back to article No anon pr0n for you: BT's network-level 'smut' filters will catch proxy servers too

BT's new network-level nudie no-no filter system will block access to sites promoting proxies and anonymisers, The Register has learned. However, the one-time national telco has insisted that it won't choke VPN connections over its network now that its Parental Controls service, using DNS lookup technology, is in place. On …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    This is going to end badly

    There is nothing wrong with your computer. Do not attempt to adjust the picture. We are controlling transmission. If we wish to make it louder, we will bring up the volume. If we wish to make it softer, we will tune it to a whisper. We will control the horizontal. We will control the vertical. We can roll the image, make it flutter. We can change the focus to a soft blur or sharpen it to crystal clarity. Welcome to an Orwellian future, now.

    1. Vimes

      Re: This is going to end badly

      Some IP addresses will be blocked "where required", he added

      I'm just waiting for more Radio Times/FA style cockups to happen...

      1. Haku

        Re: I'm just waiting for more Radio Times/FA style cockups to happen...

        You mean like over the weekend just gone when Imgur.com was accidentally blocked on Sky broadband?

        In the immortal words of Bender Bending Rodriguez: We're boned.

    2. davemcwish

      Re: This is going to end badly

      Twilight Zone was better IMHO

  2. lglethal Silver badge
    Big Brother

    Censorship is alive and well in Britian

    Scope creep is already occuring and it's only just been turned on. It was only supposed to block p0rn, but now it also blocks links to proxies. What will be blocked next?

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Censorship is alive and well in Britian

      How the hell can I watch The Daily Show now?

      Re politics, this week's Have I Got News for You made a reference to Ed Balls throwing a hissy fit in the House of Commons, but they couldn't show it. British broadcasters are not allowed to show clips from the House of Commons for satire purposes... John Stewart on The Daily Show is.

      If Channel 4 actually broadcast it, I could understand, but they don't and yet the UK residents can't watch it on-line without a proxy.

      1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

        Re: Censorship is alive and well in Britian

        How the hell can I watch The Daily Show now?

        Turn off the filter?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Censorship is alive and well in Britian

        You don't need a proxy to watch The Daily Show, you just need to re-write some headers:

        http://xtremisreaction.wordpress.com/2011/01/08/how-to-watch-the-daily-show-with-jon-stewart-in-the-uk/

      3. Maharg
        Facepalm

        Re: how to watch the Daily Show int he UK

        Step 1 Turn on the TV

        Step 2 Go to the channel 128 on Sky, or 182 on Virgin

        Step 3 notice its called Comedy Central Extra, make a note of that.

        Step 4 Watch the Daily show at either 11pm or repeated at 3am

        Step 5 Enjoy

        Step 6 (optional) Set up a series link so you can watch it in your own time.

        1. Crisp Silver badge

          Re: how to watch the Daily Show int he UK

          Bugger. I failed step 1. No TV.

          1. Maharg
            Facepalm

            Re: how to watch the Daily Show int he UK

            Don’t own a TV? Well, then you can’t really complain about not being able to watch a particular TV show can you?

            Stuff is not free, you buy a TV, pay the licence, get Sky, Virgin, whatever, pay for that, and you can watch the TV show, if you don’t want to pay for these things then you don’t get the end result, its pretty simple, the Daily Show is not free to make, it’s not a hobby, it’s not a right, people have to make money from it to have the incentive to show it on their channel.

            The BBC can show TV programs on the interwebs because they get the money anyway, Channel 4 limits what it shows and advertises the balls out of it, and ITV, well, I don’t think I have watched anything other than football on ITV so god knows what they do.

            You want something, more often than not you have to pay for it.

            I don’t own a Playstaion or an Xbox, yet I don’t complain about not being able to play Grand Theft Auto 5.

            1. Crisp Silver badge

              @Maharg

              I pay my Virgin Media bill every month. And in that bill I get the basic TV package bundled in.

              Even though I just want internet access.

              So I'm paying for it anyway. Even though I don't watch it.

              1. Maharg

                Re: @Maharg

                Why are you paying for Virgin TV if you don’t have a TV? It can’t be cheaper than getting a phone line and internet connection from somewhere else?

                Nip down to a British heart foundation charity shop, if you don’t mind the fact its not flat screen you can pick up a decent TV for about £20, then you can watch the TV and have donated some money to a good cause at the same time. Win Win.

        2. MJI Silver badge

          Re: how to watch the Daily Show int he UK

          And what is it on Freesat and Freeview?

    2. Tom 38 Silver badge

      Re: Censorship is alive and well in Britian

      Too right, the only discussion about these filters has been about porn, and "Do it yourself or we will legislate" from the government.

      This gives us this situation, where BT has decided (almost certainly with assistance from the various moral crusaders) that these things are also verboten:

      Discussion of illegal drugs

      Discussion of suicide

      Because, obviously, if little Johnny can google "heroin", how much longer before he is injecting it in his eyeballs.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Censorship is alive and well in Britian

      "What will be blocked next?"

      Whatever you tell it to. It does have an on/off switch.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Censorship is alive and well in Britian

        " It does have an on/off switch."

        ...for now...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Censorship is alive and well in Britian

          " It does have an on/off switch."

          So long as enough of us insist on switching it off.

          1. WonkoTheSane Silver badge
            Thumb Up

            Re: Censorship is alive and well in Britian

            @AC10:31 " It does have an on/off switch."

            @AC11:21 "Until enough of us insist on switching it off."

            FTFY

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Censorship is alive and well in Britian

          " It does have an on/off switch."

          .. and a logger

      2. paulc

        Re: Censorship is alive and well in Britian

        and how sure can you be that you are getting everything passed through when you've supposedly opted-out of the filter?

      3. Mike Richards

        Re: Censorship is alive and well in Britian

        'Whatever you tell it to. '

        Trans: Whatever the people with money tell it to.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Censorship is alive and well in Britian

      Sites critical of Phorm, Deep packet Inspection and Behavioural Advertising, for starters.

      Plus any site that lists BT's repeated disingenuous utterances, like:

      * BT has "better performance" for up to 16Mb customers than Sky or TalkTalk

      (from http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/12/04/asa_bt_bskyb/)

      * fibre optic Infinity already available throughout Manchester

      (from http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/11/13/bt_manchester_infinity_ad_slapped_by_asa/)

      * Oh, no, fewer people are complaining than ever before

      (From http://forums.theregister.co.uk/forum/1/2013/03/12/Kelly_Fiveash_BT_engineers_missed_appointments/)

      * BT's "six-month free broadband"

      (From http://forums.theregister.co.uk/forum/2/2013/01/16/bt_asa_ruling_line_rental/)

      * No, we've never intercepted web traffic

      (from http://forums.theregister.co.uk/forum/1/2013/01/16/bt_asa_ruling_line_rental/

      * No, we've never had anything to do with DPI

      (from http://forums.theregister.co.uk/forum/1/2013/01/16/bt_asa_ruling_line_rental/

      * No, we'd never do something like impose behavioural advertising trial on our customers without asking them first.

      (from http://forums.theregister.co.uk/forum/1/2013/01/16/bt_asa_ruling_line_rental/

      * No, it MUST be your PC

      (from http://forums.theregister.co.uk/forum/1/2013/01/16/bt_asa_ruling_line_rental/

      * No, we're not scamming prices.

      (from http://forums.theregister.co.uk/forum/1/2013/01/16/bt_asa_ruling_line_rental/

      In fact, El Reg and BT's own forums will probably disappear from T'Internet

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Censorship is alive and well in Britian

      "What will be blocked next?"

      Anything that displeases our wonderful thought controlling overlords.

      1. Mr Shouty

        Re: Censorship is alive and well in Britian

        Or the daily fail^H^H^H^Hmail readers.

    6. Amorous Cowherder
      WTF?

      Re: Censorship is alive and well in Britian

      Anything the chattering, middle-Englander, MumsNet types want taken off in case it offends little Jocasta or Tarquin. Meanwhile Daddy is happily taking down the personal blocks so he can look for S&M sites and clubs to visit.

    7. Tom 35 Silver badge

      Re: Censorship is alive and well in Britian

      My guess translation sites, as they can be used like a proxy.

    8. El Andy
      Joke

      Re: Censorship is alive and well in Britian

      "What will be blocked next?"

      Any site carrying Nickleback music?

      Well someone has got to hope for a silver lining to this cloud....

  3. Mephistro Silver badge
    WTF?

    Seriously?

    The filter "doesn't block VPN connections, but does prevent access to sites promoting the use of proxies and annonymisers [sic],"

    A perfect example of how 'porn censorship' expands to fill other niches, like censoring technology and censoring privacy protecting tools. Political censorship is only a short step ahead.

    In a sane world, BT should be losing thousands of customers every day, because of this.

    1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge

      Re: Seriously?

      In a sane world, BT should be losing thousands of customers every day, because of this.

      Indeed, although given most of the major ISPs are also towing the same line, it's almost as difficult to find a suitable ISP as finding a politcal party worth voting for. Maybe this could be a nice niche for an enterprising new provider to make an ISP that's specifically not controlled or meddled with (I know, it's even more of a pipe-dream than a party worth voting for).

      Personally I just wonder how long the off switch will remain available, and whether it'll be spring-loaded to go into the "on" setting at the drop of a hat (in the same way that Talktalk's homesafe filter seems to be).

      But of course also in the same sane world we'd have some suitable filter to protect us from Whitehall meddling too.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Seriously?

        "nice niche for an enterprising new provider"

        How about a niche for a trustworthy well-established provider?

        Andrews+Arnold, aka AAISP, have a well-documented position on these matters, and their relationship with BT in general is also well documented. There's the usual corporate website at aaisp.net, and then the gory details are on the personal website of one of the directors, the Revd Adrian Kennard, at revk.www.me.uk. Assuming they've not already been blocked, of course.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Seriously?

        Pedant. Actually AC 10:20 they are TOEING the line.

        Other than that I agree with you.

        1. IglooDude

          Re: Seriously?

          No, he really does mean towing - as in, dragging the line further and further towards increased censorship and centralized nannyism.

          1. Dr Dan Holdsworth Silver badge

            Re: Seriously?

            To be honest, actually encouraging as much feature creep as possible is entirely the right thing to do, since this will force Joe Public to learn all about how to get around said filters and how the government are a bunch of techno-illiterate numpties. So, bring on the Orwellian censorship, bring on the mumsnet-inspired wuckfittery, and bring on the "for the childrun!!1!" smothering censorship.

            The population needs a lesson on why getting what you asked for is a bad thing.

          2. Kennedy

            Re: Seriously?

            No, first someone draws a line in the sand. Then they challenge you to defy them by crossing it, or to submit to their authority by toeing the line (putting the toes of your boots up to it but no further).

      3. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Wize

      Re: Seriously?

      "In a sane world, BT should be losing thousands of customers every day, because of this."

      Trouble is, how many members of the public know/understand what is happening.

      We are all technically minded, but the average Joe Public isn't. Most of them won't even know what a proxy server is, never mind how to use one.

      And its all being sold as a way of protecting children. How is the average guy, opposed to the way censorship is heading, explain to their wife that they need to switch providers to complain about the porn filter without it sounding like he wants the filter turned off so he can see porn?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Seriously?

        "How is the average guy, opposed to the way censorship is heading, explain to their wife"

        Presumably the hypothetical bloke could just grow a pair and explain the reasoning behind his decision.

        1. Suricou Raven

          Re: Seriously?

          "Presumably the hypothetical bloke could just grow a pair and explain the reasoning behind his decision."

          You're not married, are you?

        2. Wayland Sothcott 1 Bronze badge

          Re: Seriously?

          The average bloke in this country no longer has balls. They have TV adverts telling us how useless men are. There is one where the wife does not allow the man a house key. She and her friends are sitting inside laughing because he is outside and has missed the curfew. Can you imagine an advert being shown where the man treats the woman this way? This is how deep in the psyche this mind warping social engineering has gone.

          Men are seen either as harmless sports loving fools or sick perverts and not much in between unless they are pretty.

          Men should grow some balls. Dare they?

          1. DragonLord

            Re: Seriously?

            What company is that advert for so that I can avoid it in future?

      2. MJI Silver badge

        Re: Seriously?

        Like I did.

        Messing up the internet, may not be able to connect to the office, false positives, health sites ect.

        And that they do not block the sites you do want blocked such are virus and phishing

    3. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: Seriously?

      It gets worse.

      ISPs which are reselling BT or TT wholesale services are forced behind thiese filters too.

  4. Phil W

    To not be self-defeating

    They really have to block the sites solely to devoted to obvious ways to work around the filter system, otherwise it's kind of pointless implementing it. There's a fine line between blocking obvious and well known proxy web sites and restricting or blocking VPNs. So far they're on the right side of that line, how long that will last....who knows?

    1. Suricou Raven

      Re: To not be self-defeating

      What makes you think it's not pointless anyway? If someone is actively trying to subvert the filter, it isn't going to pose much of a problem. Just ask anyone who actually maintains a filter professionally how often they need to revise rules because someone spent half an hour googling synonyms and found a site that slipped through.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: To not be self-defeating

      Sorry Phil but had to downvote, as you appear to have fallen for Content Mafia and Big Brothers plausible deniability line.

    3. John 48

      Re: To not be self-defeating

      So by one of us simply pointing out how to change your computer or router to use OpenDNS or Google's DNS servers here in a comment, the comments section of theregister, or possibly the whole site must by extension also be banned?

      Pretty nifty way to take out any site that you fancy huh?

      1. Haku

        Re: Pretty nifty way to take out any site that you fancy huh?

        Some people will see that as a game / challenge, see how many innocent sites they can get put on the naughty list by posting innocuous comments/links/pictures that at face value are not 'bad' but do trigger the naughty list filter.

        1. MrXavia

          Re: Pretty nifty way to take out any site that you fancy huh?

          I think that it is a must to get mumsnet blocked!

          1. Irongut

            Re: Pretty nifty way to take out any site that you fancy huh?

            I'd put the Tory party and gov websites top of the list but mumsnet would be straight after.

          2. Mike Richards

            Re: Pretty nifty way to take out any site that you fancy huh?

            Daily Mail surely?

            A daily shite-tsunami of borderline pornography, scaremongering, objectification of women, borderline paedophilia (the 'all grown up' trope), hate-mongering and abuse of the English language.

            They also demanded filtering, so it seems only fair to put them behind one. Can all BT Internet customers get together and start demanding the site is blocked?

      2. paulc

        Re: To not be self-defeating

        I was under the distinct impression that the filter does deep packet inspection and so can defeat using a different DNS source?

  5. BillyIdol
    Terminator

    This week's chocolate ration

    Isn't it funny how call me Dave visits China, and within days of landing back on Airstrip one, we have a gradual scope and function creep of a system which would make North Korea blush.

    Still, it's for the best said the Eton educated millionaire. Otherwise, how can I make all these Daily Fail readers vote for me?

    In a statement, Mumsnet defended the action saying that this year's harvest had been a record and all citizens should rejoice.

    Icon, because I really thought it would have ended like the other film from 1984...

    1. Mr Flibble

      Re: This week's chocolate ration

      I noticed this the other day on Wired – their article about BT enabling the filtering had, as its “Read Next” link, their article about him joining a Chinese social networking site…

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And another wilderness is razed. Dark shadow filled tanglewoods replaced with 3 bed brick veneer semi lined cul de sacs with off street parking and 15mph speed limits enforced by cameras and speed humps.

  7. MrMur

    If it's using DNS, then Ubuntu users from 12.04 onwards won't be "protected" as Ubuntu uses its own local DNS server, as far as I know. Maybe different in later versions.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: If it's using DNS,

      Well if they use DNS without blocking access to other DNS servers, any DNS server other than the ISP's would presumably work. As for blocking proxies, pulling up an Amazon EC2 (or similar) instance with a simple proxy server would take... how long? Minutes? Changing the IP if they somehow caught wind? Seconds?

      This proposal would be an arms race where only one side has the metaphorical weapons, and it ain't the government. They cannot win, but some corporate suit has sold it to them as a panacea.

      1. Wayland Sothcott 1 Bronze badge

        Re: If it's using DNS,

        Presumably it would be easy for BT to divert the DNS protocol to BT servers. This loophole will remain only as long as BT want it to.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      It uses a local DNS server yes (dnsmasq), but that has to get IPs from somewhere which will most likely be the ISP. So blocking still takes effect. The exception would be if the user uses a different DNS server.

    3. SMabille

      DNS only / No just porn!

      If it's only using DNS, on the base that BT doesn't also block traffic to any non-BT DNS, just point your PC (or whatever device) DNS client to 8.8.8.8 (Google) or 208.67.222.222 (OpenDNS).

      I expect the BT filter to be a bit more efficient than that and filter the IP traffic to address hosting a banned site.

      I just had a look at the BT filter, it comes with 3 level. Light, med, strict. (http://www.ispreview.co.uk/wp-content/gallery/2013-article-illustrations/bt_filter_table.jpg)

      Even the lightest option filter not only porn but also: Obscene and tasteless (that's great as tasteless is such an easy thing to decide.... The government insisting that the NHS and we are better of now, insisting that inequalities have been reduced since they arrived in power is obscene and tasteless to me), Hate and self-harm, Drugs (I suspect that include drug information/education/charities sites not just Silk Road), Dating.

      You can add Nudity, Weapons and violence (which obviously is far less harmful/questionable than sex...), Gambling (which should be illegal to <18yo anyway....), Social Networking with the "Moderate" settings.

      The strict top up the list with Fashion and beauty, File Sharing, Games and Media streaming.... (WTF?)

      Sex education and Search engines blocking are optionals.....

      So even the lowest setting is far more restrictive than porn.

      On the other hand, a (free) AWS instance, a VPN to it; or just a Usenet client will give you access to all the porn you want.

      So glad I'm an AA ISP customer....

      1. CommanderGalaxian
        Unhappy

        Re: DNS only / No just porn!

        >>If it's only using DNS, on the base that BT doesn't also block traffic to any non-BT DNS, just point your PC (or whatever device) DNS client to 8.8.8.8 (Google) or 208.67.222.222 (OpenDNS).

        That won't work. Their filter is designed to block DNS requests - i.e. it doesn't matter whether you are using OpenDNS or another DNS server to do your DNS queries. If you choose to opt of of the filter, they say (for now) that you can use DNS servers other than BT's.

        It's very easy to do what they are doing [DNS was not desinged to cope with large scale sabotage by those who control the main infrastructure - it assumed they would be friendlies]. To see how easy it is to filter DNS requests - download a copy of Wireshark - while you still can. :-(

        1. Mr Flibble
          Pirate

          Re: DNS only / No just porn!

          There will be DNS made available such that it avoids the filters. Though I won't be providing such myself, I guarantee that it'll happen.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      DNS bypass isn't that easy on BT

      They use transparent DNS forwarding to their own DNS. Whatever DNS server you choose, all traffic to port 53 will effectively hit their own DNS.

      The only alternative that is known to work (for now) is using a VPN and send DNS requests through that tunnel to a server of your choice. Nothing that Joe Public can easily do. Nothing that the average Ubuntu user can do either. BT are -unfortunately- not THAT stupid.

      Some keywords for your research:

      On Windows: Proxifier or other tools which can redirect traffic fairly easily (without ubergeek qualifications)

      On Linux: iptables

      On Mac: ipfw -- oh no, wait, Mac users don't mind controlling overlords

      For all in addition: an OpenVPN server hosted anywhere outside your home network to connect to and send port 53 traffic through; an OpenVPN client to establish that tunnel to your computer; a public DNS server (Google's will do, OpenDNS certainly too)

      Downside of all this: usability goes down the hill. Unless you have a local linux/BSD based router to play with, you'll have to configure tunnels like this on every PC/laptop/tablet/phone (Android can do OpenVPN relatively easily, iOS is trickier). Also, percieved internet performance will go down a little as DNS requests take a moment longer. Sites will "feel" less responsive, because DNS requests will take a tiny bit longer, although the data transfer (if all non-DNS still goes straight out and doesn't use the VPN) will remain as fast as before.

      The really disappointing part here is: We're right up there with China soon, if not already.

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: DNS bypass isn't that easy on BT

        "They use transparent DNS forwarding to their own DNS. Whatever DNS server you choose, all traffic to port 53 will effectively hit their own DNS."

        That's a strong argument for using DNSSEC

    5. MrMur

      Hmmm 8 downvotes. Harsh.

      Well, if BT subvert DNS, then I am glad I don't use them and never will.I didn't imagine an ISP would do that.

      Shame on them, not shame on me.

  8. Marvin O'Gravel Balloon Face

    I know I'm going to get downvoted for this, but I really don't accept that there is any evidence for the idea that this is some massive government conspiracy to control what you see on the internet. Web filtering is already the default on mobile phones. I found out about 18 months into my 2 year contract while trying to check on the finer points of Texas Hold 'Em during a rainy day on a camping trip. I really wasn't outraged enough to pen a letter to my MP.

    There's really no point sitting here discussing ways to circumvent this awful "censorship". It's a service that you can switch on or off. Personally, I'd probably switch it off as I already use OpenDNS. It's not a replacement for good parenting, but one tool in the toolkit.

    Maybe it's time to give the paranoia a rest, huh?

    1. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

      I am broadly in agreement. But I have two problems. 1) We don't know the list of sites being blocked. 2) We cannot appeal a block to an independent third party.

      With those conditions in place, I would have no problem with it. But everybody is too busy screaming "Noooo Don't take away my porrnnnn!" to campaign for a workable system; consequentially we're getting a genuinely scary system.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The problem is the creep. First it is just porn, then it is torrenting sites (legal or not), then it is site companies object too, then its political websites from countries whose ideologies are 'dangerous', then its no longer optional, then its blocking sites on vague public decency grounds. Where does it stop? That is the problem, and each step as it is small seems ok, until you take back and look at the bigger picture. all In the name of saving the children from a problem that hardly exists or that can be tackled without it.

      So yes I am a bit paranoid,

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. Suricou Raven

        There is grounds to be paranoid. Pick any oppressive government filter you want and look at how their own government refers to it. Even when the filtering is clearly politically targetted, in every case, the official government line is that the filter's purpose is to protect against indecency. Every time.

        1. nematoad Silver badge
          Headmaster

          Grammar!

          "There is grounds to be paranoid"

          Should be:

          There are grounds to be paranoid.

    3. Jedit

      "Web filtering is already the default on mobile phones."

      Yes. I found that out while trying to access a friend's Facebook page. If that doesn't tell you the system is filtering for what they want you to see rather than for things that might actually be of concern, then nothing will.

      1. Andy Gates
        FAIL

        Re: "Web filtering is already the default on mobile phones."

        It's worse than that: they KNOW it's ineffective and *they don't care* - Something Must Be Done and compliant masses are always good.

        1. Suricou Raven

          Re: "Web filtering is already the default on mobile phones."

          Something must be done.

          This is something.

          Ergo this must be done.

          When there is an issue getting a lot of public attention, it is sometimes better for a politician to do something obviously stupid and take the flak for failure than to ignore it and be regarded as disconnected and uncaring. In this particular case though, much of the pressure does appear to have initiated internally. A certain Clair Perry, MP is behind a lot of it.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "Web filtering is already the default on mobile phones."

        The worst part about the default filtering I found on my mobile, was it forwards you to their OWN adult site with the block in place, so you can pay them to watch stuff....

        And I was not even trying to access anything I could consider adult, just a site with forums!

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re:Maybe it's time to give the paranoia a rest, huh?

      "I really don't accept that there is any evidence for the idea that this is some massive government conspiracy to control what you see on the internet"

      Presumably you were in another, divergent parallel universe from the rest of us during 2013. What was it like?

    5. Captain Underpants

      @Marvin

      I suppose you're right.

      I mean, it's not like we're living in a country where the Metropolitan Police have used laws governing extreme pornography to crack down on commercial-scale dvd piracy operations, is it? Or a country where a desire to "think of the children" meant that a man was convicted for owning a book of photographs despite said book being on sale in most High Street bookshops and the photos concerned having been exhibited to wide acclaim in galleries, is it?

      ...

      Has the penny started its descent yet?

      1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge
        Thumb Down

        Re: @Marvin

        a man was convicted for owning a book of photographs

        And you're the one complaining about government propaganda?!

        I presume you're referring to "The age of innocence"? Of the two well-known recent convictions where it featured, one was overturned and the judge criticized the CPS for bringing it, and the other was of a man who had almost 20,000 child photos in addition to the book.

        As Marvin said, this is just more theatre, like airport security. There's an election coming up, and politicians (that *we* elected, in case you missed that) are Doing Something to get the Mumsnet vote. They really don't care if it works or not, as long as something is seen to be done, and they get votes.

        Society's public attitudes to porn go in cycles, look at the Lady Chatterly's Lover trial, or the banning of Wilde's Salome. Banned because a vocal minority got offended, unbanned after a larger group complained, now generating a "Meh!" attitude for most people. To suggest that mandating some pointless and easily bypassed user-selectable filtering is going to lead us all to wake up in N. Korea next year is even more detestable propaganda than the "think of the children" paranoia that infests mumsnet & co.

        1. Alister Silver badge

          @Phil O'Sophical Re: @Marvin

          There's an election coming up, and politicians (that *we* elected, in case you missed that) are Doing Something to get the Mumsnet vote.

          Um, no actually, we didn't. It was a hung parliament, in case you missed that.

          1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge
            FAIL

            Re: @Phil O'Sophical @Marvin

            It was a hung parliament, in case you missed that.

            What has that do do with anything? There are still 650 elected MPs in Westminster. Just because there wasn't a majority belonging to one party doesn't change the legitimacy of the elected parliament, nor your opportunity to elect someone else next time.

          2. Jedit

            "It was a hung parliament"

            The sooner this parliament goes from being hung to being hanged, the better.

        2. Captain Underpants

          Re: @Marvin

          @Phil

          The doublethink is strong in this one! The point I was making with those examples is that we are:

          a) living in a country governed by bodies who actively make use of mission-creep-enabled powers (See also local councils using RIPA to catch those who don't clean up their dogs mess, etc) and

          b) living in a country where the CPS clearly does not apply adequate expertise and oversight when undertaking prosecutions that can very easily destroy an individual's life. I'm sure Mr Neal was delighted to have his case overturned, but I'm equally certain that to a huge chunk of the population he'll always be "That perv who got away with it" rather than "that guy who the CPS tried to frame". The case should never have made it to court, but the fact that it did so and his name is in the papers and internet search histories in the context of child porn convictions means the damage is done.

          The suggestion that this level of filtering *wont* somehow be extended beyond its original frame of reference and be used for purposes entirely unrelated to its stated current goal (and which are harder to justify with the simplistic mumsnet-friendly "BUT ITS TO PROTECT THE KIDDIES!") is to be both naive and ignorant of past trends in similar cases.

          Now, if you don't actually care, that's up to you. But it's clear that UK.gov has, regardless of ruling party, a marked tendency towards mission creep and giving itself powers on the sly that are used for decidedly off-message targets. Remember how cosy the Home Office was with Phorm, considering that they were supposed to be evaluating whether Phorm would be breaking the law?

          1. paulc

            Re: @Marvin

            "But it's clear that UK.gov has, regardless of ruling party, a marked tendency towards mission creep and giving itself powers on the sly that are used for decidedly off-message targets."

            remember how they said RIPA would only be used for investigating terrorists and yet within mere weeks of it being passed we had councils using it to track down dog-owners and also check up if people were actually living within school catchment areas.

            http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/crime/8868757/Councils-have-mounted-millions-of-snooping-operations-in-past-decade-finds-report.html

            http://publicsector.practicallaw.com/blog/publicsector/plc/?p=786

            http://www.bigbrotherwatch.org.uk/files/ripa/RIPA_Aug12_final.pdf

        3. Mike Richards

          Re: @Marvin

          '(that *we* elected, in case you missed that) '

          Was this in any manifesto commitment (okay stop laughing), or was it just something Cameron implemented after the Mail started beating up on him?

    6. Steve the Cynic

      "Web filtering is already the default on mobile phones."

      It depends on where you are and how awake you are.

      Four years ago (nearly five, now) I moved to France. I picked up a pair (one for me, one for her) of PAYG SIMs from SFR, and discovered that they had a parental-control filter installed in the data plan.

      How did I find this out? It blocked access to the servers used by the Google Maps app on WinMob6.1...

      So how do I turn it off? Um, I would have had to write a dead-tree letter to SFR's relevant department explaining that yes, I'm a grown up (and had been at the time for nearly 30 years), so please let me look at dodgy stuff like Google Maps... (Not Street View, mind, just the map data...)

      So what did I do? I walked downstairs to a different provider, who gave (sold) me a nice contract without (OK, I had to ask, but the dude could plainly see that we are adults, so no dead-tree was required) any such filter.

    7. Nigel Whitfield.

      There's more to it than just the filtering. There's the compilation of lists of "people who want porn"

      Whether or not someone has opted to have an unfiltered feed as a matter of principle, they will be on the "porn users" list in the eyes of many. Let's see how long it is before these lists - kept by companies, who have been scammed for phone records of celebs before - end up in the wrong hands. When someone's wrongly accused of a crime and monstered in the papers like Chris Jefferies, and "has access to porn on his computer" is added to the list of "evidence" or when an acrimonious divorce case ends up with "he shouldn't be allowed to see the children, he's a porn users" or a job application ends after a company decides that you're not a "moral fit" for them.

      There will be other sorts of damage too, given the information that will be filtered out as collateral. Do you really think it's going to be easy for a teen confused about their sexuality to ask the parents to turn off filtering, because they want to access resources online, for example?

      This is a deeply disturbing project, for many reasons. A shame that our government has sunk so low.

    8. Brian Morrison

      No, it really isn't time to give the paranoia a rest....

      ...because we now have the proof of how much the establishment fears the populace and is putting in place the mechanisms to protect itself.

      Did I ever think that the UK would become China? No, I didn't, but it is happening before our eyes and if we're too apathetic to do anything about it then we deserve our fate.

      The thin end of a very long wedge is being gently inserted, it can only get worse with time unless people act.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: No, it really isn't time to give the paranoia a rest.... @Brian Morrison 12:05

        "The thin end of a very long wedge is being gently inserted, it can only get worse with time unless people act."

        The problem is that nobody seems to be suggesting any action here. Not that's likely to achieve anything as far as I can see anyway. Most of the responses here in the past have been, "We'll just use anonymous proxies, ho ho ho." Well, if that's shot down what do you suggest? I certainly can't see anything off the top of my head that'll either be effective or probably put you on the radar in some way as someone probably/possibly doing something worthy of investigation but I'm not a security bod.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: No, it really isn't time to give the paranoia a rest.... @Brian Morrison 12:05

          "The problem is that nobody seems to be suggesting any action here. Not that's likely to achieve anything as far as I can see anyway."

          Sadly, many ISP's agreed to 'voluntarily' implement these filters in the face of government threats to draft new legislation. One can only wonder at the conversation that took place behind closed doors, but I for one would prefer to have seen the ISP's stick to their original net neutrality stance and to have forced government to attempt to introduce legislation.

          Unfortunately David Cameron sold this to the masses with a healthy dose of contextual fabrications and the populace, in general, fell for it - hook, line and sinker. Many still believe that this is just a filter that blocks access to illegal pornography.

          In my opinion an unregulated, non-transparent system, such as we currently have here, is about as bad as it gets in an alleged democracy - and not because of stated reasons for implementation but rather because of the scope for immediate and future abuse of the system itself.

          Anyway, as for action all once can really do right now is vote with your wallet and change providers (assuming the bloodsuckers don't have you tied down in a contract with early exit fees) or simply set the filters to off with your current provider - while you can, of course.

          But, at least we know that we now have (warning: bad language ahead) internet filters that deem pricks and cunts as highly offensive, but a government that still likes house them en masse in Parliament.

          " Most of the responses here in the past have been, "We'll just use anonymous proxies, ho ho ho." Well, if that's shot down what do you suggest?"

          Simple. Don't switch the filters on. Anything else is really just an illustration of how simple it will be for kids to bypass the filters at home. There's no point in adults enabling the filters and then bypassing them, other than perhaps as a silent protest.

          "Well, if that's shot down what do you suggest? I certainly can't see anything off the top of my head that'll either be effective or probably put you on the radar in some way as someone probably/possibly doing something worthy of investigation but I'm not a security bod."

          It's an irrelevance. Under normal operating conditions most of what you do is logged and stored somewhere anyway.

          But, in my opinion, this is perhaps just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. However, there are more important concerns to be had right now... For example, how the UK and EU are considering waiving fundamental rights to personal privacy in the name of commercial competitiveness.

          The government shows a dislike for smut, but it's still happy to prostitute you and me for a 'quick buck'. Go figure.

        2. Suricou Raven

          Re: No, it really isn't time to give the paranoia a rest.... @Brian Morrison 12:05

          What do you propose?

          Political involvement? That can work for major issues, where an election is at stake, and when there are enough numbers careing. But in this the vast majority simply don't care, and those who are left don't have the votes or connections to matter. The best we can do is slow them down a bit.

          Technological countermeasures? It's possible to invest in filter-resistant technologies. Tor, freenet, retroshare, p2p distribution and communication in general. They can work, for the technologically skilled - the advantage there is with us, it'd be impossible to block them without causing serious inconvenience to everyone. It's still untidy though: While the idea of fighting for your rights may have some romantic appeal, the idea is to win, not get trapped in an unending arms race between government filter operators and investigators vs counter-government circumvention programmers.

          Those are really our only options: Probably lose, or technological war. Unless you can think up some super-effective publicity campaign that lets you rally people against the filters without being branded as a bunch of perverts.

    9. Tom 38 Silver badge

      The problem is making lists of people that are considered "deviant".

      Currently, our government and police force are thick as two bricks. They mean well, but they haven't got to grips with data yet. Once they are doing the things with data that we are already doing in the private sector, your presence on lists like this will invade every aspect of your life.

      Maybe there is a little paranoia in there, but instead of us giving it a rest, how about you have a think about where this can go before blithely dismissing it?

    10. This post has been deleted by its author

    11. Fibbles

      "I know I'm going to get downvoted for this, but I really don't accept that there is any evidence for the idea that this is some massive government conspiracy to control what you see on the internet. Web filtering is already the default on mobile phones."

      The justification for default filtering on mobile phones is that a child can quite easily take their pocket money to some high-street store to buy an unlocked mobile phone and a pay-as-you-go simcard. No credit check, billing address or proof of age is required. A child can use this to access the internet without their parents being any the wiser. This is why the porn filter is switched on by default and you need to verify your age by use of a credit card to switch it off.

      A child can't covertly sign up for a fixed internet connection. Even if the parents were somehow oblivious to the engineer drilling a whole in an exterior wall to run coaxial through it and for some reason didn't question the new box in the corner of the room with all the blinking lights, they certainly wouldn't miss the monthly charge showing up on their credit card.

      I'm sick of seeing politicians and lobbyists conflate these two situations. Please don't make me read the same drivel on what is supposed to be a tech site

    12. Wayland Sothcott 1 Bronze badge

      Marvin

      The changes in the world probably don't affect you because you are very average and stay clear of the edges. However the road is narrowing. Acceptable behavior standards are being drastically altered like turning a massive ship. An article in the Daily Mail yesterday said "60% of parents admit to snooping on their children's Internet use" Surely the headline should have read "40% of parents admit to allowing their children to use the Internet unsupervised".

      These filters will allow the corporations to become the parents. I can think of some examples of bad corporate parenting like allowing children to sit in front of the Disney channel. Likes like inviting a paedo to babysit. Just look up Donald Duck Ride in google image search if you need some evidence to kick off your own investigations.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Happy To Oblige

    Here's your downvote.

    PS what are you going to do when you can no longer turn off filtering like Chinese citizens ?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Happy To Oblige

      > PS what are you going to do when you can no longer turn off filtering like Chinese citizens ?

      Like he said, maybe it's time to give the paranoia a rest, huh?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Happy To Oblige @AC 10.12

        Paranoid yourself as you are posting as AC. No AC for you in the coming New Britain.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Happy To Oblige

        You can only be considered to be paranoid if you "THINK" that people are out to get you!

        When that supposition becomes FACT and you KNOW "They" are out to get you, then you are "prescient" not paranoid.

        I will only rest when scum like BT and various government entities burn in the hell they have created.

    2. chris121254

      Re: Happy To Oblige

      there always the EU human rights act?

      1. Mike Richards

        Re: Happy To Oblige

        Not if voices on the Right have their way. When even mainstream Tory thinking is that the Human Rights Act is a dangerous irrelevance I don't think we can look forward to a golden age of personal rights.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So the encryption arms race is back on then?

    Le sigh.

    Any search engine (assuming they don't all kowtow and remove 'proxy/anonymiser' result pages) can technically give information on how to do exactly those things. Google 'cached' pages for example. The WayBack machine. Are they on the marked list?

    DNSCrypt will 'hide' any DNS traffic - meaning that (unless they MITM it) it's back to IP based checking (unlikely, given the amount of single IP servers running multiple sites) - so it's likely that host-headers start getting intercepted/scanned.

    Given HTTPS can be MITM'd, when are sites going to publish their certs/fingerprints, so you can 'trust' a given hash, and if it changes, you know there is a MITM going on? (I like when putty pops up and notices a certificate has changed for example).

    Also @Marvin O'Gravel Balloon Face - at least with OpenDNS you control the filters, but not the categories - although YOU can whitelist a site. With gummint filters, you can't. Do you want to lose that choice?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: So the encryption arms race is back on then?

      I agree, i really like SSH/Putty where on my Linux box it wont let me connect if the key has changed, and putty warns me.

      I would like that on websites (surely browsers could do this now?), so I know if something changed, and I can check it from a different connection/via a vpn to ensure I am not being MITM'd

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: So the encryption arms race is back on then?

      re: certificate hashes. Steve Gibson @ GRC.com has a tool that pulls the certificate hash for any website you enter. you can then compare it with the hash in the certificate that you received to see whether or not you ended up where you thought you did.

      Here's the link to his site: https://www.grc.com/fingerprints.htm

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    There is no problem here

    It is simply better to have the filter on to cover those without the skills to install their own. If someone wants the filter off (most likely a married man who wants to perv at women half the age of his wife) then it's one phone call.

    There is no problem whatsoever. Those using the "slippery slope" argument are clearly intellectually stunted.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: There is no problem here

      "If someone wants the filter off (most likely a married man who wants to perv at women half the age of his wife) then it's one phone call."

      It would also presumably be one phone call to switch it on, and the manner in which it's implemented tells you all you need to know about motivation. Still, not to worry, eh?. The government will soon help re-educate those who are intellectually stunted, I expect.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: There is no problem here

        No different to porn mags in a shop. You want one, prove you're 18 or over. Or cigs. Or a lottery ticket. Or petrol. Or knives. Or any other the other things we don't want children to freely access.

        As I say, there is simply no problem. The people who object are more than likely men who don't want to admit to their partners they use porn. That's all.

        1. Eradicate all BB entrants

          If I am in a shop then I have ID ...

          ..... in my wallet. Oh hang on, at home waving my drivers license in front of the screen doesn't work like it would in the shop. Also in the shop my grey hair, wrinkles and beard might give them a clue I am old enough, can they see that on the phone?

          As for it's most likely to be men who don't want their partners to find out, complete and utter tosh, my good lady friend is as pissed off as I am about this. It's really amazing that I have to prove I am a responsible adult that doesn't want to be minded all the time, yet you mouth breathers who want the filter are not required to prove you are fit to be a parent.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: If I am in a shop then I have ID ...

            "As for it's most likely to be men who don't want their partners to find out, complete and utter tosh," except it isn't "tosh". I have the facts to back up my statements. http://yougov.co.uk/news/2013/07/22/british-men-oppose-automatic-porn-filters/ So yup, mostly men and probably because they don't want /that/ discussion with partners.

            "can they see that on the phone?"

            They can certainly verify that you are the account holder, previous checks will have confirmed your age. So yes, they can pretty much do the same thing.

            "my good lady friend is as pissed off as I am about this"

            Anecdote - utterly irrelevant.

            "It's really amazing that I have to prove I am a responsible adult"

            No it's not. We don't let just anyone drive a car, own a gun, buy knives, buy solvents, buy alcohol, buy or rent certain movies/video games...why aren't you railing against those censorships/restrictions?

            "you mouth breathers"

            Ad hominem - whatever I may be, I am clearly more able to construct an argument without having to resort to playground insults.

            "who want the filter are not required to prove you are fit to be a parent"

            There's this thing called "biology". The only way to prevent people having children would be reversible sterilisation. Which is:

            1) An invasive procedure not without risk;

            2) Not 100% effective;

            3) A mandatory government control.

            You appear to be deeply conflicted here. In you attempt to argue against a perceived state control, you've actually implied a REAL state control as a form of defence. These two positions are at odds. You need to go away and think a bit harder (better).

            1. Eradicate all BB entrants

              Re: If I am in a shop then I have ID ...

              At no point in that poll is the question asked why they have chosen that response. So you using that poll as a basis for your assertion, regarding they don't want that discussion, is worthless.

              On the car, gun and the rest of the items that is my choice. If I choose to purchase those items then I am happy to jump through the requisite hoops. The filter is not a choice I have. It is in place for everyone and still in place even if I opt out. And as stated in the story, it does not just filter porn.

              I will stick to the playground insults actually, as kids seem to have more common sense than the adults running the country, ya smelly faced potty head.

              Oh and thanks for the biology lesson, and the psychological profiling from a few sentences while assuming I meant something I didn't actually say.

            2. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

              Re: If I am in a shop then I have ID ... @AC

              "We don't let just anyone drive a car, own a gun, buy knives, buy solvents, buy alcohol, buy or rent certain movies/video games..."

              Yes! And masturbate... we can't just let anyone wank off wantonly - they will go blind or something, what with the NHS cash-strapped as it is!

              And how will they aim their muskets when we send them to shoot some peasants in some far-away forsaken country? You see - it's a matter of national security!

  12. gerdesj Silver badge

    First they came for the DNS

    For now it seems that simply bypassing your ISP's DNS servers will fix the problem. I haven't used one of those for years. For most people however, setting up BIND/PowerDNS/MS DNS is a bit much!

    This list will get you started:

    8.8.8.8

    8.8.4.4

    208.67.220.220

    208.67.222.222

    If you don't know how to set this at your router, then set it on your client machines - a simple Google will get you how to do this in nauseating detail.

    However, when 53/udp to "unauthorized servers" gets blocked, start to worry. Then look out for deep packet inspection that blocks unauthorized protocols and content ...

    Cheers

    Jon

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: First they came for the DNS

      I use OpenDNS myself and I'm on TalkTalk.

      But if I try to access say... The Pirate Bay, I still get redirected to a "SITE BLOCKED," website.

      So there's something going on which isn't taking the fact I'm using another DNS into consideration.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: First they came for the DNS

        Ditto virgin. I do run my own nameserver. It uses google but the virgin "blocked" dialog will still appear. Afaik they haven't even turned on their new filtering yet.

        1. Anonymous Noel Coward

          Re: First they came for the DNS

          It honestly wouldn't surprise me if it was Deep Packet Inspection.

          What with all the NSA/GCHQ monitoring and all...

          1. Charles 9 Silver badge

            Re: First they came for the DNS

            If that were true, it wouldn't be able to block an encrypted connection because encrypted data, by definition, can't be sniffed. Has anyone been hit with a "Site Blocked" message while using HTTPS that's either direct to the IP or using a third-party DNS? If so, then IP checking must be in place at the least (how else would they catch a connection for which the only thing they know is the IP).

      2. RoninRodent

        Re: First they came for the DNS

        Lots are saying that changing DNS servers will bypass it but it won't. CleanFeed, which is used for the blocking, isn't as limp as a DNS block. Left to the government it would have been that useless but BT actually produced a fairly decent blocking system when they implemented CleanFeed. It was supposed to be used to block kiddy pr0n only but surprise surprise the government hijacked it.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: First they came for the DNS

          "Lots are saying that changing DNS servers will bypass it but it won't. CleanFeed, which is used for the blocking, isn't as limp as a DNS block... BT actually produced a fairly decent blocking system when they implemented CleanFeed"

          What do you mean by "decent"?

          If you mean fast, cheap and (under normal conditions) accurate I would tend to agree. If however you mean non-trivial to circumvent, then decent would only be acceptable as an antonym.

          I've not really followed any research on CleanFeed for a few years. Is it no longer exposed to effective 'oracle' attacks and other such problems highlighted some years back?

      3. Goat Jam

        Re: First they came for the DNS

        "I use OpenDNS"

        I used to until I got annoyed by the DNS redirecting they do to search results when you type in a broken URL. Now I use google 8.8.8.8 who correctly return the proper standard mandated error code when you stuff something up.

  13. tony 19

    First they came for the pornographers, but I didn't speak out because I was not a pornographer....

    Is this China?

  14. Vimes

    Given that people have been fined hundreds of thousands of pounds over the improper action of 3rd parties used as contractors, does this mean BT is legally liable for any mistakes made by Nominem?

  15. Vimes

    If somebody wants to take Nominem to court over mistakes they make, will they take the same 'can't sue us in the UK' attitude adopted by Google?

    1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

      That's always the problem with Nominem - they just give him a rap...

      Oh, wait, do you mean Nominet? :-)

      1. Tom 38 Silver badge
        Unhappy

        I read it as Nom-i-nom-nom-nom - think it must be lunch time.

  16. Colin Millar

    Sites promoting proxies?

    They are going to block themselves?

    And every internet security firm?

    I think they mean "sites that compete with our overpriced crap"

  17. Bronek Kozicki Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Bruce Schneier

    ... would not approve.

    Oh wait, he didn't !

  18. Miek
    Big Brother

    It's Just like 1984 ...

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_IzumgpuUdA

  19. Uncle Slacky Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    TOR

    I suppose this wouldn't affect the TOR network, would it?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: TOR

      If they block proxies because "they might be used for watching porn" do you think TOR is not in their immediate sights?

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Proxies

    The filter "doesn't block VPN connections, but does prevent access to sites promoting the use of proxies and annonymisers [sic],"

    Absolutely only acceptable as a box that has to be ticked by the concerned parent, along with the selection of categories to be filtered.

    Interesting wording, by the way. If sites promoting use of proxies are blocked, then that's forums.theregister.co.uk screwed.

    1. Vimes

      Re: Proxies

      Apparently Sky's filter blocks the forums on Debian's website so this would not be a surprise...

      1. Victor Ludorum

        Re: Proxies

        But shirley the number of Debian-using Sky subscribers can't be very big?

        V.

        (A Mint-using Virgin subscriber...)

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    But think of the children!

    You know - the over 18 year old, voting ones.

    We are, after all, so simple-minded that we need to be protected from such things. And once we're protected from the "underbelly of the web" we can then be protected from things like...oh what our politicians are up to, perhaps?

  22. DrStrangeLug

    The classic quote still applies

    "The internet interprets censorship as damage and routes around the problem."

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The classic quote still applies @DrStrangeLug 11:00

      "The internet interprets censorship as damage and routes around the problem."

      Which'll be used as the excuse for the scope creep.

    2. Chozo

      Re: The classic quote still applies

      "The internet interprets censorship as damage and routes around the problem."

      Yep, it sure was a scary ten minutes before my favourite Pirate Movie site tweeted its new alternate domain name and IP address for those who simply could not wait.

  23. Peter 48

    slippery slope

    "They can also regularly dictate to ISPs what IP addresses and URLs should be blocked" this is probably the most dangerous part. It allows wholesale blocking of critical voices under the thinly veiled guise of "copyright" protection by anyone complaining loudly enough, be it government or much more likely corporate entities. For example: if the Daily Mail doesn't like a website because it points out their rampant racism they can have it blocked because it had a link on there pointing to an old YouTube clip that was blocked because it and an old Elvis track playing in the background.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: slippery slope

      The "slippery slope" is a fallacious argument. Debate the facts, not your own delusions.

      1. Eguro
        Stop

        Re: slippery slope

        Well... not quite though is it.

        Slippery Slope arguments might be invalid because they don't hold deductively, this however doesn't mean that there is no such thing as slippery slope developments or that any argument claiming that one thing will lead to another to another to another - is automatically fallacious and can just be dismissed.

        It doesn't follow that the consequences will necessarily be as described - I.E. the government making lists of porn-using deviants, the internet slowly being censored to 1984-ish states - but it is nevertheless a valid point to raise.

        This could easily escalate - as it apparently already has (who said anything about proxies earlier?) - so such things should be considered

        1. Mr Flibble

          Re: slippery slope

          Yes. It may work out well and not be a problem at all. But I (for one) just don't trust them enough for me to dismiss the slippery slope argument.

      2. Martin-73 Silver badge

        Re: slippery slope (AC, 11.28)

        Oh go back to your school debating class and leave the adults alone, little boy

  24. Jason Hindle

    I suspect they will start blocking VPN services

    The commercial services, like Expat Telly, should be easy enough for BT and friends to block, while still allowing access to corporate VPN. Of course, the filter needs to be opted into (or out of) for now, but it hardly takes a tinfoil hat to get to the obvious next step.

    As I've commented elsewhere, it appears to be customary to also assume anything with a forum is harmful. I think the Daily Mail herd are in for quite a surprise, when they all opt in, because there is no way this filter will be exclusively used to block sites showing a bit of flesh.

  25. Daniel Gould

    Who cares!!!

    I enabled the service yesterday on my account, just to see what it's like, and I have to report that it's not too bad. The categories are the standard ones that anyone familiar with a corporate web proxy filter product will see, so give it a rest on the Government Conspiracy rhetoric around categorisation of content. There is a custom filter set you can specify too.

    If you really want to look at pr0n, you can set a time when the filter is inactive, so just configure it for when little Johnnie has gone to bed. And if you hit a site outside that time that you don't want blocked, you can even put an exception in there to allow it, no great hard work required.

    I really don't see what the big fuss is about as long as there is the ability to turn it off, which the account holder has the ability to do. And before you start complaining about not being the account holder, quit your bitching as you're obviously not paying for the connection you're trying to surf on!

    There will always be those that don't want the filter, and there will always be 101 ways around it. This is meant as a simple tool to help those that want filtering on their broadband connection to implement it without them having to install lots of software or build their own filter servers.

    1. Hilibnist
      Thumb Up

      Re: Who cares!!!

      +1 for bothering to check the service before getting all shouty shouty.

      That is all.

    2. JimBob 2

      Re: Who cares!!!

      Thanks for doing that, it's refreshing to read about the practical implications from someone who has used the system as opposed to all the"omg 1984" posts. I'm still against the idea of default on since it will cause social problems for some adults.

    3. chris121254

      Re: Who cares!!!

      all am going to say is look at chinas firewall and your see why filters will not work

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: Who cares!!!

        "all am going to say is look at chinas firewall and your see why filters will not work"

        IIRC China's system doesn't outlaw all encrypted traffic and doesn't work on a whitelist system (meaning you can ONLY go to those sites they've vetted, meaning new sites are blocked by default). Without this "deny by default, deny when in doubt" attitude, things will still be able to slip through.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      FAIL

      Re: Who cares!!!

      I really don't see what the big fuss is about

      Quite obviously.

    5. Tom 38 Silver badge

      Re: Who cares!!!

      The point is, to opt out of the filter is to put yourself on a list of carnal campaigners, feminists, pornographers, perverts and men in dirty macs (as described by the register, and thought by mumsnet/mail/etc).

      If the filter was the other way around, an opt-in filter, then you would be putting yourself on a list of "parents who like to shelter and mollycoddle their kids".

      It does not fill me with pleasure to have to self identify as the 'pervert' demographic. It makes me especially angry that the reason I have to identify as a 'pervert' is because parents are too lazy to opt-in to a web filter.

      Finally, it's not even porn that is being censored - its porn, drug education, sex education, mental health issues, even information about proxy servers (how is censoring information about proxy servers protecting children?).

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Who cares!!!

        sky and BT said there is no list (dont know about 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

        censoring information about proxy servers for children by stop then for using the proxy to get to porn?

        1. Tom 38 Silver badge
          FAIL

          Re: Who cares!!!

          sky and BT said there is no list (dont know about other isps)

          If there is no list, where does my preference get stored?

          In case that was too subtle for you, if there is no list, then there is nowhere to check whether a user has opted out of filtering or not. Since there is a check to see whether a user has opted out, then there must be a list.

          What BT, Sky, et al have said is that they are not sharing the list.

          tl;dr, you're a moron.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Who cares!!!

            rude you dont have to call me a moron did you even read the QnA?

          2. cracked

            Re: Who cares!!!

            In campaigns such as this, being absolutely grammatically and factually correct, is essential.

            There is no list

            How the system (probably) works is:

            * Every user account at an ISP is given a flag

            * That flag is either checked as ON (filter) or unchecked OFF (don't filter)

            * But no one - at each ISP - has compiled a list displaying the Filter-Status of all accounts

            (Obviously a list COULD be created ... but - honestly, Guv - no one has done so)

            See how easy it is? ;-)

            1. Tom 38 Silver badge

              Re: Who cares!!!

              There is no list

              How the system (probably) works is:

              * Every user account at an ISP is given a flag

              That is a list. "Each user account" is a list that can be enumerated and iterated, "a flag" is something that can be extracted from each entry in the list. It is unequivocally and unquestionably a list.

              1. cracked

                Re: Who cares!!!

                No, it is only a list if you see the individual records displayed in such a manner (usually a table/spreadsheet structure).

                I did make the note in my post that producing a list of the records would be stupidly easy. But, until/if such a list is produced; then there is no list. (honest, Guv)

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Who cares!!!

      "This is meant as a simple tool to help those that want filtering on their broadband connection to implement it without them having to install lots of software or build their own filter servers."

      Yeah, let's enable lazy parenting!

      If my (alebit non-existant) child who can't swm runs into the river and begins to drown, I can demand some kind of system put in place to prevent that, right?

      I mean, after all, by your logic, it's not my responsibility to teach him/her to swim.

      1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

        Re: Who cares!!!

        "Yeah, let's enable lazy parenting!"

        Lazy? You obviously don't have kids. Or if you have, you aren't paying enough attention to them. Modern households have all sorts of devices that can access the internet. Since one typically *can't* insert blocking software on most of these devices, the only option that reaches round the perimeter is to perform blocking at the ADSL router or further upstream. So the option for the non-lazy parent is either to build their own router (you could, in fairness, probably do it either by forcing OpenWRT onto the device or by connecting it to a raspberry pi with a wireless dongle and configuring your own system) or get the ISP to implement a tried and tested system upstream and give you the controls for it. I doubt that many readers even of these forums would be confident doing this job themselves, however bullish they may be in public about their IT skilz. Certainly most of us work to an hourly rate that makes it ridiculous to do so when we've already paid (implicitly, like it or not) for the ISP to do it.

        The controversy here is *not* the filter, which is undoubtedly a service that many parents would probably be willing to sign up to. The controversies are our beliefs that the list of subscribers will eventually be made public (and used for vindictive purposes) and that the controls we are offered will eventually prove to be only limited in scope, with certain sites (that we aren't allowed to know) blocked (although we won't be allowed to know that either) "for our protection".

        If the ISPs were introducing these services purely for commercial reasons, we might worry much less on both counts since they'd be legally liable for any abuse or cock-up. (That would, of course, lead to an opt-in system because the ISP would have no legal right to block by default.) However, since it is the government calling the shots, the ISPs will certainly try to claim legal immunity if anything goes wrong. We are left with a censorship machine that no-one is legally responsible for and which is managed by those who shriek loudest on the issue of the day.

        1. LAGMonkey

          Re: Who cares!!!

          With respect, there is an element of lazyness or at the least a lack of knowledge with regards to the filters.

          I agree that there are certain devices can parental controls can not be install onto and that it is not always practical to setup ones own gateway and squid proxy.

          Like you I believe that the informed don't necessarily have a problem with filtering, but with the onus on OPT-OUT internet filtering with no proper oversight.

          A TINY amount of money could have be spent on educating parents to be (with a mention in pre-natal classes) and those already with child (via TV/radio/print adverts) and would have yielded a better result.

        2. Chris Puttick

          Re: Who cares!!!

          Actually there is a better and third option for looking after children on the Internet, all devices. Watch this space...

  26. Daniel Snowden

    I've said it before and I'll say it again. It's just a matter of time until search times like (and sites relating to) "David Kelley", "Dodgy Dossier" and "Bloody Sunday" are blocked too.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Changing DNS isn't going to help...bunch of noobs posting here.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The Censored state of the UK

    It really is getting pretty fucked up here in the UK imho.

    Without a constitution protecting free speech, we have so far (quite well) got along with a government of appointed representatives, and a 'check peer group' of non appointed peers (sic)..

    Until the last 10-20 years this seemed to work well enough - the odd bill that came up to the House of Lords that was clearly utter shite, got kicked back by someone with a clue.

    What's changed ?

    We now have people with slogans on a t-shirt being jailed for 6 months, censorship being enforced across the internet ISPs, and stuff like national identity cards allowing the tracking of our citizens (aka 'tesco club card') being accepted by the majority ('you've got nuffink to fear if you ain't dun anyfink wrong' mantra)

    it's fucking pathetic.

    Maybe the time has come that we NEED a constitution - written by a small number of educated non-fuckwit people like the US one... to ensure the fuckwits don't/can't get there way... if there's on thing that we should have learned by now, it's that 'popular polices' are generally shite - the last thing I want is the 'public' determining what I can and can't do - half of them are below average intelligence for a start (sic).

    1. chris121254

      Re: The Censored state of the UK

      then get a VPN

    2. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: The Censored state of the UK

      "Without a constitution protecting free speech, ... [snip] ... Maybe the time has come that we NEED a constitution - written by a small number of educated non-fuckwit people like the US one"

      I hate to disagree with someone who reckons the UK is governed by fuckwits, but I think the written US constitution is currently under the same pressure as our unwritten one. History does not care whether we write down our principles, only whether we defend them.

  29. Tom_

    Slippery Slope

    No, more like a cliff.

    1. chris121254

      Re: Slippery Slope

      no a Slippery Slope

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Joke

        Re: Slippery Slope

        no a Slippery Slope

        It's worse. It's a slippery cliff.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Slippery Slope

          what about a hill?

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This from the land that bought us...

    ... Carry On films, Benny Hill, Kenny Everett and the page 3 girl.

    Think of the kiddies: code for stop the torrents.

  31. SMabille

    Censorship

    The government already clearly stated that the next step will be mandatory filtering of "extremist" without any opt-out (and would you really want to be listed on that opt-out list)?

    So the current "porn" / think of the children approach serves to

    1) Have the infrastructure in place, paid by the ISP/user (not the government - which is great at least those of us on a proper ISP won't pay for nanny state filter - for the moment)

    2) Get the mass used to see "Blocked site" web page, and not question it

    The next step with the mandatory "extremist" filter will be blocking anything as extremist as people leafleting Mc Donald's (infiltrated by the Met extremist squad) and obviously send a report with your IP address (and probably subscriber details) to the relevant authorities to kick your door at 6am next day....

    The most dangerous man, to any government, is the man who is able to think things out for himself...

    H. L. Mencken, The Smart Set, December 1919

    1. chris121254

      Re: Censorship

      paranoia! paranoia everywhere!

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

        Re: Censorship - re chris121254

        As Vic posted on a different thread - "Oh look, a new poster with a message"! Shill or troll - I'll leave you decide.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Censorship

      "The government already clearly stated that the next step will be mandatory filtering of "extremist" without any opt-out (and would you really want to be listed on that opt-out list)?"

      Assuming that we are talking about purely objectionable material as opposed to illegal then why not opt out? I am no extremist (unless you consider dispatching an occasional trout with a blow to the head extreme), but if there was a choice I would definitely opt out even though I have no interest in such material.

      Block the illegal stuff by default sure, but as an adult, I will opt out of any filtering of legal material regardless of how our Puritanical Overlord(s) tries to tarnish and demonise the individual.

      As for your points numbered 1 and 2 and the quotation, I thoroughly agree :)

    3. DiViDeD Silver badge

      Re: Censorship

      "IP address (and probably subscriber details) to the relevant authorities to kick your door at 6am next day."

      Now I *really* have to take issue with you. That is nothing but unfounded scaremongering.

      I know several members of the Met and not one of them would be willing (or often able) to get up early enough to kick someone's door in at 6am. Now 11:30 after morning break, maybe.

      And the paperwork wouldn't be ready in a day either, so you'd have at least a week to ring round for a replacement door.

  32. NomNomNom

    does this mean my 3D glasses will stop working early next year? I only got them at the cinema a month ago (i have two pairs because i forgot one of them and had to buy another) this is outragous it was a legitimate purchase (£3.50 x 2) and now theyll be as good as useless just because the government thinks it has the right to block access because of the "children". I dont even have children and the govenrment knows that because i put it on the census. how can they have the right to do this? im going to vote the other way next election because of this. I am f*****g furious.

    1. DiViDeD Silver badge

      @NomNomNom

      Mate, you *REALLY* need to get out more.

      Or possibly less.

      Not sure which

  33. ginger_tosser
    Unhappy

    Change the DNS server...

    ...not on a BT Homehub. The firmware is locked to use the BT DNS.

    unless someone here can prove me wrong (and tell me how, because I can't bloomin' figure it out)

    1. NomNomNom

      Re: Change the DNS server...

      try calling them up and asking to switch to their Sky or Virgin package, those might allow you to change DNS settings.

    2. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: Change the DNS server...

      So even if you poll DNS directly from your PC, it'll still change the DNS request to BT? What about an obfuscated or off-default DNS request?

    3. Daniel Snowden

      Re: Change the DNS server...

      If changing DNS settings on the home hub isn't possible, you could always try in windows or <insert name of operating system here>. Simply change from "obtain DNS server automatically" to manual (and obligatory 208.67.222.222/208/67.220.220)

  34. Ian Adams
    WTF?

    BT "light" filtering

    Shocked that "alcohol" is blocked in the BT "light" filtering which I guess will be the default for new customers. Tried to find a local Weatherspoons to take the kids on my phone to find that O2 had "blocked" all access to "alcohol related content" which apparently included the local kid friendly pub. This is getting beyond a joke.

    yes I'm concerned about my kids learning their sex education from Porn BUT as a parent I'm doing something about that, not just blocking everything and sticking my head in the sand.

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Re: BT "light" filtering

      Have you emaild weatherspoons and told them? As a legit business and not selling pron (AFAIK) they should be willing to take legal action to protect their business reputation. That should get it sorted pronto.

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Many years ago, when the smoking ban was being discussed, I was very opposed to it. It's wasn't about the ban or whether or not you smoke it was about the principle of the fact the government are removing choice from us.

    At the time any establishment could have been smoke free by choice, some tried and failed (because more people preferred the smoking places) so the government then banned it...whether or not you think this is right or whether you prefer the smell of BO or smoke is irrelevant, because at the time we (the ones opposing the ban) kept harping on about how once it is over give it a few years and the government and the NIMBY twats from the likes of mumsnet will eventually get their crusade around to something you DO care about.

    Ladies and Gentlemen (more the later) I give you internet porn

    The trouble is that now the snowball effect has come in, and the fact that they cite the precedents of the past decisions (like the smoking ban and extreme porn), meaning that it is almost impossible to stop a government member on a moral crusade now and things will only get worse. Don't say we didn't warn you, but because no one really stood up and fought for their right for choice previously that right has now been completely removed from you. Good luck getting it back. (the off button will soon disappear and anything the uk government doesn't want you to see will be hidden)

    We may as well just pack up our balls and move to China....

    1. chris121254

      THAT WONT WORK THERE WOULD BE OUTRAGE IF THEY DID THAT ALSO THERE VPN!

    2. chris121254

      also this will stop tust me also there the eu and what about the next election I think your being farfetch a bit china firewall dose not work this one will not too

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-24104110

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      china firewall did not work why do you think this one will? if the off disappear there would be outrage there and they would never win a election agian

      1. Eguro

        The difference between smoking and internet filtering is causing harm.

        Someone smoking near me has been proven to be harmful to me. Now I agree that smoking laws have gone too far, but that's another debate (private business should be more or less free to decide)

        Me watching whatever the hell I want to (exceptions being very few things) harms nobody else. Being offended cannot count as being harmed.

        Concluding: I reject your analogy

        1. Darryl

          Ah, but if you listen to a lot of the people campaigning for filters like these, you watching porn will turn you into a rapist, which can harm a lot of people.

          1. Eguro

            But if I listened to people campaigning I'd also believe that guns both do and don't kill people.

            I could see that maybe watching porn and having a tug in the middle of a McDonalds or whatever maybe should be banned, but watching porn and having a tug at home shouldn't be, much like smoking a fag at a McDonals or whatever should be banned, but smoking one at home shouldn't be.

            Unless of course McDonalds were to open separated "Have a tug" or "Smoking" areas in their restaurants.

            The filters - if they must exist - should be opt-in, they should follow publicly available lists, and there should be clear ways of complaining about being on a list when inappropriate.

            But to compare this to a ban on smoking is simply strange.

            1. cracked

              I don't think any of the few of us in this little mini-thread believe smoking and surfing the web are related.

              And - judging by a scan of your post history, Eguro ... I think you probably know that is the case too?

              But just in case: The "little-dig" is related to the (oft used on here) maxim ...

              When they came for the Socialists I didn't complain, because I am not Socialist

              When they came for the Greens I didn't complain, because I am not a Green

              When they came for the ...

              And so, when they came with the filters and you wanted some support ... You were left wondering where every one else had gone.

              The anti-smoking legislation was the first big test for the Lobby-Firm Machine that infests every world capital. Politicans don't meet normal-people, they meet vested-interests (on all sides of whichever fence is under threat).

              What the lobbyists learned from their huge (easy) victory in the Ban-Smoking campaign, was that the key to getting something "banned/restricted" was to play on fears for the safety of children (I believe the UK is now bringing in laws on smoking in cars?)

              The anti-smoking campaign also used the threat of workplace health and safety (which was the reason the Smoking Pubs compromise was not allowed) ... A failure to find a way to link Internet-Censorship to a "secondary cause" is probably the only thing keeping the "debate" alive. If the lobbyists can find a second prong then - rather than pushing ISPs to do the filtering for them - the government would be much more likely to legislate.

              The only hope against this constant lobbying pressure is for the majority of normal people to stick together. United We Stand ... and all that.

              But sadly, all too often, we don't.

              1. Eguro

                I like a good expansion and explanation!

                So thank you.

                As far as a second prong goes, I'd say they could probably find use in feminism and women's rights. Pornography has been argued to degrade women and be a cause of sexist behaviour. That plus children will become perverts must surely equal "win".

                It'll be interesting to see how far they'll be allowed to take this censorship business before the majority of people actually wake up to this. I'd love to see such a day, but I think they'll be wise enough to push it to the limit and then rest for a while to let things settle into a rhythm, before potentially pushing further.

                1. cracked

                  I think the "100 Women" or whatever the recent BBC worldwide "campaign" was called, is a possible second-prong (though I think it has a good way to run before it can be used, in this context, effectively).

                  Woman are increasingly - indeed, in certain aspects have always been - seen as vulnerable. They can't get top jobs, they get gang-raped on buses and some have to stoop to being photographed while knickerless, just to make ends meet.

                  Vulnerability is almost everything, as far as the modern state is concerned. And a vunerable minority most certainly IS everything.

                  To demonstrate: A big change in society, over the last decade or so, has been the shift in the State's policy towards children. The State has been convinced that as a vunerable group children must now fall under its protection; because parents - who were once left, as far as possible, to bring up their children on their own - have done such a terrible job (or, at least, that is what the State has come to believe).

                  And so, it is now all but impossible to argue against a proposal designed to protect children. Protecting children is a mission of the State. It is policy. It is not up for debate.

                  And a secondary, related, point:

                  Majorities: With the smoking ban, the figures (put about by the anti campaign) were that roughly 20% of UK adults smoked. At 80:20, the pro-campaign stood little chance.

                  However; I am certain that there is not a majority of UK adults currently caring for minors. Nor is there a majority of children (when compared to the number of adults).

                  However, I do wonder what the ratio of parents to non-parents; who VOTE is? And, I wonder how many people would agree with something, because they are led to believe it protects children (whether it does or not).

                  Do you believe we should keep children safe from harm? Of course you do.

                  ;-)

            2. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

              Rather than smoking, a better analogy is government mandated use of crash helmets on motorbikes and seatbelts in cars.* In the event of an accident, not wearing either does not increase the risk to anyone else but yourself. Not wearing either does not increase the chances of an accident occurring. There is no increased risk at all to others. However, the campaigners won, and the government took upon itself the right to directly control the risk you can voluntarily take, largely on the basis of upset relatives (resource allocation was rarely used by any of the supporters of legislative action) - basically the same "won't somebody think of the children!!!!!!!!" argument as we are seeing here.

              *I was thinking about this in another context earlier today, coincidentally.

        2. cracked

          So, when they came, I take it you weren't a smoker? ;-)

  36. Sandpit
    Paris Hilton

    More about greed than big brother

    Who stands to gain financially by this? I suspect it's more about media interests lobbying government to get proxies and anonymisers off the net so that the crusade of medial exploitation and control can continue unabated.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: More about greed than big brother

      I can't say I agree that "it's more about media interests ". However, I would be very surprised to find that media companies do not see it as a potential opportunity.

    2. chris121254

      Re: More about greed than big brother

      did not work for china will not work here

  37. Valeyard

    No shame here

    I'd happily walk into BT HQ cock-in-hand and ask for the nice ladies to go back on my PC

    and my wife will be standing there insiting they do it quick before it gets dark and i hassle her instead ;)

    1. JasonB

      Re: No shame here

      @Valeyard

      One of the best posts I've read!

      Thanks for brightening my day. :)

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    UK 2013

    The rights of the few far outweigh the rights of the many...

    1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

      Re: UK 2013

      To be fair, not just the UK. The "respect" for individual rights has gone too far. More people need to familiarise themselves with John Stuart Mill's harm principle, which is a great amalgamation of individual rights and utilitarianism (despite what the standard texts say).

  39. Kubla Cant Silver badge
    Headmaster

    Sic??

    "...annonymisers [sic]," the BT spokesman said

    You must have an exceptionally good ear for pronunciation. What exactly was it about the way the BT spokesman said "anonymisers" that alerted you to the fact that if he had written it down he would have spelled it incorrectly?

    Or do you, perhaps, mean "wrote", rather than "said"?

  40. ld0614

    this will end in disaster

    I remember being at school and getting round the blocks with a proxy, every day they would block the one from the previous day but someone someone would find another one, let others know about it and before long the whole exercise was useless again. You can't block every proxy and you can't control communication well enough to stop the information about available ones

    1. chris121254
      Thumb Up

      Re: this will end in disaster

      best coment yet

    2. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: this will end in disaster

      What about a whitelist? Then it's deny-by-default.

      1. DiViDeD Silver badge

        Re: this will end in disaster

        Well it's certainly the easiest way to go about it, and the government is always up for simple solutions. You simply supply each ISP with the URLs for FB, Twatter, Disney, Sony BMG and the Conservative/Labour Party Information office and Bob's your uncle.

        As if the Internet was ever intended for anything but online purchasing and advertising anyway. I mean, the very idea!

        Just a small thought wot occurred to me. The Interwebs were originally invented as a means of maintaining communications in the event of war. Has anyone tested their capacity to still do that recently?

  41. envmod

    I'm done

    I think I'm pretty much done with the internet. It's ruined. Party's over, pick up your coats and go home. We used to get on without it, I guess we can again. It's a terrible shame and kind of ironic, that the internet was the architect of it's own demise - sites like mumsnet etc would not have existed without the 'net but have brought about the destruction of the very ideas on which it was founded. What can I say - unfortunately the vast majority of people on Earth are reactionary idiots - time and time again has been humanity's downfall.

    When I get the choice, I'm going to set my filter to maximim to appease Big Brother, then unplug the cable and go back to using my computer for word processing, art and playing (offline) games. Hell I might just get my old Speccy out and start using that.

    1. Sandpit

      Re: I'm done

      >and go back to ... playing (offline) games.

      There won't be any

    2. chris121254

      Re: I'm done

      use VPN or tor then

    3. chris121254
      FAIL

      Re: I'm done

      also it dose not work in china its not going to work here also your saying your going to be a sheep and do what they say. I know a saying "the biggest is the one who see whats happen but dose little to noting to stop it"

      1. DiViDeD Silver badge

        Re: I'm done

        "dose little to noting to stop it"

        I have not the foggiest notion what you are saying, but will defend to the death your right to say it.

        Whatever it was.

    4. Anonymous Noel Coward
      Big Brother

      Re: I'm done

      I don't think the government will allow that.

      After all, if you're offline, it means you're harder to monitor.

    5. codemonkey
      Happy

      Re: I'm done

      Talking of reactionary ;)

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm curious...

    ...about all the comments that make light of this or suggest that somehow the posters should be wearing silver foil hats and dribbling in a corner churning out paranoid conspiracy theory after conspiracy theory.

    Hasn't anything of Snowden's revelations of the NSA and GCHQ et al taught you anything? How about phone hacking from the media or the UK's politicians expenses scandal?

    Do you genuinely believe that if there was even the slightest chance to facilitate the blocking of selected information that a government wanted to try to bury, that said government wouldn't jump on the chance to at least try?

    We've had politicians and senior police officers exposed as being in the pockets of the press and turning blind eyes to how they behaved. And in return, provided they toed the line, they were left unmolested and unexposed by said press.

    Remember - just because you're paranoid doesn't make you wrong.

    I also happen to agree that the likes of those god-awful, self-imposed, self-important b!tches at the likes of mumsnet have so much to answer to. Technology does not a parent make!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I'm curious...

      "I also happen to agree that the likes of those god-awful, self-imposed, self-important b!tches at the likes of mumsnet have so much to answer to"

      Hmm, MumsNet... I have to say, I was surprised to see that so many of their forum members have read 50 Shades of Grey, or conversely, haven't read it and yet believe they are in a position to pass literary and moral judgement upon it.

      Still, I suppose there will always be some who want to have their cake cock and eat it ;)

    2. chris121254

      Re: I'm curious...

      am not saying there wrong it just seems farfetch to me they would be able to cesor the hole internet with out some type of outrage

  43. teebie

    "sites promoting the use of proxies "

    That should be vague enough to be used as a pretext to hide away various sites with criticisms of BT.

  44. poopypants
    Trollface

    It's not all bad

    You could always use it to filter out cricket results.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It's not all bad

      Please don't remind me. It hasn't been a pretty picture for English cricket these days, and this less then six months out from a solid if somewhat-magnanimous drubbing.

  45. Shaha Alam

    if the sites which host the workarounds are blocked...

    what about the sites which host ways of finding other sites hosting workarounds?

    it's the internet after-all. there's always a workaround.

    You can't stop the signal.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: if the sites which host the workarounds are blocked...

      That would just be considered a site hosting a workaround that gets blocked, too. Put it this way. A workaround for a workaround is still a workaround.

      Frankly, I think all the tail-chasing is just an exercise to build evidence for whitelisting, which can deny by default.

  46. Salts

    Not in the UK at the moment

    has anyone tried Stealthy with the filters on to see if that is blocked? My feeling is it should work.

    www.stealthy.co

    BTW, I doubt being part of Europe will help as some have suggested, politicians are the same the world over, they want power, they actively seek power and once they have it they need it like any other addictive drug.

    Death by a thousand cuts, a nasty way to go.

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What about VIDEOS promoting VPN and Proxy use?

    IF somebody posted a video tutorial on how to use proxies or VPNS on Youtube, are BT saying they would block Youtube?

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: What about VIDEOS promoting VPN and Proxy use?

      Why pick on just YouTube? I think *everyone* I know would go to Google's search page if they wanted to learn how to do this. We must block www.google.com now. (What? You mean they have *other* domain names?)

      You can leave Bing alone. It wouldn't find anything useful anyway.

  48. c2900607@drdrb.com

    1) Shared houses with live out landlords 2) Filtering at the home router

    1) This is going to be hilarious asking my live-out landlady to turn off the porn filter. Part of me hopes the filter is so general in scope that I can claim that I only want it turning off to gain access to the feature-creep blocked political/VPN sites.

    2) Why oh why were the ISPs not told that the filtering had to be done at the home internet router i.e. in your WiFi router itself? This would have been so much better as then people have control over THEIR internet, and not the bloody idiots in gov. FFS

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: Shared houses with live out landlords

      I think you'll find the answer to that question is "It's my connection, not yours, and you can look for more accommodating landlord at the end of your notice period.". But you knew that already, didn't you?

  49. bailey86

    Get your ISP to confirm their intentions

    You just know that BT is going to get this wrong - look at their issues with DNS servers over the years. What happens when our clients call up because they have hit 'unexplained' problems.

    I've just sent the following question into Demon:

    <quote>

    Hi,

    Can you please let me know what is your position on internet filtering as has just been implemented by BT.

    I recommend your internet services to all companies who ask me which ISP to use - and I will no doubt get the same question in the future.

    If you are going to implement internet filtering then I will no longer be able to recommend you and will need to move my current connection elsewhere.

    Thanks,

    $username

    </quote>

    Will feedback with any reply.

    1. bailey86

      Re: Get your ISP to confirm their intentions

      Demon phoned me and said that they have no plans for filtering. I made sure they were aware of the loss of my business and all future referrals if they did.

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Any website that is interested in the UK market will self-censor or risk getting blocked and seeing their site visits (and add revenue) plummet. The filter will change what is available and where. I think that has some frightening implications for news coverage and the scope of educational material online (also any kind of public comments or discussion).

  51. Winkypop Silver badge
    Big Brother

    We are a loving Government

    We worry about what you get up to in your own privacy.

    We worry who you might want to marry.

    We worry who you choose to associate with.

    We worry you might not like us anymore.

    “The best books... are those that tell you what you know already.”

    ― George Orwell, 1984

  52. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not in ol' Blighty anymore...

    I'm sure it wont be long until this utter bullshit heads over here but with this being a network level block - would a DNS change get around this? BT seem to imply that it is done at packet level?

  53. Dick Emery

    Using another DNS will not work

    With the filter 'ON' using another DNS server will not work. BT are blocking any external DNS server ports outside their network when the filter is set to 'ON'. Unless yu can find a way to bypass the blocked ports somehow you are stuffed. I am unsure if DNSCrypt bypasses it though.

  54. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oh dear

    http://metro.co.uk/2013/11/17/rape-porn-possession-to-be-punished-by-three-years-in-jail-david-cameron-to-announce-4189512/

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Oh dear

      It is the moral obligation of every human being to disobey unjust laws.

    2. mistersaxon

      Re: Oh dear

      So the /government/ will actually be looking at ALL the porn directly and cataloguing it? Why isn't it blocked for them as well?

      I suspect I will know where to look if I want to find people who like to watch a lot of porn: they will all have white-collar jobs in .gov and a tasty pension at our expense as well.

  55. Andrew Meredith
    FAIL

    Use your own DNS server

    Whether Ubuntu comes with its own DNS or just dnsmasq matters not.. All mainstream general purpose Linux distros have the industry strength BIND DNS server as a stock component. Setting up your own caching DNS server is trivial.

    If they choose to stop DNS traffic to anything except their own DNS servers, I would consider that a breach of their terms of service and would drop them immediately, not that I'm with BT. Given that they don't do that, the above would effectively bypass the filters completely, as currently explained. I would also suggest that this is actually easier to implement than a proxy. If properly done within a home network it would be completely transparent. Fire up the client; get the local DNS server in your DHCP. Surf at liberty.

    Another upside over using the likes of OpenDNS is that a good chunk of the traffic (repeat requests that are resolved out of the cache) will be local to your LAN, or indeed on localhost if on the same machine as the DNS server, rather than going out over the WAN to the remote DNS server.

    If this is really what they are doing, then it does seem a little weak. Any suitably geeky minor who can spend 10 minutes understanding how DNS works wrt the BT filters will be able to set up a local DNS server and totally bypass the filters and in all likelihood their parents, who now believe they have it covered. So it could be argued that it is actually worse than leaving it open and leaving the parents with the knowledge that they actually have to take responsibility for their own children .. Heaven Forfend !!!

  56. edoardo

    Time for more people to use TOR more often ? it's traffic should not be affetced by DNS based filtering

  57. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It is all part of "the plan"

    First comes the problem, a problem that gets blown out of proportion and spun into the media to rile everyone up. Then comes the public outcry of individuals and groups who demand change... change to resolve this issue. Then the government steps in with the solution that they wanted in the first place. More control and monitoring. They monitor everything, block what they want: now they want to block file transferring sites to preserve copyright law, now they want to block porn sites to "protect our children", now they want to block sites that would teach people how to surf the internet unfiltered only because of protecting the children.

    They don't want to block proxy websites to prevent more people from figuring out on their own how to bypass the censorship of today that can bypass political and other censorship of tomorrow that has yet to be sold to the public, oh no.... Next they will block small political parties that they deem are illegitimate, or block just certain user's content on social media websites for reasons of hate or topics that inspire actions and thought that may inspire people to rebel against growing demands for control or make people wake up and open their eyes to the dumbing down of the people etc.

    It's ok, go back to sleep England, the government is in control again. Go on, turn on the TV and watch X factor, deal or no deal and all the monotonous soap operas that give you a fantasy land of additional mundanity to accompany your already limited sensory experience of what really goes on and dumbed down intelligence preventing you seeing the real possible reasons for things instead of buying in full the official line.

    Let's all live in a refined carbohydrate, bad television PROGRAMMING, no critical thinking, medication popping, gullible and fear infused world. What a great wonderful world... I was born in 1984, I don't expect to be living a 1984 life when I am 50 years old... You know what I mean.

  58. mistersaxon

    What's in a name?

    It would be a lot easier to "explain to the missus" - or indeed anyone who you want to discuss this with - if it wasn't universally referred to as a "porn filter" or even a "child abuse filter" or a "paedophile filter" because once that name sticks then just asking about turning it off labels you.

    So let's call it an "arbitrary censorship filter" or some other name that describes it in terms that make turning it OFF seem like the sensible thing to do. If anyone can think of a good, snappy name for it that will capture hearts and minds then please PLEASE offer it up here (and everywhere else you discuss this).

    How about the "thinking filter" or the "responsibility filter"?

  59. Eradicate all BB entrants
    Pint

    @Vladimir

    You owe me a new keyboard and I owe you a pint.

    1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov
      Pint

      Re: @Vladimir

      Cheers!

  60. Trollslayer Silver badge
    Flame

    How to deal with this

    Get significant sites blocked and watch it all burn.

    Anonymous - take over!

    1. cracked

      Re: How to deal with this

      I think it would be far better*, especially at this stage of the campaign - this is not law, this is pressure applied to "household name" ISPs - to do one of two things:

      1) Opt-Out. Persuade everyone else to Opt-Out.

      Once 80% of connections are opted out, not only will you have firmly demonstrated to the government that the filter system is not wanted (and so prevent them from legislating in the near future) but you will have also rendered useless the data held on Opted-In/Out Status.

      Instead of anyone opted-out getting classed as "unusual", only those opted-in could be so classified.

      2) Switch to an ISP that does not filter. Persuade everyone else to do the same.

      The benefits are the same as above, but trade "the shame" of opting-out for a bit more hassle when switching.

      Note: It is, I think, very likely that widespread use of VPNs (and widespread is going to be limited by users' knowledge of technology; meaning it could well be perceived as a case of "those pesky kids") will lead to legislation sooner, rather than later. If at all possible, I would imagine the NO Campaign would want to avoid encouraging that, at all costs?

      * though less lolz, I admit

  61. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Facebook

    So is this going to block Facebook's murder vids or just stuff that doesn't have a huge bankroll behind it?

    1. Truth4u

      Re: Facebook

      Well no of course not, Facebook is the walled garden the powers that be are hoping to replace the free internet with, in this giant game of bait and switch. They think people are so dumb they won't notice everything getting blocked until fucking iTunes and Facebook are the only two websites left.

  62. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wouldn't it have been easier to cut the submarine cables that connect the UK to the rest of world?

    Or is that the next step by the government?

  63. Truth4u

    I just got a VPS in central Europe for a year, unlimited bandwidth on a fat pipe for only £30.

    Last week I phoned up my ISP asking for my MAC code (the service is superior but cost is not at all competitive with fibre) and they halved my bill, saving me enough money to rent the VPS for another 3 years if I want.

    When you have root access to a VPS in another country you can do anything, set up a proxy, set up a VPN, install XFCE and VNC and do your browsing on the box itself, anything. All of which will be investigated in due course as I don't trust this corporate government to protect my rights, we know they've been blocking and snooping for years, they just want to put it into law now so it can go on indefinitely.

  64. phil dude
    Coat

    best case for cloud elsewhere EVER!

    title says it all. Perhaps if enough people do it , the govt will get the message, but they'll just heavy handed instead...

    P.

  65. Wize

    And so it begins

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

    Several non-porn sites (eg, sexual advice, rape and abuse advice, etc) have been blocked by BT under their porn filter.

    1. teebie

      Re: And so it begins

      I suspect that this won't cause much consternation among people who are in favour of the filter

      "But of course, if my Mina were to receive sex education she might go off and have sex. And if Henry read about homosexuality it might turn him in to some sort of ruddy bertie. If we hide away the information, then aaaaaall of these problems go away"

      1. Nigel Whitfield.

        Re: And so it begins

        There is indeed a weird belief that simply telling people about sexual acts is enough to persuade people to try them. I should have a much more interesting life if that were the case.

        Pretty sure I've mentioned here before the illogicality of some of these beliefs, eg that homosexuality is at once so abhorrent that no one would want to do it and yet so attractive that the mere mention of it will instantly turn every boy queer.

        And these days, with the ever increasing list of "things that are too horrid for words" you an probably include just about any type of sex act in there.

  66. codemonkey
    FAIL

    Not that I was....

    .... EVERT going to use Big Trouble anyway...still...

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