back to article Plans to force ISPs to filter content branded 'disproportionate'

UK government proposals to force internet service providers into blocking content inappropriate for children with filters have been branded "disproportionate" by the industry's representative group. The report by the House of Lords, Growing up with the internet, published today, called on the industry "to implement minimum …

  1. Haku
    Stop

    What is this long, angled, low friction thing I see before me?

    Ah yes, a slippery slope.

    1. wolfetone Silver badge

      Re: What is this long, angled, low friction thing I see before me?

      Indeed.

      "Well, you've stopped children seeing tits on their mobile phones. Why aren't you stopping people from viewing those files on WIkileaks that point out how corrupt the UK Government is?"

    2. TonyJ Silver badge

      Re: What is this long, angled, low friction thing I see before me?

      Yes indeedy. I've said this many times - 1) Stop trying to make technology be the parent. I have two sons: one of almost 15 and one almost 9.

      The 9yo rarely has unspupervised access to the internet and his games are age-proportional.

      For the almost 15yo I am slightly less concerned because I have all of his passwords. He knows that I can, and do, randomly check what he's been up to.

      That's the price he pays for the freedoms.

      So....having got that first part of the argument out of the way (and here's a tip for the moronic parents and mumsnet types that believe this is necessary - put the computer/tablet etc where you can see it when it's in use) the second point, b) is, as others have called out - it's one step away from the Government saying things like "Oh expenses scandal? What expenses scandal? <click>"

      Of course you can insert your own bit there for whatever they deem it necessary to "protect us from seeing".

      We, as a nation, seem to be hell bent on sleep walking into 1984....it was a warning ffs not an instruction manual :(

      1. james 68

        Re: What is this long, angled, low friction thing I see before me?

        You sir, are a paragon of common sense.

        Parents who stick their kids in front of an iPad or PC and leave them to it are in my opinion guilty of neglect.

        A child is fully capable of "driving" a car (probably into a brick wall) does that mean we should hand them the keys and let them just because they whine that the want to drive? No matter how much amusement may be gained from a practical example of Darwinian evolution the answer is no, and any parent who did so would be charged with child endangerment and neglect. However taking them to a go-kart track and getting a few laps in while under supervision is not only perfectly fine but also a lot of fun. Common sense is all it takes, supervise your offspring instead of neglecting them by sending them off to "play on the internet" just so you can watch tv in peace. Parents are supposed to be the protectors of their children, not ISPs, don't like that? Get a vasectomy, cause you shouldn't be having kids.

        1. illiad

          Re: What is this long, angled, low friction thing I see before me?

          James, your analogy of the go-kart track can be used for 'shocking thing on the internet' as well...

          If they can understand that cartoon animation is 'not real' , then they can be taught that most stuff acted on internet is 'not real' too... :)

          The meme is Education! Education! Education! and is 1000% more effective than any other.. :)

          Your kiddies CAN hear the strange noises coming from the bedroom, and if they are simply told that it is "mommy loving daddy" , the will understand, and it must be reinforced that it is a very private thing, and any films they may see hear of are as 'real' as cartoons... :)

  2. g e

    Yep. It's a pretext

    For then saying 'well you can do it with kiddie filters, now you have no excuse not to do it for our generous donors in the entertainment industry'

  3. Salamamba

    They are happy to block non-child friendly content on the internet, but (in the UK) cable and satellite channels have fewer restrictions on content (ie 9pm watershed) than terrestrial channels - surely to 'think of the children' this must now also be amended.

    1. AndrueC Silver badge
      Childcatcher

      (in the UK) cable and satellite channels have fewer restrictions on content (ie 9pm watershed) than terrestrial channels

      That's...not entirely correct. The transmission medium isn't really relevant :)

      It's somewhat more complicated than that but the simple version is that adult content must be protected (usually by a PIN) outside of the watershed hours. Since that requires the programme to be encrypted it generally restricts such 'out of watershed' content to only be on premium channels hence only on satellite and cable. But they are the same restrictions.

  4. handleoclast Silver badge
    Big Brother

    Like a chainsaw, the Internet is not a toy for unsupervised use by children.

    I do not want my ability to see LEGAL material curtailed in order to make life easier for inadequate parents who want to be able to plonk their children in front of a computer as an alternative to plonking them in front of a TV.

    1. Oengus Silver badge

      Like a chainsaw, the Internet is not a toy for unsupervised use by children or politicians.

      FTFY

      1. james 68

        Hell no. A chainsaw is the perfect toy for unsupervised use by politicians.

        Shame on you for suggesting otherwise.

    2. Kane Silver badge
      Coat

      "Like a chainsaw, the Internet is not a toy for unsupervised use by children."

      Yes, but I can't cut down a tree with an Internet.

      I'll, ah, just leave shall I?

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If it saves one child......

    There were people involved in the creation of that report. People so separate from the society most live in, so insulated from the need for basic rights, or fearful of people learning anything other than their truth that they had no problem sitting in a meeting where it was decided that access to the internet needed to be controlled to protect the "Children".

  6. MJI Silver badge

    Will start a legal minefield

    They say a safe and filtered internet, but why has that PC picked up an encryption virus?

    That is NOT safe.

    Break out the solicitors.

    If you cannot use the internet on an old unsecured version of Windows without getting owned that filter is useless.

    But they say that is not the aim.

    But it endangers computers.

  7. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge

    Define...

    Define "non-child friendly content".

    So does that mean Game of Thrones? MMA coverage? Panorama specials on ISIS atrocities?

    It's a slippery slope trying to replace proper parenting. It's a Rabbit hole with the only possible outcome being stealth censorship.

  8. Bernard M. Orwell Silver badge

    Give me the switch.

    This may surprise people who read my occasional posts, but I'm not wholly against filtering. What I am against is STATE CONTROLLED filtering.

    By all means make it a law that ISPs should make filtering software available to all their users for free. By all means even have that filter set to "on" by default. But give the account owner the right, and facility, to easily switch it off, or on again, as they see fit.

    Surely this approach would suit everyone? It might even get some of the less tech savvy parents more engaged with the tech?

    I think the filters should be categorised as well; after all, whose morality are we going to use to decide what sites are filtered or not? Americas, where tits are forbidden but mass gun-murder-kill is perfectly fine. Gotta be honest, I'd rather my daughter saw a few tits than people being eviscerated on the Walking Dead, and I'd rather she saw that than became a fan of the twisted, gender defining nonsense of most modern music channels! Hoes, Money, Guns, are all good in the US, but a boobie isn't.

    I want the power to decide, for myself, what my children can or can't see, or even what I don't want in my internet experience.

    Give me that switch, and I'm a happy camper with the filtering plan. Fail to give me that switch and think you can make my moral decisions for me and then we have a problem.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Give me the switch.

      @Bernard M. Orwell

      "I want the power to decide, for myself, what my children can or can't see, or even what I don't want in my internet experience."

      And that, in a nutshell, is exactly what Nanny Theresa wants for her UK subjects.

  9. Lee D Silver badge

    So the first time that someone's SSL VPN or whatever cuts out because they've put a filter on a business connection, are they going to pay for the support for that?

    Also, why would you filter at the end-point, if you have both adults and children in the house? How do you distinguish between the two machine types/user types? You don't. So you leave the main connection unfiltered and apply filtering on the premises if you want that.

    And, what are the statistics on how many homes with child-friendly filters opt-out, or how many opt-in when it's not the default?

    Given a completely arbitrary survey here (800+ parents on a school site, working in the IT department), the last three times we asked, nobody was interested in any help buying, installing, advising, etc. them on how to apply a filter to their Internet connection. Literally NO-ONE even turned up. And we have parents turning up after work for EVERYTHING, it's a private school. Parents give the same answers - they don't want to be filtered, but they'd like their child to be. They enforce that by making them go online in front of their parents, and they know the school blocks everything else.

    We are required to stay with KCSIE guidelines. We are required to deploy filters. And yet we want those filters under OUR control so have unfiltered Internet VLANs and connections. Because when something is blocked accidentally, it could take our business down, so it needs to be under our control.

    Enforcing a child-friendly filter on every home is stupid.

    Enforcing it on every business is even more stupid.

    If they ever think about enforcing it for back-end and technical connections (business leased lines, datacentres, etc.) it would be so incredibly dumb I couldn't mention.

    Especially when a £2.99 VPN app will bypass all that for you. Usually by connecting to one of those back-end technical connections in a datacentre that is almost entirely unfiltered and unmonitored.

    P.S. Yes, I opt-out of every possible "child filter" for my personal life as possible. 2 x giffgaff blocks, and the ISP opt-in one. Not because I intend to do anything naughty, but because I want to make it quite clear that it's up to me if I do.

    1. wolfetone Silver badge

      "P.S. Yes, I opt-out of every possible "child filter" for my personal life as possible. 2 x giffgaff blocks, and the ISP opt-in one. Not because I intend to do anything naughty, but because I want to make it quite clear that it's up to me if I do."

      No one is judging you for looking at porn on your mobile phone.

      1. Aitor 1

        Yes they are

        And they are recording the websites he visits, etc.

    2. Spoobistle

      > nobody was interested in any help buying, installing, advising, etc. them on how to apply a filter to their Internet connection. Literally NO-ONE even turned up.

      Basically nothing the ISPs provide will be much use until parents have a proper incentive to use it. We need laws and social pressure to make it just as unacceptable not to filter your childs internet access as it is to give the kid whisky, cigarettes or your car keys.

  10. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Childcatcher

    mass surveillance of the UK public. No probs. But OMFG the kiddy of some Tory MP might see..sees...

    whatever and SOMETHING MUST BE DONE.

    By all means provide such filtering.

    By all means let customers know it's available (and make it simple to manage)

    Because if it's not some other SEL Tory MP will tell you her little ones have seen something on the interwebs again.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Is there an internet for dummies book they can read?

    A filter will not work.

    You can do a filter two ways black list or white list, black list the content you want to block but then you would need to know all the content that needs blocking, I hate to say this but the Internets a big scary place full of cat videos, pron and idiots (farcebook/twatter), you can't block everything and while list for the exact same reason.

    You could block as you go along but again it's a waste of time.

    Unless and the more realistic way of looking at this is they aren't looking out for the kiddies but really they are using that as an excuse to force through the ability to block what they want for everyone at will.

  12. Velv Silver badge
    Childcatcher

    Is there an internet for dummies book they can read?

    You're making the assumption they can read when all the evidence points to them looking at pictures and videos. (And I'm referring to the parents and parliamentarians here)

  13. davidp231

    ISP side filters mean bugger all if they get turned off between 2100 and 0600, as Sky appear to do. They class the files section of The Wayback Machine as file sharing/hacking/anonymisers and therefore block it. Similar applies to GSM Arena's forums. Until 9pm, then bam - the DNS resolves properly.

  14. Drefsab_UK

    yes blocks because those work

    Yup the other day I wanted to grab something from a certain torrent site, oh noes its blocked, tapity tapity, oh look im back on it now using nothing more than a suitable search enigne lookup (because theres more than just google). Anyone can do that, so can kids.

    Theres VPN's, proxies, browser plugins, TOR the list goes on blocking wont work.

    And why to stop a few kids seeing some boobs? Guess what before most people even know what the internet was kids were seeing boob's using magazine's, copied video's, copied files on a disk, hell even acsii porn was a thing back in the BBS days. It wasnt all softcore either no internet filters woudl have blocked that, so why would any of that?

    The only thing it does is make it look like someone is doing something about a percived problem to try and make themselves look good, then when it fails its not because of the idea its the people implementing it or the l33t h4x0r kids bypassing the filters.

    1. IsJustabloke Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: yes blocks because those work

      "kids were seeing boob's using magazine's"

      hedgerow porn .... there was nothing as exciting as finding some hedge porn.

      There's no skill to finding porn these days, as a kid I had to seek it out! We all had our favourite spots for finding it.

      I remember the thrill I got from buying my first ever jazz mag... I was about 16 and it was Men Only since you ask. They're missing out these days... looking at porn is a right of passage, just because MP's all look at goat shagger weekly, doesn't mean that everyone will.

  15. Ken Hagan Gold badge

    Parser error in sub-heading

    What is this disproportionate content and why should ISPs filter it?

  16. Zmodem

    meh, what happens when your kids goto bed and customer services are down

    kids should be using windows 10, and thick parents can enable a filter on their kids windows 10 account, they need admin privileges to shutdown

  17. Joe Montana

    Restrict how kids learn

    All of these technologies for restricting what kids can do have flaws, and kids should be naturally curious anyway...

    If something is forbidden, they will seek out ways to get it anyway.. If you're relying on technology to prevent kids from seeing porn then sooner or later they will see porn anyway. But because you've forbidden it, they will be more likely to seek it out and less aware of what it is.

    Instead you should educate kids, explain to them what is out there, teach them to behave safely online (ie not giving away personal information or executing random binaries etc). Young kids won't even be interested in porn once they know what it is, but they will be interested in something unknown just because they aren't allowed to have it.

    Another good example is alcohol.. Most alcoholic drinks taste quite disgusting to a child, but alcohol being forbidden makes it desirable. When i was a kid and saw my parents drinking alcohol, they let me try some... I invariably disliked the taste and subsequently had no interest in acquiring more alcohol.

    Other people i went to school with were always forbidden from drinking alcohol, so they would actively seek to obtain alcohol illicitly (through theft, finding someone willing to sell it to them or buy it on their behalf etc) and consume it. I had no interest in doing this because i knew i could easily obtain alcohol from my parents simply by asking for it, and didn't like the taste of it anyway.

  18. Winkypop Silver badge
    Big Brother

    We are the children

    The Government is Mummy and Daddy.

    The Government loves you very much...

  19. David Gosnell

    Misread the headline!

    Plans to force ISPs to filter content branded 'disproportionate'

    I genuinely wondered who was going to be the arbiter of what is deemed disproportionate. Were ISPs going to have to start blocking the BBC once they'd gone on about a dead celeb for more than 10 minutes?

    1. MJI Silver badge

      Re: Misread the headline!

      Look at the way the government are now threatening the BBC for doing the news as it does not fit their narrow view.

  20. Solarflare

    I wouldn't allow a young child of mine to play with a sparkler on their own.

    I wouldn't expect for the government to ban normal use of sparklers be default.

    I would expect parents to supervise their children when they play with a sparkler.

    The exact same thing applies when you substitute a sparkler with the internet...

  21. dervheid

    Isn't anyone going to use the word?

    Censorship.

    Call it what it is.

  22. imanidiot Silver badge

    Why?

    There is plenty of evidence to show that even though there are more and more of these ban lists and blocking filters around the problem of kiddie porn or children viewing porn has not diminished one bit.

    The only reason I can find is the afformentioned control over what citizens can see and access.

  23. teebie

    "lessons about online responsibilities, risks and acceptable behaviour should be mandatory in all UK schools"

    ...and both houses of parliament

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019