will have their internet restricted? I don't agree with that at all.

    It also draws a parallel with mobile internet access and glosses over the many difference between the two. Only the most obvious of which is that a mobile device is typically used by a single person while a home internet connection is not.

  81. jonfr
    Pirate

    Censoring stuff

    So you want to censor nude people (as that is what happen to what human beings are). Neither nude people or sex on video has ever harmed people in known history of the human race and they have been making both since the video was invented and people where seeing each other nude long before that.

    The call against porn in the UK is bullshit and is nothing but the political agenda of censorship and information control. It is not surprising given the political parties in charge of UK at the moment.

    It is also why we don't see this against violent movies and films. Since violence against other people is not normal and never has been. I am also sure such images are more harmful rather than people loving each other without clothes. Since that is natural and normal.

  82. druck Silver badge
    Coat

    Dispicable search engine terms

    I'm sure the world will be a safer place for all, now google maps wont show you how to get from Penistone to Scunthorpe.

  83. Dunhill

    Porn ?

    just look at the message/chats your son/daughter is using in facebook, now riddled with the greatest collection of nude pictures

    so failbooh will be blocked as well ??

  84. BlueGreen

    Children are getting far more access to pornography ... and it's not doing them any good at all

    evidence please? Your opinion is not evidence.

    Thanks.

    1. Tim Jenkins

      Re: Children are getting far more access to pornography ... and it's not doing them any good at all

      Well, when I was a teenager, porn was either softcore UK magazines, the occasional smuggled A5 glossy (always handy for French and Germany vocabulary practice) and, later, grainy VHS of assorted Europeans weeing on each other, which we assumed was a cultural tradition of some kind and may have explained the failure of town-twinning schemes throughout the 80's. Now our intertubes can deliver Brazilian transsexuals fellating ponies at 16Mb/s to screens which can be held in one hand, I think we can safely assume that (outside of certain Dutch retail outlets) there's at least the potential for rather wider availability and variety in most homes than in those days.

      As to the harm it's doing, I think that's probably harder to say, but at the very least we're setting up future generations of boys with largely unrealistic expectations, possible inferiority complexes and likely lower fertility rates owing to confusion about what gets inserted where. I'm rather more worried about the effect on the girls though, as they're the ones who are going to have to explain the difference between fantasies acted by professionals and the emotions involved in real-life interactions to those (often quite literally) misguided males...

      1. Potemkine Silver badge

        Re: Children are getting far more access to pornography ... and it's not doing them any good at all

        That's why parents have to do their job, and instruct their boys to make the distinction between fantasy and reality, as they do when it is about violence. Boys play games in which they hurt and kill, and (most) parents are able to teach them not to do the same thing in the real life. What would that be different for sexual matters?

        Parents have responsibilities, and this kind of laws is just another way to excuse them not to exert them.

      2. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

        Re: Children are getting far more access to pornography ... and it's not doing them any good at all

        As long as both enjoy it, nothing is "wrong" when it comes to sex. Who knows, we might actually be allowing girls/women to realise that they can enjoy things that they never thought of, or were classed as "wrong" by neo-puritan parents.

  85. Matthew 17

    Not the same as mobile filtering

    If this was the same then it wouldn't be news as ISP's generally already offer a family filter option. This is a government mandated centralised filtering of the internet. A far more questionable prospect.

  86. Gavin McMenemy

    They work for you

    So I have a suggestion - start writing to your local self serving representatives. It doesn't matter whether they are toeing the party line or not - get writing. Eventually if enough people start making a big enough fuss then your MPs are going to have to start paying attention because they will realise their jobs are theoretically on the line. Hand wringing and venting on sites isn't doing something about it.

    I do agree that this is a daft idea. I have already started letter writing to my local MP and sundry representatives.

    1. spiny norman
      Unhappy

      Re: They work for you

      As my local Tory party would adopt a bag of laundry if it was sent by Central Office with a blue rosette on it, and as a majority of the local population would then dutifully vote for it, there's not much risk of the current incumbent losing his job. In fact about the only way he could possibly lose his job would be if he opposed Dave on something as fundamentally Tory as ridding the world of porn (unless supplied by R. Murdoch or R. Desmond, in which case it's all right).

  87. Christian Berger Silver badge

    The problem is, once you have that infrastructure...

    ...it's extremely trivial to censor anything you want. Or even censor things "by accident".

  88. The BigYin

    I was annoyed...

    ...when I discovered my mobile internet service was censored. I didn't consider the site I was accessing to be "adult".

    This just comes back to parents needing to take responsibility for their kids. Make the tools available. Educate people. But do not censor everyone "for the children".

  89. herman Silver badge

    Will the filter list block access to the filter list? My guess is that an anti-list web site that makes everything on the list accessible in a massive hyperlink orgasm, may be a rather popular portal.

  90. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    So...

    So... your thesis is that the entire Internet should be censored until it is dumbed down enough for the dumbest of the dumb? No, it should not.

    1. LaeMing Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: So...

      Agree. We already have cable for that!

  91. JeremyH

    grown-ups and computers

    I love the implied admission by the PM that adults (with some notable exceptions) are computer illiterate fules who cannot be trusted to click on the big-red-button labelled ' NO PORN' . Yep, no amount of advertising in the Daily Mail, Sky Sports etc would help transition these sad products of a miserably poor education system into reasonably sentient life-forms. Probably applies to Dave Cameron himself - when lots of his peers (he isn't one is he?) were struggling with the mysteries of computer science in Oxford he was off getting pissed - and why not? Techno stuff is soooo boring. Brilliant.

    Anyway, now that HMG (Her Majesty's Government) has finally figured out computers are hard, maybe they will stop pushing (even forcing) all those computer-incompetent people out there (and lots of them) to do everything connected with government - taxes, benefits, licenses etc - via their computers. Oh, yes - and stop banks etc from doing the same. It is, evidently, much too difficult for ordinary Tory voters to manage.

  92. jklkj

    Sounds like a cross between Jeremy Clarkson and Alan Partridge

  93. Mephistro Silver badge

    Another tool in place...

    ... for the the next Snowden/NSA/GHCQ type scandal." Oopps, Wikileaks was accidentally filtered. Don't worry, we'll fix it in a few days."

    The problem is not the filtering, the problem is who decides what to filter, and the degree of transparency and accountability of the decision process.

  94. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    in other news

    violence is perfectly acceptable.

  95. Maty

    Really?

    'Children are getting far more access to pornography than they used to, and it's not doing them any good at all. '

    Really? Kids have been accessing a largely unfiltered internet for the past two decades, and I've yet to see a wave of debauchery sweeping the country.

    So we have an unfalsifiable statement - i.e. hot air. I can claim with equal justification that 'Children are getting far more access to pornography than they used to, and it's doing them plenty good. ' They now know where the bits go, don't ask mum any embarrassing questions, and young teenagers can work off their frustrations on the .jpg tribe.

    As for 'an impossible model of perfection' either a) you've not watched that much porn or b) you also want to ban all advertising.

    1. LaeMing Silver badge
      Meh

      Re: Really?

      Hmmm. If you swap the word 'advertising' for 'porn' suddenly you get an argument that actually makes sense and intersects well with reality.

  96. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Many people are asking themselves why the biggest wanker in the UK would lock down online porn. Obviously, he has already downloaded it all via Tempora.

  97. LaeMing Silver badge

    Next up:

    Road rules dramatically changed so it is safe for 8-year-olds to drive trucks.

  98. Loki 1

    Better start somewhere else then...

    <quote>Children are getting far more access to pornography than they used to, and it's not doing them any good at all. Western society increasingly covers real bodies while exposing the plastic perfection at every turn, leading to an explosion in genital plastic surgery, for those who can afford it, and a plethora of issues around self-image for those who can't. Manufactured porn creates expectations to which the sticky fumbling of teenage exploration can't compare, and which is hardly comparable to the dodgy magazines and saucy VHS of yesteryear.</quote>

    Then best start with regular advertising on TV and the internet which shower us in images of perfection and trying to convince us (and think of the children!) that they need to also look like perfection, and that using product X will help them achieve this. By comparison, porn is nothing.

  99. Potemkine Silver badge

    Wrong target

    So porn would harm the children, but violence which they are exposed any time on TV, games or Internet would not? Murders, bombings, wars are all over news and tv shows, but the problem would be of seeing naked people?

    This moral stance against sexuality when ignoring violence is addressing a problem orders of magnitude smaller than what is the real problem in our societies, just because in reality these people have a problem with sex. Before restricting everyone's freedom to enjoy what consenting adults can do together, they should first go to a shrink to cure their fear of sexuality.

  100. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    Censorship is wrong

    By all means stick advisory labels on things but leave it at that and use good old-fashioned police work to go after the makers of sick flicks.

    Censorship imposes a considerable cost (the bureaucracy) and risk (the chance that it will become political censorship) with unclear benefits. I'm sure that official bullshit rhetoric like "the war on terror" cause more problems than anything people "stumble" across on the internet.

  101. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How many households out there have Internet access? How many of those households have children? How many business with Internet access employ children? If the answer to both is less than 50% then the system should be opt IN instead of opt out.

    Why should adults, businesses and the ISPs have to spend money/time abiding by this system when it has no effect on children at all in these situations.

    Of course the ISPs will also have a list of people who've opted out of the block because while those other categories you refer to can be called 'adult' they are not 'porn' and they are not being blocked.

    Then next, which you've failed to address, is that Davey might then decide that guns, alcohol and gambling hurt the kiddies, then probably free political discourse might also hurt the kiddies. Better get it blocked.

    Finally, have you got some evidence that kiddies are getting more access to porn? Have you got evidence that they are psychologically harmed by it?

  102. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What will be blocked?

    I once worked for an isp that provided schools with internet access. There was a default filter service which was a black list. I once fielded a call from someone who wanted to block a site because it had pictures of a female celebrity in a bikini! He genuinely believed all schools on the network would want this site blocked.

    Additionally every piece of press has a default view that all pornography is bad and viewing it will endanger and corrupt the viewer with little to no evidence out argument as to why.

    Pornography is as varied as any other medium ranging from realistic to fantasy. In the same way I believe a teenager can tell if Die Hard or The Wire is a more accurate depiction of life as a police officer, I believe they can differentiate between the fantasy and reality aspects of pornography.

    Additionally it seems that the talk of body image being damaged due to the perfect/enhanced/shaven bodies of the actors. First of all the actors bodies are varied, more so than any Hollywood film. If you block the varied pornography then the only sexually imagery people would see will be of Hollywood actors which has a tendency to be less varied potentially providing a narrower acceptable body image than pornography provides.

    Pornography can also be educational, there are so many things that sex education does not tell you about sex that pornography does.

  103. Persona non grata

    The irony that is

    either the government or a telecoms company being put in charge of a morality based decision.

    How we laugh...

    PRISM anyone?

  104. David Roberts Silver badge
    FAIL

    Political whitewash?

    I've lost the will to read after the first of at least 6 pages of comments, so apologies if this has already been said.

    Anyway, as we all know a porn filter is a nightmare to set up and manage and relatively easy to circumvent.

    Keyword blocking will just lead to keyword creep and an ever extending list of words with multiple meanings to block.

    So realistically the ISPs don't really want to have to maintain an ever changing but (partially) effective filter.

    The government wants to off load the responsibility for hard stuff then claim a success.

    In practical terms, most Internet users will be forced to opt out of the filters because they prevent so many legitimate searches.

    So the pressure is off the ISPs.

    "Not my problem mate they opted out."

    The government is also absolved of all responsibility.

    "We tried to save you from yourself but you chose to be bad."

    In fact, the more stupidly restrictive the filters the better for the ISPs and the government..

    They can both point to having done their best and shift the blame to the public.

    I am assuming that many will have to opt out of the filter and hope that enough people will opt out that it is seen as a rejection of police state censorship rather than being an admission that you are a pervert.

  105. plrndl

    Spot the difference

    The difference between a mobile phone with internet access and a broadband connection to a home, is that the former is widely available to children of any age for use unsupervised, and the latter is only available to creditworthy adults, who are de facto responsible to any access they may permit to children. That the two are currently regulated differently is not an anomaly.

  106. codejunky Silver badge

    A bit wrong

    "most UK ISPs already censor the internet using the Internet Watch Foundation's list of sites hosting child porn, and mobile operators have been blocking adult content for years with few complaints, so it's far from obvious what everyone is making such a fuss about."

    First of all I want to point out the important- CHILD PORN IS ILLEGAL. That is why it is blocked, because it is actually illegal. They block it because it is against the law. If you cant see the obvious difference between blocking the illegal and blocking the legal but immoral then you are an idiot.

    Second you say they block it on the mobile so its fine to block it at the ISP for all other devices. Important difference- MOBILES ARE SMALL, MOBILE BARELY COMPUTERS. On a tech site you should know this, if not seek help from one of your more knowledgeable colleagues. The small device has no filtering software and if the option came available we would need more powerful phones at entry level to run the filter. Also being a very small device it can easily be taken by a child and while she doesnt know how to actually use it the < 2 yr old neighbours kid can unlock and activate various features of mobile phones. Very different for a computer which can easily be seen and can have various levels of blocking (you can even pay someone to do it for you!!!). So while there could potentially be justification for blocking legal but immoral content from mobile phones this still does not legitimise the all out filter.

    Now I will try to help you with the difficult concept of legality and morality. Both are opinion but one is the basis of defining crime while the other is merely being offended by something you dont agree with. Trial by morals means that we are all guilty because everyone has their own morals which are often incompatible. Trial by law gives defined difference between criminal and not. So when the gov starts spouting the corrosive and damaging effects of porn with pretty much zero evidence we can be certain they are talking about morals. And by demonising porn this way they are claiming an entire industry is so wrong they want to punish it, yet it is not so wrong that they cant get support to make it illegal.

    I would also urge you to put your mind to a difficult problem now- is game of thrones TV or porn? I dont actually care about your answer because you have just formed an opinion. And people dont agree. And morality is a few people disagreeing. And you think it is ok for the gov to trash talk based on their morals while not having the support to criminalise it. So regardless of your morals you think it is ok to block a very popular tv show. And by the same manipulation you obviously support the gov blocking and filtering anything they want, totally bypassing the law.

    I started getting bothered about this when the bankers were attacked based on morals regardless of how law abiding they were. They were criminalised as a group regardless of who was or wasnt criminal. I hope this has made obvious what you couldnt see Bill. Because you are part of the media and if you cant see what is in front of you then how can you report on it?

  107. ewozza
    Facepalm

    The porn filtering proposal is a disaster for Britain.

    If only smart people can jack off while viewing porn, stupid people might have to settle for having sex - which might lead to lots more stupid people.

  108. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Unneccessary law: Microsoft Family Safety, Apple Parental Controls, etc.

    allow filtering on the device level and also allows me as a parent set a limit on the time my kid spends in front of the computer.

  109. Ben Rosenthal

    I'm shocked at how short sighted this article is, you really can't see the problem with the government running a list of sites they don't want people to see?

    Yes it all sounds very reasonable today in it's "for the children" guise, I'm not so sure they'll be saying the same thing in ten years time if we let Cammy get away with it now.

  110. Misfit

    THE PORNS!! ITS ALL OVER THE INTERNETS!!

    Everyone is talking about the over censorship of the net by out now policed state. Lets look at the other end. I can start a site on AngelFire and load it with porn. How is anyone gonna know to block it until somone finds it. There are HUNDREDS of unlist porn sites. Now lets look at torrent sites that offer porn, block the whole thing? No good can come of a universal ISP, possibly government controlled filter. Parents need to wise up and actually watch what thier kids are doing and if they are getting into stuff they shouldn't (not hard to check browser history or router logs) take thier $700 iPad and keep it from them. They will learn how to use the internet properly after they have been without it for a week. A filter is not a substitute for parental responsibilities. With a filter many parents will let thier children have free unsupervised internet reign. Speaking from experience, at 15 I was able to get around a goverment filter. A very quick search on google (it will be blocked, lots of porn) can tell you how to tunnel through ANY filter. Look at the many countries battleing piracy by means of censorship, they have failed time and time again by people wanting the net to be free.

  111. A J Stiles

    Conflating Separate Issues

    Is it just me, or does anyone else sense a subtle effort being made to elide the difference between "child pornography" and "children accessing pornography" ?

    These are two very different issues.

  112. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just an aside I am on talktalk and blocked social media after 12am in the hope that it would stop son being on Facebook all night. Didn't work of course as he sleeps with his mobile but has interesting side effect that looking at readers comments pages first Page is okay but second or more is blocked. Guess its time I went to sleep anyway.

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