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British Prime Minister Promises Default On Porn Blocking

samzenpus posted about a year ago | from the no-more-rule-34 dept.

United Kingdom 311

judgecorp writes "David Cameron, the British Prime Minister has promised that the UK's ISPs will be required to provide connections with 'porn blocking' filters switched on by default.. The public promise comes despite opposition from ISPs, and the near-universal acknowledgment that the system wouldn't work. Last week also saw the leak of a letter from the Department for Education which effectively told ISPs to lie — to implement their preferred 'active choice' system, and simply call it 'default-on'."

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This wont end cleanly (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44349291)

Just wait until someone hacks the list of people with "show porn" checked and joins it to the table of politician names.

Re:This wont end cleanly (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44349575)

If they genuinely want to do this without being assholes about it, they should put a couple of different types of content under it. That way it would not be a "List of people who want to see porn on the internet", but a "List of people who do not want censors to decide what they can't and cannot see". At least that would be a more socially acceptable excuse.

Re:This wont end cleanly (2)

DeathToBill (601486) | about a year ago | (#44349695)

Right. "Government moves to block porn and left-wing political groups." I can see it going really well.

Re:This wont end cleanly (5, Insightful)

MrDoh! (71235) | about a year ago | (#44349747)

Plus of course the gov now has to decide what IS and is NOT classed as Pornography. Are we going to get to the point of famous works of art being flagged? It's going to happen. Or a family that assumed everything was locked down, go into little Timmy's room to find him playing with himself to a picture of The Birth of Venus, then provoke moral outrage. Destroy the art, burn the books (that describe immoral acts). Amazing stuff, it's always the political right that believe in personal responsibility (as this sort of thing should be, take the laptop away, put it in the family room, adult supervision for 'the kids' sake) that does the heavy handed censorship. Plus, every dad's going to be asking little Timmy how these 'Vee pee enns' work.

Re:This wont end cleanly (5, Insightful)

amck (34780) | about a year ago | (#44349981)

As all content transfer moves to the internet, the government has now effectively made itself responsible for it.

This isn't a "porn filter", this is a filter for all communications the govt decides it doesn't like. Including porn.

Questions:
(1) Are you going to block playboy.com ?
(2) Can I get playboy vi Amazon.com, Apple Store, Google Play, then? With a prepaid credit card? Why not?
When all this material moves to these sites, are you going to block them ? block tumblr, imgur, etc?

Why not block google.com?

Why am I being expected to out-source my morality to the ISPs webfilter?

Re:This wont end cleanly (5, Interesting)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | about a year ago | (#44349791)

I think they should add religious content to the list of things they're going to block; maybe then people would start seeing the problem with such censorship.

Re:This wont end cleanly (1)

easyTree (1042254) | about a year ago | (#44350027)

Agreed, let's also have wikileaks blocked by default and indeed anything else which shows our politicians to be less then lilly-white. Ignorance is bliss.

Re:This wont end cleanly (4, Insightful)

macraig (621737) | about a year ago | (#44349945)

This wont end cleanly

This won't END.

FTFY

www.conservatives.com (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44349353)

This site is sure to get blocked, there are pictures of cocks all over the place.

Re:www.conservatives.com (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44349669)

That's weird, all I see is a bunch of cunts. Must be the filter.

Re:www.conservatives.com (0)

TheCarp (96830) | about a year ago | (#44350239)

If you were french then it would be truely fowl.

The crucial point (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44349361)

The crucial point is that if no porn is available, the boys will just wank off the photos of clothed models and celebrities as they did before the Internet was widely available, and it's hard to find any valid argument why wanking off the photos of clothed people is inherently better than wanking off the photos of nude ones. It certainly didn't do me any good not to have porn available when I most needed it back in the 80ies.

Re:The crucial point (4, Interesting)

FireFury03 (653718) | about a year ago | (#44349511)

The crucial point is that if no porn is available, the boys will just wank off the photos of clothed models and celebrities as they did before the Internet was widely available, and it's hard to find any valid argument why wanking off the photos of clothed people is inherently better than wanking off the photos of nude ones. It certainly didn't do me any good not to have porn available when I most needed it back in the 80ies.

Its hard to find any valid argument why wanking off to any photos is inherently a bad thing. Anyway, before the internet came along, people just passed top-shelf magazines around the playground, no clothed people required.

I'm waiting for the big ISPs' lists of people who have opted out of filtering to be leaked and the press to publish a list of MPs who have asked the ISP to let them watch porn through the internet connection that they put on their expenses... :)

(Also: please will people write to their MPs and tell them to oppose this shit?)

Re:The crucial point (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44349589)

It is bad because if your wife or girlfriend catches you doing it, they will probably be mad at you.

Re:The crucial point (2)

Aryden (1872756) | about a year ago | (#44349671)

or join you.

Re:The crucial point (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44349993)

It is bad because if your wife or girlfriend catches you doing it, they will probably be PISSED at you.

I un-censored your post for you.

Inb4Filters.

Re:The crucial point (3, Insightful)

ILongForDarkness (1134931) | about a year ago | (#44349595)

Its hard to find any valid argument why wanking off to any photos is inherently a bad thing.

My thoughts exactly. When you are old enough to want to see it you are old enough to see it IMHO. We need to discover another continent again so we can ship off the all the Puritans to it again.

Re:The crucial point (3, Insightful)

FireFury03 (653718) | about a year ago | (#44349651)

Its hard to find any valid argument why wanking off to any photos is inherently a bad thing.

My thoughts exactly. When you are old enough to want to see it you are old enough to see it IMHO. We need to discover another continent again so we can ship off the all the Puritans to it again.

I suggest an inflatable continent. We can slash it once we're done and let them all sink...

Re:The crucial point (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44350157)

And don't forget the underwear section of their mum's clothing catalogues. They helped a lot of teenage boys make it through the 70s& 80s....

Re:The crucial point (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44349571)

The typical argument is that porn tends to involve acts that aren't commonplace, or commonly thought to be morally right in the bedroom. In reality of course this is moralist, bullshit.

This bill has actually already failed once. This time though Cameron is being "smarter" about it, and tying it to a bunch of legislation about illegal porn, and peadophiles so that he can slander anyone who doesn't support the bill as supporting paedophillia or illegal porn.

Re:The crucial point (4, Interesting)

robthebloke (1308483) | about a year ago | (#44349603)

Without even the slightest hint of irony, David this morning promised that he won't ban Page 3 [guardian.co.uk] . So in future, if you need to fap, you'll just have to pay Rupert Murdoch for the privaledge (who from this point forward, will form the backbone of our nations moral compass).

Re:The crucial point (4, Funny)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year ago | (#44349847)

The crucial point is that if no porn is available, the boys will just wank off the photos of clothed models and celebrities as they did before the Internet was widely available

Wouldn't Rule 34 imply that the whole Internet would have to be filtered out under this scheme?

Block all? No. Block a lot? Yes (1)

blarkon (1712194) | about a year ago | (#44349387)

The not unreasonable assumption is that if a child can find porn, then an ISP can automate the process of finding it and blocking it. To the layperson, the idea that all these clever people can come up with a way to search the internet and classify content and even rate the quality of that content but are suddenly flummoxed by coming up with a way of reliably blocking porn that kids can find sounds more like "well, we don't want to block porn, so we'll tell you it's impossible and tell you that you don't understand the internet".

Re:Block all? No. Block a lot? Yes (2)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year ago | (#44349523)

it's adult content. not just illegal content. everytime it's mentioned it's slapped on with a sauce of filtering for illegal content, but "adult content filter" is really any porno filter.

bet you 100000 bucks that The Sun will not be blocked though!

Re:Block all? No. Block a lot? Yes (4, Interesting)

DeathToBill (601486) | about a year ago | (#44349591)

I didn't see anyone mention "illegal content". Blocking The Sun would be a first step to a better Britain, though.

Re:Block all? No. Block a lot? Yes (1)

tverbeek (457094) | about a year ago | (#44349837)

The folks promoting this are talking about how this will protect against "child porn", which is already very illegal in the UK. If they had the technological means to block that without shutting down the internet (and anyone reading this site should know that's impossible) they'd be doing it already, and no one (even advocates of free expression) would object to that.

Re:Block all? No. Block a lot? Yes (2)

happy_place (632005) | about a year ago | (#44350019)

This is the UK we're talking about... so exactly WHAT sun do they see any way?

Re:Block all? No. Block a lot? Yes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44350199)

Or the Daily Mail with its jailbait-obsessed 'sidebar of shame'...

Re:Block all? No. Block a lot? Yes (1)

firex726 (1188453) | about a year ago | (#44349643)

And since one person's idea of porn may not fit with another.

Most teenage boys would have no issues jacking off to hot women in swimsuits; yet we publish magazines in grocery stores with this content, let alone online.

As a society we love sex and porn; we just dont want teenagers expressing any interest at all, and to ignore that Victoria's Secret store in the mall while they shop.

Re:Block all? No. Block a lot? Yes (3, Interesting)

niftydude (1745144) | about a year ago | (#44349693)

The not unreasonable assumption is that if a child can find porn, then an ISP can automate the process of finding it and blocking it. To the layperson, the idea that all these clever people can come up with a way to search the internet and classify content and even rate the quality of that content but are suddenly flummoxed by coming up with a way of reliably blocking porn that kids can find sounds more like "well, we don't want to block porn, so we'll tell you it's impossible and tell you that you don't understand the internet".

Ok, this will sound pretty cynical, but imho the current crop of politicians don't care if legislation is difficult or even impossible. And they know how difficult this task is, in fact, the more difficult, the better. All they really care about is whether a new law means that they can funnel money through parliament to one of their mates.

This sort of thing is perfect for that. A never-ending task whereby they can pay some private company run by one of their cronies an obscene amount of cash to continually search the web looking for new porn to block.

Everyone wins except the taxpayer.

Re:Block all? No. Block a lot? Yes (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44349701)

The not unreasonable assumption is that if a child can find porn, then an ISP can automate the process of finding it and blocking it.

That there is the problem. You see, the assumption is unreasonable - you can understand why the assumption would be made, but it's still wrong non the less.

The difficulty comes with specificity [wikipedia.org] , when you search for something you also get a lot of false positives. For example: You search for a pornstar and also find the facebook page of some poor schmuck with the same name. Another example would be you search for some porn term and get a wikipedia page. When searching this is not a problem, false positives have little real cost, since we just skip over them.

Now lets consider the filtering scenario. Lets say you search for Joe Bloggs' facebook page, trouble is there is also a Joe Bloggs who stars in certain adult entertainments and the system gets confused. Suddenly the facebook page of our upstanding member of society has been filtered, and worse all of his friends are now flagged as having looked for 'bad things'.

You see, the key difference between search and filtering is that of the involvement of human decision. Search uses a flawed heuristic to give us a set of things to look at first with ultimately a human deciding and making up for the flaws in the search algorithm. Filtering uses said flawed heuristic and then sticks another flawed decision boundary on top, and there is no human presence to counteract it's mistakes

Re:Block all? No. Block a lot? Yes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44349717)

And it is true, they don't understand the internet but even worse they're bad parents if they depend on others to do their job for them. If they don't want their children watching porn, they should educate them and use filters on their computers if they need. Taking a few minutes out of drinking themselves drunk, watching sports, watching soap operas and/or watching reality shows would probably be enough to accomplish this.

Re:Block all? No. Block a lot? Yes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44350005)

The not unreasonable assumption is that if a child can find porn, then an ISP can automate the process of finding it and blocking it.

Only if you expect the ISP to make a breakthrough in artificial intelligence that foremost computer scientists for the last 50 years haven't been able to. We have no algorithms that can display the intelligence of a human being in classifying data. The analysis search engines perform is simplistic in comparison to what would be needed to distinguish actual porn, from talk about porn, from talk about talk about porn, from nude art, etc. (nothing short of a brain that _understands_ the content, and also has a taste in art).

Therefore almost all VPN services are blocked... (5, Informative)

Joining Yet Again (2992179) | about a year ago | (#44349389)

...because they will incidentally provide access to porn. See where this is going?

Still, three cheers for the first enterprising foreign VPN company to offer free VPN services (ad-supported?). I anticipate approximately every single teen male in the UK becoming aware of it within a week of its launch.

Also, the earlier Firehose articles were more complete (but that's Slashdot editors for ya): BBC News [bbc.co.uk] giving a good amount of political commentary, and technological implementation of the blocking by Twitter [guardian.co.uk] .

Fun times if you don't control your net account (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44349449)

This sounds like a fun conversation to have for people that live with their parents. "Hey mom, can you tell me our ISP account info so I can call them and ask them to turn on the porn again?" That's completely absurd a law could get passed requiring that. (I'm not just talking about children, but even adults that live with their parents or other roommates.)

Also, what about sites that happen to contain erotic content but don't focus on it? Say reddit and imgur. Are those going to be blocked by default? That's going to cut off a lot of (UK) traffic from them arbitrarily. Are some websites going to change their style and start strictly enforcing safe-for-work policies purely so they don't fall on a list like that? This isn't good for web culture.

Re:Fun times if you don't control your net account (1)

DeathToBill (601486) | about a year ago | (#44349617)

Or tumblr for that matter.

Re:Fun times if you don't control your net account (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44349683)

I have this problem.

I'm 26; the account is in my Mom's name and the money comes out her bank account (I didn't have one or a debit card when we signed up back in 2005), but I'm the one who actually gives her the money [cash in hand] to put into her account on a monthly basis. (So, yes, I'm the one actually paying for it.)

The sad thing is, she thinks all porn is illegal.

And yet somehow she says so angrily "I AM NOT A PRUDE!" when I call her one.

Sorry, but you can't be against porn and not a prude.

So, if anyone knows a way around this, I'd be greatful.

Re:Fun times if you don't control your net account (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44349727)

Get a job. Move to your own house.

Re: Fun times if you don't control your net accoun (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44349767)

Use the argument given in the post you're replying to. Tell her the filter is blocking "normal" sites like Reddit, Tumblr, anything else you can think of (DeviantArt, movie trailers?), etc just because they contain a small amount of adult content too.

Cameron cracks down. (1)

auric_dude (610172) | about a year ago | (#44349455)

Cameron cracks down on 'corroding influence' of online pornography http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2013/jul/22/david-cameron-crackdown-internet-pornography [guardian.co.uk] but mission creep http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cartoon/2013/jul/21/david-cameron-internet-block-child-sex-searches [guardian.co.uk] could well happen. I feel an unease about who controls the blocking lists and the accountability of such office holders.

No Sex Please, We're British (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44349457)

It's not just a comedy play and a movie anymore.

Re:No Sex Please, We're British (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about a year ago | (#44349633)

It's not just a comedy play and a movie anymore.

Surely, the British will be blocking all the violence too, right? Because seeing people killed is much more proper than seeing people made, no?

It's a good story if you expect people to go off and die for your political aspirations.

Re:No Sex Please, We're British (1)

DeathToBill (601486) | about a year ago | (#44349749)

No no no no no no. Can't block good clean violence. No problem with nice, clean violence, as long as there's no sex.

It will make no difference (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44349459)

Such as the gun laws in the UK. All they do is make it very hard for an innocent person to get a gun [licence]. The criminals move in criminal circles and could get a gun [unlicenced] in a few hours, I expect.

The same will happen here. Innocent people will get blocked/censored from blacklisted sites, but the pervs will know a way arpound all this.

Would should happen in both the above is to stop the activity at SOURCE so there just isn't this sort of stuff around.

Typical non-technical idiots making stupid decisions.

Re:It will make no difference (2)

benjfowler (239527) | about a year ago | (#44349627)

Getting hold of a firearm, even for criminals, isn't trivial. Against people who are too lazy/stupid to obey the law in any case, the law serves its purpose.

Re:It will make no difference (4, Insightful)

DeathToBill (601486) | about a year ago | (#44349665)

That's right. Gun laws in Britain make no difference whatsoever, in fact the gun murder rate there is ten times higher than in the USA.

Oh. Wait. No it's not. [wikipedia.org] Actually the USA is number 11 on that list and the UK is number 60. But hey, never let facts get in the way of your preconceptions.

Re:It will make no difference (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44349781)

"The criminals move in criminal circles and could get a gun [unlicenced] in a few hours, I expect."

CITATION NEEDED.

Provide some evidence of claims like this, because it sounds like something that would be convenient for your argument, but is totally unsupported by statistics (gun crimes in the UK are LOW) http://www.politics.co.uk/reference/gun-crime [politics.co.uk] and have been declining since the middle of the last decade.

Typical uniformed idiot posting rubbish instead of checking the actual numbers - gun crimes has fallen over 40% in the last decade: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/police-winning-battle-against-inner-city-gun-crime-8463957.html [independent.co.uk]

Re:It will make no difference (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44349923)

"Such as the gun laws in the UK. All they do is make it very hard for an innocent person to get a gun [licence]. The criminals move in criminal circles and could get a gun [unlicenced] in a few hours, I expect."
....
"Typical non-technical idiots making stupid decisions."

You, sir, are a typical know-nothing idiot making stupid comments. UK gun laws are quite effective at reducing gun violence. Keep in mind, however, that physical objects are much easier to regulate and control access to than data. A firearm is very easy to define; pornography is not. It's a fundamentally different problem.

Re:It will make no difference (2)

tverbeek (457094) | about a year ago | (#44349985)

Would should happen in both the above is to stop the activity at SOURCE so there just isn't this sort of stuff around.

The activity in question here is sex. Not just child abuse, rape, and other already-illegal acts. This legislation would – by default – block access to porn. All of it. Are you seriously suggesting that the solution to children accessing porn on the internet is to somehow stop all porn from being made?

AAISP already implemented it..but.. (2)

DarkSkiez (11259) | about a year ago | (#44349465)

If you choose to have censored internet access you can't sign up and are told to choose another ISP.

I love those guys.

But why is the ISP reading my traffic? (2)

ciderbrew (1860166) | about a year ago | (#44349477)

How about a little box that says don't read my traffic ISP / government?
AND What parents are letting their children use the internet unsupervised?

Phew! (5, Interesting)

Somebody Is Using My (985418) | about a year ago | (#44349485)

Now little Timmy won't be bothered by all those nasty websites he has no interest in.

Well, at least not until he comes across some of those sites that slip by the filters - as they inevitably do - or he learns how to turn the filter off (as children eventually will).

And it's not as if he will be missing anything important. Oh sure, filters have been shown to be over-zealous in their protection, often blocking non-porn sites as well but why would he be interested in reading Wikipedia or the National Geographic or any of these other disgusting websites anyway? Do they have any redeeming value at all? And even if they do, is it worth the risk that young Timmy might see a nipple?

Besides, sex is unnatural, and so is the human body. Nobody should see it naked. It's been that way since the beginning of time; children never witnessed nudity or sex until they were eighteen and in no way should we question this belief. Its not as if this sort of repression causes any problems. Anyway, the youth of today must be inculcated from the start with the idea that it is okay for the government to tell us what to read and what to do, for the good of the nation. A strong government should lead its people in thought and action!

I for one am glad the government of Great Britain is moving in this direction and can only hope the governments of the other nations of the world follow suit. Its just one step towards bringing our world back to a more civilized level of discourse, where things like sex, violence and alternate religions are removed from view. It's for the good of our children after all.

(By the way, just out of scientific curiousity, have instructions on how to disable this feature been issued yet? I only ask to make sure I don't accidentally turn it of, of course).

Re:Phew! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44349967)

Well that's the longest strawman I've ever read.

Re:Phew! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44349971)

It seems you have no idea what a straw man is.

Re:Phew! (1)

Inda (580031) | about a year ago | (#44350013)

You just know it'll be a javascript injection by the ISP for the first page you visit.

The "pop-up dialog" will say:
Do you wish to block porn? [yes] [no] [cancel *hehe*]

Everyone will click yes out of habit, except little Johny. He likes to live dangerously and he'll click no.

Re:Phew! (1)

happy_place (632005) | about a year ago | (#44350203)

Filters are becoming more sophisticated. Originally they were known to filter a lot of sites that had innocuous content on them, but they are quite configurable these days and only getting better.

I don't have an issue with putting filters on "public" networks and machines that are publically accessible. You don't know who will be using the machine, and it should be illegal to show porn to young kids... they don't need that stuff in their minds. Everybody deserves a little bit of a childhood. Not to mention the psychologically addictive nature of much of this material.

I agree sex is natural and good, but porn hardly portrays it as such... much of it is about humilation, shame, objectification, and degrading people. It's hardly healthy for a young mind to see all people with whom they have physical attraction as such.

Besides, considering the traffic that is generated from porn, why not find a way to make those using it the most actually pay for the privilege, rather than making all the public support it?

Unfortunately these arguments are either all or nothing, and that's a shame because it will eventually end up robbing people of freedoms, because we continue to find middleground solutions that could satisfy both parties.

Bitcoin (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44349515)

Another reason to start using Bitcoin

Re:Bitcoin (3, Funny)

DeathToBill (601486) | about a year ago | (#44349685)

Yeah, the dirty strings in the hashes... I saw a A9 88 7F DF 4E 1C the other day! Dirty sods.

I don't even see the hashes anymore (5, Funny)

Overzeetop (214511) | about a year ago | (#44349859)

It's just blonde, brunette, redhead...

OP is ridiculously wrong (4, Interesting)

DeathToBill (601486) | about a year ago | (#44349517)

I find a lot of the debate around this very deceptive. That "near-universal acknowledgment that the system wouldn't work" means that it can't block every pornographic image out there. That's a lot like complaining that speed cameras "don't work" because people still speed on other lengths of road, or that aeroplanes "don't work" because occasionally they crash, or that firewalls "don't work" because sometimes attacks come through port 80. You'd be stupid to have a firewall installed, right? They don't work - some attacks still get through! And "effectively told ISPs to lie"? That's bullshit. You have a filter which will be turned on unless you take an action to turn it off. But by default, it will be on. Sounds like default-on to me. The ISPs want to label it some active choice plus garbage, but that's what it is. The letter suggested they call a spade a spade.

Re:OP is ridiculously wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44349755)

Bla bla bla I like strawmans bla bla bla

Re:OP is ridiculously wrong (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about a year ago | (#44350001)

The ISPs want to label it some active choice plus garbage, but that's what it is.

No, they want to call it active choice because you will have to take an active choice to enable the filtering (i.e., it would be off by default):

the prime minister would like to be able to refer to your solutions are "default-on" as people will have to make a choice not to have the filters (by unticking the box)

In other words, what they're saying without actually saying it, is telling the ISPs to default the filters to on, which is not what the ISPs want to do.

Re:OP is ridiculously wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44350133)

I find arguments like yours to be not just very deceptive, but dangerously so. Surely you can't actually be stupid enough to think that the only problem with these systems is that they don't block enough. They also block things that should not be blocked. Not just things that are harmless, but also things that can be importantly helpful, such as factual information about human biology, contraception, disease prevention, etc. So, assuming that you aren't some kind of idiot, I can only assume that you're trying to promote this idea because you're the kind of sociopath who doesn't care about such things.

Slippery slope welcomes British Prime Minister (1)

mrspoonsi (2955715) | about a year ago | (#44349555)

He would be glad to know there is a country, where women wear the burka (and babies should: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/saudiarabia/9848469/Saudi-Arabian-cleric-declares-babies-should-wear-burkas.html [telegraph.co.uk] ), not only, but the hideous crime of kissing in public is punishable with one 1 month in jail, it is called Saudi Arabia, he is most welcome to take his ultra conservative views with him, leaving those who are less up tight about sex in peace. All in the name of protecting Children (forgetting for a minute that possibly most teens gain their knowledge of Sex these days from the Internet).

Re:Slippery slope welcomes British Prime Minister (1)

Alain Williams (2972) | about a year ago | (#44349707)

Even worse is Dubai where woman was raped and then slammed into prison for extra-marital sex [bbc.co.uk] . She only go out when the Norwegians kicked up a fuss. I know that I am supposed to respect other cultural values, but some I find very hard.

Re:Slippery slope welcomes British Prime Minister (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44350087)

She invited a guy to have sex with her in room, and the next day wanted to pretend that she is a virgin taken against her will. Yeah, some cultural norms are too fucked up to comprehend

Effective blocking (1)

benjfowler (239527) | about a year ago | (#44349585)

It's hard to know what the 'next step' will be (beyond the invention of PageRank), but what happens if it turns out that it's possible to indeed effectively divine what people are searching for, and effectively block it?

People here seem to be thinking that keyword blocking is so ineffective, that the proposal will be laughed out of the room. Because when it becomes possible to build a model of somebody's search strategy (if it isn't already) and it can be admissible in court as intent of criminal intent, then all of a sudden, everyone will stop laughing.

The scary thing for me *isn't* that a bunch of powerful tech-illiterates are meddling; it's that they might be accidentally right; that effective blocking technology is indeed around the corner, it gets mandated by government -- and then the technology is misused to make certain kinds of thought and discussion effectively impossible in ways the Chinese Communist Party could barely dream of.

goodbye free speech (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44349645)

The interesting thing is that this filter will also end up blocking all articles and comments about the porn filter itself because of matching words in the article. Effectively, preventing the public from being aware of the history behind the feature in the future. There will also be a lot of false positives as there tend to be with this type of system, for example things like Michelangelo's artwork end up getting blocked due to some of it involving nudity. Another example is China's firewall sometimes blocks social and technological articles that they did not intend it to block because certain words or dates happen to appear in text, which leads to a knowledge and information drain in their society. For example because I've mentioned China's firewall this entire article might never appear to their people, so they may end up being unaware of it. It is a hit or miss sort of thing.

Please, somebody think of the children! (4, Insightful)

Stolpskott (2422670) | about a year ago | (#44349653)

it is easier, cheaper, quicker and garners more positive publicity for the politicians involved to get the ISP to block something (anything, does not really matter what, as long as something is blocked) than it is to actually tackle the underlying problem and catch the child abusers.

However, as politicians we need censorship options to go alongside our surveillance capability... we use the surveillance ability to keep an eye on the people we are afraid of (in the UK, that apparently means the Government is afraid of about 65 million people... quite a way behind the US though, who have a list of 300 million or so people that scare the politicians). We then need the censorship mechanisms so that we can keep information about our surveillance system out of the public domain, and we then need the surveillance system again to watch the people who are trying to circumvent the censorship equipment (oh, good... we are already watching those people, because they are on our "people to be feared" list!).

On a more serious note, Claire Lilley at the NSPCC [nspcc.org.uk] pointed out that "In every single child abuse image there is a victim, a child who has been abused". This is true, if you check the circumstances of the photograph. But I am 100% sure than a 5 minute search of Youtube would turn up a ton of clips from movies, from which you could grab stills that look like child abuse and that a third party viewer would categorize as child abuse, even though no children were abused in the production of said image.
I am all for stamping our Child Abuse, preferably in a process that involves stamping out the penis and testicles of any men involved in said abuse, but blocking sites that some unaccountable quango group deep in the bowels of the British government thinks should be blocked is not the way to go about it... unless of course, the porn blocking is simply a convenient excuse behind which the real purpose of the system is being hidden.

Damn, I am starting to sound like a conspiracy theorist. Somebody pass me my kool-aid, quick!

Re:Please, somebody think of the children! (2)

Serif (87265) | about a year ago | (#44350129)

Claire Lilley at the NSPCC [nspcc.org.uk] pointed out that "In every single child abuse image there is a victim, a child who has been abused"

Interesting. So she doesn't class cartoon images as child porn then? Maybe she should tell the government.

what happens when you opt out (1)

collect0r (794706) | about a year ago | (#44349661)

which list of perverts will we be on and will we be the first people in the work camps for looking at porn. i am all for a system where we can block content but we cannot start to allow the government to tell uswhat we can and cannot look at.

Who can I sue? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44349681)

Who can I sue when I delegate responsibility for keeping porn away from my children and myself before we are outraged and clearly damaged, mentally and emotionally injured when some porn does turn up on the computer ?????? I would prefer if the spam stopped coming into my mailbox.. why has that not been sorted yet??????????? Idiots.

Clearly that's the important thing right now (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44349705)

Anyway, be sure to request "unfiltered internet access", don't ask for porn to be unblocked.

A complete waste of time and money (5, Insightful)

wisewellies (2749169) | about a year ago | (#44349709)

Whilst I have no problem with Cameron's intention to prevent undesirable material from falling into the hands of younger users, I have major issues with the fact that he seems to be pushing ahead with this despite advice from people who actually know how the Internet works. Fundamentally, he doesn't seem to understand that the Internet is merely a network - it transfers packets of data from A to B, much the same as the postal service. It does not (and should not) care what is in those packets.

Ultimately any proposal to deploy blocking technology is doomed to fail - blocking certain DNS queries will simply lead people to use an alternative DNS server, or to share IP addresses of questionable sites. If ISPs start to filter HTTP, then people will move to a different protocol. Where does this end up? The Great Firewall of (not-so-great) Britain? Martial law? Ultimately his proposals will end in failure - the Internet community will develop new methods to access material much faster than the government can block them.

If people really understood the full implications of what is being proposed here, they wouldn't want it. Packets on a network should be afforded the same protection as mail in transit - i.e. it requires a court order to open them. This process is transparent and well-understood - it is not left to shadowy, non-elected, non-accountable organisations to decide what gets through and what is dropped. We do not need a censored Internet - it is used for so much more than browsing the web, and these other applications will suffer with this sledgehammer-to-crack-a-nut approach taken by Cameron.

Personally, I believe the best approach to managing access to this kind of material and staying safe online is through education - something which each and every parent should discuss with their child, in the same way that they teach them to cross the road.

Incomplete summary (1)

WML MUNSON (895262) | about a year ago | (#44349729)

The article summary does not mention a key part of this announcement. FTA:

In addition, the prime minister said possessing online pornography depicting rape would become illegal in England and Wales - in line with Scotland.

Re:Incomplete summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44350077)

It's a very common political tactic.

You have policy A, which you want to push, but know people will be divided on. In this case, it's porn censorship.

So you attach policy B to it. This is much more clear cut and most people agree with it. In this case, it's the possession of pornography depicting rape.

Now, as a politically active individual I find it very difficult to argue (opine, discuss, talk to peers, etc...) against policy A without tactically agreeing with policy B.

Better headline (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44349733)

"Government registration required to view pornography"

It's fine to demand ISPs give the option to turn this on. In fact, there are good reasons to do so as there are so many internet connected devices that it has become difficult to manage filters on all of them.

But there is a gulf between that defensible scheme and this scheme, which by making the filter a default, puts adults in the absurd position of having to register with the government to view pornography. Because of the social stigma involved I would say there is an strong argument to be made that these defaults infringe on adults' rights to view pornography. Hopefully a brave soul will take up the case.

If the goal is to prevent children from viewing pornography then that fails on practical grounds, as it forces a policy intended for children on the adults of a house.

Also, how will the law treat adults with children who choose not to have the filter - if their children do end up viewing pornography could the adults be charged with creating an unsafe environment? On the face of it I don't see why not.

Re:Better headline (1)

fjsalcedo (1839086) | about a year ago | (#44349833)

I do absolutely agree with you. The right to opting out of porn should be compulsory. But not this way. This way establishes censorship by default, which, in the long term, it never is good at all. Regards.

Liability (1)

intermodal (534361) | about a year ago | (#44349737)

What is the liability for quality on this? As best I can tell, it would be ideal for ISPs to simply have minimal and really crappy filters that do next to nothing if there's no real penalty for lack of quality on the filters.

Both right and wrong move (2)

fjsalcedo (1839086) | about a year ago | (#44349761)

In my opinion this move is both right and wrong. It is absolutely right because it gives, AT LAST, parents and people with real troubles caused by pornography (and, yes, pornography does cause really serious problems to a LOT of people) the ability to get rid of such a troublesome content. Think of alcohol and alcoholic people, or tobacco and smokers, just to mention legal substances, at least the addicts to them have the rightful choice of NOT having access to those substances imposed in their homes. Nobody delivers alcohol or tobacco daily, 24x7, and for FREE to them. Which is not the case with pornography. On the other hand, I think the move is wrong because it imposes censorship by default (which it would be right in public places, by the way). I do really think that granting the right for everybody to really OPT OUT of pornografy, if they so desire, should be compulsory. I mean, British Government should have left the access to porn as is (although I firmly disagree) BUT forcing the companies to grant the right to opt out of it, in a swift and easy manner. Regards.

Re:Both right and wrong move (3, Insightful)

Overzeetop (214511) | about a year ago | (#44349933)

I'm not sure you understand how the internet works. You see, you send a *request* for something, and the reply contains that information. You don't turn the computer on and it just starts streaming porn to your desktop*. There are already inexpensive packages you can install on your machine to filter most pornographic sites which reach your computer.

*for all I know, there's an inexpensive package for that, too.

Re:Both right and wrong move (1)

fjsalcedo (1839086) | about a year ago | (#44350097)

Probably not. Aftear all I'm only a web developer.

Re:Both right and wrong move (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44350051)

(and, yes, pornography does cause really serious problems to a LOT of people)

Maybe those people should see a psychologist; they're very likely mentally ill.

Re:Both right and wrong move (0)

fjsalcedo (1839086) | about a year ago | (#44350209)

Sure they are. As ill as diabetics, o people with lung cancer or coronary disease. And, although I see you think of them in pejorative terms, which you should be ashamed of, they really deserve the right to defend themselves and to cure themselves. Just like compulsive gamblers (online gambling is also devastating to many people) have the right to opt out from the casinos by signing a petition (at least, in my country). I don't know, but it seems that I'm no explaining my self right. After all, English is not my native tongue. I'm not saying "forbid porn", by any means. I just say that people should have the right to ask their company to filter porn, and that this right should be granted by law. I don't really see why this is harmful. Really, I don't see why.

Re:Both right and wrong move (1)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | about a year ago | (#44350101)

(and, yes, pornography does cause really serious problems to a LOT of people)

Oh, I'm sure.

(which it would be right in public places, by the way)

Really? I don't like hats, so nobody should be allowed to wear them in public places. Seeing someone wearing a hate inflicts extreme mental anguish upon me.

Re:Both right and wrong move (0)

fjsalcedo (1839086) | about a year ago | (#44350237)

Well, I don't like stupid morons. And, I do have the right not to talk to them. So, why, for goodness sake, is it so bad that I have the right of opting out of porn? I'm not saying that it should be forbidden by any means.

You neocons and your shitbrain (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44349823)

Blocking porn should be up to the consumer, if they want their porn blocked they should opt-in and use an ISP that is willing (not forced) to provide that service. Otherwise it's like buying a car that comes with children chairs attached but that you can pay to have them removed, and be forever listed for it. Those of us that take the time to teach children about sexuality, or even those who have no children, don't want to be listed on your adult opt-out lists waiting to be abused by the government, just because we watch porn once in a while. We can filter the internet our children see (there are plenty of software packages for it) but better yet we can educate them about it.

Gonna have to ask my son how to get around this. (2)

Boss, Pointy Haired (537010) | about a year ago | (#44349841)

He should know.

Possessing a digital copy of "A Clockwork Orange" (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44349879)

"the prime minister said possessing online pornography depicting rape would become illegal in England and Wales - in line with Scotland."
Possessing a digital copy of "A Clockwork Orange" just became illegal.

It is considered a masterpiece as a book and as a film.
The whole point of the book is the danger of instituting "Thought Crime" punishments and aversion "therapy."
Regardless of the "appeal", "A Clockwork Orange" is widely regarded as a masterpiece and critical social commentary like Orwell's "1984". Who defines what's banned? How soon before criticism of UK foreign policy is banned?

Only the beginning (1)

clickclickdrone (964164) | about a year ago | (#44349897)

And once they have the infrastructure in place, they'll start making it opt in for political sites, overseas news sites etc, all in the name of protecting you somehow until they have a nice list of what nasty stuff you like to get up to then wham, you're in jail for thinking stuff the government don't want you thinking.

No porn on the internet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44350075)

This is like the time they removed all the ninja weapons from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Countries to avoid at all costs (1)

Lawrence_Bird (67278) | about a year ago | (#44350079)

UK and AUS. Even with the NSA shit the US can't hold a candle to those two.

And who is to decide? (1)

macbeth66 (204889) | about a year ago | (#44350109)

I have a greater issue with 'almost' ( simulated ) sex on TV than I do with with full, hardcore sex. If you're going to start, then do it right. The fake humping is obviously fake and painful to watch.

Yeah, like that's ever going to happen.

In the mean-time, I'll just ask the little pre-teen wankers down the road to show me how to get to the good stuff. Wait a sec, wasn't all this to prevent them from getting to these sites?

Stupid....... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44350123)

Parents should be the ones to block content, not the government. Government's need to stop doing parents jobs.

Strengthens the TOR userbase (2)

mrthoughtful (466814) | about a year ago | (#44350131)

Every time some government gets really stupid, they push more people into finding ways around it. IMO, it would be good to see more people using TOR - which at the moment seems to be filled with idiots, but could serve a much better purpose providing political safety.

All hail GLD (4, Informative)

Inda (580031) | about a year ago | (#44350147)

All hail our Glorious Leader Dave, saviour of the internet and all things just.

Forget that he left his own child at a pub whilst out drinking. Forget that he failed to introduce plain cigarette packets. Forget that he failed to introduce minimum alcohol pricing. Forget that he failed to fix unemployment.

All hail our Glorious Leader Dave.

Forget he was a member of the Bullingdon Club. Forget heâ€(TM)s a u-turning dishonest clueless toff. Forget that the UK population did not vote him into power.

All hail our Glorious Leader Dave.

is child porn the new terror? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44350171)

child porn is for the UK what al-quaida was for the US.....a blank check!

Nitpick in language. (2)

TheCarp (96830) | about a year ago | (#44350211)

A little background on this issue might be helpful. For a long time, certain politicians and newspapers have been campaigning for default-on filters. They would like to see harmful and offensive - if legal - material blocked by the internet service providers unless customers choose to have the filters switched off.

It would be more correct to say "They would like to see content which they see as harmful and offensive". To say that they just want to "Ban harmful and offensive content" conceedes to them that this content is harmful and offiensive, as if there is some sort of universally agreed upon standard by which this can be measured and determined, when the fact is, its entirely subjective.

Are people trying to get flouride removed from water trying to get something they believe is harmful removed from water? Yes, thats true. However, it is not correct to say they are actually trying to get something harmful removed; that statement would be untrue.

The thing is, its important not to use the characterization of the point of view you are arguing against. Its like, if you are against a bill thats being called "Tax Reform" you can't argue against it and call it "Tax Reform", you are already losing the battle by implicitly ceeding a point that you don't agree with - that it's reform.

Is watching porn dangerous? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44350231)

Will it give me cancer or what? I must know, I'm exposed to it.

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