back to article demands 999 ads on social networking sites

Social networking websites could be forced to advertise the 999 emergency number under government plans to make the internet a safer place for kids to surf. According to the Daily Telegraph, which obtained a copy of the Home Office’s draft guidance, the likes of MySpace and Facebook may soon be required to display ads for the …


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  1. Tanuki
    Thumb Down

    999 ? How quaint.

    This shows just how out of touch government types are. 999 is so utterly last-millennium and Dixon-of-Dock-Green era - it's the emergency-services equivalent of standing in the street blowing a police-whistle or looking for a TARDIS-style box with a blue light on top.

    Apart from the impossibility of requiring social networking services based outside the UK to carry such ads, surely if you *could* engineer this you'd be far better to advertise 112 [the Europe-wide emergency services number which also works on all mobile phones].

  2. Mike Crawshaw

    2 points....

    1. Is "999" such a hard number to remember that they need to advertise it???

    2. If a kid calls 999 and says "I think this man's trying to get me to go to his house and see some puppies" then are 999 going to:

    A: immediately send round police with sirens wailing

    B: tell him to ring someone else (e.g. social services, 101, local police station etc) as it's not actually an "emergency" requiring immediate attendance?

    My money's on B.

    Yet another bullshit "initiative" from the idiots at that won't actually achieve anything aside from our taxes going up in smoke for meetings about it.

  3. Rhyd

    There's already a catchy ad...

    it goes 0118 999 881 999 119 7253

  4. Len Mackin

    It's all so desperately depressing

    I agree with the two comments above. This is just another example of the Government trying to desperately look on top of things and pander to those who haven't a clue. Utterly hopeless.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Where is that darn plot, I know I left it there somewhere...

    Kind of sounds like they've lost the plot there. Nothing they can say to you can harm you, it's when you go giving out private details that things get a bit funny and they can come round and get all stabby on you.

    So an advert warning them to not hand out private data to total strangers even if they have a plausible story would seem to be more sensible. Don't go giving our your home address kids and even your telephone number may not be so wise.

    You could run the ad on social networking sites and also on the DVLA's corporate webserver to remind DVLA staff not to go handing out private information to total strangers even if they have a plausible story and a company called 'parking is Us'.

    But then we're back to privacy as a *good* thing again, and HMGov seems determined not to teach kids the value of protecting their privacy. Even though its one and the same problem, they need to learn that protecting their information is protecting themselves.

  6. wibbilus maximus


    999 is the emergency number in the UK. Although (apparently) 112 does work from the uk, people don't use it because it is NOT OUR EMERGENCY NUMBER!!

    The vast majority of people in this country want nothing to do with Europe.

    On the subject of the topic though, Goverments need to stop trying to impose there own laws and regulations on International sites. NO emergency number should be on the webpages, but it should be common sense for facebook and myspace to include a link to their support/abuse department for that reason.

  7. Anigel

    999 yea right

    Well with the performance I have seen from 999 I guess they will just say thanks for calling we will get someone to phone you back in a week to take a statement from you goodbye

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Okay did this get held over from yesterday?

    'It also found that 34 per cent of 16 to 24-year-olds were happy to give out sensitive personal details including their mobile number and, or, email addresses.'

    So the New Labour Net Nanny is appalled that millions of people are sending personal information to unaccountable organisations where that data might be misused, lost or stolen?

    Imagine Jacqui Smith's reaction if someone suggested that it would soon be compulsory for people to hand personal information to an unaccountable organisation where that data might be misused, lost or stolen!

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why 999...

    As mentioned a bit before, 999 is for emergencies... someone saying they want to rub you up and down is hardly life and death.

    Why not use this to promote the other number (there was one right?) for minor incidents?

    Or even still, promote the frigging national police number which I still cannot remember. My local number being cut off suddenly because the amount of information on the actual change over was rubbish.

    Anyways, kids on an internet site.... they see 999 everywhere... I think it will incite pranks, or for kids to target innocent people (other kids and/or adults) as a joke/grudge.

    Maybe the bloke thought the kid was actually looking for puppies!

  10. Stuart
    Paris Hilton

    @wibbilus maximus

    Plenty of people use 112 instead of 999. It makes a great deal of sense to use the same number as the rest of Europe. It _is_ our number because we _are_ part of the EU.

    I would have guessed you'd love to be a part of Europe, especially since you seem to be having so much trouble with the English language.

    Paris because it's the capital of France, which is in Europe. ;)

  11. Matt


    Nicely put!

    For the rest: Agreed another "we've lost the plot" idea from our beloved leaders.

  12. Darren Winter
    Paris Hilton

    As if they're going to investigate...

    ... a call from a nine year old saying that they think someone fancies them!

    The police don't investigate actual crimes, like theft, breaking and entering, vandalism or muggings, so I hardly see them bothering with this.

    Paris, because she's rich enough to follow Frankie's advice and Arm The Unemployed. If they're hanging around doing nothing, they may as well be a vigilante army!

  13. Anonymous Coward

    Life or death

    Well after calling 999 twice in two years, and being told that I should call the police switchboard instead because it wasn't a matter of life or death I hardly think this is appropriate.

    1st time, was after I was assaulted by a lunatic neighbour who then threatened to come back with his entire family and beat the crap out of me.

    2nd time, was when I saw a man being attacked by a car/drive - reversing back and forwards and racing round the streets quite obviously trying to run him over.

    As for calling 999 when you have a burglar actually in the house next door, saw him enter and could hear him ripping the place apart, dont bother.

    All this with a main police station 200 yards up the road.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    mis-read title

    "..a copy of the Home Office’s draft guidance"

    I read that as "Daft guidance"... seems more appropriate to me

  15. g e

    >> @Tanuki

    I'd rather be something to do with Europe than something to do with the USA which seems to be the only other option bearing in mind that Britain isn't exactly British any more in so many ways it makes something of a nonsense to try and fool ourselves we still have a national identity (cheers, New Labour).

    History. Culture. There's two nobrainer reasons for a kickoff. So. I'd rather be something to do with Europe.

    By absolute fucking lightyears.

    Try asking anyone you know if they think it'd be better for UK to be another state of the US or a fully integrated EU member state, won't be too many decades before one or the other must happen.

  16. David Pollard

    Government success?

    "...34 per cent of 16 to 24-year-olds were happy to give out sensitive personal details including their mobile number and, or, email addresses."

    It looks as though the 'done nothing wrong, nothing to fear' message is getting through then.

  17. Spleen


    A couple of weeks ago there was a feel-good story about a toddler who rang 999 when his mum collapsed and managed to get the emergency services. I think he may have been as young as 2, he certainly wasn't school age. And the government thinks that web-savvy teenagers need to be told what the emergency phone number is.

    More government intrusiveness, nothing else. How's about this: if they want ad space on Facebook they can fucking pay for it like everyone else.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @wibbilus maximus

    Perhaps you're better off posting here:

    An mulit-nationally recognised emergency number seems like a very sensible idea to me.

    Be wary though - if you do remember to call 112 in another country, you may find that that operator responding to the call speaks a different language. You have to speak to them louder than normal, that way they'll be sure to understand.


  19. Anonymous Coward

    who cares about 999?

    who needs 999 we need 0118 999 881 999 119 7253

    the adverts fantastic

  20. Sooty


    promoting the number is a good idea, promoting it on an international forum, such as the net, is not.

    Adverts on tv would be the first port of call i'd have gone for to raise awareness. Due to the sheer volume of American TV we get here in the UK, it is very possible that some kids will think the emergency number is 911.

  21. Matt

    999 < is a title retards

    wel it will be easy to target the adds

    Once the government gets the ISPs to use Phorm and WarmTouch it'll be simple to target the 999 ads at everyone in the UK.

  22. Chris C

    Cyber-sex is bad, mkay

    "Young people may also engage in behaviour that is risky to themselves including cyber-flirting and cyber-sex. These situations can quickly escalate to a point where they may lose control."

    First they'll start cyber-flirting... Then they'll engage in cyber-sex... Soon it will escalate to a point where they may lose control... at which point they'll have to clean the keyboard.

  23. Anonymous Coward

    OH FFS!


    1) 999 Is for emergencies only, shit happening right now, threat to property or person, ongoing, imminent or just happened not bloody some person who may or may not be an peado pretending to be a kid and telling every dumbass kid about their new puppy!

    2) WTF are the parents doing that they have to leave up to kids to call the Police, are parents so lazy, dumb, uncaring that they cant keep track of their little bastards with all the tech out today, FFS you can lowjack their mobile phones, give them a GPS keyfob, use a filtering firewall that will block most things and record everything for review later on. Perhaps its all a bit too hard for parents to learn about this stuff, their kids probably shouldn't have a PC then should they. I mean they wouldn't give their kids a pet without knowing how to care for it ......... oh hang on.

    3) Wouldn't it just be a lot simpler to have a word with the Bebo's Myspaz and Facecracks of this world. Say to them, "you know what, how about ALL accounts are automatically set with maximum privacy settings enabled" and the user actually has to go find them to reduce privacy after reading dainty set of warnings and explanations. Default action, they wont bother themselves and problem is solved by default.

    4) Education, how hard is it to hammer some basic security lessons into them at school, obviously the teachers would need to understand it first .......... oh hang on.

    5) In the UK an average of 6 children per year are abducted and messed with by strangers the other 99% have their lives ended or just ruined by someone they know. How is this going to stop that?

    Goverment, web 2.0, "Making Policies in ignorance to make the ignorant subject to policies"

    Bunch of headline grabbing arse, my taxes, give them back!

  24. alphaxion

    @ cyber-sex is bad, mkay

    hey, next we'll be hearing about how britain has the highest incidence of teen cyber-pregnancy in the western world, coupled with rampant cyber-sti/std's.

    Remember, before you cyber-sex, wear a cyber-condom!

    I'll sell one to you for £5 each, one time use ;)

  25. Elmer Phud

    Pop Ups

    Well, if the little advert is a pop up how many people will see it?

    "Click here to get rid of annoying pop ups"

    Will there be a message like "Have you just seen something you don't like? Click here to tell the Police" Then they'll come round and nick you for looking at the kiddie porn that opened up in a window all by itself.

    Anyway, there's enough hoax calls as it is, no need to encourage the sad ones who spend all day in Second Life.

  26. Samuel Walker

    I can imagine the conversation now

    *Kid is being groomed*

    *Kid sees 999 ad*

    *Kids Rings 999*

    Kid: "I think i'm being groomed for sex"

    Operator: "That's not a life-threatening situation please call your non-emergency police number on 084..."

    *Kid hangs up*

    *Kid calls Daily Mail*

    *Daily Mail Headline: Child grooming not an emergency*

    *999 ads quietly pulled with a net loss of several million*

  27. Wile E. Veteran
    Thumb Down

    Remember, the Net is INTERNATIONAL

    999? 112? Neither one works here in the States. Probably not in a lot of the rest of world, either. Another poorly thought-out plan from a government. Mine is no better.

  28. Dave Bell

    And for the bonus cuddly toy...

    And they're saying that video games need to go through a classification systems.

    Grand Theft Auto IV?


    Bad Home Office. No scooby-snack.

  29. Wayland Sothcott

    Government not stupid

    Obviously putting 999 on a social website as the number to call to report abuse is a completely stupid idea.

    However I am contiuning my mind game of assuming the government are not stupid. OK, now please join me in this, if the government are not stupid what could be the explaination for this suggestion perported to be from the government?

    Here are some of my suggestions, please add your own.

    1. The government never suggested this, the media made up the lie so the government look stupid.

    2. The government have targeted this at stupid people who will think it's an excellent idea.

    3. They really are going to make the websites do it and every ISP will have to install Phorm so that when the site is used in the UK or USA the correct number shows up 999 or 911

    4. They want to give the 999 people something to complain about. "the number of hoax calls we are getting has escalated"

    So I really think they are sofening us up for something. The ISP will complain that they can't carry out the government instructions to make the Internet safe because they break RIPA and other laws. The government will then clear the laws to allow Phorm to profile childrens social networking to identify valnerable people. This list will then be made availalble to the peidophiles in Social Services who can then take the kids into care and move them to Jersey.

    This will make everyone safer so if you object then you are a terrorist.

    Remember the government are not stupid, therefore they must be very smart and very evil.


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  31. Mark

    re: Government not stupid

    I've played that game a few times too in a desperate attempt to believe that thay are something other than total retards. Trouble is, it doesn't work and ou end up concluding that while they may well also be evil, they definitely are really, genuinely stupid, and in this case, clearly totally devoid of ideas that make any sense whatever.

  32. This post has been deleted by its author

  33. tony trolle

    teen std's

    I think the USA wins on that 26%.

    condom 911.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The Government can go right on demanding

    Who the hell do they think they are. What right do they have to anyone else's web space.

    If anything I would like to block all government sponsored advertisements and get a tax rebate thank you very much. Their ads are possibly the worst I have ever had the misfortune to view. These rank amateurs should be lucky they don't have real jobs. If the government wish to advertise then they can foist it onto their own political party websites, what a bunch of sad cases.

    But notice that for people who enjoy the sport of extreme of monitor rotation, the 999 looks suspiciously like 666, and we all know what that means. Labour should just come out and say it - they are in league with Bezelzebub,

  35. Jan Hargreaves

    999 doesnt help

    i was working in a restaurant in charlotte street (yes red light district in soho) and i had a guy threatening me with a 10 inch knife at about 11pm on a saturday night. on calling 999 they said (in a scottish accent) that they couldnt help me unless i was able to give my postcode (i guess they had no idea where soho was??). Given my predicament at that time, funnily enough the postcode of said store did not jump to the front of my mind.

    hmmmmm which kids know their post codes these days?

  36. Spleen

    Re: government not stupid

    "However I am contiuning my mind game of assuming the government are not stupid."

    That's not a game, that's mental self-harm. A mind game slightly safer to your sanity would be to assume lampposts don't exist and then go for a walk down the street.

  37. Patrick Bateman
    Thumb Up


    "There's already a catchy ad... it goes 0118 999 881 999 119 7253"

    LOL, am I the only one who got the IT Crowd reference??

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Jan Hargreaves

    "...they said (in a scottish accent) that..."

    What the hell has that got to do with the price of cheese?

  39. Wize

    Advertising 999

    Can just see the advert now.

    "Got a fire? Who ya gonna call?.."

    As if the 999 service don't have enough non-emergency calls as it is. Sometimes its impossible to get through to them due to people phoning about a minor cut on their finger or a scratch on their ar$e demanding ambulances without some other non-emergency calls being routed there.

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    @AC re @Jan hargreaves

    "...they said (in a scottish accent) that..."

    What the hell has that got to do with the price of cheese?

    Check how many of the top government positions are held by Scottish MPs and you will see the relevance.

    Cheese is indicative of the Governments collective IQ.

  41. TeeCee Gold badge

    @Anon Cow with the cheese pricing query.

    Well, knowing that the person on the other end was Scots (the accent) one could use the old stereotype of the Scots to postulate that said person also moans about the price of cheese.

    Does that answer your question?

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    And the problem with the Scots accent is?

    Next you'll be saying they were drunk and trying to start a fight

  43. Simon Greenwood
    IT Angle

    Does the government have anyone advising on IT these days?

    You know, someone who actually knows what they're talking about, and not some shiny suited spod from EDS, or worse still, a ponytailed baby boomer from the BPI? It's funny, the government pretends to be on the cutting edge but does it ever talk to any of the people who are genuinely innovating online?

  44. bambi
    Paris Hilton

    You're all surprised?

    Haven't we come to expect such a cutting edge idea from our great leaders?

    Maybe its time we voted in Paris, get some brains on the front benchs.......

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