back to article UK 'bad' pics ban to stretch?

The government could be planning to up the ante when it comes to material it doesn't approve of - it may become illegal to even look at images, not merely possess them. Some odd, ambiguous remarks by Keir Starmer, Director of Public Prosecutions, raise this gruesome possibility. Evidence for it emerged from an elliptical …


This topic is closed for new posts.


  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Doesn't this make

    So, say I have a shock site hosting an image that has now become illegal. Can I trick people into visiting, and then forward their IP's to the police?

    Could I, in fact, spam people over and over with illegal pictures from outside of the UK until everyone in the country is a criminal?

  2. Nomen Publicus


    "it may become illegal to even look at images, not merely possess them."

    If that is true, who is ever going to report any such images that they come across on a web page?

    Seems to me such a silly rule iis just another example of government foot shooting.

  3. dervheid

    "criminalising an action that they cannot police"

    Since when did our NuLabourian Overlords let a little thing like that stop them.

    Create the 'crime'.

    Develop the 'detection'.( Whether flawed or not)

    Persecute the unbeliever!

    Sorry, of course I meant "Prosecute the lawbreaker".

    Anybody think that they'll stop at 'bad' pics & vids.

    Me neither.

    All dissent will be quelled with the "those with nothing to hide have nothing to fear" call to the sheeple.

  4. Anonymous Coward

    thought police

    Just put it all in a "thought police" bill and be done with it.

    I like many others, am fed up with this steady drip drip drip of poorly thought out legislation that is eroding every aspect of common sense.

    Most people are good. Lets just be clear on that.

    Legislating for a small minority causes harm, there must be existing laws for criminal activity, and there must be proper debate on issues.... UK 2009 is looking more and more like the church run dictatorships of the dark ages, 500 years ago.

    We only need one new law, that is to have to make a provable case for need, as so many of our new laws are not exactly justified.

  5. Pete Silver badge

    a simple solution

    Just assume that everyone in the country is/was/will-be guilty of some sort of imprisonable offence. By-pass the judicial system completely and incarcerate everyone, possibly under a 42 day "because we say-so" law (and keep rolling it over ad-nauseam). Declare the whole of GB as one, big open prison. We already have the level of monitoring and restrictions in place, so there won't be much change needed.

    If possible, encourage other countries to prosecute brits under their own laws and to imprison them overseas, at their own expense - thus outsourcing part of the legal system. Even go so far as to charge them if the things they are accused of aren't illegal in the UK. Make it known that the british government won't make it difficult (in fact, will probably even help) to extradite people who are even suspected of anything, without asking for any evidence to be presented.

    This sort of process will also allow the govt to collect DNA "evidence" from everyone, to further their aim of knowing everything about us, without having to bother with any nasty new laws that people who obviously have things to hide might object to. By using ever smaller and more dubious quantities of DNA for matching, it should be possible to connect someone with pretty much any crime (if the level of confidence is reduced far enough).

    Even better, since prisoners are not allowed to vote, the next government can be elected by a landslide of the only people who won't be in jail: the MPs themselves!

  6. Neil Hoskins
    Thumb Up


    Please can we have a "sub-heading of the month" competition?

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    ...the next step is now to censor violent imagery, including cartoons and comic books, since anyone who enjoys looking at violent imagery is obviously on a slippery slope to committing a violent act?

    Seriouly though, looking at images of children can act as a sexual relief for those who are unfortunate enough to suffer from the mental illness that is paedophilia.

    When the penalty for looking at an image is so high, they have less to lose by actually abusing a real, live child.

    Make the punishment for looking at cartoon drawings the same as for looking at real images of abuse, and there's no disincentive for those of that mind to progress straight to the more severe crime.

    The next step, no doubt, is to make it illegal to *THINK* about children. Expect compulsory brain implants as part of the National ID Card scheme.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No copy?

    "If someone is watching streaming images online, there would be no actual copy on their computer, so they would not technically be in possession."

    There would, temporarily. Streaming videos are cached on hard disk usually, and there would always be a copy in RAM, otherwise the image wouldn't be able to be displayed.

    Depends on how possession is defined really. Maybe they'd stretch it to the copy that is stored in your brain's memory?

  9. Wize


    'He also confirmed that the law should catch "any pornographic image scrawled on a piece of paper": even, presumably, an image that an individual created for their own use and no other.'

    So no more CDCs anywhere. Thats B3TA stuffed.

    And will all the copies of the Simpsons movie now be recalled?

  10. Pete James

    Bend over for the Judge Mr Starmer

    I seem to recal possession is defined as a factual state of ownership. Streaming simply doesn't fit in that catagory.

    I can foresee several eminent judges dribbling at the idea of sticking this one back up the rectums of the ignorant House with vigour and speed. And yet more of my money is wasted on redundant laws I see little point of in the first place.


  11. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton


    Wouldn't that mean that in order to 'detect', investigating police would have to 'commit'? Can I make a citizen's arrest, or does it only apply to the plebs? In which case, by extension would murder not be murder if the police did it?

    Paris, because soon looking at her bedroom shenanigans maybe be too naughty for the lunatics that 'run' our country.

  12. Doug Glass


    Glad I live in the former colonies.

    Btw.... I'm selling fashion eye filters for just $19.95 each (with lifetime warranty) soon to be seen on the British tele. Got the patent on these babies and they'll be sold alongside our earlier x-ray glasses.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I think

    I'd write something here but I'm now too worried that it would get me on a special watch list of some sort.


    There is no evidence to support the governments opinion, and it is almost unbelivable to think that now not only staged acts of extreme pornography, but also drawings of loli will become the equivellent of own child pornography, and seen as the bar is so low on indecent images (I'm pretty sure having a catalogue of child clothing could land you in the slammer.)

    Oh well, it was always going to happen, this government wants to be seen to be doing things about nothing whilst ignoring very real problems. But here's hoping some extremists succeed where the voters have failed and remove the Labour front bench from the world.

  14. The Fuzzy Wotnot

    Oh heavens

    So as we move all our activities more and more online, with less reliance on static, locally held data, this is going to prove to be some serious fun proving that you did or did not see said image.

    Prove I saw that image on a PC screen through a neighbour's window?

    Bring out the brain scanners and dream recorders! This smells like the work of Wacky J proving once again that she has the technical ability of a two year-old child!

    Utter crap!

  15. Dave Bell

    Rational. but stupid

    I can see where the DPP is coming from. This example is an edge case, and that's better left to the courts than handled hurriedly by confused MPs.

    Never mind that the Government treats MPs like mushrooms.

    But it's stupid. It was prosecutors and judges who decided that downloading an illegal image was "making" an image. It makes the guy with a computer difficult to distinguish from the active predator with a camera.

    Anyway, I mess around with CGI. There are all sorts of subtle cues I recognise. They wouldn't want me on a jury.

    Besides, they might be coming after me for that image of Anubis and Bastet...

  16. Jim
    Dead Vulture

    wow. '84...

    Looks like it's going to become '09 for you guys. only 25 years off.. I suggest a reprint and a manditory read for everyone again.. I'm thinking if it wasn't turned into an ad campaign for apple, the world would be a better place.

  17. Paul

    You are free... do as we tell you! You are free! To do as we tell you!

    Can we please tell the government their job isn't to be our moral compass or mental guardians and just to make sure the fucking bins are emptied and that France et al don't invade?

    Come back, Guy Fawkes!

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Does this apply to real life as well?

    A little while back I left our local pub and as I was passing an alley way I heard a noise. Looking down the alley I saw the waitress fellating a lucky customer. I wandered on not wishing to destroy a romantic moment.

    Now if that same thing happened today am I now a criminal for merely viewing this action? Im pretty sure public sex is still a bit dodgy legally, so does being an unwitting witness make me a criminal? What if, god forbid, the guy was sexually assaulting the young lady....would witnessing a violent sexual attack make me a criminal now?

    Does also viewing an image still count if you dont own the thing making the image? Occasionally at work someone will say 'have a look at this' and show you something funny/dodgy/pornographic on their phone. If that image is illegal am I now a filthy sex offender because I saw it even though I had no prior knowledge of its contents?

    My job often takes me into peoples homes. People have photos on their walls, screen savers etc. What if someone has a picture of their kids playing on the beach naked (like a photo my sister has on her wall). Am i now instantly a deranged peado for seeing it? People have been prosecuted for taking photos of thier own children like that to get processed.

    What about shit they show on TV? if, like during the american superbowl, a TV station was to broadcast porn by mistake, would everyone watching instantly find themselves up before the beak if it was considered to be extreme porn?

    The list of situations could go on ad infinitem. The fuckers just want to criminalise us all. And nobody starts spouting the 'if you have nothing to hide, then you have nothing to fear' bullshit. If this law could be enforced as suggested you dont actually NEED to have anything to hide, simply SEEING could make you a criminal.

    How I despise these fucking morons.

  19. David Roberts
    Black Helicopters


    He also confirmed that the law should catch "any pornographic image scrawled on a piece of paper"

    So, presumably, any image scrawled on 'not paper' as well?

    So, presumably this will include those ill drawn graphic images found on doors and walls inside most public toilets which depict genitalia and some of their uses.

    Can I therefore conclude that scrawling "Mandy is a great shag" on the wall is perfectly acceptable but any pictures added for the hard of reading will contravene the act and render the artist liable to prosecution?

    You would of course need CCTV footage to prove anything........

    .......or will the local Council be liable as they own and maintain the building?

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up


    The whole notion that cartoon images are in anyway like real images is utter shit.

    They don't look anything like real people, it's bulls--- made by stupid ----ing pencil pushers who want to make it look like they have a clue.

    These people are ----ing retarded, I don't know a single lolicon who has any interest in real children, they have no evidence, no facts, just bullshit and a few studies rushed together by a bat shit crazy woman who probably wants all men castrated at birth. Look like a real girl to you? Ever seen anyone on earth who looks anything like that? No! Well ---t that's a ----ing suprise.

    GOD DAMN IT~~~~~~~~~

    And they keep making up bulls--t laws that target people who are in the least likely catagory to commit crimes of any nature.

    Most adult rapes are commited by friends and people the victim knows, not some random guy who beats off to extreme porn in his bed room.

    Most children are abused by parents, family members and close family friends, again not random guys beating off to lolicon in their bed rooms.

    But hell no ---- it lets make something illegal that'll make no difference at all to the real world just so we can look good in the newspapers that feed shit to the retarded masses that vote.

    Jesus christ I hate them so much that the rage is almost blinding.

    And I hate society for being so f---ing lame.

  21. Giles Jones Gold badge


    If looking at disturbing images makes you disturbed then surely the Police and people who do jury service are really messed up?

    The internet was a real liberator years ago. It will soon be censored, filtered and highly commercialised (it's getting there, just needs big corps to effectively own parts of it).

  22. Wade Burchette
    Thumb Down

    The beginning of the end

    Does anyone really think that once a government has such a power that they will be satisfied with it and never expand it? Here in the States, the Democrats who are now in power are pushing what they call the "Fairness Doctrine", although it is anything but. Apparently, the Democrats are none too happy that only Republican radio stations are successful. So, instead of letting the market decide like a good capitalist should, they rather do the communist thing and control what is said and call it "fair". Oh, they are pushing it hard. But here is the thing, it won't stop there. They will expand it. "And many strokes, though with a little axe, can hew and fell the hardest timbered oak", wrote Shakespeare. It is one of my favorite quotes. If all the rights were gone overnight, people would notice and stop it. But little by little, they chop away at the rights, until they are gone and nobody noticed.

    We are witnessing the beginning of the end. If these laws pass, write that date down. Because that will be the date each country traded freedom for oppression.

  23. Lukin Brewer

    Think of the conviction rate.

    Scene: police interview room.

    Knuckles: You got nothing on me, copper!

    Officer: Oh yeah? Take a look at this, Knuckles. (he puts a child porn photo on the table in front of Knuckles)

    Knuckles: (looks) Oh you slaaaaaag!

    Officer: Ha! Bang to rights! I am charging you with viewing child porn. Take him to the cells! And bring in that suspect who was heckling the Home Secretary next!

  24. fishman


    You could expand this to movies, TV shows, and books about people commiting crimes - not only could they incite people to commit crimes, but also teaches them how to do it to avoid getting caught. So, using their thinking those should be banned, too.

    It looks like the UK is becoming a far worse place than the US under Bush ever was.

  25. A J Stiles

    Are ASCII images illegal?

    Here's a naughty ASCII art image:


    We're all criminals now!

  26. michael

    dont look now


    certain seans in the vid will defentley be caught in the law but they are BBFC ed and on sale??

    did anybody point that out to our glorious parliamentary overlords?

  27. Piggy and Tazzy

    Dear gawd

    Why don't the fuckers just tag, chip, barcode and gouge our eyes out at birth and be done with it?

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @The beginning of the end

    Actually I think we're seeing the End of the Begining, in the UK at least, they've gone from CP to Photorealistic CP to Extereme Porn to Drawn Loli and I expect to drawn extreme porn. Also at the same time possesing or providing information that may be of aid to terrorists. Gathering data that may be of use to terrorists, and detention without charge. Also extordinary rendition, and reducing benefits for those who don't spend money in a way the government sees as sensible,

    That I feel is the end of the begining, we're well onto the wedge now, I suspect next will be hardcore porn, violence involving children and exposing children to images of an extreme violent nature.

    Maybe they'll take a look back at getting ammendments to the laws around insulting religion again see if they can't get their origonal version through (making it illegal to say anything bad about another religion, including both satire and intelligent criticism.)

    Again, taking action on rubbish whilst ignoring the real problems.

    We're at the end of the beginning they have alot more to do before they're satisfied that society is safe from itself.

    Life without risk is no life at all, and a life in a place of perfect safety is no better then a life in a cage.

  29. Chika
    Gates Horns

    @Giles Jones

    "...just needs big corps to effectively own parts of it."

    They don't?

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Prison time for hit and run witnesses

    Hit and run is bad, but catching the driver is difficult. So let's arrest the witnesses to a hit and run, they are easier to prosecute. That way we've satisfied our election pledge that every crime will be punished and the victims mum in her emotional state will have someone to blame. Bad witness to a crime, bad!

    Yeh, because, seeing something is the same as doing something, even if that something is fiction or even not a crime, or even a fictional cartoon of not a crime.

    See a murder on a crime show? You bad person, go to jail. See a murder on a cartoon show? You bad person, go to jail.

    Thus we protect the UK from evil people like you.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    We need a...

    ...V for Vendetta icon on the Reg cos any more of this utter shit is going to push us all in that direction...

    Fucking interferring, nanny-state, wanking morons....

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Didn't I read somewhere that ACPO had said they wouldn't be policing the posession law? If that is the case then what do the government hope to achieve by extending a law that isn't policed in the first place?

  33. Rob


    well firstly, in order to view the image in the first place, surely it helps for the image in question to be downloaded to a computer, at least to ram, y'know, so you can fking see the thing?!? these people seem to think I can obtain digital images from a web server, without actually downloading them....?, news to me, i must stop paying for an 'unlimited' connection to the internet when i can use the net without even needing to utilise my bandwidth, amazing!! I had no idea!!

    secondly, if its streaming, and I didn't have to do anything to request that specific image, who's to say I actually wanted to see it? are you seriously suggesting the equivilent of arresting me because someone flashed a picture in front of my eyes, what if I found the image just as offensive as anyone else? Surely the crime is the fact it was shown to me without my prior consent (if someone streaks at a football match do you arrest the streaker or the crowd?!, ERM DUH!!!!!?? W.T.F)

    If this kind of thing continues to get out of hand it is going to bring about an EXTREME state of unrest in society until everyone in the whole country just gets together in the middle of london and gives them all a nice big collective F-OFF

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    @Paul, RE: You are free...

    You sir owe me a new keyboard!!

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    We really need to get organised against censorship - we need IRL protests, regularly, and a well made website set up specifically to give information and help people campaign against censorship.

  36. Graham Marsden
    Thumb Down

    "they would be criminalising an action that they cannot police...

    ... which is not good law-making practice"

    Since when has *that* stopped this bunch of Nanny State idiots?

    @Doesn't this make...

    Good idea: create a new form of RickRolling whereby we trick MPs into clicking on a link that leads to an "illegal image", then, as soon as they do, we log their IP address and call the Police!

    We could call it Prick Rolling...

    Meanwhile, of course, building on a law that has no legitimate basis, our Control Freak Government wants to extend that to make it illegal to look at anything not "State Approved" and another precious Civil Liberty is whittled away a bit further :-(

  37. steogede

    Third Way

    > He replied: "It would be for the courts to interpret the meaning of possession. We would

    > proceed on the basis that there should be no such loophole."


    > Mr Starmer’s reply can be interpreted in two ways: (from the article)

    I would like to offer up a third interpretation. What I believe Mr Starmer is actually trying to say is - "We're the Government, we only make-up the laws, we leave it to the Judiciary and the CPS to actually write the laws and make all the important decisions".

    Much of our law is written in case law and there have been occasions in the past a single Magistrate (district judge) has made a ruling which contradicts the intent of the legislators (which can be seen by leafing through Hansard to see the debates they had and the changes they made when drafting the legislation). Take for example

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters


    I just wonder what the hell the goverment is smoking sometimes and how these stupid idea's get carried forward after said idiot has dreamed it up, as it seems if a flashers exposese himself to anyone not only does he get arrested but the victim also gets nicked for seeing the obscene act in a public place.

    If this is all they do to justify there jobs then I have a job suggestion - Anyone who has access to or is thinking about buying a pen, pencil, pot of paint, paint brush, paper, computer, camera, scanner, TV, video camera or is even married can be arrested for the potential production of hard core illegal pornographic material. Where the hell will this bullshit stop!

    Black helicopter as it will soon be banned as it could be flying over a house were people are having sex.

  39. Alexander

    who watches the watchman

    we really need a change of how the internet is policed and it should not be done by independent governments, as the internet pays no attention to lines in the sand that we call international borders.

    Where is our current government leading us ....into a fascist state that dictates to it's people, add this in with the stupid anti terror laws , I have got why don’t we all go back to radio it was a lot safer then!!

    I am with Monty Brewster "NONE OF THE ABOVE” what is the point of my vote if it only can choose which twisted group ner-do wells dictate my life to me, representation by these morons is not democracy and never has been,

    Democracy is where i get to vote on the laws that effect me and stop these glorified lobbyists which seems to be what politicians are these days.

    We the people......

  40. Anonymous Coward


    'He also confirmed that the law should catch "any pornographic image scrawled on a piece of paper": even, presumably, an image that an individual created for their own use and no other.'

    Does that mean every child (or adult) that doodles boobs or a penis etc. would be a sex offender?

    Here is a check list for our overlords that should protect everyone:

    1) ban sex education ('pornographic' images in text books), in fact lets ban sex altogether (we will reproduce via test tubes)

    2) ban health education ('pornographic' images in text books)

    3) ban medical training ('pornographic' images in text books)

    4) ban pornography/smut altogether in any medium

    5) ban art that contains any part or whole of a human body

    7) ban thinking about sex/human body

    8) blind everyone at birth

    There, that should cover it.

  41. Peyton

    @wow. '84...

    I think the problem is people are familiar with 1984... but they seem to be taking it as a "howto", not a warning.

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I would assume

    That for "looking at a dodgy image" to be an offence the prosecution would have to prove intent.

    Still a stupid law building on stupid laws by stupid people trying to get the Daily Mail vote.

    Personally I don't like violence themed porn, I like my naked women to look like women and I have no interest in cartoons / graphic novels of any type, but even I can see the slippery slope to puritanism.

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Oldthinkers unbellyfeel Ingsoc

    This oldthink is ungood. You must report to the Thinkpol speedwise. A goodtime in a joycamp will stop all sexcrime or all mans will have unhope. The blackopters (illustration) will find you and knife you out.

    --Just practicing newspeak, that's all.

  44. this

    They're not really making laws

    they're just SENDING MESSAGES

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Perfect example of Hegellian Principle in action...

    THE HEGELIAN PRINCIPLE: It's a simple principle. It has only three steps:

    * Step one: CREATE A "PROBLEM": Create it or take one that does exist and build it up out of all proportion to its real importance;

    * Step Two: PUBLICIZE THE "PROBLEM": Make sure a story about this problem appears in the news media each and every day, in newspapers, news magazines, radio, and television. Hit it again and again in a "steady drumbeat" that soon has people who don't pay real attention to politics (which is the majority of them) clamoring for a "solution" to the problem;

    * Step Three: OFFER A "SOLUTION": A solution that takes away one or more of our rights and further undermines the constitutional protections we all are supposed to enjoy. One that involves higher taxes (to pay for this "solution," of course), and one we would not have allowed them to do without this previous conditioning of the public.

  46. Dick Emery


    For that encrypted VPN tunel. But I bet soon that will be made illegal and blocked in some way at the ISP (Read: Government endorsed filter).

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Any image?

    "any pornographic image scrawled on a piece of paper"?

    1) Any pornographic image or just extreme/child images?

    2) So this is now illegal (asuming it renders right) -


    -- + --


    |¬ 0

    /\ +

    / \ /\

    Hooray for freedom.

  48. Anonymous Coward

    But wait..

    If you happen to be an MP or sit in the lords, I assume you'll have a free pass or something that means you're exempt for being punished for such things?

    Ya know in russia during the stalin period the sight of a womans figure, even dressed in anything other than a boiler suit. Was considered counter revolutionary and not promoting the right communist message. The fact that you even attempt to associate a womans body with communist ideals shows how warped you must be to even say that.

    These people are complete muppets. They should be removed from power forcibly if necessary for the good of the nation. No need to wait for an election.

  49. Anonymous Coward

    damn you reg ;-)

    Better go turn myself in ;-)

  50. Dave

    strict liability *shudder*

    A law that the police wont understand, a file sent to a CPS who wont understand it, to be decided on by a Director who wont understand it, arraigned before a judge who wont understand it and tried by a jury who will think "pervert" and convict on sight.

    No wonder it has to be an offence of strict liability!

    Which for me is more sinister than all the CCTV and databases in the world. Strict liability seems to be an increasingly common short cut for the government (and I haven't been paying attention to see if the Tories did it as well) to pass broad sweeping and poorly thought out legislation.

    As for streaming/possession my interpretation would be that while the stream was being viewed the viewer is possessing it, even as pixels on their screen. But then you're talking about viewing and possessing being the same res gestae - "two bites of the cherry" which unless the burden of proof is different, i.e. viewing for the purpose of gratification versus the strict liability of possession its a bit moot.

    If the law was such that the CPS had to prove an INTENT to produce the images for the purposes of sexual gratification then that would make sure it was used only in the most severe and appropriate cases and would, in one simple step, protect those who are genuine artists.


This topic is closed for new posts.

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022