back to article UK culture sec wants a public service web

The UK government is cracking its knuckles for a more hands-on attitude to ensuring the quality of internet content, which could put it somewhat at odds with its own regulator. Culture secretary Andy Burnham at a meeting of the Convergence Think Tank this week trumpeted the importance of “standards”, saying he wanted to “ …


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  1. Harry Stottle

    I love the Childish Naivete

    of declaring the likes of the BBC as "impartial".

    Don't get me wrong. I'm a big fan. Their standards are high and without doubt, vastly superior to the alternatives, particularly in the fields of news, documentary and discussion programs. They are one of the few areas where Britain still genuinely punches above its weight. But impartial they aint.

    They may occasionally appear to indulge in conflict with the sitting government. But you will never find them challenging the establishment because, of course, they're an important part of it.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Its been a long week...

    I'm tired and I haven't seen an El Reg photo reconstruction to brighten my Friday. So I can't be bothered to come up with a coherent argument, so I'll just say.


    Paris, because she like her inter-tubes regulated.

  3. fred

    download haven

    “I can see how some people feel there is no alternative ...[to] in the new world [order]” said Burnham.

    I'll get my coat.

  4. alphaxion

    tit-le demanded,

    the whole idea of "watershed" should never, ever be applied to the net. I hate the idiotic system where I have to wait until an arbitrary time until I could get to see something edgier.

    Also, why does the concept of the net being global (so everywhere else might not be at the same time as the UK) cause mental buffer overflows or something.

    I don't want restrictions on content that are region based - stop cutting me out if my IP isn't from a specific location, don't apply time based restraints unless the show is live, do give me access to the back catalogue of shows for consumption as and when I want to.

    If I have to pay for said services, so be it but please ram a clue bat through your eye socket and realise the net is frigging well global!

  5. Aron A Aardvark

    Tediously irrelevant BS from a politician.

    One question: whose standards are we talking about here? They're correct about one thing tho: unless TV adapts to the times instead of continuing down its old school path of Eastenders, The News and saw-it-years ago films, advertisers won't bother with TV in 20 years time.

    Nuts to TV!

  6. Anonymous Coward

    are they thick......

    why is it that the governments of the world forget where the borders end....

    they want to set standards for internet content.... fair enough, thats possible to do for sites hosted on uk servers... but get real to police it is neer on impossible and when you cant control content from overseas what is the point?

    or is the plan to firewall the rest of the world and only allow approved overseas content...

    ac because i can.... no national id cards yet....

    mines the one with the freedom logo....

  7. Anonymous Coward

    more wasted money.....

    they want to stop wasting money on things that are not possible and tighen up there own levels of standards.... like security of our data

  8. Turbojerry
    Black Helicopters

    NewSpeak Impartial == Minitrue propaganda agency

    A few things you'll find on the unregulated Internet but wont find on your "impartial" British TV stations -

    1. Evidence of Iraq NOT having WMDs, such as the debreifing of Hussein Kamel Saddams cousin and Iraqi defector, aluminum tubes being used for rockets not uranium centrifuges etc.

    2. Evidence that the evidence presented to justify war and then it being an intelligence "mistake" was a deliberate lie and was an orchestrated black propaganda campaign that went back many years, even before 9/11, e.g. the theft of documents, seals etc from the Niger embassy back in 2000 that was used to create the forged documents that claimed Iraq was buying uranium ore from Niger.

    3. Evidence that the anthrax attacks on some American politicians was a culmination of a CIA anthrax letter project and DIA Project Jefferson high quality anthrax.

    4. Evidence that Dr. David Kelly was murdered.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Nice to see that the government STILL doesn't get the internet

    Westminster prohibits certain content? Fair enough, we all up sticks and shove it on servers in countries with less totalitarian regimes. Or are they considering some sort of UK equivalent of the Great Firewall of China?

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ Turbojerry

    I hear tell that there might also be found images both moving and still of persons engaging in acts of fornication

  11. Graham Marsden
    Paris Hilton

    Here we go again...

    ... it seems that once more we have our blessed Government deciding that "We don't like the nasty stuff that's out there, so *YOU* shouldn't be allowed to see it".

    Well, here's news for you Mr Burnham, most of the rest of the world doesn't agree with you, so are you going to a) build a Great Firewall of Britain like China, b) criminalise people for looking at stuff that doesn't have your stamp of moral approval like Saudi Arabia and Iran or c) allow people to look at stuff that's legal in the rest of Europe and stop wasting everybody's time and money...?

    Paris because even she isn't as stupid as our Government...!

  12. Ideala2


    While the guy is probably a bit useless, and probably wouldn't know an ip from his elbow...

    i... err don't see evidence in that story of him wanting to regulate the interweb. He just seems to think the regulation-free internet shouldn't lead to the erosion of standards on tv.

    We have broadcasters to do that already. And Barry Scott.

  13. Mark

    When it comes to technology pronouncements...

    ... why do ministers insist on doing the intellectual equivalent of walking into a room full of people dressed only in your wife's panties?

  14. Anonymous Coward
    IT Angle

    shot down in flames already

    Yet another Government moron who doesn't *understand* technology. After years of foisting Intertubes on folk, they wanna control what comes through the pipes. To paraphrase David Cameron, he's "an Edison Cylinder politician in the digital age".

    Kids have TV's in their bedrooms, so the chances are they're internet gambling on ITV1 or taping dodgy stuff on Channel 5 anyway.

    Some have PVR's, VHS, Sky+ etc so they can *record* unsuitable stuff and watch it later.

    The Interweb-youtubes are everywhere. Even on mobile phones. I wonder if he's aware of this?

    Some carry knives whilst their mothers read the adverts about telling them not to in take a break.

    Mary Whitehouse started a campaign called "Clean Up National Televison". I wonder why it didn't work?

    Politicos. You gotta love 'em. Still chasing certainty after all these years. IT angle as Burnham doesn't have one.

  15. D

    It really is time to stop voting for these people

    we are only encouraging them and they just keep embarrassing themselves.

  16. Anonymous Coward

    Playing to the gallery

    I wondered if Burnham (and his advisors) were stupid enough to think they could regulate the internet when it came to content - and I really don't think they are.

    This is an excellent play to concerned middle-England though - a promise to stop all unsuitable material (even such as would be acceptable at 10pm on BBC1) on Youtube. Talking like this can get votes from Daily Mail readers - just saying it's impossible to do won't.

  17. night troll

    @ Mark

    Because the only one of them that, so far, has proved he is NOT wearing his wifes/mistress/ local toms/daughters panties is John (tuck your shirt in) Major. ;-)

  18. Maty

    its not for you ..

    These guys know that net-savvy users are a lost constituency, and that you know what they're saying doesn't make sense. They're aiming for your auntie Magde who's terrified by this internet thingy that's teaching kids how to make bombs and kill themselves. Why can't it be regulated like the good old beeb? She'll vote for someone who's prepared to try.

    The bummer is, because of this, they WILL try.

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  20. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    I, for one…

    … welcome the People's State of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

  21. Anonymous Coward


    "When it comes to technology pronouncements why do ministers insist on doing the intellectual equivalent of walking into a room full of people dressed only in your wife's panties?"

    Because most of them are probably doing that over the weekend anyway... why change what they're good at?

  22. David Pollard
    Black Helicopters

    Part of a 'softening-up excercise' maybe?

    In January El Reg reported Ms J. Smith as saying "Let me be clear. The internet is not a no-go area for Government." and "Where there is illegal material on the net, I want it removed."

  23. Anonymous Coward


    Maybe they could sort out their own internal IT Systems before trying to tackle the internet

  24. Wayland Sothcott Bronze badge

    They can regulate it!

    It amazes me that they still have not broken the Internet. There are little bits that are broken, like using skype on a mobile phone, that does not work as it would on the real Internet.

    However with all the big ISPs gobbling up the smaller ones and many of them talking to people like Phorm, it may soon break.

    When I say it will break, I mean that instead of being able to visit any website or any server in the world, we will be restricted for our own benefit and safety.

    The Internet does not really have a bandwidth problem that can't be solved, unlike terestrial TV which is limited by the radio spectrum. With the Internet another cable can always be added where there are bottlenecks.

    The Bandwidth problem the Internet does have is that there is just too much to look at and too much to control.

    The Internet also has a credibility problem with the TV watching News Paper reading public. "I read it on the Internet" does not carry as much cred as "I saw it on the News". The responsibility in deciding if a story should be believed lies with the reader. However with TV you may not get the chance to see the story. I personally believe that you are more likely to learn the truth on the Internet because it is unfiltered.

    I think part of the Internet's credibility problem comes from the TV and News Papers themselves. Oh don't believe stuff on the Internet, read it in our Paper.

    Perhaps the government could offer some sort of kite mark indicating that the site is regularly checked for standards. However that's going to cost someone and I can see many sites not wanting such government approval.

    I expect the first people to want Filtered Internet will be companies who already net nanny their employees usage. Then parents will want it. Then the big ISP's will implement it by default. Then Jacqui Smith will say that all Paedos have to be on Filtered Internet. This will be the IPv6 version which requires the thumbscan public key address packet.

    Eventually no one will look at your old style website on the old IPv2 network because they won't have access. Only a few hackers and pervs will still use it. You could move to IPv6 server but it costs a lot and you need a licence.

    Maybe time to leave the Internet.

  25. Pete "oranges" B.

    Yes, right, good. We'll look into that right away.

    ““I’m thinking of guiding principles like impartiality and accuracy in TV and radio news, the integrity of programme making and the 9pm watershed, protecting against harm and offence, that have stood us in good stead for years.”

    On the internet?

    *points and laughs*

    HA Ha ha ... Oh wait you were serious? ....

    AHA HAHAHAHAHAHA. E-hem. What was it you were you saying now?

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