Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

UK Gov. Clueless About Own Internet Blacklist

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the get-me-someone-with-a-clue dept.

Censorship 203

spge writes "Computer Shopper magazine has interviewed the UK Home Office about its relationship with the Internet Watch Foundation and discovered that the government doesn't actually know what the IWF does, although it still plans to force UK ISPs to subscribe to the IWF's blacklist. The main story makes for interesting reading, but the best bit is the full transcript of the interview. Short version: the IWF investigates suspected child porn websites and adds any it finds to a list that ISPs can use to block these sites; uk.gov wants ISPs to use this list; however, the IWF is not an official government organization, does not appear to have legal permission to view child pornography, and quite possibly is breaking the law by doing so."

cancel ×

203 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Who watches the watchers? (5, Insightful)

tacarat (696339) | more than 5 years ago | (#27238455)

They're going to be getting some interesting job applicants, aren't they?

Re:Who watches the watchers? (5, Insightful)

badfish99 (826052) | more than 5 years ago | (#27238519)

If you value your children, don't go to live in Cambridge.

The whole premiss of the IWF is that looking at this stuff makes you into a child-molesting pervert. The offices of the IWF (according to their website) are in Cambridge. So Cambridge must be full of child-molesting perverts working for the IWF.

If I'm wrong and it is not, I'm sorry for the accusation. But in that case, the whole basis of what the IWF is doing is wrong, and so the organization is pointless and should be disbanded.

Re:Who watches the watchers? (1)

utnapistim (931738) | more than 5 years ago | (#27238571)

Wish I had mod points ...

Re:Who watches the watchers? (5, Insightful)

Archtech (159117) | more than 5 years ago | (#27238645)

No, no, no! You've got it all wrong. Looking at CP images makes you a pervert if you are a bad person. It's quite all right if you are a good person. The IWF - like the government, of course - are good people, so there's no problem.

This is strictly analogous to the logic whereby terrorists who kill people are irredeemably wicked (and usually "mindless"), while governments who kill thousands of times as many people are good (although maybe a tad careless).

Re:Who watches the watchers? (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27239221)

No, no, no! You've got it all wrong. Looking at CP images makes you a pervert if you are a bad person. It's quite all right if you are a good person. The IWF - like the government, of course - are good people, so there's no problem.

This is strictly analogous to the logic whereby terrorists who kill people are irredeemably wicked (and usually "mindless"), while governments who kill thousands of times as many people are good (although maybe a tad careless).

And how many of you who modded that "Insightful" think having governments in charge of health care is a good idea?

Re:Who watches the watchers? (1)

BSAtHome (455370) | more than 5 years ago | (#27239223)

Old theme... One's terrorist is another's freedom fighter. Which form used is strictly dependent on who writes the history book afterwards.

Re:Who watches the watchers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27238653)

The whole premiss of the IWF is that looking at this stuff makes you into a child-molesting pervert.

No, only people without clearance can be made into a a child-molesting pervert by viewing those thing. That is why strict DMR advocator feels ok violation copyright themselves like French President [slashdot.org] Oh, wait isn't that called hypocrisy?

Re:Who watches the watchers? (5, Informative)

xaxa (988988) | more than 5 years ago | (#27238717)

The whole premiss of the IWF is that looking at this stuff makes you into a child-molesting pervert.

No, only people without clearance can be made into a a child-molesting pervert by viewing those thing.

If you read the interview, you'll see that the IWF does not have clearance to view child pornography.

Re:Who watches the watchers? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27238901)

But the real question is - are they hiring?

Re:Who watches the watchers? (4, Insightful)

yuri2001 (972608) | more than 5 years ago | (#27239039)

Hi, I'm just wondering what the hell can be a "clearance to watch child pornography" and who the hell is able to get or deliver one to another???

Re:Who watches the watchers? (4, Funny)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#27239935)

Hi, I'm just wondering what the hell can be a "clearance to watch child pornography" and who the hell is able to get or deliver one to another???

Well, if they are handed out by a Governmental agency that works in the same manner as DMV you'll need to stand in line for three hours, deal with someone who hates her job even though she is making three times what she would in the private sector and then get sent to the back of another line because you chose the wrong one even though nobody bothered to post any signs ;)

Re:Who watches the watchers? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27239139)

I'm going to test a little thing here.
I will report an innocent site to IWF, if it gets blocked, they fail, if it doesn't, they fail.

Either way, they should not have any power of censorship if they can't even VIEW what it is they are censoring.

In fact, i think i will actually MAKE a site stating exactly this, and get them to block it.

Re:Who watches the watchers? (4, Funny)

who knows my name (1247824) | more than 5 years ago | (#27238877)

Hey, I live in Cambridge and I'm not a child-molesting... damn. But seriously, we were going to paste pictures of Virgin Killer all over their building at the end of last year, but everyone had gone home :(

Re:Who watches the watchers? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27238927)

What fucking idiots modded this moronic comment up as insightful?

The premise is that MAKING THIS STUFF INVOLVES THE ABUSE OF CHILDREN.

By paying to access these sites, people are paying for more content, and therefore paying for more children to be abused.

Re:Who watches the watchers? (5, Insightful)

Klaus_1250 (987230) | more than 5 years ago | (#27239325)

Actually, no. If you look at most laws governing Child Pornography, it has jack squat to do with the abuse of children and paying for images of abuse. Virtual CP is illegal and criminal in many countries. Staged CP (adults dressed up as underage teens and purported as such) is illegal as well in most countries. Even actual consensual "CP" is illegal (ok, borderline, but google Traci Lords to see what I mean). If the abuse of children was what is was all about, authorities would do something serious about Human Trafficking, which victimizes 100's to 1000's of underage females yearly.

Don't get me wrong, I have serious issues with Child Abuse, but the whole fight against CP is symbolic and based upon morality. It is not doing much for the actual victims. Most abused children probably never end up in online CP. They remain anonymous in some dark basement or illegal brothel. And how often do you hear someone about that?

Re:Who watches the watchers? (3, Insightful)

phoomp (1098855) | more than 5 years ago | (#27239483)

What's more, CP is often used as an excuse to target other entities (that have nothing to do with CP) that the government and their lobbies don't like but can't convince the voters not to like, such as The Pirate Bay.

Re:Who watches the watchers? (2, Insightful)

Lazy Jones (8403) | more than 5 years ago | (#27239727)

but the whole fight against CP is symbolic and based upon morality. It is not doing much for the actual victims.

I don't even think it is based upon morality, it's more about control and making it easier for the public to swallow legislation that restricts citizens' rights. The recipe is very simple: if you want to control people "offline", make them be afraid of bombs and use terrorism to scare them into submission. If you want to control them "online", use CP.

Re:Who watches the watchers? (1)

jank1887 (815982) | more than 5 years ago | (#27240015)

http://www.cicatelli.org/titleX/downloadable/Human%20Trafficking%20Statistics.pdf [cicatelli.org] See "U.S. Investigations, Prosecutions, and Convictions" on page 3. Not zero, but a very tiny number compared to the estimated number of people involved as described on pages 1 and 2.

Re:Who watches the watchers? (1)

Lazy Jones (8403) | more than 5 years ago | (#27239665)

By paying to access these sites, people are paying for more content, and therefore paying for more children to be abused.

So, if those websites are not restricted to paying customers, they will not be blocked?

I think you have it backwards there, people who actually pay for that stuff are tracked down easily and make up good headlines (well received by the public), so the government would be very interested in keeping these websites online to bait them.

Re:Who watches the watchers? (3, Informative)

chthon (580889) | more than 5 years ago | (#27238985)

This story has already played out in Belgium : a so called child pornography searcher did not have an exactly clean slate regarding child abuse.

Re:Who watches the watchers? (5, Funny)

Sobieski (1032500) | more than 5 years ago | (#27238523)

Especially from people who think about the children, alot.

Re:Who watches the watchers? (4, Funny)

dotancohen (1015143) | more than 5 years ago | (#27238535)

They're going to be getting some interesting job applicants, aren't they?

I've already applied. It's what I do all day anyway. Well, that and /..

Re:Who watches the watchers? (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 5 years ago | (#27238735)

Something tells me that the people who apply for the job are just the people you don't want doing it.

Re:Who watches the watchers? (3, Insightful)

Bloke down the pub (861787) | more than 5 years ago | (#27238875)

the people who apply for the job are just the people you don't want doing it.

Are we talking about jobs at the IWF, or with the government?

Re:Who watches the watchers? (5, Funny)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 5 years ago | (#27238949)

Would the answer be any different?

Re:Who watches the watchers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27240029)

YES :)

Re:Who watches the watchers? (1)

Jason Levine (196982) | more than 5 years ago | (#27239903)

Who watches the watchers? I used to. But then they started watching me. So I was watching them watch me. And they were watching me watching them watch me. And I was watching them watch me watching them watch me. And then we all went cross-eyed.

Nothing to worry about (1)

unlametheweak (1102159) | more than 5 years ago | (#27238527)

the IWF is not an official government organization, does not appear to have legal permission to view child pornography, and quite possibly is breaking the law by doing so."

If the black list of "child pornography" is anything like the Danish list published on Wikileaks, then the IWF doesn't need to worry about breaking any laws (unless of course Hentai or naked teenagers is defined as the vicious child rape that the crusaders are supposed to be protecting children from).

Re:Nothing to worry about (3, Informative)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 5 years ago | (#27238749)

Since May 2008, bud [theregister.co.uk] .

Where's Jesse Jackson? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27238547)

Thankfully we don't have to worry about that in the US, Jesse Jackson would never allow a 'black list' to be made law here :P

New title required.... (5, Informative)

cb95amc (99589) | more than 5 years ago | (#27238563)

You could just get away with:

"UK Gov. Clueless"

Re:New title required.... (2, Informative)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#27238853)

You could just get away with:

"UK Gov. Clueless"

As much as I love sticking it to the poms I don't think their government has the patent on cluelessness.

Re:New title required.... (5, Funny)

Houndofhell (1480889) | more than 5 years ago | (#27238897)

Oh i think our Government does have that patent somewhere, remember we did own most of the world at one point,
so we must have spawned the cluelessness of other governments.

Re:New title required.... (5, Funny)

catman (1412) | more than 5 years ago | (#27239745)

Heh. I was standing at customs in New Delhi *mumble* years ago trying to bring in a piece of equipment needed for a presentation. A British gentleman was watching me struggle with the paperwork, noticing that I was neither British nor Indian, he remarked "you can blame us - we taught them."

Re:New title required.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27239327)

Your right we dont have the patent ... we do license it at astronomical cost though

Re:New title required.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27238889)

That's no headline, just a statement of fact

Or in other words... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27238573)

How do you report a crime without self-incriminating yourself since viewing said crime is a crime?

Re:Or in other words... (5, Informative)

LilBlackKittie (179799) | more than 5 years ago | (#27238595)

I believe that ACPO (the Association of Chief Police Officers) have written a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in which they state that IT technicians investigating the matter will not be prosecuted... even though technically they are still breaking the law. Not a good set of circumstances at all!

Re:Or in other words... (3, Insightful)

Xest (935314) | more than 5 years ago | (#27238905)

"I believe that ACPO (the Association of Chief Police Officers) have written a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in which they state that IT technicians investigating the matter will not be prosecuted"

Well, at least until you start demonstrating how careless the police are being with the law, suggesting that evidence of a system downloading something is evidence of a person owning the system being the one using it at that time:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/09/17/ore_bates_arrest/ [theregister.co.uk]

Personally, whilst the idea of working for the police in the past has interested me when they've complained about a shortage of people skilled to do the job, I'd now keep well away. If they arrest you and try and label you a criminal when you're actually doing the right thing and trying to ensure justice is done then that's not somewhere I'd ever want to work. Effectively they're saying, look we wont arrest you for helping us find people loosely related to these crimes as long as you side with us against these people even if innocent.

As Slashdot likes it's car analogies, it's akin to a vehicle crash expert being arrested for pointing out the innocence of a guy who has been arrested for manslaughter because his car was stolen whilst he was at work and used to run someone over.

Re:Or in other words... (3, Informative)

permaculture (567540) | more than 5 years ago | (#27238975)

I was quite shocked recently to find out that ACPO is a private company.

http://www.acpo.police.uk/about.html [police.uk] : "The Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) is not a staff association ... The Association has the status of a private company limited by guarantee."

Re:Or in other words... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27239203)

isn't that something to do with the disbanding/prohibition of police unions in the UK (see wikipedia)?

Re:Or in other words... (2, Informative)

Bastard of Subhumani (827601) | more than 5 years ago | (#27239313)

A private company limited by guarantee is quite different form an ordinary private company. It's not a business, if that's what got your knickers in a knot.

Re:Or in other words... (1)

mikeb (6025) | more than 5 years ago | (#27239375)

It's absolutely standard practice in the UK for clubs, associations and other similar bodies to be companies limited by guarantee. The risk would be that if they were not, the members would be seen in law as a partnership which is BAD for the members as partnerships by default have unlimited liability and each member is liable for all debts that may be incurred. You wouldn't want to join a trade body, have it sued and then find you lose your house and savings.

This is completely normal. Note that it's not a 'standard' limited company with traded shares etc.
It will typically have articles of association which prevent it from distributing profits unless it is wound up. The guarantee bit means that each member is limited in their liability (usually one pound) in the case of any debts or insolvency.

Re:Or in other words... (3, Interesting)

unlametheweak (1102159) | more than 5 years ago | (#27238631)

How do you report a crime without self-incriminating yourself since viewing said crime is a crime?

Use doublethink [wikipedia.org] , which is a very British thing to do.

Re:Or in other words... (1)

holizz (737615) | more than 5 years ago | (#27238761)

Viewing images accidentally is legal. But if you were told such-and-such URL contained illegal content, and you went there with the intention of reporting it, you have broken the law.

Re:Or in other words... (1)

Keeper Of Keys (928206) | more than 5 years ago | (#27239113)

The Home Office view in TFA is that it's legal to view the images as long as you clear you cache afterwards...

Re:Or in other words... (5, Interesting)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 5 years ago | (#27238767)

I've posted about this before, but i'll post it again.

A guy in my local had an indecent image of a child emailed to him from an address unknown to him. He didn't know what the email contained, and it was obscured with content which wouldn't identify it as being CP in any way (subject and body were innocuous). He called the local police station and a PC came down to check it out.

Apparently, the PC saw the picture, turned to the guy, and said (paraphrasing) "I'm going outside for a smoke. You're going to delete that email and the picture before I come back in, or I have to arrest you for viewing an indecent image of a minor. That's just how the law is written."

Moral of the story? If you're in the UK, don't report ANYTHING to the police. Ever.

Re:Or in other words... (5, Insightful)

Bloke down the pub (861787) | more than 5 years ago | (#27238907)

I'd say kudos to the bobby for 1) applying some common sense and 2) knowing that those higher up the command chain don't have any.

Re:Or in other words... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27239217)

Of course, that was simply dumb luck. Rule of thumb: NEVER go to government with bad OR good news, because if you do, you are putting yourself at risk. At the very least you are in for a hassle, and at the worst, you can probably guess. Let government come to you. Just don't deal with them until you absolutely have to.

On the most basic level, government's only interest in you, as a citizen, is (1) taking your money, and (2) determining if you are a criminal. To be clear, government is NOT interested in minding their own business, because their business is minding YOUR business.

Again, let government come to you, and your life will be easier.

Re:Or in other words... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27239089)

doesn't this mean that now origin of child porno is now prevented from being investigated due to the law designed to prevent it from being created?
i guess that's just how the law system works.

Re:Or in other words... (1)

u38cg (607297) | more than 5 years ago | (#27239121)

I think that your friend was telling stories. One, nobody spams strangers with CP. Too easily traced. Two, if it did happen, then no cop would arrest him; even with the magic words child porn any competent journalist could have a field day. Three, accidentally viewing such images is not a crime; possession and redistribution are, but accidentally catching a glance is not. If it were, 4chan would have got an awful lot of people in trouble by now.

Re:Or in other words... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27239201)

>One, nobody spams strangers with CP
You have obviously never been to 4chan, their /b/ gets spammed pretty much every morning.
In fact, i wouldn't be surprised if there is CP on their right now.

And we would never know if it did get people in trouble, since it is all "Anonymous" postings.

Also, Australia thinks differently with that last sentence. (considering it is blocked, if i remember correct, but other adult boards aren't)

Re:Or in other words... (3, Interesting)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 5 years ago | (#27239355)

IANAL.

Check out the Protection of Children Act 1978 [opsi.gov.uk] . From the Wikipedia article [wikipedia.org] on the subject:

"In the United Kingdom, it is illegal to take, make, distribute, show or possess an indecent image of a child. Accessing an indecent image is considered to be "making" the image, meaning that a defendant can be charged under the Protection of Children Act if he accessed an image without saving it."

It is illegal to view the image. It's just how the law is written.

Re:Or in other words... (1)

JWSmythe (446288) | more than 5 years ago | (#27239945)

    To play catchup with some of the other posts, by deleting the picture, that doesn't absolve you of the fact that you previously possessed it. That can be applied to anything. You had a stolen TV, but got rid of it. That doesn't mean that you did possess it, it just means you don't currently have it.

    Hopefully most people look at the intent. I've downloaded all the binaries from particular newsgroups, that were suppose to have nothing but regular stuff. Various other things get cross posted. I've ended up with things that I never wanted to see. Did I have any intent to possess those? No.

    The IWF are another case entirely. They are actively searching for those types of web pages, so they can view them (to confirm the content, I'm sure), and then blacklisting them. It's not an accident that they viewed them. Is it any better that they searched for them to blacklist them? Not really.

    I remember a while back, there was a preacher and his wife, who would view porn movies in their entirety, so they could complain about the content. They had watched thousands of movies. Sure, it's great to understand your topic so you can argue for or against it, but that's way beyond the requirement of understanding the topic.

    I'd love to work with law enforcement to stop kiddie porn. I'd never want to see any of it though. I'm an IT guy, so I automate things anyways. Matching MD5's is my kind of viewing. I'd never view the first image. Following trails of electronic information to identify a person my kind of fun. I'd leave it up to someone with more of a hero complex to show up and arrest them. :) I don't particularly like the idea of getting shot at, so I'm all for someone else doing that part. :) I guess fortunately for me, I don't work in that arena, so the only pictures I see at work are stock photos for web page layouts, and company logos. :)

Re:Or in other words... (2, Interesting)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | more than 5 years ago | (#27239427)

Sir or madam, people spam for _everything_. Read http://www.sophos.com/pressoffice/news/articles/2006/03/offspam.html [sophos.com] : while the article is a few years out of date, there's a commercial notification from a security company that it does occur.

Now, the policeman's behavior was one of making sure he didn't have to do any work and deal with the complaint, not one of actually dealing with the porn. That matches FBI behavior in the US, whose actual response to spam and fraud remains, basically, 'hit the D key', despite the millions invested in the completely useless and clueless 'Internet Crime Complaint Center', which is apparently a fancy website which gets you an autoresponse and then completely ignored no matter what you report.

Re:Or in other words... (1)

syousef (465911) | more than 5 years ago | (#27239277)

Fucking idiots. They've got a bunch of criminals so stupid that their crime routinely involves them photographing themselves in the act of committing it and posting it online. Not to be outdone for stupidity, the government then has to come up with a way to make it so that reporting the crime makes you the criminal, thereby making it much easier for the self incriminating child molesters to get away with it. They should be focusing their effort on preventing the production of child porn in the first place - THAT is when the child is hurt. Cutting off supply chains hasn't worked for drug laws and it won't work here. At least if you were to dob in a drug dealer you wouldn't be in trouble yourself. A government and law enforcement branch that can't get arrests when the criminals are so blaze and stupid as to often tape themselves in the act should be sacked.

Re:Or in other words... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27239425)

Or, in other words, why doesn't the IWF's ISP block them?

Well, it looks like... (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 5 years ago | (#27238587)

... Media Sentry found itself a new niche after all.

The title should read... (3, Informative)

Kawahee (901497) | more than 5 years ago | (#27238641)

"UK Gov. Representative Clueless About Own Internet Blacklist"

I'm well aware that the representative is meant to represent the views of the entire UK Home Office but I think in this case it appears he is most likely a PR man armed with some talking points. I don't think it's reasonable to expect a PR man to understand the finer points of internet censorship, or to respond to questions perfectly from what appears to be a much more technically able interviewer.

I do think it's reasonable to expect the policy makers and the people pushing this policy to understand how it works.

Re:The title should read... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27238689)

It would have been the spokesman's responsibility to say "I am not in the know about this, let me check back with the relevant departments first".

Re:The title should read... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27238695)

No, here in the UK we like to appoint people without any technological clue into jobs where they're making technical decisions.

If the representative they send is likely to be representative of the people in charge: technologically incompetent.

Re:The title should read... (1)

spge (783687) | more than 5 years ago | (#27238713)

You don't think that policy makers should understand how it works? What nonsense! You'd expect economic departments to understand economics. So why do those involved in child protection and internet security not need to understand their subject?

Re:The title should read... (1)

Kawahee (901497) | more than 5 years ago | (#27238751)

You don't think that policy makers should understand how it works? What nonsense!

I hope you're being sarcastic:

I do think it's reasonable to expect the policy makers and the people pushing this policy to understand how it works.

Re:The title should read... (1)

spge (783687) | more than 5 years ago | (#27238769)

Can you clarify why you think this? It's tricky reading between one line replies.

Re:The title should read... (1)

IAmGarethAdams (990037) | more than 5 years ago | (#27238789)

Hint: GP agrees with you. He does think policy makers should understand their policy

Re:The title should read... (1)

spge (783687) | more than 5 years ago | (#27238811)

I know, I know! Sorry... :(

Re:The title should read... (1)

IAmGarethAdams (990037) | more than 5 years ago | (#27238759)

How did you read:

I do think it's reasonable to expect the policy makers [...] to understand how it works.

in a way that would incite a reply of:

You don't think that policy makers should understand how it works?

Re:The title should read... (1)

spge (783687) | more than 5 years ago | (#27238793)

Because I am stupid. Apologies to all.

Re:The title should read... (1)

unlametheweak (1102159) | more than 5 years ago | (#27238851)

Because I am stupid. Apologies to all.

You're on Slashdot. It's nothing to be ashamed of. You are the only person here who (I can recall) has ever admitted being stupid. I wish other people here would fess up as well. It makes me feel so much more superior.

Re:The title should read... (1)

Maguscrowley (1291130) | more than 5 years ago | (#27238893)

Apparently, the working excuse is "I'm over 40"

Re:The title should read... (1)

Bloke down the pub (861787) | more than 5 years ago | (#27238919)

You don't think that policy makers should understand how it works? What nonsense! You'd expect economic departments to understand economics.

How long will you be performing at this venue, and is there anything from the menu you recommend?

Re:The title should read... (0, Offtopic)

daveime (1253762) | more than 5 years ago | (#27239107)

You'd expect economic departments to understand economics

Tell that to Alan Greenspan, who is still guest speaking at sponsored luncheons.

"Oops, turns out the advice I've been giving for the past 30 years was wrong ... I can't understand it ... how could I have been so wrong ... system reboot in 5,4,3,2,1 ... cheque please".

Re:The title should read... (3, Insightful)

krou (1027572) | more than 5 years ago | (#27238763)

If they're speaking in the name of the Home Office, then the title is spot on. Also, the transcript explicitly states that all questions were sent to the Home Office a full day before the interview "to give them plenty of time to prepare". If they can't even prepare properly, then not only is the Home Office clueless, but the PR man is useless at his job.

Regardless, what you said is exactly what's wrong with the UK government*: too many f*cking PR men with their dial set to constant spin-cycle. (Never mind too many unelected officials making decisions and influencing policy).

Who are these nameless idiots anyway? "A home office spokesman", doesn't (s)he have a name?

* Likely to continue under the Tories as well.

Re:The title should read... (1)

andy.ruddock (821066) | more than 5 years ago | (#27239003)

Who are these nameless idiots anyway? "A home office spokesman", doesn't (s)he have a name?

Excellent point. I've long believed that those actually responsible for making the laws, rules and regulations by which we have to abide should be named in the documents they produce.
We ought to be able to point the finger at an individual (or group of individuals) and say "so you're responsible for this fuck-up, now what're you going to do to fix it?".
If you don't have the balls to stand by the decisions you make, which are then enforced upon others, then you shouldn't be doing the job.

Re:The title should read... (1)

mad_robot (960268) | more than 5 years ago | (#27238939)

No, really, they're all clueless. Just a few months ago the IWF created a furore by blacklisting a page in Wikipedia [slashdot.org] because it contained a suggestive image. The way they went about it was seriously flawed. Specifically:

  • The blacklisted URL was that of the HTML page linking to the image. IIRC, the image itself was still freely accessible.
  • The blacklist was unable to trap simple modifications to the URL (e.g. replacing an individual character with its escaped hex equivalent)
  • The same page was still available on Wikipedia's secure servers, Google's cache and various other places.
  • Blocked URLs are routed through the IWF's proxy servers, but because they obviously don't know anything about XFF headers [wikipedia.org] , it was impossible for Wikipedia to identify genuine traffic for the entire period this block was in place.

And all that over a 30-year-old image that had never been ruled illegal anywhere. They're all morons.

Re:The title should read... (2, Insightful)

perryizgr8 (1370173) | more than 5 years ago | (#27239149)

i think that everyone must understand why we consider child porn to be so highly illegal. because it means exploitation of a minor. so the decision of blocking nude pics of children must be based on whether a child was exploited or not. its like i tell a person that lying is wrong, without the person understanding the logic behind my statement. now this setup works well until there is a situation where speaking the truth will result in the death of an innocent person, but lying may save a life.

Re:The title should read... (2, Insightful)

unlametheweak (1102159) | more than 5 years ago | (#27239269)

i think that everyone must understand why we consider child porn to be so highly illegal. because it means exploitation of a minor.

Bullshit. I hope you don't believe your own words. Child porn is illegal because of religious (neo)-conservatism. Child exploitation is generally either legal or condoned (when it does not involve sex). Believe me the same nut-jobs who don't want children having sex are the same ones who want them physically abused through corporal punishment, childhood death sentences, and making cheap running shoes in India and China, etc. There is a lot of dishonesty and hypocrisy in the think-of-the-children crowd. If I ever see a concerted effort by the think-of-the-children crusaders in banning all child acting, and not just pornography, then I would take them more seriously then their vary obvious religious lifestyle and mentality would demonstrate.

Yeah, and the lying example is sad. Most people lie as naturally as they breathe or urinate. It's just another hobby.

Re:The title should read... (1)

PhilHibbs (4537) | more than 5 years ago | (#27238995)

From TFA:

"We sent our questions over to the Home Office a day before the interview took place, to give them plenty of time to prepare."

Re:The title should read... (1)

Kawahee (901497) | more than 5 years ago | (#27239137)

I should imagine the person involved in coordinating this interview would have forwarded "Interview Questions" to the PR man to get his talking points ready, rather than the system administrators (if they have them).

Next: (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27238671)

I suddenly feel the urge to register a complaint with the cambridge police reporting that there's a large stash of illegal images at so-and-so offices. 'Tis that I'm not anywhere near, or I'd be very tempted indeed.

Plausible deniability (4, Insightful)

Tx (96709) | more than 5 years ago | (#27238677)

is what it's about. If they don't know what the IWF is actually doing, then when it goes wrong, they can say "wasn't us". That is standard practice for the current UK government. Fred Goodwin's pension? We didn't know about that. UK residents being totured by the CIA? Wasn't us. 400 needless deaths in a hospital? We've given local health authorities responsibility for maintaining standards. Etc etc.

Re:Plausible deniability (4, Insightful)

badfish99 (826052) | more than 5 years ago | (#27239345)

The way this works with the IWF is that they say "we don't censor anything: we just supply a list of web sites to ISPs; if the ISPs choose to censor what is on that list, that is up to them".

The government says "we don't censor anything; if the ISPs choose to get a list of web sites from the IWF and then block them, that is nothing to do with us".

And the ISPs say "it's not our fault: the IWF gives a list of web sites to block: we've got no control over that list, and if we didn't block them, the government would make a law forcing us to do so".

So nobody has any responsibility for anything that happens.

Re:Plausible deniability (1)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | more than 5 years ago | (#27239641)

I had this conversation with my own ISP and it was something like:

1. They won't take the IWF list unless forced
2. If they are forced to pay for it they won't use it
3. If they are forced to use it they'll provide workarounds

The IWF won't tell *anyone* what's on the list - not even ISPs that are supposed to be using it, and not the websites that are potentially blocked. It really wouldn't surprise me if there were a few on there for political reasons.

Re:Plausible deniability (1)

catman (1412) | more than 5 years ago | (#27240059)

All the larger ISPs in Norway subscribe to the blacklist (CSAADF) that is run by the national police, Kripos.
Every now and then someone pops up with a large number of clicks that have been blocked by the filter ("7000 stopped from viewing CP in a single day!!") - while it is ridiculously easy to get around and in fact does nothing whatsoever to prevent the distribution of CP.
And of course, like the IWF list, who watches the watchers? When is it going to turn into a political filter, too?

The trend is to "guess they do a good job"? (3, Insightful)

captainpanic (1173915) | more than 5 years ago | (#27238729)

Quite a large population "guesses that the government does an adequate job"... and anyway, it can't be changed.
The government "guesses that the advisors do a good job", and anyway, it can't all be checked, and we're better off with than without them.
I guess that my boss is doing a good job, but anyway, I cannot do his job, and I am clueless what he actually does all day.
I guess that the news agencies are telling the truth, but anyway, I can't go out to check it all myself.
And apparently, the UK government guesses that the IWF's blacklist is a good thing... and anyway, it's already there and its use can't be checked (easily by PM's themselves).

We're all guessing, and the system is easy to hijack. And we're all convinced that it cannot be changed, and therefore we're stuck.

I guess you all knew that already, didn't you?

guys, please don't miss the big picture (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27238799)

You and I know that the IWF is nothing to do with stopping people watching child porn, and everything to do with a compulsory framework for censorship.

Please don't let details about the events surrounding the IWF create distractions or factions. It wouldn't matter if the government representative appeared to be entirely clueless or technically brilliant - indeed, it's in the interest of every oppressor to claim ignorance. The average high ranking UK civil servant / spin doctor is a narcissistic Oxbridge graduate who lacked the numerical aptitude to enter the City, so he is generally quite bright. But the best trick the devil use his wits to play is always to convince you he's not the devil: in government frameworks, that means one of "good intentions" or the triumvirate of equivalent absolvers: "just following orders / not my department / not been made aware of this".

Remember the "won't negotiate with terrorists" line? That's your government's way of saying "they have legitimate concerns (regardless of whether their methods are moral), but their activities help bolster support for us so we must not give them the chance to express their grievances by peaceful means". It's an excellent non-negotiation technique. Similarly, don't give your government the oxygen of publicity that is to constantly drown you out with irrelevant detail, and to feign incompetence while ruthlessly executing its intentions. For example, you think government IT projects are insecure and over-budget? Sorry, you're wrong. They're precisely as secure as desired, and all that extra money is being channeled precisely as intended. The whole "government incompetence" thing is playing into your desire to feel superior, and it works excellently - "why, I'm a free-thinking geek, surely my abilities are more advanced than this dictatorial behemoth!" Nope. Ability does not imply morality, or any sort of love for freedom or your fellow man.

To use the obvious example - all those government laptops and CDs left on trains? Think of the budget increase of those tasked with fixing the security leaks! Think of the millions flowing into private contractors' pockets! As if that wasn't enough, think of how effectively such "accidents" make a bunch of precision powermongers lead you to believe they're buffoons - all while reminding you how much information they have on you, ready to squander / sell / modify at their whim. And this is all on top of very specific reasons for releasing data apparently important to "national security": to make a point to an enemy, or friend. If you think anyone demonstrating the sort of incompetence advertised in the media would have got past screening for the Services, you're entirely underestimating your fellow man.

If you think that's bad, what about the reporter? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27238841)

"however, the IWF is not an official government organization, does not appear to have legal permission to view child pornography, and quite possibly is breaking the law by doing so."

And if you report that some child pornography is found at a URL, presumably you've looked at it, and you've just admitted doing so to a quasi-government organisation?

Brilliant.

down to our last trillions? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27238845)

might as well dispose of the rest of our dough trying to convince us that what we've peed away so far was well spent, as well as presenting to us that we would be somehow better off even further in debt? better days ahead.

our only purpose here is to care for one another. failing that (as we're prone to do), we're just passing through, distracted by the trappings of man'kind'.

there's no need to confuse 'religion', with being a spiritual being. the lights are coming up all over now.

Re: UK Gov. Clueless About Own Internet Blacklist (1)

mrphoton (1349555) | more than 5 years ago | (#27238963)

#ifdef rant
I think the title of the article is too long it should read:

"UK Gov. Clueless"

They seem to be coming out with one crazy Stalinist idea involving a data base every week. And before anybody says anything I live here so I know. These guys have only until Thursday 3 June 2010 and then they are very lightly to be chucked out. One fact that readers outside the UK may not know is that Gordon Brown was never elected prime minister by the people, he _took over_ from Blair mid term and thinks it is his given right to turn the UK in to some type of prison camp.
#endif

Re: UK Gov. Clueless About Own Internet Blacklist (1)

daveime (1253762) | more than 5 years ago | (#27239159)

Yes, because the Tories will be SO much better.

Look, it's a simple demonstrable fact that whatever the opposition "say" they don't agree with and would never have implemented, ONCE they get in to power, they will change absolutely nothing that is already in place.

They'll just add yet another layer of shit on top of the existing layer of shit, perhaps with a slightly different colour of perfume, but in the end it just makes the shit pile even deeper.

Title is too long, it should be (2, Insightful)

kramerd (1227006) | more than 5 years ago | (#27238983)

UK gov. clueless

Play at their own game (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27239117)

I have thought of a morally grey plan!

1. Submit your own apache default page to the IWF.
2. Procure the IWF's IP address from the apache logs.
3. Gain entry to the likely badly secured gateway.
4. Add *.gov to the blacklist.

A shiny penny to whoever pulls it off.

At last the answer to the question..... (1)

mormop (415983) | more than 5 years ago | (#27239155)

Who watches the watchers?

Err... no-one

There is a difference (1)

muyla (1429487) | more than 5 years ago | (#27239335)

The thing is that the inspectors checking the sites are probably just disgusted by them, and don't get much fun out of that.

I guess they could identify if one of their employers gets over exited by his job (maybe check for hair growing on the palm of their hands?)

Like CyberArmy... (1)

ranok (1236468) | more than 5 years ago | (#27239337)

Except CA tried to shut them down, and stopped when it became illegal. IWF is just abusing the power it invented.

New Labour and charities (1)

dugeen (1224138) | more than 5 years ago | (#27239411)

No surprise to find that New Labour have put an unaccountable 'charity' in charge of this function. They've got to keep their religious backers happy after all. (Coming soon to a hospital near you - pray-as-you-go treatment)

Technicalities (1)

uohcicds (472888) | more than 5 years ago | (#27239557)

Well, technically, even investigating officers and forensic examiners are in breach of the law when examining child pornography images during investigations. The law definitely does need some work to give those people the correct protection..

But what is illustrated is the poor state of affairs in this country. The old National Hitech Crime Unit (NHTCU) has gone, folded into SOCA (Serious and Organised Crime Agency). SOCA is meant, as a far s I can discern, to act like a British FBI in many ways but tihs doesn't really seem to have happened at all. In the meantime, local forces don't have the reosurce to do proper invesigation and there's confusion abour what SOCA and other bodies like CEOP (Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre) and IWF have power to enforce. It's a mess.

If our own government doesn't understand (the same people who have such a great grasp on IT they think the ID card systems is oing to be a roaring success) then what chance does anyone else have?

Is a web site speech? (1)

tjstork (137384) | more than 5 years ago | (#27239827)

We seem to be viewing this as a web site is speech issue, but I question whether that premise is valid. Is a web site merely speech? I think the interactivity means that the answer is no.

A web site is more than speech, that's the thing. A web site is a vehicle for organizing like minded people and as such its a conspiracy aid - especially if you put a forum on it, or allow you to reach out to other people who are also on the site.

I think in this case, the Hitler test is in fact non-Godwin-able. It's one thing to dress up as Hitler in Illinois and declare yourself a hater of the various races, but, its quite another to create an instrument where like minded people can congregate and organize. Do you want to allow Nazi groups to coordinate their activities? Even now, there is project underway on some sites where a bunch of Nazis are organizing to move to a small state in the USA so they can essentially cleanse it and hijack it. What if child molesters and predators did the same thing?

We need to have some practical tests as to what sites can and should be blocked, and what constitutes unlawful access and what doesn't.

If the government is to block sites, then, all of the following are mandatory.

a) Only sites that facilitate organizing of like minded players in conspiracy against the law should be blocked. child porn sites can be blocked because it is illegal commerce. nazi and commmunist sites can be blocked, because, well, nazis and communists suck. some consideration should be given to allow parody and public discussion of blocked content.

b) Any block list must be public.

c) Any site hosted within a country's borders can only be blocked with due process. There needs to be a process in place for sites that are unjustly blocked to become unblocked. Additionally, the government MUST provide a reason a site is blocked.

d) There needs to be a process to allow third party and watchdog groups to visit blocked content. This is essential to check the government.

e) Any block should redirect to a block site that lists all of the sites that are blocked and organizations that independently review this content, and their contact information.

OF course, then you have a problem, of who watches the watchers.. What if a nazi or pedophile group becomes one of the third parties, then what...

Re:Is a web site speech? (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#27240031)

It's one thing to dress up as Hitler in Illinois and declare yourself a hater of the various races, but, its quite another to create an instrument where like minded people can congregate and organize

What's wrong with said instrument as long as it's not being used to plan violations of the law? Like minded people congregating is not and should not be a crime merely because we disagree with the opinions that are causing them to congregate.

Even now, there is project underway on some sites where a bunch of Nazis are organizing to move to a small state in the USA so they can essentially cleanse it and hijack it

Citation?

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?