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UK Users Overwhelmingly Spurn Broadband Filters

timothy posted about 3 months ago | from the but-it's-a-free-service dept.

United Kingdom 115

nk497 (1345219) writes "Broadband customers are overwhelmingly choosing not to use parental-control systems foisted on ISPs by the government — with takeup in the single-digits for three of the four major broadband providers. Last year, the government pushed ISPs to roll out network-level filters, forcing new customers to make an "active" decision about whether they want to use them or not. Only 5% of new BT customers signed up, 8% opted in for Sky and 4% for Virgin Media. TalkTalk rolled out a parental-control system two years before the government required it and has a much better takeup, with 36% of customers signing up for it. The report, from regulator Ofcom, didn't bother to judge if the filters actually work, however."

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It's mostly a nuisance (1)

Flavianoep (1404029) | about 3 months ago | (#47509415)

If those filters blocked only porn and gore... instead, they block innocuous things like urbandictionary.com [urbandictionary.com]

Re:It's mostly a nuisance (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47509555)

Blocking Urban dictionary is a sign that the British still respect integrity and proper use of their mother tongue.

Re:It's mostly a nuisance (2, Funny)

Dupple (1016592) | about 3 months ago | (#47509689)

Bollocks

Re:It's mostly a nuisance (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 3 months ago | (#47509733)

No, it's because BT [bt.com] doesn't like this [urbandictionary.com] .

Re:It's mostly a nuisance (1)

turgid (580780) | about 3 months ago | (#47509801)

Back in the day I remember someone in a programme on the telly referring to something that was out-of-order as "British Telecom."

Re:It's mostly a nuisance (1)

Dragonslicer (991472) | about 3 months ago | (#47509629)

innocuous things like urbandictionary.com [urbandictionary.com]

You keep on using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

Re:It's mostly a nuisance (1)

Flavianoep (1404029) | about 3 months ago | (#47509943)

From en.wiktionary.org [wiktionary.org] :

Etymology[edit]

From Latin innocuus (“harmless”).

Adjective[edit]

innocuous (comparative more innocuous, superlative most innocuous)

1.Harmless; producing no ill effect. [quotations ]

2.Inoffensive; unprovocative; not exceptional. [quotations ]

I agree with you that it might not be the best choice of a word. I thought it meant "harmless" only. Thank you!

Re:It's mostly a nuisance (1)

jeIIomizer (3670945) | about 3 months ago | (#47510865)

His post implies that porn and gore are not innocuous. They, in fact, are.

Re:It's mostly a nuisance (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47509661)

That, and I would have to say that a far higher percentage of people look at porn than many people who came up with the idea of the filter would want to admit. If it just blocked actual harmful content like child pornography, viruses/malware, and phishing sites, then I think a lot of people would keep the filter enabled. But in many cases, it's blocking something they very much want to see, and which is completely legal for them to view, so of course they will opt out of the filter.

WhiteList (1)

sycodon (149926) | about 3 months ago | (#47510525)

Unless things have changed since I was interested in this, they never supported a White List.

If you are managing your little kid's access, you want to pick and choose sites/review the before giving them the OK.

Re:It's mostly a nuisance (1)

williamhb (758070) | about 2 months ago | (#47513219)

If those filters blocked only porn and gore... instead, they block innocuous things ...

The survey designers really should have known that including the words "porn" and "naked" in the text of the online survey form was a bad idea...

Re:It's mostly a nuisance (1)

davester666 (731373) | about 2 months ago | (#47513437)

remember, it's not just blocking these sites, the system is also logging that you are accessing these sites, regardless of whether you opt-in or out.

The British Way (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47509419)

WIth no dental plan.

Re:The British Way (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47509593)

That's as maybe but we have Healthcare that is FREE at the point of delivery.
Some readers in the US might regard this as a Commie plot to overthrow the world but personally, the treatment I get from the NHS is wonderful.
I got Cancer 5 years ago. From initial diagnosis to first Chemo was less than a week. No constant calling my healthcare provider to check to see if the test or treament was covered by my healthcare plan.

Re:The British Way (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47510133)

And that is just wrong

Re:The British Way (0)

kwbauer (1677400) | about 2 months ago | (#47513061)

FREE health care. Do you really think you are getting awesome service from homeless people? What? Your docs aren't homeless? They must get really tired from all the moonlighting to pay for their mortgages/rent, etc. or they have very understanding spouses.

Re:The British Way (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 2 months ago | (#47513989)

Your comment would be much more insightful if you're read all of the way to the end of the first sentence of the post that you replied to.

Re:The British Way (2)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 2 months ago | (#47513997)

That's as maybe but we have Healthcare that is FREE at the point of delivery.

That's not quite true for dental work, but the price is capped [www.nhs.uk] , so you'll typically pay £18.50 to see a dentist, £50.50 if you need something done, or £219 if you need something serious. It's only free if you qualify for extra assistance, which is automatic if you are under 18, under 19 (25 in Wales) and in full-time education, on income support or similar.

The article appears to be redacted... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47509439)

Maybe the government has censored the report of their censorship failure?

Question: (5, Insightful)

Savage-Rabbit (308260) | about 3 months ago | (#47509445)

Dear internet user, would you like the Tory Party to think for you?
[ ] Yes.
[X] No.

Re:Question: (1)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about 3 months ago | (#47509481)

ITYM:

Dear Internet User,

Would you like to let politicians and civil servants choose which porn you view*?

[ ] Yes
[ ] No

* This is politicians. This will only be the most fucked up shit. Regular porn is not for political types.

Re:Question: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47509531)

Not even politicians or civil servants. At least with those two there'd be some accountability at least in theory. I think the blocklist is in fact drawn up by the IWF, an organisation of "speaking as a mother"-types and other unelected busybodies.

Re:Question: (1)

GoddersUK (1262110) | about 3 months ago | (#47510363)

That's a different blocklist. The IWF's blocklist (as used by BT's cleanfeed) blocks child porn and, perhaps, other "illegal" content (although there's no way of finding out what it actually blocks in practice unless you hit a blocked page while using an ISP honest enough to not serve a fake 404) and is used by all large ISPs with no way to turn it off. The blocklists in question here are mandatory default-on in the "we'll regulate if you don't do it voluntarily" fashion and block a whole variety of legal content from the genuinely objectionable through it's a question of taste to the innocuous. They're not set directly by the government, rather they're purchased by the ISPs from third parties and you can opt to have them turned off (if you don't mind the embarrassment of asking...). That's not to say the government interference here is a good thing for a whole range of reasons though.

Re:Question: (1)

jeIIomizer (3670945) | about 3 months ago | (#47511123)

from the genuinely objectionable through it's a question of taste to the innocuous.

What is and is not "objectionable" (or "innocuous," really) is *always* a question of taste.

Re:Question: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47510475)

* This is politicians. This will only be the most fucked up shit. Regular porn is not for political types.

Yes, because it would take the mindset of a politician to view dirty kiddie porn.

Re:Question: (1)

stephanruby (542433) | about 3 months ago | (#47509677)

If was the CEO of TalkTalk, I would be upset. Now that every ISP is required to have parental controls, their perceived competitive advantage has pretty much disappeared.

It would be like the US mandating the same thing for cell phones, then there would be no reason for parents to pay for Disney phones [thewaltdisneycompany.com] as a result and no reason for that division of Disney to exist anymore.

Re:Question: (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about 3 months ago | (#47509679)

After passing through internet filters, your survey response has been submitted.

For your records, here is your submission:

[X] Yes.
[ ] No.

Re:Question: (1)

Stan92057 (737634) | about 3 months ago | (#47511667)

Or do what I did.. I lied

Re:Question: (1)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | about 3 months ago | (#47509759)

I would read it as:


Dear Interconnected Computer Network Customer. Would you like your children to think like Daily Mail readers?

[ ] Yes. God Save The King!
[ ] No. I am unfit to raise Britain's future ruling class.

Re:Question: (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47510193)

You think Britain's ruling class read the Mail? That's cute. I'll bet they only read it to the same extent that they read any of the red tops: an underling sums up what the proles are reading about. Need I trot this old chestnut out again?

Hacker: Don't tell me about the press. I know exactly who reads the papers: the Daily Mirror is read by people who think they run the country; The Guardian is read by people who think they ought to run the country; The Times is read by people who actually do run the country; the Daily Mail is read by the wives of the people who run the country; the Financial Times is read by people who own the country; the The Morning Star is read by people who think the country ought to be run by another country; and The Daily Telegraph is read by people who think it is.
Sir Humphrey: Prime Minister, what about the people who read The Sun?
Bernard: Sun readers don't care who runs the country, as long as she's got big tits.

Re:Question: (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about 3 months ago | (#47510455)

The Sun is great

Now whenever someone mentions PETA, I think of Page Three.

Re:Question: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47511327)

23 from Sussex

Re:Question: (1)

oobayly (1056050) | about 3 months ago | (#47511785)

Thanks for that - found it [youtube.com] and added it to my favourites.

Re:Question: (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 3 months ago | (#47510037)

I'm just waiting for the first time that opting out is used as evidence in court that the subscriber is a pervert. That's why I have refused to express an opinion, and use a VPN to block their blocking anyway.

Re:Question: (1)

oobayly (1056050) | about 3 months ago | (#47511807)

Just use a decent ISP - at the risk of sounding like a shill/employee/investor - Andrews & Arnold [aaisp.net] are pretty good, plus they provide native IPv6.

Re:Question: (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 2 months ago | (#47514023)

ISPs are regulated by UK laws and thus forced to spy on all their customers. Andrews & Arnold are not immune, they must log their user's metadata and hand it to various government bodies when asked. They are no substitute for a VPN.

VPNs were never covered by EU data retention laws (because they are not ISPs) and bypass all UK laws.

Re:Question: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47510397)

def interpretChoice(radio_instance):
    c = radio_instance.getValue()
    if c == ENUM_YES:
        return ENUM_YES
    else:
        return ENUM_YES

Re:Question: (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 2 months ago | (#47514015)

Let me guess, they outsourced this particular code to EDS?

Re:Question: (1)

Doghouse13 (2909489) | about 2 months ago | (#47514235)

Lovely to see that the Loony Left is still alive and well in remoter parts of the country. I thought they'd pretty much gone extinct by now.

Firstly, precisely what's actually on the block list has nothing to do with politicians; that's one of the huge iniquities of the legislation - lack of transparency and democratic oversight. Secondly, politicians of ALL persuasions have been falling over themselves to show themselves "tough" on anything that has the slightest chance of playing to the (pretty much non-existent, but that doesn't seem to bother them) gallery - when last in power, in its need to try and out-macho the Tories, Labour put spurious and gratuitous new criminal offences on the statute books at the rate of more than one a DAY.

This farago had everything to do with PR and spin, and NOTHING to do with party politics. Or, indeed, reality,

Logically (2)

gurps_npc (621217) | about 3 months ago | (#47509465)

The reasons why no one likes these things is exactly why they should not even be considered - even if they worked.

That is, the concept of 'objectionable content'' is itself objectionable. There is NO SUCH THING! That is why certain countries have things called freedom of the press.

What happens is quite simple - certain people (Group A) dislike something. They don't want to see it or hear it. They falsely and incorrectly believe that even seeing said things is damaging - despite zero scientific evidence to it (instead they make up badly designed studies that talk about tendencies and thoughts as if they are actions). Other people (Group B) do want to see it. This makes group A angry. So they try to make a law against letting anyone see it. But the people making the law argue about what exactly is objectionable. They quickly find out that Group A(a) wants to stop people from seeing things that most of Group A thinks is fine. Or they quickly realize that their 'objectionable' content has valid reasons to be seen - such as medicinal and political discourse.

They get angry and try to work out a logical way of differentiating between what is really objectionable and what isn't. The problem is their original hypothesis is totally illogical. There was no real problem with what they thought was objectionable so as soon as they try to apply logic they find it doesn't work.

You can't use logic to decide something when logic says your base assumption is wrong.

Re:Logically (1)

r.freeman (2944629) | about 3 months ago | (#47509509)

Yes, this is in general why democracy is a stupid system (or any form of gov where gov decides about live of people to anything other then absolute minimum like making it illegal to murder, steal physical actuall property, rape, assault etc).

And I fully agree that we should have such a free world or at least a country somewhere in modern times too.

Re:Logically (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47509597)

other then absolute minimum like making it illegal to murder, steal physical actuall property, rape, assault etc

Legal definitions of those things suffer from the same problems as well.

Re:Logically (4, Insightful)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 3 months ago | (#47509577)

The usual approach of the anti-porn brigade is selection bias. They just have to pick out a couple of people who really did get messed up by porn (Easily done: If you've got a billion people looking at it, of course someone is going to get carried away). Then make these the examples, and show off how terrible porn is. Of course, I could show church to be equally damaging by the same approach.

Re:Logically (1)

disposable60 (735022) | about 3 months ago | (#47509887)

Often those two groups of damaged personalities have considerable overlap. And overlap with the upper reaches of church hierarchy.

Re:Logically (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47510633)

Of course, I could show church to be equally damaging by the same approach.

How often do you happen to do a random search on the Internet and have church images returned in your results? I would guess less often than for porn images.

Re:Logically (1)

jeIIomizer (3670945) | about 3 months ago | (#47510899)

And that has what to do with anything, exactly? It's not anyone's problem but your own if something you don't like is often talked about or put up on other people's websites.

The entire point is that the same 'logic' can be used to show that the church is bad. Read his post again.

Re:Logically (1)

Stan92057 (737634) | about 3 months ago | (#47511655)

I don't agree, I think they just didn't use the filter because they have no idea how or if it works. OR they already have filters they know work and the filters block content they want blocked. By the article people use filters, a lot of people use filters and they have a chose with the ISP law they have even more choices. but parents don't like to take chances with blocking software they haven't a clue works or not. Definite not for the reasons you state your not who they make the filters for. They don't care about logic they care about filtering that works. As a parent that's is what I would have made my choices does it do a really great job of blocking porn and adult content. Thank god the internet came after my kids left home.

Gee, you think? (2)

gstoddart (321705) | about 3 months ago | (#47509467)

The report, from regulator Ofcom, didn't bother to judge if the filters actually work, however.

Because they don't know, and don't care if they work.

This is just another "oh god, we have to protect teh children" things, and there wasn't evidence to make the choice, so they're sure as heck not collecting evidence as to how well it works. This is purely a "we have to do something" kind of response.

Most of us know these things simply do not work, and end up blocking stuff they shouldn't, and missing stuff.

That most people have no interest in being baby sat by a state sponsored filter comes as no surprise.

But, hey, when you're still considered subjects to an archaic monarchy, that's what you get.

Re:Gee, you think? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47511977)

Actually, it's not a "we have to protect teh children" thing. It's more about "the bottom-feeding media (a.k.a. tabloid press, which is incredibly influential in Britain) is berating us for not doing more to help parents police the web, what's the minimum we can do that will shut them up?"

And don't try to tell me that doesn't happen just as often, if not more so, in the US. As to "subjects to an archaic monarchy" - at least one of us has no idea what you're talking about, and I suspect it's you.

As the takeup rates show, the great majority of parents either aren't all that bothered, or they don't think ISP-level filtering is the appropriate way to go about it. Those who are, and do, presumably switched to TalkTalk back when it was the only network that offered it.

Idiot Slashdot editors again... (4, Informative)

aardvarkjoe (156801) | about 3 months ago | (#47509499)

The article linked in the summary requires you to answer survey questions or post it to your google+ / facebook before you can read it.

Don't put up with that crap. It's even worse than forcing you to watch advertisements before reading something. Filter out pcpro.co.uk with your hosts file or whatever other method instead.

Re:Idiot Slashdot editors again... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47509529)

The article linked in the summary requires you to answer survey questions or post it to your google+ / facebook before you can read it.

Not if you have enough blocking crap installed.

Don't want all this crap, take steps to block it.

Blocking Google+ at your firewall is a good fucking start.

Re:Idiot Slashdot editors again... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47509771)

Or just messing around with some html deletion. That works too!

I've skipped many blocks with that little trick.

Re:Idiot Slashdot editors again... (1)

Stan92057 (737634) | about 3 months ago | (#47511427)

I lied lol

Re:Idiot Slashdot editors again... (1)

MrL0G1C (867445) | about 3 months ago | (#47510697)

I didn't get hit with that, I think ghostery or noscript nuked the bad stuff that got in the way of the page.

More inconvienient than the average filter. (3, Insightful)

Joe Gillian (3683399) | about 3 months ago | (#47509567)

I haven't dealt with any of these British ISPs because I am not British, but it seems like these filters are done at the ISP level, and the connection owners have to call in to turn the filter off. Filters are already enough of a pain for both parents and other places that wish to use them. An example of this:

I went to a Catholic high school. During my Freshman year, the school's sysadmins implemented a very restrictive web filter that was on at all times and that only they could turn off. The sysadmins didn't come in every day - I think they were only there three days a week and even then not there full-time. Right away, conflicts started to form between the teachers and the sysadmins. One of the things the filter blocked was Google Image Search, which a lot of teachers wanted to use for school projects and in the classroom. The school's administration insisted that Image Search stay blocked entirely on the vague chance that someone could use it to find porn (never mind the fact that the filter they were using automatically blocked those results on its own) unless a sysadmin was present to oversee its use.

The end result, between the GIS filter and several other ones, was that it was virtually impossible to use the school's computers for schoolwork. I only stayed in that school for another year, but they never managed to resolve the issue.

I can only imagine what would've happened if the teachers had to make a phone call to the school's ISP every time they wanted the filter off, and then a second call every time they wanted it turned back on.

Re:More inconvienient than the average filter. (1)

0123456789 (467085) | about 3 months ago | (#47509623)

the connection owners have to call in to turn the filter off.

I've used BT as an ISP, and the filter option came up as a web page after signing in (I was signing in to watch their BT sport channel, but I assume if you signed in for e.g. the admin site, it would have appeared). I hadn't noticed any blocked sites prior to disabling it, but the option to enable or disable the filter may have appeared prior to it defaulting to being on. One click, and the filter was off, so disabling it really doesn't add much hassle to the end user. I don't doubt the implementation was a lot of hassle at their end, however.

Re:More inconvienient than the average filter. (5, Insightful)

ledow (319597) | about 3 months ago | (#47509837)

I work in schools.

What you describe is standard practice in every school I've ever worked in.

Google Images, especially, is one of those "block all or block nothing" sites that policy ALWAYS ends up blocking all. It's just to easy to google something innocent (e.g. "little red riding hood", etc.) and end up with page full of quite obvious porn, even with enforced SafeSearch, a religiously-updated web filter, and custom blocks.

"Virtually impossible" to use the school's computers for schoolwork? How did we live before Google Images? And also, let me tell you, copyright infringement is rife in schools and overlooked right up until the school gets sued for letting you "google image" something, stick it in a document and print it out.

Welcome to real life, where education is more than Google Imaging something, where laws take precedence over your (or my, or the school's) personal choices, and where child protection and "eSafety" policies are mandatory by government inspection.

No system filters perfectly. And you can be sure I get twenty emails every time the system doesn't. But we can't just switch them off without breaking several laws (even if we know that we can only show we tried).

P.S. Stop Google Image'ing. Get licensed clipart. Because when you're older and you "just Google Image" something for your boss, you're setting them up for a lawsuit from the copyright holder.

Re:More inconvienient than the average filter. (2, Insightful)

brambus (3457531) | about 3 months ago | (#47510217)

Last I checked, there's that thing called fair use [copyright.gov] that actually allows educational non-profit use of copyrighted works, so you can get off your moral high horse.

>"Virtually impossible" to use the school's computers for schoolwork? How did we live before Google Images?

I also attended school without Internet access, but damn it's a valuable educational resource to have and it wouldn't cross my mind to demolish that resource simply to protect my prudish and backwards sense of morality (assuming I had one). In short: move over grandpa.

Re:More inconvienient than the average filter. (1)

Obfuscant (592200) | about 3 months ago | (#47510873)

Last I checked, there's that thing called fair use that actually allows educational non-profit use of copyrighted works, so you can get off your moral high horse.

No. Fair use considerations include whether the use was for an educational purpose, but "educational purpose" is not sufficient to show fair use. I cannot copy, for example, a college textbook in its entirety and hand it out to my students because even though it is an "educational purpose", it does not meet the other criteria for fair use. Two criteria that this would fail would be the "excerpts" and "for critical review". Thus, I could copy a page of a textbook in a graphics arts class for the purpose of commenting on the formatting and layout style, but copying a book on graphics arts and using it as a text would not be "fair use".

Copying an image in its entirety for the purpose of using it as content in my own work would not be "fair use".

Re:More inconvienient than the average filter. (2)

ledow (319597) | about 2 months ago | (#47513563)

Plus, laws differ depending on your jurisdiction.

When I was a kid, we had cassette tapes. We could easily copy music from the radio, and give it to a teacher to play in assembly. It still did not mean that when it came time to review music licensing, the school could avoid paying for doing so.

In fact, copyright licensing of music in schools (especially hymns, for some reason) is one of the most draconian applications of law that I've seen. But that doesn't forgo the schools obligations to properly license it - back then, or now. And, yes, schools that I work in have been threatened with lawsuits for doing things like playing a brief excerpt of a hit single of the day in an end-of-term assembly.

I refuse to allow a school I work in to be sued for something so petty, and be forced to pay over money to record companies (or photographers, or software programmers, or whatever) that's better spent educating children. Applying extra filters costs no more than applying legally-required filters anyway. Licensing of school software is one of the easiest things to fall foul of.... oh, this is a free download, can we just install it everywhere? No. Oh, this is a CD I got in my cornflakes that I'd like the kids to all use? Tough. Licensing says no.

Schools get sued for this. I'm not making it up. It's not *my* pettiness. Hell, some of the largest companies are getting sued for using a photograph from the Internet without permission in their advertising etc. - this is a symptom of people NOT being taught about copyright law when they are in school, and being taught that Google Images is "free". Of course you can find properly-licensed images with Google Images. What you can't do is enforce that setting side-wide through a URL-modifying filter (like you can with SafeSearch).

I'm stopping your kid's school getting sued for 10 x damages for wilfull infringement of copyright and having to pay thousands that would be better spent on, say, computers or properly licensed software or books or teachers, than being paid to some random guy on Tumblr who's had his image pinched and gets bitchy about it.

Re:More inconvienient than the average filter. (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47510241)

Summary: "I work in schools", then proceeds to prove it by demonstrating an appropriate mix of incompetence, paranoia and self-righteous delusions of competence.

Re:More inconvienient than the average filter. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47512315)

Y'know, Google Images now has this helpful little filter that lets you show only Creative Commons-licensed images.

Re:More inconvienient than the average filter. (1)

Air-conditioned cowh (552882) | about 2 months ago | (#47513279)

Just filter the results for images where the author has given permission for free commercial use and, if requrired, modification. It would be great to teach kids to find, support and create free licensed material than to teach them to make their future boss have to pay for licenses and then insist that their boss pays for them to use only Photoshop to edit it.

Re:More inconvienient than the average filter. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47513975)

Your argument about google image search being used only for copyright infringement is spurious - you could apply the same argument to text : Why are you googling articles? How did we live before web searches? Stop googling - get your info from licensed textbooks.

Many times google image searches are very educational. For example, if I type in "aardvark", I get many pictures of the animal in question. This gives me a much better initial idea of what an "aardvark" is than a passage of text ever could. For further info, I would of course read the related articles, but here's the kicker : Often the best article also has the best images.

Blocking such a valuable tool on the basis that I may take one of those images and print it out is dumb in the extreme.

More inconvienient than the average filter. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47509875)

Filter options are given at sign up now or when renewing a contract so it makes it easy to say no. mobile internet comes filtered and you have to either ask for it to be turned off (again asked at sign up if you didn't have mobile data as part of your plan or some of them will determine this from your payment details and disable the filters automatically. mine (3uk) had no filters on the handset from the start but some become apparent when tethering.

With regard schools, it depends on the setup, but ours was filtered by a school specific isp through a proxy, the techs like myself had a different proxy and port for mostly unrestricted and we had just a different port for the teachers to have access to youtube.

Re:More inconvienient than the average filter. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47510189)

That's the benefit of going through the public school system. Our sysadmins were fairly incompetent when it came to implementing filtering software and the software changed with every change of the school administration. Within three days of implementing a new filter, we had found a way around it.

This was ridiculously easy to do back in the late 90s. Though to be fair, the software wasn't as complex back then, and technology was changing fairly rapidly so it was hard for content filters to keep up.

Re:More inconvienient than the average filter. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47510493)

I am British and it seems that only the big ISPs seem to be forcing porn filters on their customers at present.

Re:More inconvienient than the average filter. (1)

julian67 (1022593) | about 3 months ago | (#47510857)

No you don't have to call in. I'm in UK and have broadband both on landline and on mobile, each on a different ISP (TalkTalk and giffgaff respectively). Here's how I ensured my services are not filtered:

1) log-in to my account page on ISP's website.

2) Look see if "family safe" filter or whatever it's called is enabled. Make sure it isn't (it wasn't enabled by default on my landline but was on by default on my mobile ISP).

3) err, that's it.

It takes less than a minute for the change to take effect. You don't have to spend money, speak to anyone or offer a reason.

When you get past the faux outrage and disingenuous political posturing of people pretending to be injured or outraged what you actually find is a convenient system that allows anyone who has an ISP account to decide for themselves if their guests/children/employees can access p2p/chatrooms/XXX/gaming etc. I run my services unfiltered. Nobody cares.

Re:More inconvienient than the average filter. (1)

jeIIomizer (3670945) | about 3 months ago | (#47511063)

When you get past the faux outrage and disingenuous political posturing of people pretending to be injured or outraged what you actually find is a convenient system that allows anyone who has an ISP account to decide for themselves if their guests/children/employees can access p2p/chatrooms/XXX/gaming etc.

I suggest blocking religious websites by default, and any website which criticizes a certain political party. Would there be outrage then? You bet. But hypocrites don't care if it's stuff they like being blocked by default. It doesn't matter how easy it is to disable the filters; censorship should not be the default.

Re:More inconvienient than the average filter. (0)

julian67 (1022593) | about 3 months ago | (#47511181)

"I suggest blocking religious websites by default, and any website which criticizes a certain political party. Would there be outrage then? You bet."

But this isn't happening. You just invented it. If you want to have a debate you need to examine the facts and then proceed, not invent some stuff and then pretend the invented stuff is real and bad. This is why I mentioned *faux* outrage and *disingenuous* posturing. I should have added infantile foot stamping and bed wetting.

"...censorship should not be the default."

It isn't. Censorship is coercive and non-optional. An ISP's *** OPTIONAL *** filter which is *** ENTIRELY CONTROLLED BY THE ACCOUNT HOLDER *** is not censorship. It's an account option.

On the other hand, all you pseudo-libertarian, unthinking lefties are so fucking inept, stupid and easily led that it probably does seem like and insurmountable obstacle to you. But that's your problem. The rest of us just toggle a switch and are not censored.

Re:More inconvienient than the average filter. (1)

jeIIomizer (3670945) | about 3 months ago | (#47511253)

But this isn't happening. You just invented it.

Of course, you ignorant fool; that was the fucking point. People would be pissed if such a thing happened, and yet they're not when something they don't like (e.g. porn) gets blocked by default. They'd be pissed even if it was trivial to disable.

It isn't. Censorship is coercive and non-optional.

Nothing about the definition of censorship requires that it be coercive or non-optional. For instance, there is something called "self-censorship."

On the other hand, all you pseudo-libertarian, unthinking lefties

I don't see where I claimed to be a libertarian or a leftie. Is your brain so diseased that you can't help but buy into the "left vs right" politics game, something that only ignoramuses participate in?

Re:More inconvienient than the average filter. (0)

julian67 (1022593) | about 3 months ago | (#47511397)

"Nothing about the definition of censorship requires that it be coercive or non-optional. For instance, there is something called "self-censorship"

That is a very desperate rationalisation of a very disingenuous and transparently stupid position.

Censorship by govt or media outlets or other authorities is never optional. Uncle Joe Stalin or Adolf or Pol Pot or King Saud never did ask if you'd prefer it on or off.

I've lived in countries where there is real censorship and harsh penalties for breaking it (or even just trying to). Trying to equate that, on a weak semantic excuse, with ISPs being required to give account holders the *option* to filter XXX/p2p is not only wrong headed but displays incredible conceit and ignorance.

There are real issues with press freedom here in UK, ranging from concentration of media in a few hands to increasing government interference with actual journalists and news organisations. These are very serious dangers. So what do the hipster activists scream about? Mum and Dad might filter their porn so the house doesn't shake to bits from their idiot bearded teenager's one handed nocturnal manipulations. Well done hipsters, you dumb, self absorbed cunts.

Re:More inconvienient than the average filter. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47511523)

hipsters

oh for fucks sake I am really getting annoyed with the overuse of that word. It used to refer to a specific group of people - the affluent urban young people who are always up on the latest trends and fashions.

Apparently nowadays it just means 'someone I don't like'.

Re:More inconvienient than the average filter. (1)

goose-incarnated (1145029) | about 2 months ago | (#47514369)

hipsters

oh for fucks sake I am really getting annoyed with the overuse of that word. It used to refer to a specific group of people - the affluent urban young people who are always up on the latest trends and fashions.

Why bring python programmers into it? :-)

Re:More inconvienient than the average filter. (1)

jeIIomizer (3670945) | about 3 months ago | (#47511651)

Censorship by govt or media outlets or other authorities is never optional.

Once again, you're using "no true Scotsman"-like logic to deny a common usage of a term. It's simply not going to work, no matter how much you don't like how it's used.

But call it whatever you want (an optional filter, censorship, or what have you); having it on by default is garbage, and I noticed you did not respond to the portion where I explained how people would be up in arms if different content were to be targeted, making them hypocrites who just want to 'censor' (filter, or whatever word is pleasing to you) content that they don't like by default.

Censorship by govt or media outlets or other authorities is never optional. Uncle Joe Stalin or Adolf or Pol Pot or King Saud never did ask if you'd prefer it on or off.

No, it wasn't, but that's absolutely irrelevant to the discussion at hand. Words can have *multiple* meanings, and can be used in a myriad of different ways. You're describing one possible way to use the word "censorship," but it is not the only way.

I've lived in countries where there is real censorship and harsh penalties for breaking it (or even just trying to).

Yeah, yeah, yeah. The typical "I've seen worse, so this isn't bad." non sequitur nonsense.

So what do the hipster activists scream about?

Useless buzzword.

Also, it's 100% possible to concentrate on multiple issues. And I do consider it an issue when governments try to get ISPs to censor certain content that they don't like by default, and then use the excuse that it can be turned off to try to silence critics by giving the perception that they are 'whiners.' This would never be accepted for content that is popular to the public, even if you could disable it.

Re:More inconvienient than the average filter. (2)

oobayly (1056050) | about 3 months ago | (#47511877)

I suggest blocking religious websites by default

Well, the stories the tell are loaded with sex and violence, and sometimes they even mix the two together - somebody should tell the Tories & Daily Mail readers, I bet they'd be furious.

Re:More inconvienient than the average filter. (1)

oobayly (1056050) | about 3 months ago | (#47511851)

You can do it online, but it's much more satisfying calling them up and asking them to turn on porn on your mobile phone contract. Added points if you put on a creepy voice when doing so.

Same with a colleague - BMW run a premium rate line to check the specification and service history - and he uses his mobile to do so - it's a business expense. He received a call from Vodafone asking if he knew he was calling a lot of premium rate numbers. His answer? "Oh yes, I like calling those numbers". He's also brilliant when answering cold callers:
* Hello, I'm calling from [company] are you a homeowner?
* Are you calling me a homo - how dare you...

Re:More inconvienient than the average filter. (-1, Troll)

julian67 (1022593) | about 2 months ago | (#47513355)

"You can do it online, but it's much more satisfying calling them up and asking them to turn on porn on your mobile phone contract. Added points if you put on a creepy voice when doing so."

I'd not looked at it quite like this before and thank you for your insight. I realise how timid I'd been up until now :-). Luckily I already have the creepy voice so this actually should be super easy. Since 3G access improved around here I will even be able to make the call from within the shrubbery at the local park.

On the other hand I might join the pseudo-libertarians and whimpering bedwetters. I just want to know how it feels to actually propose and apparently believe an argument that goes:

A: "Waaah! I am being censored and oppressed! Wahh!"

B: "Don't be upset, you're not being oppressed. You can change it whenever you like. Look, it's the switch right here, clearly marked and rght in front of you."

A: "Waaah! I am being censored and oppressed! Wahh!"

B:"Are you OK? Is there someone who looks after you? Perhaps Mummy or Daddy will flick that big nasty switch for you."

A: "Waaah! I am being censored and oppressed! Wahh!"

A: "And I want I ice cream! Waah!"

B:"How many ice creams am I holding up Winston?"

A:"I like strawberry flavour best".

google images insanity (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47512987)

My wife wanted pictures of the virgin Mary. Oh boy.

I had to help her. I started with adding negative search terms like -porn and -sex. Nope. I finally got it after I added stuff like -visa and -mastercard.

insufficient information... (1)

buddyglass (925859) | about 3 months ago | (#47509571)

The vast, vast majority of households that are interested in such filters are those that include minor-aged children. So, to measure uptake you'd want to look at what percentage of those households are opting in.

Re:insufficient information... (1)

0123456789 (467085) | about 3 months ago | (#47509681)

That's part of the tragedy of the ISP filtering though. While the more tech-savvy parents will recognise that the filters are - at best - a partial solution, other parents will be given a false sense of security.

"Christian ISPs" are available. (1)

Animats (122034) | about 3 months ago | (#47509587)

The US has "Christian ISPs" [hisnet.org] , with server side porno filtering. They're very small. And very retro. One has terms [truevine.net] that say they reserve the right to disconnect your dial-up connection after 10 minutes of inactivity.

Re:"Christian ISPs" are available. (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47509651)

Ahh, Christians ... living in the stone ages, both the real one, and the digital one.

Meanwhile I'm sure all of those good Christians are abstaining from everything evil, because Christians are uniformly against that, right?

No molesting of little boys, embezzling, or getting caught snorting cocaine with hookers.

No Christian has ever done that.

Religion, making otherwise smart people into morons for thousands of years.

Fuck your god.

Re:"Christian ISPs" are available. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47510083)

I'm curious how you expect them to police things if anyone can call themselves one and do whatever they like. The Bible says to judge people by their works. By that standard, well...

Besides, I thought it was a Google exec who was doing drugs with hookers lately.

Re: "Christian ISPs" are available. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47514443)

Did you feel all cool & edgy while writing this while jerking off in your feces?

I Chose the Filter for Foul Language (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47509595)

Because I'm gaddamned tired of those motherfucking cocksucking bastards posting that foul language shit all over the fucking internet.

Sounds like TalkTalk... (1)

Lab Rat Jason (2495638) | about 3 months ago | (#47509947)

...has already captured the market on people who have any desire at all to use a filtering service. Good on them for giving the customer what they want.

Sensible response by an ISP (1)

johnw (3725) | about 3 months ago | (#47510105)

Try placing an order for broadband with this ISP:

https://order.aa.net.uk/h1orde... [aa.net.uk]

and choose the "I want a censored connection" option.

Re:Sensible response by an ISP (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47511089)

What does it say?

Re:Sensible response by an ISP (1)

CAPSLOCK2000 (27149) | about 3 months ago | (#47511803)

I guess this is the ISP that says "Sorry, we won't censor your internet, look somewhere else."

Re:Sensible response by an ISP (1)

johnw (3725) | about 2 months ago | (#47513507)

Well, you could click on it for yourself (you don't have to place an order - just click the relevant radio button and then hit submit) but for those who want a short cut, the form then fails field validation with the following message.

"Sorry, for a censored internet you will have to pick a different ISP. Our services are all unfiltered."

Re:Sensible response by an ISP (1)

oobayly (1056050) | about 3 months ago | (#47511919)

I'm a little disappointed that they even ask about filtering - obviously it's something they've been forced to do, which is shit because having to have the ability to filter connections adds to their costs.

I might log onto IRC and ask if they can provide what percentage of customers actually ask for a filtered connection.

B.T. Broadband filter (1)

jafffacake (1966342) | about 3 months ago | (#47511167)

I live in England, and I set up a new British Telecom Broadband internet account for a work colleague recently, 30 dollars a month 8Mb/s unlimited use. Options for the filter were off, low, medium and high. He said "I have kids, put on the maximum filter option please." Two hours later, I receive a phone call "internet explorer(!) won't let me access Facebook." Yup, the filter on the highest setting blocks Twitter and Facebook. He removed the filter then, without even trying the other choices.

I was British once ... (0)

CaptainDork (3678879) | about 2 months ago | (#47512437)

... before my ancestors decided to revolt, but I think there could be some wiggle room for litigation here. (Appreciate that I don't know British law, so I'm applying some American stuff here).

It's sorta like the signs in the parking lot. "Surveillance Cameras In Use," and then a lawyer files a request for footage in a case, and danged if the cameras don't work.

In the matter we have here, what if a kid navigates to a porn site and momma finds out?

Will the ISP be held accountable?

Single Digits? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47512967)

That will be the % of voters who turn out to vote for our current political crop. A plague on ALL their houses (especially the ones bought on expenses).

Seems fairly popular (1)

91degrees (207121) | about 2 months ago | (#47513611)

4% of Virgin's customers is a pretty hefty number of people. We must be talking 10's or hundreds of thousands.

So those who want filters have filters. Those who don't want filters don't have filters.

I seriously don't see a problem here. Far too many slashdotters are so scared of any form of filtering that they object even to entirely voluntary filters, that are demonstrably nowhere near as hard to switch off as they originally claimed.

Re:Seems fairly popular (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47514003)

The problem is the amount of power it gives censors - history has shown us that invariably, items critical of those currently in power start disappearing because they are "indecent". Also social pressure gets applied so that anybody who does not wish to be told what they may or may not view by the government is considered "deviant"

Re:Seems fairly popular (1)

91degrees (207121) | about 2 months ago | (#47514047)

The problem is the amount of power it gives censors

It doesn't. It's voluntary and privately run. The government has no control over it. Cleanfeed is a much bigger concern, but nobody actually seems to care about that.

Also social pressure gets applied so that anybody who does not wish to be told what they may or may not view by the government is considered "deviant"

This clearly isn't happening.

I still think there's a strong possibility that this was intended to satisfy the vocal minority who wanted some sort of ISP level filtering, under the pretence of being a means to satisfy the vocal minority that wanted some sort of ISP level filtering. Anything else increasingly seems like tin-foil hat stuff.

No sex please... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47513685)

...we're British.

It's not about porn; it's about censorship (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47514071)

This content blocking in the UK has been reported for a while by Torrentfreak. http://torrentfreak.com/porn-to-be-blocked-in-the-uk-whats-new-say-pirate-bay-users-130722/

Later they revealed that the ISPs won't just filter out porn: they'll filter out filesharing sites as well many others the government deems unfit for children. http://torrentfreak.com/uk-porn-filter-will-censor-other-content-too-isps-reveal-130726/

As predicted, Torrentfreak wound up on the automatic block list. They are nothing more than a news site and do not link to any kind of infringing material. They report mainly on copyright legislation, lawsuits and whatnot against filesharers, infringing website blocks, etc.

In February 2014 http://torrentfreak.com/wrongly-blocked-websites-to-be-added-to-isp-whitelist-uk-govt-says-140201/ "The controversial website filtering systems operated by the UK's major Internet service providers have wrongfully blocked many sites, this one included, since their introduction in recent months. In response to the problem the government now says it will introduce a website white-list system so innocent domains aren't automatically blocked in future."

Always the same damned excuse: It's for the children!
Always the same damned results: Innocent bystanders get caught in the crossfire.

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