back to article Porn, abuse, depravity - and how they plan to stop it

Contrary to popular belief, the government and police forces have hitherto not exerted a great deal of direct control over content. But, after a decade of growth in self-regulation and filtering by the industry to avoid government intervention, that may be about to change. Current UK law on content is a mish-mash. The first …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It sure as hell won't be

    "Self Regulation". Given a choice between expanding their control over more facets of your life, and NOT doing so, you'd have to be stupid to think the UK gov were going to do anything else.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    one day...

    people might realise that the www is not that different from the real world - yes there are safe playgrounds where "little Johnny" can play on the swings without fear of used condoms, hyperdermic needles, smashed vodka bottles and paedophiles - and then there's England.

    Why should the adult world be completely "banned" because of this chronologically challenged minority?

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  4. Graham Marsden
    Thumb Down


    ... to Thought Crime Britain!

    If we think that the porn you look at might make you do nasty things, we'll ban it.

    If we think that looking at Hentai and Manga cartoon images of "underage" girls might make you want to groom or molest children, we'll ban them.

    If we think that satirical sites about mob rule might be taken seriously, we'll ban them.

    If we think that banning sites or making it illegal to look at material we don't like is actually going to have the slightest effect, then we'll do it.

    If we think that you are all a bunch of mindless sheeple who are incapable of acting in a mature and responsible adult manner and can't be trusted to look at anything that might make you do bad things then we've succeeded in our mission.

    Hooray for the freedom loving and democratic UK Government!!

  5. Anonymous Coward

    Too late

    Maybe it would be better to issue people with a 'licence to use the Internet'. To obtain that licence they would at least have to prove that they don't swallow every word spouted by the likes of the Daily Mail.

    Or maybe to access the Internet you need to go through a filter, perhaps with the following filter levels:

    1.) I get offended at the word 'Montana' and am scared of my own shadow.

    2.) I get offended if someone looks at me funny.

    3.) I get offended at the words 'Big floppy donkey dick'.

    4.) I get offended if someone doesn't look at me funny.

    5.) I get offended by nudity on web sites.

    6.) I get offended by the lack of nudity on web sites.

    7.) I get offended by censorship.

    With thanks to South Park.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I've reported a couple of sites to IWF.

    Quite obviously, being a man, I surf the web, and I think this stuff must be hiding because in ten years I've only come across two instances of it.

    While believing literature and photograhpy to be totally different, I'd be quite happy to throw child pornographers on a bonfire, but I simply don't believe that looking at ordinary women, public nudity, bdsm, or even men on men (though I don't find that sick but legal behaviour a turn on,) to be capable of corrupting people.

    What corrupts people is knowing other people are getting it, but due to some act of horrible unfairness, they aren't. Nearly all the hammer in the park brigade has been there to exact revenge on women for giving it away freely, but denying it to them.)

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  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @This could all go underground

    Yeah... I don't think that would work... Government starts to implement ISP based IP blocks on IP ranges not validated by the Great British Firewall and Proxie service.

    They'll just sign up to the new search services. Ban https unless they have the keys, make encryption illegal, make running communication services that arn't authorised illegal (think IRC servers that are off the radar.)

    Anyway most people support it, they really do, they're adement that they have nothing to hide, and if it saves 1 person/child then it's all okay. If you talk about hardcore porn or nasty stories they just shrug and inform you that that's not a problem, and if you try and extrapolate they say it'll never happen. They believe that it's worth being spied upon in order to make society a better place.

    It's so mind numbling fucking retarded that it almost hurts my brain, I really do hate it so much. They all make me sick to the pit of my stomach, rancid foul retarded filth... They really don't deserve all the sacrifices that people made over the past hundred or more years.

  9. Anonymous Coward

    I thnk Neil Peart of Rush said it best

    And if we let it, it will come true....

    "Witch Hunt" - Rush - lyrics by Peart

    The night is black,

    Without a moon.

    The air is thick and still.

    The vigilantes gather on

    The lonely torchlit hill.

    Features distorted in the flickering light,

    The faces are twisted and grotesque.

    Silent and stern in the sweltering night,

    The mob moves like demons possesed.

    Quiet in conscience, calm in their right,

    Confident their ways are best.

    The righteous rise

    With burning eyes

    Of hatred and ill-will.

    Madmen fed on fear and lies

    To beat and burn and kill.

    They say there are strangers who threaten us,

    In our immigrants and infidels.

    They say there is strangeness, too dangerous

    In our theatres and bookstore shelves,

    That those who know what's best for us

    Must rise and save us from ourselves.

    Quick to judge,

    Quick to anger,

    Slow to understand

    Ignorance and prejudice

    And fear

    Walk hand in hand.

  10. Lee T.

    the australian federal gov is planning the same thing

    censoring the internet for all australians, purely to get the vote in parliament of a 'religous nutjob' senator. I am all for prosecuting those who produce real child porn, as that has caused an instance of real harm to an unable-to-consent minor. I'll even go so far as to agree about charging those who pay for access to a real-C.P site with enabling C.P, but I will never allow censorship of my, or anyone else's (except voluntarily) internet access. If (hopefully not When) they introduce the great firewall of Australia, it will of course be used to restrict access to other material as well (terrorism, other porn, sites critical of .Gov, etc.) I fully intend to get a SSH tunnel to a country which doesn't filter Net access, and actively campaign against it. Those interested should read Cory Doctrow's stuff, he is a brilliant author, and it's all available for free on his website I reccomend 'Little Brother'. No more victimless crimes

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Arrogant oppression

    "Back in January, Home Secretary Jacqui Smith appeared keen to hitch the War on Terror to the IWF bandwagon by claiming that there were specific examples of websites that "clearly fall under the category of gratifying terrorism", and talking about how terrorists "groomed" potential recruits."

    She presumes that the Iraqi DOCTORS were too weak minded that they were radicalized by what they read. She, a TEACHER presumes to be better able to make their mind up for them than they (DOCTORS) are able too do for themselves.

    Myself, I think they were upset when the Lancet reported an estimated 600k deaths in Iraq and Bush and NuLabour went into denial mode. There became a departure between the real world and the world in the minds of the politicians and that led to frustration because there was a problem to be fixed and a denial that there was even a problem.

    I think it was the self deception among NuLabour and Bush/Cheney, a mental disease they have - they believe their own spin.

    Ultimately all of these censorship things come from the idea that MINISTER knows more than INDIVIDUAL, therefore the INDIVIDUAL needs protection for their own safety. Sometimes they excuse it as protecting someone ELSES safety. But it's ultimately a nannyism tendency.

    You must lose your rights because someone else must be protected (from you, because you are *presumed* to be a predator). Moreover the MINISTER reading a vague statistical report is better able to make that choice that you with the specific knowledge of this actual instance.

    Of course such a thing is silly.

    Person X and Person Y do something consensual, and minister decides she knows better than they, there is some good to society as a whole to interfere in what they do that they don't understand that.... but she does. Her choices are RIGHT, their choices are WRONG and even though it's none of her business, even though she's not in possession of all the details, she is so RIGHT that she can make it her business.

    Moreover her choice is without consequences, she does not create harm herself in overruling their choice (at least in her head she believes this).

    You get ministers making incredibly incoherent mistakes in logic, confusing cause-effect with correlation-effect, making a choice then filtering the outcomes to show the choice working. Blaming Peter for Paul's mistake as though the two are conflated as one. Hypothesizing causal links not supported by evidence. The anti-sex thing is just the latest of these.

    It's an arrogant oppression.

    Moreso when she shifts the fine choice from person X & Y to a police officer, police officers think their uniform gives them some sort of clear thinking that elevates them above others. But they are chosen for physical stature and fitness, not logical reasoning skills, it's not that they have IQ higher than others, they just think they do.

    Ken Livingston had this arrogance too, he believed his own spin too, he thought his choices were better than others, and now he's gone. Good riddance to bad rubbish I reckon. The ultimate fix for this is to boot NuLabour out of power and leave them on the naughty bench for a couple of decades.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "the good old days of internet free-for-all"

    Nothing's changed. Most filters and other attempts to block content are very weak. People who want to read banned content will quickly adjust. The Demon example was a good one, it only affected usenet as hosted by Demon; people just change their usenet provider. For web content, it doesn't take long to find proxies through other countries or caches. The more at risk content is, the more likely it's already being mirrored.

  13. Anonymous Coward

    Divide and conquer

    Of course it's difficult for governments to control their people when they can discuss and compare views and attitudes with people from other countries.

    Russia tried preventing their people from being contaminated by western views for many years through oppression, snooping and encouraging people to report each other for anti-state behaviour.

    Now that is Russia is free (sort of) the western world seems to be trying to recreate the repression of the eastern Europe cold war years by instituting an electronic version.

    If you can get a great firewall project in to restrict child porn, no one will argue. Then expand it to terrorism, no one will argue. Next will be other porn, then other violence. After that it will be stories and written words about child porn, porn, violence and terrorism.

    Once we are all used to it, we will have accepted that we need to be protected from the evils on the internet. Then it will be conversations with and news from "rogue states" that are prevented. We will be given the news from round the world as filtered and modified by the government. All for our own protection you understand. We will complain, but who will listen? By then we can only talk to ourselves, raise our fears with ourselves, no one else can hear our protests. We will not be able to comminicate these anti-state concerns even to each other. Then after about 70 years, the repressed children and grand children of all those "nothing to hide, nothing to fear idiots" will somehow make conact with each other and rise up and there will be a revolution. Then it will all start again..... Scary...

  14. Vic Sub



    Pronounced "UK-Sissies"

    That's what your kids are going to grow up being if they don't get their hands on some porn that'll show them all those things that you were always so ashamed to discuss with them.

    I remember when I was 13 and stumbled accross a dirty magazine showing people having sex, that's how I learned about it cus my parents never bothered to have "The Talk" with me and for that I'm glad. I don't want to even imagine what kind of bullshit they would have come up with!

    If kids don't get their early taste of porn when they're becoming sexually aware themselves, the might get their 1st taste at the end of some Pedo's rod in his van.

    So Save the Children, give them Porn!!!!

    BTW, in this respect I'm glad it'll be harder for us in the USA to implement the kind of filtering foreshadowed in this article. Your little island of Britania can be filtered at the cables that connect you to the rest of the world. The US on the other hand is pretty much the hub of the internet and most of the "filth" attempting to be blocked originates here anyway. Not to say we're Immune (Or retarded in legal system sometimes).

    The article in the Reg Headline of the 15 year old accused of child pornography for taking pics of HERSELF is case in point.

  15. Richard Barnes

    Excuse me - VPN's?

    Could someone tell me how any government could stop people linking up via VPN and getting hold of whatever they liked that way?

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The thing to remind people...

    ... is that you can soon be locked up for 42 days for being unhappy at fuel costs.

  17. Chris G Silver badge

    The Legacy

    Thank goodness we now live in a society where we are protected from the dirt and obscenity of the world, by smart, caring people who believe, having been voted into position by us, that it is their duty to prevent all that is unhealthy and disgusting from tainting us.

    I can sit here in my house looking out at the world from behind my curtains and rest assured that my mental wellbeing is not forgotten.

    God Bless Mary Whitehouse and her legacy! I say.

  18. Big Pete

    @Lee T

    Your not wrong Lee, As a fellow Aussie, I'll be VPNing out of the country if Rudd and his moron communications minister Conroy go through with this madness.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re. I thnk Neil Peart of Rush said it best

    Very nice, but I like it summed up in the words of Ben Franklin:

    "The man who trades freedom for security does not deserve nor will he ever receive either"

  20. Jax

    Looking glass

    Heh, society looks in the mirror and can't handle looking at the entirity of the reflection.

  21. Brian Ribbon

    "Child Abuse URLs"

    The attempt to mainstream the term "child abuse images" - led by the IWF and CEOP - is manipulative and deceitful. A Garda study revealed that the majority of images which form the basis of convictions under UK/Irish law are not images of children engaged in sexual activity, rather they are images of children in naturist settings, in "erotic" clothed poses, or in nude poses. That's why the legal term is "indecent images", not "child pornography".

    The USA was once declared the primary host of "child abuse images" by the IWF, as the majority of "child abuse" websites on the IWF list were considered legal under US law, but illegal under UK law. This area of UK law is moralistic, not protective.

    I don't believe that journalists should use terminology invented by organisations whose funding relies on inciting hysteria over the issue in question.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Reporting Absuse Can Be Dangerous...

    You'd have to be insane reporting anything to the likes of IWF or CEOP:

    '...Ironically, some of the most worried are amongst those who, having seen unwanted, or pop-up, dodgy thumbnails or titles, went on to inform the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) in the UK. Rather foolishly perhaps as the IWF is comprised of ex police or friends of the police and few would report unwanted child porn images to their local police these days.

    One fundamental problem is that the draconian child pornography legislation makes it virtually impossible to safely report illegal imagery as it is criminal for all except the police and related prosecution service and judiciary, and with strict limitations the defence, to access, view or copy it. A second fundamental problem is that the concepts of both mens rea, intention to commit a crime, and ‘innocent until proven guilty’ have been overwhelmed by the ideology that there is no smoke without fire in all cases of ‘child sex abuse’...'

    What tangled webs we weave...

  23. John Stevens

    The dangers of reporting abuse on, AC. A friend was once shocked to receive a couple of pics that were decidely child porn.

    Being a public-spirited citizen, she contacted her local plod, who popped round, took down her particulars, etc., etc. and thanked her for her help.

    What next, she asked.

    Well, she must now delete the pics or else the Police would charge her with possession of etc.

    There followed some discussion of what might constitute proper deletion - which eventually settled on a likely requirement for her to trash her hard drive.

    By the end of the episode, she had rather determined that she would NEVER be helping the police with such cases in future.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ungrateful swine.

    I am very sorry indeed that our government is being subjected to so much hostility and vituperation by what can only be described as a mob of, well, mature adults. Intolerance like this is disrespectful and an abuse of the democratic privileges we are permitted to enjoy as one of the fruits of NuLabour's governance of our country.

    I for one am grateful that we will soon be entering the sunny uplands of a new kind of democracy in which for the first time in history, thanks to the introduction of ID cards and an ID database, we will actually know who we are. Just think about it, we've been wandering around for thousands of years asking, "Who am I, and how can I prove it?". Sorted.

    Then there is the equally troubling matter of the inappropriate images and ideas that are now accessible to our children thanks to the interwebnet techno thingy. Thankfully, once again our leaders are taking appropriate action by rolling out a program of gentle, incremental censorship measures that will culminate in a situation where access to the internet can only be obtained by swiping your ID card and supplying your fingerprint. Full access is gained when you have completed your ad-clicking quota for that session. Sorted.

    Of course the pinnacle of NuLab's success story is their management of the economy, but let's leave that for another day, shall we. Sort of.

    Please accept that your status as an adult has been revoked, and just do as you are damned well told.

  25. Anonymous Coward

    look up Max Hardcore aka Brian Little. Jailed for 4 years on Obscenity charges in USA

    Seriously, how do we stop this/reverse it ?

    I'm not sure how to (essentially) argue for depraved porn and be taken seriously ?

    Everyone is complaining about sitting back letting this happen to the country, but how do we stop it? No one is asking us. In fact, the laws are passed quietly. There are people out there who now own or engage in illegal activities without knowing.

    Furthermore, since when can laws be made which are based on nothing but strict morals?

    It's not their job to tell us how to think, what is nooo - naughty, and what to be aroused by.

  26. William Bronze badge
    Dead Vulture


    I have from reliable sources that Labour have already implemented a plan. They have recruited a 3rd party company that uses the Phorm technology to replace certain words and phrases on any website that appears to be anti-patriotic. This technology will be backed up by a civil service body working on behalf of the people for the good of the people to protect them from terrorists.

    Any written word on any website on any server in the world can and will be rewritten to represent the government. This will prevent propaganda from rogue states influencing the harmony of this country.

    So in 5 years from now, you may still get rogue states declaring that Western forces have used cluster bombs on women and children in a third world country that only has the ability to defend its resources with 30 year old equipment. Of course this is completely fictional, and with the advent of phorm and government policy this country will be finally able to put a stop to it. We all know it wasn't women and children that were killed, but hardened terrorists armed with potentially biological weapons.

    I'm sure someone wrote a definition for this.

    But I cannot seem to find their name, or anything abou them anymore when I google... But I am sure they did.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Madame LaFarge

    Off with their heads. Simple as that. Manifest Destiny.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    stupidity UK

    another example, professional photographer took nude photos of a 16 year old model (Which was legal at that time) government of chief inquisitor brown, change the law and have him prosecuted retrospectively, on the sex offenders register, jailed and ordered to attend "sex offenders counselling and therapy groups" when released.

    hmm now what was the appropriate chant from the early part of the 20th century ........ ahh yes "HEIL BROWN, SIEG HEIL SIEG HEIL" (anyone know what stalinist russians chanted when praising their genocidial dictator?)

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Inappropriate content

    OK, so it has been deemed in the UK that cigarettes are inappropriate for anyone under the age of 18. Therefore it is illegal for under 18s to buy ciggies.

    It has been deemed that alcohol is inappropriate for anyone under the age of 18 also. Accordingly those under that age are not allowed to buy alcohol.

    Similarly with driving on the public road, watching films rated above their age, having sex, working, leaving school, gambling, getting a tattoo and many more.

    So basically the authorities identify an act that is inappropriate for people under a certain age to perform and in order to protect the children they are prohibited from prosecuting said acts.

    So why should thar interweb be different? I authorities believe the internet it not suitable for under 16s or 18s or whatever then make it an offense for someone under that age to acquire internet access or be provided with said access by a third party.

    Kiddies protected? Check.

    Government seen to be doing something? Check.

    Me still able to watch videos of donkeys and goats getting it on? Check.

    Everyone is happy. Except the kiddies. But they don't get a vote so fuck them. Figuratively speaking that is, not literally. Unless we are talking about pretty 16/17 year olds in which case oil them up and send them round.

    P.S. As a side effect you would probably see huge reductions in music / video downloading as well so the various US based Ass. bodies will also be happy.

  30. Anonymous Coward

    time to get real !!!

    i just read up about that max hardcore bloke...

    not my sort of thing i would want to see, but at the end of the day, between consenting adults if they wanna do that sort of thing that's up to them... nobody else.. if they want to video it and sell it, so long as there is an advisory on it telling of its content, whats the big deal?

    if you worry about the content on the internet and your children seeing it, keep them of the net, or watch what they are doing. If you can trust your child to be sensible on the net, let them use it, but keep logs... firewall stuff you don't approve of... and if you don't have the technical know how, then YOU shouldn't be on the internet , quick pull the plug before someone empties your bank account !!!

  31. jon

    @ - reply to @This could all go underground (too many ACs here..)

    'going underground' is AREADY happening in many less liberal places around the world...

    - and as for the UK, I think that the gov. and police hardly have a clue to use it, use it in the wrong way, and many others are just 'over the top' ... like the mother who went to collect her holiday photos, and was arrested for child porn, due to naked pics of her daughter at the beach....

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Remember "The Great Firewall"?

    There was a very informative article on The Great Firewall many months ago in a print magazine (the name eludes me -- senior moment .....) which described how it worked and why. Contrary to how its been portrayed over the Summer is doesn't really stop people from doing anything, it just makes it less convenient -- traffic to external sites might be slowed by randomly dropping packets, losing domain references and so on. The idea wasn't to prevent people from going to unapproved (external) sites as to provide an incentive for them to stick with safer, local, ones. (I'd guess because an outright ban gets immediately circumvented. Its like IE -- it might be a PoS but so long as it just works for most people most of the time they don't have an incentive to try anything else.)

    This, combined with traffiic tracking would be a powerful tool for social control. for example, you'd be able to easily tell the difference between someone who mistyped a URL and someone who's quite obviously a dissident (and so 'needs keeping an eye on').

    The fellow coward -- "I've reported a couple of sites to IWF. " has a typical experience. I've been on the Web since the beginning and I can't recall ever coming across any child porn -- even adult porn's a bit thin, you actually have to go look for it. (Assuming your browser hasn't been compromised, that is.) You can tell the motivation of the prudes, though. Its not about 'protection', it never was, because if it was we'd have 'xxxx' domains and other simple technical tools in place, things that they seem to oppose. They're into control, they just use protection for a cover for their wider agenda (after all, nobody loves or is going to defend a paedophile, are they?).

  33. Ash

    This is a grand idea!

    I agree totally! Tell us what we should like! Happiness through Conformity!

    BB! BB! BB!

  34. jon

    damn prudes, thats what is the problem!

    I think the lack of / arguing over the XXX domain is due to these prudes arguing... :(

    - cannot teach sex to 5 year olds! - too shocking, promotes promiscuity!!

    - cant have the pill - it will 'promote promiscuity' ..

    - one domain for sex??? that means people will use it, promoting all that bad stuff....

    - '10 yr olds to get jab to help prevent cervical cancer' - oh no! that means more promiscuity!

    (no, it is mainly genetic, if your mother suffered from it, it means you may have a better chance to be *able* to be happily married with children...)

    - and guess what? because kids dont know how it is done, they then unexpectantly find themselves pregnant or worse at 12... Most dutch kids know this at 5, so know what NOT to do!!

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's Law, Jim, but not as we know it...

    " has been deemed that alcohol is inappropriate for anyone under the age of 18 also. Accordingly those under that age are not allowed to buy alcohol. Similarly, with driving on the public roads, watching films rated above their age, having sex, working, leaving school, gambling, getting a tattoo and many more..."

    Actually the legal Age of Consent (AoC) in the UK, for males and females, hetero and homosexual, is set at 16 years. But if you take a photograph of your 16 year-old (fully consenting) partner (male or female) in the nude or even partially clothed, but posing suggestively, you have just created 'a 'child abuse' image (we're not supposed to call it 'porn' any more, apparently).

    Why? How so? In the UK, for the purposes of describing what constitutes an 'indecent image', the definition of what a 'child' is, has suddenly moved from 16 to age 18.

    This means, that even as a middle-aged adult, you can be having a totally legal sexual relationship with your fully-consenting 16 year-old male or female partner, but if you take a photo, or video of them you can (and will) be arrested for 'making' indecent images and will face not only going on to the Sex Offenders Register, but also a stretch at HM's pleasure for 'attacking' or 'raping' a 'child'.

    Welcome to the weird world of the Paedogeddon. Nothing is what it seems...

  36. Chris

    @ AC (Stupidity UK)

    'anyone know what stalinist russians chanted when praising their genocidial dictator?'


    Whatever they were told to!

  37. Wayland Sothcott

    @"the good old days of internet free-for-all"

    The Internet started just for geeks but as it became more popular more and more average folks got to enjoy it.

    I remember taking 18 months of using the Internet, starting in 1991, to get a grasp of what it was. How could just about anything be published in any country and I can freely access it? So totally different to TV, News Papers, Films, Books and Magazines.

    I think that I now understand that other media went through a period where they were unregulated. What is important to the Government is what the majority of people believe rather than what some intelectuals believe. The Internet is now available to everyone or anyone who wants it. That's why the government want the Internet handed over to the mega coorporations who will regulate the content.

    The geeks will always find a way but the freedom of the net is being taken away from the average person who was only recently beginning to learn it was more than just free porn and downloads.

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