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Ed Vaizey calls for mandatory filth filter

Ed Vaizey calls for mandatory filth filter

Communications minister Ed Vaizey will ask ISPs to implement a mandatory pornography filter.

UK ISPs are set to meet with government officials next week to discuss plans for a mandatory pornography filter on all Internet connections - a proposal that's already been attacked from various sides.

The idea of an opt-out blacklist of pornographic content was put forward by communications minister Ed Vaizey this week in an interview with The Sunday Times. During the interview, Vaizey explained that he was looking for ISPs to 'get their acts together so we don't have to legislate.' He also added that 'we are keeping an eye on the situation and we will have a new communications bill in the next couple of years.'

The move, which the government argues is less about censorship and more about protecting children from accidentally stumbling upon adult content, would see ISPs implementing mandatory filtering of all adult content. As such, paying customers would be expected to call and request an unfiltered connection if they wanted to access blocked content; something that many would be too embarrassed to consider.

The plans have been met with scorn from ISPs and civil rights groups alike. Trefor Davies, chief technology officer of ISP Timicio, is quoted by the BBC as stating that it's 'technically not possible to completely block this stuff,' owing to the sheer volume of material on the Internet. 'You end up with a system that's either hugely expensive and a losing battle because there are millions of these sites, or it's just not effective.'

Meanwhile, civil rights campaigners at the Open Rights Group argue that the problem is about moral culpability, rather than technical feasibility. Chairman Jim Killock warns that an anti-porn blacklist is simply 'generalised censorship through the back door.'

With representatives from major UK ISPs due to meet with the government to discuss the plans next week, only time will tell if the UK is hell-bent on getting its very own equivalent of the Great Firewall of China.

Do you think children need to be protected from adult material using this method, or is the government sticking its beak in where it doesn't belong? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

35 Comments

Discuss in the forums Reply
Bridaggs 22nd December 2010, 08:34 Quote
I see only one solution... I'm going to have to view a life times supply of pr0n in the next couple of days just in case.

On a more serious note though. This won't really go through and wouldn't a better, more viable solution be to provide free "net-nanny" software.
Bindibadgi 22nd December 2010, 09:05 Quote
Ahh, so this is Australia's payback is it? We shipped them all our convicts years ago and now they ship back ****, nanny-state ideas to regulate the internet in the guise of "protecting the children".

It's the all new "Internet 3.0", as designed by Aussies, Chinese, Venezuelans, Iranians, Indonesians and Middle Eastern Arab states...

Enjoy that everyone. I'll stay out here in Taiwan - a country that's only really had democracy a fraction of the time the UK has, but still has more freedoms than you. :p /salt in wound. /rant (sorry)
Mattmc91 22nd December 2010, 09:07 Quote
Meow, Bindi.
DocWolfe 22nd December 2010, 09:15 Quote
Ed Vaizy is an imbecile. Does he really think this will solve all our problems? Children's use on the internet should be monitored by responsible adults. Maybe this this the problem? The lack of the responsible parents.

Why don't we take children away from their parents, hook them up on ventilators and IV drips and keep them in a closet until they reach the age of 18?
yakyb 22nd December 2010, 09:26 Quote
the internet is a difficult issue, for the most part it should not be regulated


but then child porn needs to be cracked down upon
Piracy needs to be attacked


i agree with DocWolfe where are the responsible parents here (the govenment?).

there is nothing illegal about porn, so why is this bloke trying to block it.

why not move all porn onto the XXX domain i.e. www(dot)porn(dot)XXX then it would be incredibly simple to block this ata a router level any porn site not keeping to this would be fined.

frankly i think facebookand other more commonly mistaken as innocent media outlets, do more harm to kids than any porn site
ev1lm1nd666 22nd December 2010, 09:26 Quote
with so much free family safety software on the net already it's easy as hell to stop your kids going onto these sites. most even allow you to track where your kids go online and how much time they are on each web site. instead of pissing around with ideas that will cripple the net, how about they work on getting us some of the money back they used to bail out the banks or - and i know this will be a shocking idea for them - get some bloody gritters out on the sodding roads and get the bleeding country out!

rant over :/
warejon9 22nd December 2010, 09:28 Quote
This is just rediculous, it has been mentioned on other sites as is bonkers. Most people will be too embarrased to phone up, and also then people will be shuned for "wanting adult content". What this article missed is that there is some statistic that people as young as 9 have seen porn, lame parents? This surely is just a ploy to start censorship, next they'll have "terrorist" sites blocked. If they did want to do it why not have an, if you don't want adult content opt in?
Bindibadgi 22nd December 2010, 09:35 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mattmc91
Meow, Bindi.

I make my entire livelihood through the internet, I get extremely defensive about it. Between this and the Digital Economy legislation brought in earlier in the year, the UK internet is going down the pan :(

I'm still proud to be British but people like Ed V make me rage because you can't do ANYTHING about their power trips. Try to protest it? The police call you a criminal and hit you with sticks..

Yaky - Two things: We should be free to bring up our kids as we please and as adults should be given the liberty to decide to run filters etc. Educate us, but let us make our own choices.

The other is the fact it's the thin end of the wedge: It gets passed into law under the guise of "for the children" and then gets abused by those who twist it to their own ends. Maybe not this government, but probably the next and so on.
yakyb 22nd December 2010, 09:38 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by warejon9
This surely is just a ploy to start censorship, next they'll have "terrorist" sites blocked.


i see the inverted commas there so know that you actually mean any site deemed controversial to a point where the government feel uneasy about it

which leads me to anon, (yeah yeah rules 1+2) but should this be blocked? they actively pursue illegal activities there is the occasional CP which would only move elsewhere, (does moot log all of this and provide ip's of people posting it by the way? it goes against anon but morally and legally he should do)

it can be funny but for the most part is what it proclaims an internet hate machine should the government close this down? (personally i think no)
Wazzup? 22nd December 2010, 09:44 Quote
Police and laws do not stop 100% of robberies, should we drop them?
Traffic cameras and speed cameras ands Booze Busses with many controls do not 100% stop drink driving, time to give up on all of those?
Customs controls do not 100% stop illegal imports, should do away with all of them?
Policing, alarms, vicious dogs and high fences do not 100% stop house break-ins, do away with all of those as well?
Ad infinitum...

Which naive fool really believes that we should only have laws and controls in our society when they can prove to be 100% effective? We would all be out of a job...

What's the issue? That less porn is available and reachable? Asfor the argument that porn is not illegal, well that depends on where and how it is accessible.

Porn is not allowed to be displayed openly in newsagents, no one screams human rights on that one, or claims it should be open and parents should control that kids do not view it.

That would be naive and farcicial...

@yakyb: Jus cos one thing is worse than another does not mean one or the other is OK. Too much porn clogging up the intertubz today - start and end of story. It will still be there for the folks that want some, just like going to a porn movie in a cinema - still gotta buy a ticket.

@bridaggs: Mobile phone computing can only be filtered via carrier based apps, not with a NetNanny... And most of those client filters really do cripple speed - telco based filters are much faster. We have installed both here and the ISP based stuff is wayyyyy better...
Mattmc91 22nd December 2010, 09:59 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by yakyb
i see the inverted commas there so know that you actually mean any site deemed controversial to a point where the government feel uneasy about it

which leads me to anon, (yeah yeah rules 1+2) but should this be blocked? they actively pursue illegal activities there is the occasional CP which would only move elsewhere, (does moot log all of this and provide ip's of people posting it by the way? it goes against anon but morally and legally he should do)

it can be funny but for the most part is what it proclaims an internet hate machine should the government close this down? (personally i think no)

What use has 4chan actually got though?
BRAWL 22nd December 2010, 10:12 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mattmc91
What use has 4chan actually got though?

Fairly sure that isn't the issue there. Either way 4chan doesn't do anything illegal so please give me a reason it should be blocked.

Thing is, porn isn't illegal. Just because parents can't be bothered to teach their kids that 18+ means 18+ doesn't mean the big bad government needs to step in.

as already said this is just step one of internet censorship.

Best of luck to them implimenting such a a god awful system....
dactone 22nd December 2010, 10:21 Quote
i bet he got caught jacking one off by the wife and now shes demanded all porn of the web or no fun time with her.
B1GBUD 22nd December 2010, 10:34 Quote
'generalised censorship through the back door.'

Must.....resist..... too.... many.... jokes
Holbroom 22nd December 2010, 11:02 Quote
Its the parents responsibility to create internet restrictions to protect their children, thats why the feature is built in to browsers!! its got nothing to do with the government.
alastairfk13 22nd December 2010, 11:06 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by DocWolfe
Ed Vaizy is an imbecile. Does he really think this will solve all our problems? Children's use on the internet should be monitored by responsible adults. Maybe this this the problem? The lack of the responsible parents.

Why don't we take children away from their parents, hook them up on ventilators and IV drips and keep them in a closet until they reach the age of 18?

Yeah this all comes down to parents who don't get involved with their kids and think they can just stick their kids in front of a computer and leave them alone. Vaizey is an idiot as is Mandelson and his Comrades. The nanny state is crippling the country, no wonder we're lagging behind the rest of the world. Hell, I visit porn sites from time to time and whenever I admit to it I get odd looks, like what are you some kind of sex beast? Actually I'm a tax paying citizen of the UK who can make up his own mind as to what he wants to see. This is just communism under another name and it will all be pushed through under the guise of protecting the children. Your children will grow up terrified of making a move without government approval. But that's what you wanted wasn't it? Millions of little worker ants? :(
Almightyrastus 22nd December 2010, 11:29 Quote
How about parents actually, oh I don't know.... parenting?

Taking an interest in what their kids are doing, monitoring what they do and educating them on the dangers. Ignorance is no excuse.
Uno1_ 22nd December 2010, 11:35 Quote
I'm from Australia, where this has obviously been a very lively topic. In my view, censorship of the internet is as abhorrent as censorship of any other medium would be. I believe that it is proposed and supported by good, kind-hearted generous people, who have good and noble intentions, but that it is ultimately poisonous.

For example, if Mr Vaizey wanted to protect children from terrorist propaganda, should all mention of Sea Shepherd be removed from the internet? They are a terrorist organisation, according to several countries.

If Mr Vaizey wanted to protect children from race crime, should the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr be removed from the internet? It was a race crime, and led to waves of race riots.

If Mr Vaizey wanted to protect children from information on how to commit a crime, should websites discussing euthanasia be removed from the internet? Assisted suicide is a criminal act in both of our countries.

If Mr Vaizey wants to protect children from child pornography, should the photo of Phan Thị Kim PhĂșc be removed from the internet? It may have changed the course of a war.

I am certain that he has the best of intentions at heart. However, I would contend that given the examples above, it is easy for censorship to become a chimera that denies history and silences debate. There are things that must not be forgotten, and topics that we as a society must be free to discuss, and to blindly erase them hurts those very same children we wish to protect.
leveller 22nd December 2010, 11:36 Quote
Hold on, isn't he talking about making the porn 'opt-out'? That means that parents tell their ISP "no porn thanks" and if the system works then no porn gets delivered?

Sounds great to me as long as it works. It also means I might get some work done ...
DocWolfe 22nd December 2010, 11:46 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by leveller
Hold on, isn't he talking about making the porn 'opt-out'? That means that parents tell their ISP "no porn thanks" and if the system works then no porn gets delivered?

Sounds great to me as long as it works. It also means I might get some work done ...

No it's opt-in.
DocWolfe 22nd December 2010, 11:48 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by DocWolfe
Quote:
Originally Posted by leveller
Hold on, isn't he talking about making the porn 'opt-out'? That means that parents tell their ISP "no porn thanks" and if the system works then no porn gets delivered?

Sounds great to me as long as it works. It also means I might get some work done ...

No it's opt-in.

Sorry to make this clear - if you want porn then you have to opt-out.
yakyb 22nd December 2010, 11:53 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by BRAWL
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mattmc91
What use has 4chan actually got though?
Either way 4chan doesn't do anything illegal so please give


well anon claimed responsibility for for the DDOS attacks on the credit cards recently

they also pursue the same attacks on Minecraft in the last month

i would say they are illegal

if a website helped teach terrorists attack things would you not want it removed?

but then they also helped find the woman who put the cat in the bin didnt they?
1isnotanumber 22nd December 2010, 11:53 Quote
Kids get switched on to soft porn at an early age - he should ban explicit music videos.
While he is at it what about the late night "chat" channels on TV.
What's to stop people torrenting files down anyhow ????
leveller 22nd December 2010, 11:57 Quote
opt-in ... opt-out ... it's the same either way you look at it. If you want it, you can have it, you just have to let your ISP know either way.

Am I right?

Big drama? No.
Unknownsock 22nd December 2010, 12:25 Quote
So I'm going to have to ring up my ISP to ask them to remove a filter so i can quite obviously watch pr0n.
That's gonna be fun.
This is wrong at so many levels.

I never have and never will believe in censorship.
shanky887614 22nd December 2010, 12:35 Quote
the problem is not that they are filtering this, the problem is what they will do next, the internet is not owned by anyone, the internet is just a network of many millions of computers conected together and the only reason we pay for an internet conection is becasue its cheaper than running a cable to everywhere we want to accses

ill repeat a coment from tomshardware

a man goes to apply for a job he passes

crb check: passed criminel record:passed p0rn check:failed
huey2000 22nd December 2010, 12:48 Quote
This is a very poor system being proposed by someone who clearly has no idea about what is already available to parents.

I believe the responsibility should always lie with the parent and government policy should concentrate on educating parents rather than imposing blanket censorship on the entire nation.

For people who take the time to learn how to protect their children online, many will know about net nanny software etc. There are also other systems such as 3rd party DNS servers (OpenDNS for example) who will provide this level of filtering with a free account. No only blocking porn but hatred websites, violence and any other website that the parent deems unacceptable for their child. Locking Google image and video search to strict filtering also dramatically reduces the risk of a child happening upon inappropriate content.

A compromise for the government would perhaps be to ask ISP's to include these filtering options on their connection settings pages so customers could select whether they want the ISP to filter their content or not.
Woodspoon 22nd December 2010, 13:48 Quote
Surely they've got the idea the wrong way round?
If you want your line filtered because of kids then phone your ISP for it, NOT phone your ISP if you want it un filtered.
That way round would make more sense to me if you 100% absolutley had to have a filter.
But filters are bad mmmmkay.
eddtox 22nd December 2010, 15:12 Quote
Fail. Censorship is bad, for so many reasons. The more of these stories come out, the more I want to start my own ISP.
SaNdCrAwLeR 22nd December 2010, 16:25 Quote
what happened to Parent Filter systems?

either that or signing up with netnanny or other services?

should the public in whole have to suffer with these blocks just because parents don't care to educate themselves enough to know how to make sure their kids don't "stumble upon" (see what I did there?) on these sites?

however if a kid is able to unlock these, I'm pretty sure he's old enough to watch porn... or is at least... "in that age"
Nutyy 22nd December 2010, 18:13 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by SaNdCrAwLeR
what happened to Parent Filter systems?

either that or signing up with netnanny or other services?

should the public in whole have to suffer with these blocks just because parents don't care to educate themselves enough to know how to make sure their kids don't "stumble upon" (see what I did there?) on these sites?

however if a kid is able to unlock these, I'm pretty sure he's old enough to watch porn... or is at least... "in that age"

I totally agree with you there apart from i didnt "See what you did there" :(
TheUn4seen 22nd December 2010, 18:23 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bindibadgi


(...)Between this and the Digital Economy legislation brought in earlier in the year, the UK internet is going down the pan :(

I'm still proud to be British but people like Ed V make me rage because you can't do ANYTHING about their power trips. Try to protest it? The police call you a criminal and hit you with sticks..

Yaky - Two things: We should be free to bring up our kids as we please and as adults should be given the liberty to decide to run filters etc. Educate us, but let us make our own choices.

The other is the fact it's the thin end of the wedge: It gets passed into law under the guise of "for the children" and then gets abused by those who twist it to their own ends. Maybe not this government, but probably the next and so on.

This is the smartest and most accurate comment I have seen on bit-tech in a long time.
Clarissa 5th February 2011, 14:13 Quote
I'm going to write to Ed Vaizey about this proposal, setting out reasons why it should be avoided. I'd also like to write to the various ISPs, does any body here know how I go about contacting these and, in particular, getting my letter through to the right person rather than just the customer service desk?
Thanks
leveller 6th February 2011, 20:16 Quote
I would prefer all porn to be banished to www.goatporn.XXX, and allow customers to request ISPs to restrict .XXX domains.
Pete J 6th February 2011, 20:20 Quote
Isn't blocking porn the cause of the Egyptian riots?...
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