back to article BT network-level STOCKINGs-n-suspenders KILLER arrives in time for Xmas

BT has flicked the switch on its promised network-level filter system in a move to swerve regulatory meddling from Whitehall. Next year, it will nag existing customers to make a choice about what content they want access to via BT's broadband network. The system will censor clumps of the web - such as pornography and self- …

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  1. Suricou Raven

    Don't worry.

    If they can't manage a block on the pirate bay that takes more than thirty seconds to defeat, what hope have they of holding back all the porn on the internet?

    1. FartingHippo

      Re: Don't worry.

      About as much chance as Canute had, I'd say.

      1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

        Re: Don't worry.

        About as much chance as Canute had, I'd say.

        But Canute wasn't trying to hold back the sea, he was demonstrating to his sycophantic followers that even a King had to bow down before the force of God.

        I'm not sure Cameron is expecting the same results, but he will discover that even Westminster can't defy the all-powerful god of pr0n.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Don't worry.

          "all-powerful god of pr0n."

          Nearly knocked coffee all over my keyboard with that one (with my over-developed wrist).

      2. The Man Himself Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: Don't worry.

        "About as much chance as Canute had, I'd say"

        In the context of this discussion, the alternative spelling of that king's name might be more appropriate.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Don't worry.

          Do you mean "C4nut3" ???

          Also, if the filter REALLY worked, a BT subscriber would be able to add the NSA/GCHQ's ip blocks to the filter, and never have to worry about fucking spies again.

          1. Graham Dawson
            Headmaster

            Re: Don't worry.

            The original spelling was Cnut.

            You figure it out. :)

  2. Vimes

    The Conservative-led government, keen to satisfy its core Middle England voters, has warned Britain's ISPs that regulatory intervention could happen if they fail to do their bit in helping to protect kids online – even if some of those children know only too well how to dodge such a system.

    ...and there is no meaningful oversight of filtering by the government. Despite the fact it only exists in the first place because of the bully boy 'do as we say' style tactics employed by the likes of David 'which-pub-have-I-left-my-daughter-in-this-time?' Cameron (maybe, just maybe, if he spent more time looking after his own kids and less time interfering with everybody else's children then the whole country would be better off?).

    I've tried asking what rights website operators can expect if they have their site blocked.

    Their response? Pretty much nothing really. They try and pretend that website owners don't really have any rights and that they should be glad with whatever little action they can force out of the ISPs.

    Whilst this doesn't come as a surprise, what is a little unsettling is the way in which the government seems to think that an organisation like UKCCIS is the best placed one to look into the matter of overblocking. These are the same people that once counted Phorm as a member. It also includes both the sorts of busy-bodies that think the filtering is the best thing since sliced bread and the sorts of providers that sell the filtering to the ISPs.

    1. Haku

      I forsee news stories of websites that should never be in the block but are there because of some little mistake or over-zealous filtering, causing their UK sourced traffic to virtually disappear in a relatively short time, and how the site owners voices are just being ignored by the 'people in charge of the filters', whoever the hell they are.

      The future of UK internet access is going to be interesting, unfortunately for all the wrong reasons.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Presumably one of Lincolnshire's most picturesque seaside resorts will now be removed from the internet.

    2. Jim 59

      Filtering

      It comes down to a balance between blocking the 'orrible stuff, and stopping the govt. from blocking sites in future for other reasons, political reasons. The dangerous bit comes with who decides what goes on the blacklist. It could be oh-so-easy for a totlitarian foot in the door.

      I don't really see much of an alternative though. Many people agree at least some level of filtering is required. The govt. is giving people a choice, and you can choose no filtering. So, unlike in China, say, an adult can always see just what it is the govt. is blocking. It seems the best course in a hard situation. :-/

      1. Suricou Raven

        Re: Filtering

        There's a clear sequence: First, block the child porn. No-one ever objects to that one, it's an easy sell to the public, and it gets the filtering systems in place. Then you can progress to blocking sites performing criminal activity. After that comes the porn - start off on the kinky stuff, less backlash, and describing BDSM as 'rape porn' assures support from certain pressure groups. A brief detour for sites deemed harmful to children like suicide advice, then start on the 'hate sites' - start off with the open racism and calls for violence, and gradually loosen the definition until you can start banning anyone who raises concern about the high immigration rate or 'promotes religious hatred' by insulting a religion. A little loosening of libel law to allow anything insulting anyone to be easily struck down by court order, and you have a government-controlled easily-censored internet - at least for those who aren't dedicated enough activists to seek out the technological underground communities.

        1. Jim 59

          @suricou raven

          Yes. That's what "totalitarian foot in the door" means.

        2. phil dude
          Black Helicopters

          Re: Filtering

          disturbingly succinct...

          P.

        3. willi0000000
          Childcatcher

          Re: Filtering

          so, Creeping Sharia™ by another name.

          i find it difficult to understand the US fundies who want to make their religious principles into law but who decry putting an almost identical set of principles into law because they aren't the right brand. i'm in favor of letting anyone post anything they want on the innertubes. if it's bad enough they can be prosecuted under laws that exist apart from the net. parents have the responsibility to filter their rugrat's net surfing the same as they have the responsibility for raising them to be responsible adults.

          [yeah, i know, "personal responsibility" is for you, not me]

      2. Vimes

        Re: Filtering @Jim 59

        Many people agree at least some level of filtering is required.

        Speak for yourself.

        And even if some people support this it's more likely to be because there's a general refusal - amongst other things - to ask why they're allowing access to gadgets to children in the first place when such access is inappropriate. I've asked this before and I'll ask it again: just why do they need smartphones?

        As for parental control over what their children are doing, such controls already exist. My 3DS has them. My ipad has them. Even my router has them, and there are entire applications with the sole purpose of filtering for PCs.

        Parents seem to be either too scared or unwilling to learn how to use methods already at their disposal, and we're paying for that fear and refusal to learn with this sort of crazy scheme.

        Personally I still believe that securing the device rather than the connection is a better solution. What happens when the little kiddies take their ipad and use it on an unfiltered connection?

        and you can choose no filtering

        Until things break down. I had a really hard time getting rid of filtering from my mobile and had to go back to the provider to try and get them to get rid of it properly.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Filtering @Jim 59

          Hi Jim,

          As hard as it may seem for you to understand without you removing your head from your ass, not everyone in the whole country is well versed in content filtering at a device level.

          Children will grow up to be adults in pretty short time, so disallowing them access to the world of online information and opening their eyes to the possibilities of such information and the freedom to discover where a few hops on the internet can get you (in a good way) would be a gross disservice not just to the kids, but to the generation they will become.

          The internet is now a fundamental part of modern British life, asking why kids need smartphones is like asking why you need an iPad - you bloody well don't NEED it but you like it and it is good for getting info and killing some time. You try being a tween type age kid with no devices and see how popular you are in school - Good Luck! You aren't just a saddo with no kit, but are also left out of the whole out of school socialising on social media (and yes, before you start I do monitor and lock down social media and is linked to my mails etc etc.)

          Since we are in this position and people either can't, won't or are to god damn busy to learn how to lock down their own connection - an ISP provided filtering service will fit the bill just right for some people. You don't want it - don't have it!

          </RANT>

          1. Vimes

            Re: Filtering @Anon coward 20:05

            Ummm... It's me actually, not Jim that wrote the previous message. Where not being proficient in using device level filtering is concerned I only have one thing to say: learn.

            And as for any difficulty in learning, I call bullshit on that one. Every system out there has been designed with parents in mind. The idea that they would have a problem using them is ludicrous, and is just an excuse for laziness on their part.

            If something is inappropriate for children to have then they shouldn't have it. It's as simple as that. We should not be pushing systems and rights to breaking point simply to satisfy the presence of people that should not be there, and we definitely should not be putting their popularity ahead of their safety. It's that sort of poor parenting that creates a lot of the problems that are then used as justifications for this sort of stuff IMO.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Filtering @Anon coward 20:05

              Haha, ok.

              A- sorry Jim

              B- I was having a very bad day.

              We shouldn't need to hand-hold lazy parents I agree, but what alternatives have you got when they can barely operate Facebook within the realms of grammatical sense! The amount of kids I know through mine who have personal horror stories from the likes of chat roulette, un-moderated chat etc etc is mind boggling. This filtering won't even touch stuff like this I know, but you get my point.

              Sorry again for being an ass ;)

          2. Vimes

            Re: Filtering @Jim 59

            ...to god damn busy to learn how to lock down their own connection

            So that's the real reason: people are too lazy - oops, sorry, I meant of course 'too busy' - to do the job themselves and expect other people to clean up their messes for them...

        2. MrXavia

          @Vimes

          I agree, no filtering for me!

          IF I want to filter my kids net access, let me do it at ROUTER level (seriously why don't many routers have this already???) I am sure BT decided not to include the filters on the routers on purpose..

          And as for blocking child porn, I would much rather they spent the money and time tracking down the culprits and castrating them with a pair of blunt sheers than just blocking the images which really does nothing but push the trade of them underground...

          My kids have smart phones/computers... and I monitor their access, by being in the room with them when they use them, and I TELL THEM if they access something inappropriate so they learn right from wrong, like a parent should....

    3. scrubber

      Get the big boys involved

      If everyone complains that there is pr0n on google and bing then the filters will have to be removed sharpish - or the law will look like exactly what it is, capricious, ill thought out, unworkable, and pandering.

      1. kwhitefoot

        Re: Get the big boys involved

        The big boys do not care one fig for your freedom. They are only interested in revenue. If it turns out that they will make more money by censoring their search results than by not censoring them then that is what will happen.

  3. JoshOvki

    "strict", "moderate" and "light".

    "The one-time national telco has applied different levels of control to its system: "strict", "moderate" and "light". "

    How about a none at all option?

    All I want for Christmas is a VPN connection outside of blighty.

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
      Devil

      Re: "strict", "moderate" and "light".

      I want my internet policy set to strict nanny.

      I don't care what people say about my web surfing. Sticks and stones may break my bones. But whips and chains excite me...

    2. charlie-charlie-tango-alpha
      Big Brother

      Re: "strict", "moderate" and "light".

      "All I want for Christmas is a VPN connection outside of blighty."

      Try openvpn. You can rent a really cheap VPS (less than 5.00 USD per month) in a variety of places other than dear old blighty. With your own VPN to that VPS (running on say, port 443) you are good to go.

    3. Tim Jenkins

      Re: "strict", "moderate" and "light".

      "All I want for Christmas is a VPN connection outside of blighty"

      Mine costs under $3 pcm, now I've paid for a year in advance, and as a bonus I can switch to US Netflix and carry on enjoying My Name is Earl from a portable device while the Wii keeps feeding the kids iPlayer habit...

    4. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: "strict", "moderate" and "light".

      So this Christmas a group of Tory MPs get to ring up a nice lady at BT and ask if they need "strict" or "moderate" discipline on their pron?

      I can see how this got passed

  4. Russ Tarbox

    DNS circumvention

    Am I right in thinking that all these "blockers" can be circumvented by using non-ISP provided DNS servers e.g. Google's public DNS servers?

    Or are they actually analysing all DNS traffic across their network, regardless of the servers being queried?

    1. Vimes

      Re: DNS circumvention

      Am I right in thinking that all these "blockers" can be circumvented by using non-ISP provided DNS servers e.g. Google's public DNS servers?

      Judging from the following BT forums thread, if you try using any other DNS service with parental controls enabled then internet access will stop working.

      https://community.bt.com/t5/Other-BB-Queries/McAfee-NetProtect-Net-Protect-Parental-Controls-vs-new-Google/m-p/1110176/highlight/true#M73653

      1. Russ Tarbox

        Re: DNS circumvention

        Thanks Vimes. I didn't know whether to upvote your post to say thanks or downvote because I don't like the answer!

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ways around censorship

    It will take kids about ten minutes to find a way around this and then spread the info to all their school pals.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Ways around censorship

      It will take kids about ten minutes to find a way around this and then spread the info to all their school pals.

      Not necessarily ... both my sons (17 and 13) are currently unable to research parts of their history topics at school (one doing WWII and the other the Korean War) since anything involving guns is blocked on the basis of "violence". Only way around this seems to be to do the work at home.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Ways around censorship

        Then you're doing a poor job educating them in the fine art of bypassing such censorship. It's our duty as tech-literate parents to teach our young'uns these things so that they don't become technologically stunted adults.

        ;)

        1. whatwasthemiddlebitagain

          Re: Ways around censorship

          I did that and my son ended spending the day in exclusion for breaching the IT policy and had his access to the school network blocked for a whole term - failed to teach him how to palm off the blame on someone else!

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Ways around censorship

        "Not necessarily ... both my sons (17 and 13) are currently unable to research parts of their history topics at school (one doing WWII and the other the Korean War) since anything involving guns is blocked on the basis of "violence". Only way around this seems to be to do the work at home."

        If that were me, I would raise holy hell with the school network IT department until they lower the blocks or at least whitelist certain usernames on their blocking device or cloud service.

        A filter stopping people from accessing things the school doesn't like is one thing, blocking educational research is something entirely different.

      3. The Axe

        Re: Ways around censorship

        To AC @ 14:41

        So you say that kids won't be able to find a way to get around blocks, but then prove your self wrong when you show that your kids can bypass the block by working from home. Isn't that working out a way round the block.

    2. R 11

      Re: Ways around censorship

      Does anyone have it activated yet? What happens if you use iptables to send your DNS traffic to opendns servers on port 5353? E.g. 208.67.220.220:5353

      1. Suricou Raven

        Re: Ways around censorship

        Vimes up above already found evidence suggesting that the filter also blocks all UDP-53 packets precisely to prevent that approach.

        1. moiety

          Re: Ways around censorship

          Google Translate is your friend here: Translate an English site from (random language) to English and it works as a proxy with the added benefit that pretty well nobody blocks it. For a no-setup no-brainer way of skipping through firewalls and filtering systems it's hard to beat.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Ways around censorship

            we block this for our schools for just this reason.. not exactly a new way of bypassing anything

        2. R 11

          Re: Ways around censorship

          @ Suricou Raven

          That's why I specifically asked about whether DNS traffic routed away from port 53 works.

          I also pointed out a well known public DNS service that permits traffic on other ports.

          I'm suspecting they have a very simple block or possible transparent redirect of all DNS traffic on port 53. They'd need to start packet inspection to spot DNS traffic on other ports.

    3. Uncle Slacky Silver badge
      Big Brother

      Re: Ways around censorship

      There's always TOR, or even Lantern...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Ways around censorship

        lantern is already on the sh*t list for managed AV in schools, should work pretty good at home though ;)

  6. MJI Silver badge

    I want web sites blocking

    I want phishing sites blocked, virus sites blocked, cryptolocker sites blocked, anything sites designed for dangerous payloads blocked.

    .

    But do not cut off harmless sites with naked people on them!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I want web sites blocking

      I upvoted you once, but El Reg won't let me upvote you again.

    2. kwhitefoot

      Re: I want web sites blocking

      Not going to happen, middle England and Mumsnet probably don't even know what most of those strange jargon words mean so they won't be agitating to have anything done about them which means that there is nothing in it for any politician.

      1. MJI Silver badge

        Who is middle England?

        As a traditional centre right tending towards libertarianism person#, I would tend toward the Conservatives on the least disliked method*. Yet what they are doing is not what I would want, and the other parties are no better.

        In fact no party is trying to appeal to me, they are all tryng to put me off. Cameron needs to take a close look at some of his other MPs and see what they stood for, David Davies for a start, then there is Ken Clark, two politicians I prefer over a lot of recent ones.

        I do not have to agree with a poliician to like them, Tony Benn is a good example, not a fan of his politics but he is a conviction politiician not a sound bite one - oh and he saved the Concorde project.

        Some politicians though I just cannot abide, like that tit who visited Gadaffi.

        # Private companies making a profit is not evil, most likely making profit for your pension. I do not want the state micromanaging my life. I do not want the state owning all the businesses, and I do know that sensible tax regimes take in more money than so called progressive ones. Yes such things as defence and NHS need to be paid for. So when they talk about 40% rather than 50% for high earners, these high earners are more likely to be UK registered for tax if they are not being ripped off.

        * Basically order you want to punch them in. Milliband is more punchable than Cameron. Cameron is a well meaning fool, Milliband is just a fool.

        As to UKIP, am I the only person who thinks that Farage resembles a used car salesman?

        Clegg is not forgotten, well he should be, Keneddy was more likeable, so what if he had alcohol problems he is only human.

    3. M Mouse

      Re: I want web sites blocking

      I'd like them to find and zap any spammers, but they are probably too busy reading about PPI or Viagra...

  7. Doozer
    Stop

    VPN's anybody....?

    Good job I have got a decent VPN to get me out of the UK. I guess within 5 years, the sale of VPN access to foreign shores will be 'banned' as well!

    1. Haku

      Re: VPN's anybody....?

      Apparently VPNs are on the naughty list of blocked things, because they enable people to bypass the filters.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: VPN's anybody....?

        Well that should be amusing then, when millions of Mums & Dads try to work from home...

  8. localzuk

    The filtering isn't my main issue

    The list of those who decide to have unfettered access to the net is the issue. How long before the government wants access to this list so they can monitor all those degenerate people who want to look at a site determined to be "naughty" by a faceless company with no oversight?

    1. Dcope
      Big Brother

      Re: The filtering isn't my main issue

      Exactly my concern how long before self selecting your self onto the "pervert" list is seen as suspicious and deemed abnormal.

      Watch for the points in news bulletins and newspapers, where every nasty things that happens a "person had access to unfiltered Internet" comment will be made and down the slope we shall slide.

      Papers Please!!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        that ship has sailed

        The thing is that GCHQ and NSA already know and therefore so does Dave.

        1. JohnMurray

          Re: that ship has sailed

          You think they´d tell that weak-kneed little drip, or the other WKLD, Cleggosoros?

          No point in being in security if you tell politicians anything!

      2. Suricou Raven

        Re: The filtering isn't my main issue

        I can imagine it coming up in child custody hearings - 'My X is not a fit parent, as he has demonstrated by acting to disable adult content filters on his internet connection knowing that children will be present on the property and may connect through his unfiltered connection..'

      3. JohnMurray

        Re: The filtering isn't my main issue

        Quite probably all those on the let me see p0rn list will be reported to the dbs gestapo.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The filtering isn't my main issue

      sky and BT says there no list and they don't keep records of anyone who opt out (I dont know about the other ISPs) https://www.openrightsgroup.org/blog/2013/bt-filters-reply

      https://www.openrightsgroup.org/blog/2013/skys-reply-to-org-on-default-internet-filters

      1. Vimes

        Re: The filtering isn't my main issue

        At the risk of being pedantic they seem to say is that no inspection of the traffic is done for those with the filtering switched on, not that they can't tell who has it switched on or off (they would need to know this otherwise how would they know that the connection needs to be filtered?)

        From the BT blog entry:

        We also conducted user testing and product refinements throughout our trial phases – including testing with Mumsnet.

        Oh goody. </sarcasm>

        Also:

        We make it clear to users of BT Parental Controls that BT is not responsible for any of the site categorisations as these are done by our third party specialist vendor.

        Genuine question: if an NHS trust can be held liable for a sub contractor not properly destroying hard drives - and thus be held accountable for the actions of a 3rd party - then surely BT can be held accountable for the actions of whatever 3rd party it is that they're referring to in this response?

        1. MJI Silver badge

          Re: The filtering isn't my main issue

          Who the f**k are mumsnet?

          Why should I care what they want?

          My wife is a mum yet she isn't a mumsnet.

          They should ask a technical site for advice, I dunno perhaps this will do

          try here

          1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

            Re: The filtering isn't my main issue

            >Who the f**k are mumsnet?

            The paramilitary wing of the Daily Mail

            Basically the PTA in SS uniforms (probably best not to google that if you have an unblocked connection)

  9. Mike Richards Silver badge

    Levels "strict", "moderate" and "light"

    Not "strict", "naughty boy" and "spanking"?

    1. Jim 59
      Joke

      Re: Levels "strict", "moderate" and "light"

      Yes please.

  10. Bluenose

    Off to read my BT contract

    I am pretty certain when I signed my contract with BT it did not include a clause that said "and you must tell us whether you watch porn". I am interested how a) BT will react if I refuse to press the buttoms the govt tells them I must press and b) how OFCOM will respond when I complain about the lack of competition in the UK broadband market because I cannot find an ISP who isn't asking me about my viewing habits and c) just for a laugh, how will V Reding respond when I point out that collecting information about the viewing habits of ISPs is in my personal view an invasion of my privacy. Oh and finally, what is that things in the Human Rights Act about my right to privacy!!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Off to read my BT contract

      Good luck Mr Quixote.

    2. Steve Foster

      Re: Off to read my BT contract

      Andrews & Arnold have publically stated that they are unwilling to install filters of any kind. I'm very glad that I have my business lines with A&A.

      1. M Mouse

        Re: Off to read my BT contract

        Much of what I've read over the past 2 years has indicated it's the big 4 (or should it be 5 or 6) ISPs - BT, VM, TalkTalk, Sky, <someone?> that have been "invited" to meetings and pressured to "do something", leaving a (few) dozen smaller ISPs available.

        Now, if I get FTTC service from Primus (via TalkTalk) then I wonder if I will be asked about filtering, or not ?

        1. phil dude
          Unhappy

          Re: Off to read my BT contract

          I was on "BE Internet" in Oxford , just before they got bought by SKY, so the "small" ISP's are drying up....?

          P.

  11. Callam McMillan

    8.8.8.8

    Google's public DNS server. Job done, as how many parents are going to know how to lock down their kid's network connection?

    1. Suricou Raven

      Re: 8.8.8.8

      Vimes further up already found evidence that the filter will block all UDP-53 traffic to non-BT DNS servers as a countermeasure against that approach.

      1. Reality Dysfunction

        Re: 8.8.8.8

        Thats not very fair though...

        Virgins DNS servers are notoriously sh*t and borked often, if I cant bypass to google where is my workaround. Grrrrr

        1. phil dude
          Linux

          Re: 8.8.8.8

          perhaps download the DNS, and install it on a local DNS box (or serve it off a USB stick)

          http://stackoverflow.com/questions/307553/possible-to-download-entire-whois-database-list-of-registered-domains

          Ok it will not dynamically update, but this could be a good thing for some pub friends to setup....?

          P.

  12. phuzz Silver badge

    There are two kinds of politicians*, those who look at porn, and those who lie about not looking at porn.

    * or newspaper editors etc.

  13. paultnl

    Unless they add None to the list of options it is a breach of contract. I did not sign up for a nanny service.

    1. Phil W

      Unfortunately not going to happen.

      The 'light' option will essentially be none though I think, however calling it none would be inaccurate since there are some sites they are required to block by law such as thepiratebay.

      I suspect if they called it 'none' and still blocked TPB etc you would complain about the inaccuracy.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "I suspect if they called it 'none' and still blocked TPB etc you would complain about the inaccuracy."

        Up to None...

        1. Callam McMillan

          To be fair, BT do offer totally unfiltered connections (No Cleanfeed), but the downside is you have to go for a bloody leased line...

      2. Richard Jones 1

        Phil W, I suspect that you are right, light does not quite cover the ground, it feels more like statutory minimum which would allow for the restriction of site considered to be illegal, e.g. child porn, perhaps hate and terrorism and the like. I do worry that the terms like hate and terrorism do bring on floods of crocodile tears, and of course, one person's hate or terrorism site is another persons 'legitimate protest' site.

        Personally I'm all for home rule for England, no doubt someone will object to that also.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I suspect your aforementioned contract refers to a list of exemptions under which BT cannot be forced to deliver, and apart from war and natural disasters there's probably one for following court orders and national law - if its not already covered by "force majeure".

  14. Haku
    Big Brother

    UK Government meddling.

    It's going to get so bad that people will be outsourcing their internet activity to other countries (VPN).

    And now they have this new fangled filter hardware in place, will they now be collecting data on what websites all users visit no matter what the filter setting is set to?

  15. IHateWearingATie

    am I the only one...

    ... to welcome this? My kids are both young (under 6) and I like the idea of locking everything down till about 7.30 when they are in bed. Its of course possible to do this witbout a network level block, but there are several devices in the house they use and Im very lazy so this seems like a good option - or would be if I didnt use Virgin.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: am I the only one...

      So everyone else has to deal with this shit (which is set as an opt-out service) because people like you are lazy?

      Yeah, just wonderful.

    2. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    3. Smitheroo

      Re: am I the only one...

      I agree with this - its' just an easy way to get most of the blocking you want enabled in one place - my concern is how will you know when they've blocked something that shouldn't have been blocked. What if I want to allow something that they've blocked erroneously, but retain the other blocking functionality.

      Also, I know with my kids, this will be like telling them not to look at the sun. The next thing they'll want to do is look at it to see what happens if they do.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: am I the only one...

      Have you thought of buying an affordable half decent router to go in front of whatever dross Virgin provided?

      Manufacturer firmware or a suitable aftermarket addon (I forget what's trendy this year) should be able to do what you ask without requiring either dangerous legal precedents or hassle for ISPs.

      Ask the audience: what fits this requirement and is readily obtainable on the 2nd hand market? (Include 2nd hand laptops running Linux and a firewall/proxy/etc if you wish).

      And, for historical interest only: here's how an innovative small ISP (even more innovative and smaller than AAISP mentioned a few posts back) used to do content filtering before they were borged into BT Sheffield:

      http://www.metronet.co.uk/support/security/webcontentfiltering/contentfilter.shtml

      They're missed by those in the know.

      Anybody heard from/of Alex or James (or Paresh) lately?

      [My BT-originated AAISP-reflashed router reset itself as I was posting this first time. They're on to me. I may be gone for a while. Have a nice weekend, unless you're a spook or spook-supporter]

      1. M Mouse

        Re: am I the only one...

        @ A C 17:12 - Metronet port filtering...

        From memory, though, some clown had messed up the Metronet filtering options for e-mail. I remember having a discussion at some point, questioning why they were allowing POP but not SMTP (or some variation of things, meaning mail one way was OK but fucked up going the other way). Whoever I spoke to sounded like they had just had a "light bulb" moment when I asked "Oh, so port X is OK, but what about port Y?"

        Yes, it was an early version, and credit to them, well before anyone else seemed to consider such options.

        FWIW, James Bailey left Plus.Net in 2008/9 and later returned, he was seen posting on TBB as "Complaints Manager" in June 2013, and I guess still does that, see http://www.linkedin.com/in/jameschristopherbailey

        Don't remember the other two (surnames), sorry.

        (NB http://www.metronet.co.uk/support/security/webcontentfiltering/contentfilter.shtml not available at this time... so could not check port handling wrt E-Mail)

    5. MJI Silver badge

      Re: am I the only one...

      Restrict the devices.

      I am looking at a new hub to do this apart from I want to QOS PSN

    6. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      Re: am I the only one...

      "... to welcome this?"

      Seem so. Now, if it was opt-in and people like you had to click a link or two to get the blocks put in place while the rest of us just got on with "business as usual", I think a lot of people would be happy.

    7. Jim 59

      Re: am I the only one...

      No you are not the only one. I don't have children but I don't mind having a bit of inconvenience to prevent kids from drowning in goatse & snuff movies.

      To those who are enjoying a self-righteous rant about their "rights" - just opt out of the filter and have done with it. It is ticking a form FPS.

      No, my main problem with the filter is the civil rights issue - it is like a one way ticket to North Korea. Or it will be, when the next Labour govt. removes the opt-out and expands the filter to include every site except bbc.co.uk and theguardian.com

    8. MrXavia

      Re: am I the only one...

      So your too lazy to install a decent router with filtering, or monitor your kids usage by only letting them use the internet in you presence? my kids are the same age, I don't let them go online unsupervised, I will be in the room with them...

      IF I wanted filtering, I can install it myself, but until I think they will be actively looking for dodgy stuff, I don't see the need to block.

      The problem is NOT the availability of filtering, its that it is being done at the network level, and causes parents such as yourself to be lulled into a false sense of security..

  16. Anonymous Bullard
    Thumb Down

    Parental responsibility?

    Children under ten shouldn't be using the Internet unsupervised. Those ten or over should know the difference between good and bad.

    Anything else is just bad parenting.

  17. dazzzler
    Childcatcher

    OK

    Please can we see a list of sites blocked, and the detail of how they a judged

    1. Yet Another Commentard

      Re: OK

      Oh, yes, and can we nominate others for blocking too, let's see mumsnet and the daily mail spring to mind...

      1. Steve Graham

        Re: OK

        I already block the Daily Mail site via my hosts file. Prevents me accidentally accessing it if I don't notice where a link is pointing.

        1. MJI Silver badge

          Re: OK

          I just block news international sites so I don't get the you have to pay crap if I accidentally chose them.

          The mail site is not that bad and provides another news view if you compare with other sites.

          I do not read papers any more and I prefer to get news from seeing what comes up in a google news search.

      2. Steve Foster
        Devil

        Re: OK

        and the Conservative Party, the Labour Party and the LibDem Party web sites (etc, etc, ad infinitum).

    2. hutchyg

      Re: OK

      And a handy tool to automatically add them all to my favorites.

    3. MJI Silver badge

      Re: OK

      I actually had facebook blocked for ages due to links from other sites loading crap.

      But my wife joined them!

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: OK

        "I actually had facebook blocked for ages due to links from other sites loading crap.

        But my wife joined them!"

        You added your wife to your block list? Wow. You must have balls of steel!

    4. Bernard M. Orwell Silver badge

      Re: OK

      "BT said that subscribers could use the default settings or police the content themselves by adding websites to a block list on the service...."

      So, you'll be able to see "the list", and amend it, when the service is rolled out.

      Personally, I'm not that unhappy with being presented with a screen that says "untick this box to remove filters"....

  18. Jason Hindle

    Yeah, right

    "The system will censor clumps of the web - such as pornography and self-harm sites - from the prying eyes of youngsters."

    Yeah, right. And if my experience with those morons at Orange/EE is anything to go by, then also anything with an Internet Forum".

  19. ADJB

    I think when its all up and running I will ask that all ISP's put facebook on the list of banned sites as it's well documented in the national press for a causing a number of cases of juvenile suicide because of bullying.

    Let's see either how long that lasts or the reasoning behind it not being added to the strictest level of filter.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I'll do you one better....

      you get www.google.com and www.google.co.uk or www.google.eu on the list for more than 24 hours and I'll send you $100.

    2. MJI Silver badge

      Faceache, time to use their behead the user policy against them

  20. dmck

    First they blocked the Child Porn

    And I did not speak out, because I did not look at Child Porn

    Then they blocked the Kinky Stuff

    And I did not speak out, because I was not look at the Kinky Stuff

    Then they blocked the Hate Sites

    And I did not speak out, Because I did not look at Hate Sites

    Then they blocked the News Sites

    And I did not speak out, because I did not look at News Sites

    Then they blocked the Internet, And there was no one left to speak out when the Internet was silenced.

    1. John G Imrie Silver badge

      And finally

      The silence of the Geeks.

  21. Mark Morgan
    Thumb Down

    I predict massive overblocking

    If it's anything like the blocking that I've accidentally switched on on my Orange (EE) phone (and can't switch off without a credit reference check to prove I'm 18 - even though I've been paying by direct debit for 13-years and you can't have direct debits on an account until you are 18 - or showing my passport in an Orange shop) then it'll be pants and block everything in sight. For instance in the last week I've had blocks on Tesco and the whole of CNET.

  22. Dick Emery

    DNS blocking on port 53

    What if you run your own DNS server?

    1. PC Paul

      Re: DNS blocking on port 53

      Where would you get your source DNS entries from? DNS is a hierarchical system, running 'your own' DNS server only gets you a cache of things you've found from other DNS servers, or sites you manage yourself. And if unfiltered DNS is blocked, you won't be able to build your cache.

      Even if you were to collect it all 'now' then it would go stale over time.

      Some DNS suppliers may well offer other ports such as the 5353 mentioned above which would help, but if you had alternative suppliers then why run your own in the first place?

      1. phil dude
        Linux

        Re: DNS blocking on port 53

        I posted this earlier in the stream as I had not read your post, I'll elaborate.

        1) Download the current DNS

        http://stackoverflow.com/questions/307553/possible-to-download-entire-whois-database-list-of-registered-domains

        Apparently, you can do it by domain. I have never done it, but this was quick to find.

        2) Setup your own DNS server

        DNS server is fairly straightforward, and you point your DNS router to it, and anything NOT in your cache will be served from your ISP.

        Since this can all be configure to run off a USB stick, the initial seeding maybe problematic, but easily transportable. I imagine the entire DNS database will be several Gigs, although compressed I really don't know.

        You may well then want to share this with your friends down the pub...

        This seems like the perfect RaspPi Boxing day project..

        P.

  23. Trooper_ID

    this is wrong in my opinion. It should be off by default, and optionally on. I have no interest in anyone blocking sites that I might want to see, whether they be porn or not. It is my choice to go there, not my ISP acting in fear of a voter driven government.

    I agree that the option should be there to help parents protect children, but it really should be opt in, not opt out.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why the assumption that every subscriber has kids?

    I don't have children, and no children are ever in this house. I also know many other people without children or they are well beyond 18 years old. So why a default block?

    I would be curious as to the actual percentage of houses in the UK with kids below 18 years old. Aren't those kinds of stats in the census?

    Meanwhile, I assume that this means that mumsnet will be on the block list? I've often been sent links to some very steamy (and comical) sex threads on their forums. Certainly not content safe for kids to read. So they should be on the banned list.

    1. MJI Silver badge

      Re: Why the assumption that every subscriber has kids?

      I really hope they are!

  25. This post has been deleted by its author

  26. phil dude
    Linux

    paranoia...

    It would seem particularly coincident that the week the North Koreans are deleting and photoshipping the images of an executed prisoner of the state, that the UK govt is trundling down the road of "think only what we tell you".

    I have a lot of sympathy with people who have children that want to protect them from the internet, but the growing intolerant totalitarian leanings of the government, are a much greater risk to them.

    Perhaps there is a commerical opportunity out there for a cheap internet filter for home users, that adults can install for themselves....?

    But let us get the government out of messing with the free flow of information. If it is not illegal, then it is free for all.

    Being an adult means being responsible for yourself.

    P.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    New Acronyms for old! Get 'em while they're not!

    ISP - Internet Service Preventer. Mordac would approve.

  28. Misky

    50 Shades of inappropriate content

    So would a simple freedom of information request leave you with a list of every p0rn site on the planet right now? And I wonder if they come with ratings?

    What about other content? You can get all the p0rn you would ever need from Torrens, Newsgroups, to name but a few. Then we move on to the question of the written word? Will we see Amazon banned for selling 50 Shades of awful writing or Google Play for hosting free samples of such books? Who exactly decides if site x is smutty but site y isn't?

    Will this lead to divisions in the classroom? Only the smarter, more IT literate kids getting their thrills online, the rest have to find it the old way, railway sidings, or under the bushes?

    Good luck Snap Chat...

  29. A Felton

    Pit the system against itself

    How about just reporting anything that could possibly be viewed as subversive until even commonly used websites are blocked? Take it to the mumsnet lot, find some salacious posts and report the site as being pornographic, same with big retailers if you can find marital aids, ect. for sale. Make it unusual to have the filter on, not off.

  30. Alan Brown Silver badge

    I wonder if they'd censor

    Fuck-the-skull-of-david-cameron.com

    Might be a good incentive for people to get it switched off.

  31. Trollslayer Silver badge

    Failed already

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-25430582

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