back to article UK.gov to push Obama for tougher rules online

The culture secretary Andy Burnham has suggested the UK should lead an international effort to introduce cinema-style age ratings on websites to prevent children accessing "unacceptable" material online. In interviews with the Telegraph and BBC, published on Saturday, Andy Burnham said it should be easier for parents to …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So how's this going to work?

    Are we going to redirect all bookmarks, search engine results and embedded links to some top level page of each site (however you define a site) which then displays the certificate? And then the kiddie calls Mummy to come and have a look and clicks on the "this is ok for precious snowflake" button?

    I propose a new form of democracy. Every year a random selection of people are made MPs. They're not paid. At the end of the year, if they want to stay, we shoot them.

  2. David Hicks
    Thumb Down

    How is he still alive?

    "There is content that should just not be available to be viewed. That is my view. Absolutely categorical. This is not a campaign against free speech"

    How has his head not exploded with cognitive dissonance? Does he not think about what he says for fear that if he really evaluated it he might go mad or, worse, have to admit he was wrong?

    Twat.

    "Burnham told the BBC any new rules would be run on a self-regulatory basis by the internet industry."

    The internet industry? Lulz. the man clearly has no idea how any of this works and how anyone can publish any site they feel like. All they need is a net connection and a computer. Even one with windows will do. I think he thinks that all websites are controlled by some sort of broadcaster.

    Perhaps someone ought to have a quiet chat with him about darknets.

    "If you look back at the people who created the internet they talked very deliberately about creating a space that governments couldn't reach."

    That's because they saw you coming a mile off mate.

  3. Geoff Mackenzie

    "You can still view content on the internet which I would say is unacceptable"

    Diddums.

  4. Ted Treen
    Black Helicopters

    Just one comment...

    Quis custodiet ipsos custodies?

  5. michael

    well that solves it

    "You can still view content on the internet which I would say is unacceptable"

    we just have a content less internet ands then he will be happy

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Andy Burnham is 12.

    Nothing to do with "the kiddies", "the terrorists" or general porn, it's all about us finding the "morally bankrupt politicians" out.

    There should be a law against them.

  7. Mo
    Stop

    So what happens when a new protocol comes along?

    Even if you figure out a way to reliably, without destroying e-commerce in the process, 'rate' websites in a way which doesn't get broken as soon as the content changes, what happens to IRC channels, newsgroups, P2P networks, e-mail lists, SNMP connections, LDAP lookups, and every other application which uses the Internet? What happens when we don't use HTTP and HTML any more, and we don't have 'web sites'?

    It's not that the creators of the Internet talked about something Governments can't touch (mainly because they were, er, government contractors), it's that they deliberately designed it to be open-ended and massively flexible. It's not that Governments can't touch it, it's that the only way they can control it in the manner that they'd like to is by destroying it, and that would do more harm to the economy than Woolies, Zavvi and Adams closing ever will.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    Once again....

    The Labour government show that they just do not have a fucking clue about how the internet and the web works.

  9. mh.

    Think of the Children!

    Why is Andy Burnham giving interviews to the Telegraph rather than spending time with his family over Christmas? If he really allows his kids to roam free online when he's talking to journalists, perhaps it might be wise for him to re-evaluate his priorities.

  10. D.A.
    Thumb Down

    Err...

    'Burnham said: "Leaving your child for two hours completely unregulated on the internet is not something you can do.'

    Well, don't bloody leave them for two hours then! It'd be a lot cheaper (and more reliable) than trying to implement a technology solution...

  11. Joe
    Thumb Down

    I find NuLab unacceptable....

    So can we ban all this bullshit they keep coming up with??

    Listen to the guy talk, you can clearly tell he has no idea how the internet works. What next?

    'Don't type Google into Google, warns Burnham'

    Tosser

  12. EvilJason
    Thumb Up

    The Internet is dead....

    ...Long live the Internet.

    Why hasn't anyone just made a decentralised anonymous net that rides along side the current net but is not a part of it.

    Let them have the old ancient monster while the the geeks and nerds have there promised land a land free of spam and pop ups

    An open source land anonymised and decentralised

    A new net a net without boundaries let the digital super highway full of traffic jams and cameras be washed away with a digital ocean.

    What a dream

    -J

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    why o why

    Can't a terrorist just kill these fucking punts! Ahh I know why, these wankers are doing what terrorists want them to do, and the terrorists are helpling to keep the wankers in charge.

    Good gig these wankers and terrorists have going.

    As an aside wasn't that form of democracy suggested in a book once?

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Here's a challenge

    What a stupid idea, particularly because the Internet Content Rating Association (ICRA) already exists and didn't work either.

    This is just an excuse to 'dumb down' the net, and introduce censorship.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    I rather think

    Barack Obama will be more concerned in sorting out the mess left by the Muppet who proceeded him, than to be concerned by the ideas of a soon to be jobless politician

  16. michael

    (untitled)

    "'Burnham said: "Leaving your child for two hours completely unregulated on the internet is not something you can do.'"

    neather is leaving your child for two hours on the highstreet or town center or shopping mall or park or a lot of other places just cos the internet gose into your house dose not mean it should be automaticley child safe

  17. Chewy

    No No No

    This man has no idea how the internet works, and on that basis has no rights trying to make laws on things he doesn't understand. Please don't use the "won't somebody please think of the children" crap as it is up to the parents to look after them. If you don't want to let them see bad things then don't let them use the internet or at least supervise them like parents are supposed to do.

    Anyway judging by the amount of parents that buy rated games for their underage children I'd argue that all this would do is add a bureaucratic layer and not achieve anything.

  18. Mike Crawshaw
    Stop

    Asda - rated 18

    And you have to show ID if the face-recognition software thinks you look under 25. Well, they sell alcohol, and we don't want the kiddies to know what a bottle of beer looks like, do we?

    "There is content that should just not be available to be viewed. That is my view. Absolutely categorical."

    Mine too, mate. Anything that you say, for a fucking start.

  19. David Hicks
    Pirate

    @EvilJason

    "Why hasn't anyone just made a decentralised anonymous net that rides along side the current net but is not a part of it."

    Because it's really difficult?

    If you want to see our best efforts so far then go look up stuff like Freenet, WASTE and TOR.

    Be warned though, Freenet has content that many would consider really unsavoury and highly illegal. That's sort of the point I guess. I don't take part in it because I don't agree with my resources being used for stuff I don't control (and I'm currently trying to come up with an alternative approach that maintains anonymity and secrecy but takes back control).

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Online Ratings

    That's something I don't mind - I've said so before and I still think so. My concept of it's operation is that a rating is self-assessed and added to metadata of each protocol, except e-mail and instant messaging or similar "person-to-person" protocols. Some will criticise self-assessment, and, yeah, it's not perfect, but spot checks run by Ofcom (in the UK) or ACMA (in Australia), and whatever other agencies do those jobs elsewhere, can help "keep the system honest". Of course, the most important thing to make ratings work is to provide clear guidance on how to rate material. As to subordinate pages or frames, they can all have a rating in the metadata - I expect the default setting would be to inherit the parent rating. Therefore, bookmarks would be "rated" no matter where they pointed.

    If we keep in mind that, although there are lunatics and criminals out there, the vast majority of internet page authors are reasonable people who, with a bit of convincing, could adopt a ratings system for content that they author - providing the standards and tools support making their adoption easy.

    Ratings (again, although not perfect) would allow fast filtering of a great deal of content which makes other filtering less resource-intensive.

    Yes, it is an imposition, but ratings do not of themselves limit free speech .... PROVIDED THAT NO SERVICE PROVIDER CAN BLOCK MATERIAL OUTRIGHT WITHOUT THE SUBSCRIBER'S CONSENT. I see a ratings-based filter in its simplest form being a password-protected browser setting , or a filter in a proxy/in-line filter device or an ISP filter (if opted for by the subscriber).

    I MUST STRESS THAT ANY FILTERING MECHANISM SHOULD BE "OPT-IN" AND MUST BE ABLE TO BE COMPLETELY TURNED OFF BY THE SUBSCRIBER IF DESIRED.

    On the other hand, if online material is rated, then so should be books, all magazines (not just ones with nudity) and newspapers. Consistancy would be appreciated.

    Note, though, that IMHO, the whole filtering argument is not about "protecting children" - it's about CONTROL. Politicians see something and just can't help themselves - they have to control it - therefore they have to pander to lobby groups or other vested interests in the process.

    As to the rest of Burnham's comments - yes, he does seem to be quite a twat.

  21. Circadian

    Timely takedown

    From the article: He also wants websites that allow users to upload content to adhere to standard "take down times" once a video or other material is brought to their attention as offensive.

    Now can we also apply that to MPs. I find that 5 years is far to long to wait to get rid of a worthless offensive parasite. As this bunch of ... sorry, (polite) words fail me ... seem to think that just one complaint from any IP holder is worth throwing out all that inconvenient history of old-fashioned things like providing evidence, convincing a jury of peers etc., can we bring in a timely takedown of MPs just by writing a letter (or clicking a button in a 'fox plug-in) to say "Sorry - we believe you are in violation of citizens' rights. Please remove yourself from office forthwith, and never ever try to be re-elected again."

  22. Bob

    The man is clearly very stupid,

    But just consider: a badly implemented scheme (like a whitelist/certification setup) wouldn't affect the tech-savvy or the determined kiddy porn fan, but it would raise a barriers to entry for any small internet startup/voluntary group/charity that wanted to get a web presence.

    (I, for one, welcome this as having the Chipping Sodbury Space Hopper society site is just using valuable bandwidth that really belongs to large corporations.)

  23. David Hicks
    Thumb Down

    @AC

    Wouldn't work at all.

    Either you give it legal power and then we're into censorship territory, or you make it optional and, guess what, most folks are not going to take part because it's extra effort and they don't care. My webpage is hosted by me, so nobody's going to force me to do anything. Let alone the fact that different countries have different standards and different laws. then there's the fact that people will dishonestly rate themselves to slip past this (think spam) and there's nothing anyone will be able to do about it. It *just* won't work.

    What you and the minister forget is that there is no central system to keep honest. The moment I have an IP address, I am a web publisher. If I buy a DNS entry (from a registrar anywhere on the planet) to point to it then I have a name. That's literally all there is to it. We can't keep criminals off the net right now, let alone "rating violators".

    The *only* thing that does work is parental guidance, supervision, and whitelist sandboxes installed on home computers. I don't approve of those either, on the basis that it's a whitelist so lots of innocent things are culled, but they work. The important thing here is that it's done by parents and done on the client machines, not forced on the net at large and regulated by people rating their own sites.

    Besides which, the minister is actually talking about blocking chunks of content entirely, not just "rating" them.

  24. michael

    re:Online Ratings

    the only real problem I can see with that sort of thing is that absoultley everyboady who produces content on the internet would have to agree with it and imperlment it properley all it would take to render it usless is a few sort of contrnay that refuse to do it or spoof it or get lasy and jujst flag every thing as totley safe

    I am sorry but I just do not see that sort of cororpratuion happening the much safer system is to have a perent install a "safe list" on there childs computer that only lets the child go where the perent lets them this is akin to how perents manage real life as soon as the child is old enought to bipas the lock they are old enougth to take some responcibilty

  25. Rob
    Stop

    David Hicks sums it up nicely...

    ... Andy Burnham is a twat, though to give him his dues, he does have some sort of brain as he's "appearing" to do his job, so at least he's employeed for the next few years.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    An actual idea? Or a grab for power over net content?

    As other posters have pointed out, implementing an age rated scheme doesn't solve the problem - you then need to have a way of identifying consumers as being under or over the required age. Which is done.... how exactly??

    A cynic might say that this was an attempt to grab the position of arbiter over net content - to essentially get into a position from which censoring content is acceptable. Although thinking laterally, this could also be a way to push ID cards onto us, as the ultimate determinant of whether a user is old enough or not to view said sites....

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    BT

    "Protection of copyright online should be part of a wide ranging debate, he added."

    PHORM/BT copyright theft system in the dock then?

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @David Hicks

    Well I disagree with your "it just won't work" statement. It's not perfect, nor easy, but no filtering system ever will be - even a system based on whitelisted sites can have faults. It comes down to how draconian you want to be and what percentage of false positives/negatives you're willing to accept - I expect a whitelisted sites system will have the least false negatives, but it's by far the most draconian - either the parent (who will have the time?) or a service provider will have to generate the whitelist. While that might be alright for K-6, personally, I'd want high school age kids to have more freedom to explore.

    I did envisage legislation, but a centralised ratings system is impossible for reasons I'm sure I don't have to explain, so a self-assessed system with spot checks is the only feasible way to go if we're to have ratings at all. Also, it would take literally years to phase in.

    In operation, a whitelist can still be used - e.g. set to "pass only rated pages". Structure legislation and penalties such that "unrated" is favourable to "wrongly rated" so that emphasis is on getting ratings right and building confidence - warnings would be included to permit corrections to ratings. A majority of sites may remain "unrated" meaning they'll not be viewed by kids at all. A parent can choose the appropriate level (G, PG, etc) to filter to, but stricter parents can whitelist to specific sites if they want - parents still have the choice.

    There'll still be ratings spoofing - again, the system will not be perfect. Just like hackers and crackers will never go away either. But I stress, the vast majority of people who publish online are reasonable, law-abiding people.

    Personally, I don't like any filtering and prefer parents to take responsibility, but parents can't be everywhere at once (kids will have notebooks/netbooks with wireless) and I'd prefer that kids have more freedom than granted by some distant filtering service provider who doesn't want to get sued (and who may have certain bias in site selection). I use such filters now, and there's still stuff that gets through .... but they also cut out a lot of the crap and significantly lower the probability of encountering material not suitable for kids. Ratings can aid that process.

    I'm well aware of limitations online - I publish online myself and have done so for years - so I'd appreciate if you'd not lump me in with Burnham.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    fucking insane

    Whats with the insanity over the net ??? Seriously . Oh some should tell him the US does not take orders from the UK. Its the other way around :). But in all seriousness . I fear m y gov will pick up on this insanity . He no more worry s for the RIAA. Every thing is controlled by the state. Go some were you shouldn't and get 15 years.

  30. Mike Richards Silver badge

    Me-too fascism from New Labour

    Italy's 21st Century Il Duce wants to regulate the Internet and now Andy 'Does his mum know where he is?' Burnham jumps up and says 'me too! me too!'

    How long before the creep (the process not Burnham) sets in and, (under pressure from the likes of this odious little gobshite), ISPs refuse to host sites that don't come with a 'KiddyFriendly' sticker and a nice picture of Andy Burnham stroking kittens?

  31. David
    Stop

    Snokescreen alert!

    Shouldn't the British government be trying to fix the most monumental cockup in financial history rather than worrying about online content that they can't control anyway!

    Sounds to me like the spin doctors needed a story ...

    Bunch of useless .... Stop wasting tax payers' money on hot air & nonsense!!

    Also perhaps someone should have a bit of a read about what the Internet is before they make idiots of themselves trying to regulate it!

    How about regulating what you were supposed to be regulating : the banks & financial markets and stop pissing into the wind !!

  32. Ted Treen
    Alert

    @AC 13:11

    You said "The Labour government show that they just do not have a fucking clue about how the internet and the web works."

    Our survey said "The Labour government show that they just do not have a fucking clue."

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture

    Minimum IQ tests for anyone putting themselves forward for election

    "'Burnham said: "Leaving your child for two hours completely unregulated on the internet is not something you can do.'"

    Is this something you could let a child do in a newsagent? Leave them to themselves for two hours and expect them not to come across anything considered offensive to another person of voting age?

    I find politicians wearing eye-liner offensive. Does that mean that everyone should be banned from seeing his face on the internet? Remember Mr Burnham that what people find is offensive is very subjective. I've rarely seen anything on the internet that makes me want to throw up more than watching the pathetic attempts of New Labour politicians trying to defend their mad policies on programs like BBC Newsnight!

    This plank should not be in his job. There is no chance for this country to grow a thriving new media industry and replace the jobs lost by New Labour when he is so plainly clueless about how the internet works.

    PS: The tombstone is for any politician trying to tell me what I am allowed to read.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Whenever I read something by a poli about the Net...

    ...the following words spring to mind:

    out, talking, his, of, arse.

    Rearrange into a well-known phrase or saying.

    Where's the complete-and-utter-twat icon when you need one?

  35. Christoph

    It's about control

    He's found an example of something bad on the internet: 'videos of beheadings' - so he claims this justifies his personal control of EVERY SITE ON THE INTERNET?

    Stalin would have loved NuLab.

  36. Graham Marsden
    Thumb Down

    "There is content that should just not be available to be viewed. That is my view. "

    Well then just don't fucking LOOK at it, you pillock!

    And if your kiddy starts looking at it, what the HELL are you doing leaving your child unattended whilst it's browsing the net?

    Your Big Brother, Nanny State, Control Freak Party has already passed the most ludicrous piece of legislation making it illegal simply to possess so-called "extreme pornography" but you can't even *define* what the fuck you mean by this term, so how the hell is anyone going to be able to decide if what they own is illegal in the first place?

    And now you want everyone else to do your job as a PARENT and protect your little ones from the nasty stuff that you don't like?

    The sooner this bunch of idiots are out of office, the better!

  37. Vaughan Silver badge

    Burnham knows this will not work

    When this has been shown to be the case he will instigate compulsory filtering by ISPs 'for your protection'.

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Spanner

    Andy Burnham would be dangerous if he could even buy a clue about what he's talking about.

    Burnham is either clearly a complete fucking moron, or he believes everyone except Daily Mail readers are complete fucking morons.

    So all in all another day of policy announcement from New Labour...

  39. Dave

    wikipaedo?

    Lest we not forget the last attempt at censorship that self appointed moral net guardians tried.....

    Andy Burnham=FAIL

  40. Rapacity
    Linux

    The man's more ignorant than you might believe

    There's already an opt-in content ratings service. It's called the RTA label (Restricted to Adults). All providers of adult content are advised to opt into the RTA system by adding its meta tag into the page header of all pages containing adult content. Opting into RTA also gives the site a nice RTA badge to sport which provides a distinctive air of officialdom.

    RTA is the American (internationally adopted) system and there's a British version too (can't remember it's name but it's website's very tacky).

    Most porn sites use RTA. Most web-browsers recognise the RTA meta tag. All the user has to do is ensure his/her browser has safe search/content filtering enabled.

    I can think of no reason not to just adapt the RTA system to include a minimum age specification too e.g RT12, RT18, RT21, and for special people, RTAMPTWATS.

    I can't believe this man has done no research into current Internet self regulation. My best guess is that he is attempting to make the British public think he's responsible for something he isn't. He'd be better off just advising website publishers of present systems already in place.

    As for "If you look back at the people who created the Internet they talked very deliberately about creating a space that governments couldn't reach. I think we are having to revisit that stuff seriously now." How inconsiderate of the Internet's creators not to plan for the feelings of governments around the world. Tut, tut... Are we supposed to consider the government's ability to touch everything we design from now on?

    Alas, I have to wonder about the morals of those whom can't stop thinking of the kiddies....!

  41. Adam

    Good idea but...

    would be very difficult to implement.

    I can see some sort of content certificate similar to SSL working, where you attach the certificate to a domain which applications can then request and filter.

    It would only take one press release/dev-blog from google mentioning that sites which have a valid cert (and follow its rating) might get better organic ratings over those who don't to get almost every major website signing up.

    Once the websites start signing up, client side apps will start to appear. Someone will write a firefox plugin, which may get written into the next release which will force IE to follow suit or be branded an 'unsafe for kids' browser. It will all just snowball from there.

    The problem I can see is user generated content. I have a huge vocabularly of naughty words that I can type here that would probably not go down too well on a PG rated site. This could lead to 'bombing' sites you don't like to get them filtered by client apps or something.

    Also having a freely available and fairly accurate content rating for sites is something that the gov just won't be able to keep its paws off of, and they will inevitably apply some bullshit regulations that fuck everything up in the long run.

  42. Jeremy
    Stop

    Online self regulatory page ratings?

    That would be PICS, then?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Platform_for_Internet_Content_Selection

    Dumbass. PICS has been around since the 90's and it failed because nobody bloody wanted it.

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Badly advised?

    A charitable interpretation would be to say that Burnham has some poor advisors. But whatever the excuse, this a pathetic distraction which will not add one iota to childrens' safety, happiness, or wellbeing. If his ideas were implemented, however, they will saddle everyone with arbitrary and senseless bureaucracy.

  44. blue
    Flame

    Child Only Internet

    A centrally validated list of websites that have been vetted as approved for children (Disneyfied Pseudo Internet). A browser that will only connect to those websites. Parents can install the browser for their children. The children can (ostensibly) only use that browser and view only those approved websites.

    Then the censorship-under-the-guise-of-protection double-talk despot wannabes like Burnam can fuck off and leave the real internet for the rest of us, whilst enjoying the empty plaudits of the Mail-reading 'we are right and will create a world that accords with our righteous vision' voters he's trying to snag votes from.

  45. Martin Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    @The man is clearly very stupid

    Really?

    A junior minister you have never heard of is suddenly plastered over the torygraph and the BBC with a 'standing up for decency and the children' banner.

    Any cabinet reshuffles in the offing? Might such a well known brave defender of the public now be in consideration

  46. RW
    Happy

    Everybody's got it backwards

    Instead of "making the net safe for precious snowflakes", let's start the discussion by declaring "unless otherwise specified, no part of the net is safe for kiddies."

    Then we institute a system whereby web pages can indicate that they are safe for children, with a filter that blocks all other web pages when Junior is logged on. Notice: no centralized white- (or black-) list. When kids are logged on, it's global, automatic censorship. Don't ask me if the filtering should be client-side or server-side.

    Unfortunately, this requires a consistent system of categorizing users by age, a process more easily said than done.

    All of a sudden, all those adult sites that have a "yes, I am over 18", "no, I am an underage precious snowflake" flash page can get rid of that function. Simply doing nothing at all means (in theory) kiddies can't look at your page.

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    stupid stupid stupid

    "If you look back at the people who created the internet they talked very deliberately about creating a space that governments couldn't reach"

    Why is that a problem?

  48. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Global Movement for Internet Change

    To me there does appear to be a global movement coalescing against the internet in its current form. Governments are worried about it anarchic nature that allows criminals, terrorists & political opponents to operate with apparent impunity (both democratic & authoritarian). Commercial interests also share similar desires due to copyright theft & other criminal activity. This presents itself in increasing censorship & surveillance. Bloggers & commentators can moan all they like, but some very powerful groups are bringing their influence to bear. I suspect that most people will end up with a sanitised web experience like the Chinese, with people constantly trying to dodge being monitoring & filtering. I don't say this is right or wrong, but that there is a major "paradigm shift" (apologies!) coming.

  49. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    wspt of the government

    "If you look back at the people who created the internet they talked very deliberately about creating a space that governments couldn't reach"

    those people were briefed with creating in interconnected communications network that could not be brought down by a hostile government.

    those people would also happen to be the US government (Darpa/Arpa)

  50. David
    Stop

    Maybe they can do it for phones too!

    Can you imagine the reaction if BT were required to beep out "unacceptable" content during phone calls?

    Or, your text messages arrived like "that andy is a total ****"

    censored to protect!

    Obviously we can all trust new labour not to abuse their powers it's not like they'd have MPs who expose their embarassibg cock ups arrested or have their offices, so I doubt they'd do anything to oppress free speech !

  51. Oninoshiko
    Joke

    antiestablishmentists...

    "If you look back at the people who created the internet they talked very deliberately about creating a space that governments couldn't reach. I think we are having to revisit that stuff seriously now."

    You meen the DARPA guys? US-DARPA? The United States Deparment Of Defense Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency? http://www.darpa.mil/ <--these guys?

    Why those liberal-commie-hippie-bastards!

    Joke alert, that's what this gentlemen is...

  52. David Pollard
    Black Helicopters

    This is just a ranging shot

    Though this apparently shows gross technical incompetence, there will be enough public support behind the sentiment to cover it. Meanwhile, researchers and colleagues will be collating the adverse responses in readiness for the next onslaught and making friends with tech savvy supporters.

    See, e.g., Tom Watson's blog, 27th December:

    http://www.tom-watson.co.uk/

    (One of the comments offers a day's worth of consultancy free.)

    The process seems to be a bit like trolling in a forum but on a large scale.

  53. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Really?

    Yeah, and the last big UK US partnership in Iraq was such a stunning success we're all just gagging to drink from that fountain of brilliance again.

    You watch politics, you think that you really have seen it all, then something as inexplicably pointless and dysfunctional as Burnham turns up. I would say "I despair" but I think that particular knob is up to 10 already.

  54. Beachhutman

    If their lips are moving

    They're lying. It's not about kids, they know it, and they don't give a toss if that bit would "work" or not. It's because they want to block any content that is hostile to the government in Brussels, as well as their parish council in Westminster. Zanu Labour wants to block content because they regard dissidence from their own ideas as basically criminal, and the EU does because they know the internet stands in the way of simply abolishing democratic rights, as per the Irish "No" vote. They need content filtering before they try any ig new scams. The EU has already proposed licences for video uploads, which is bugger all to do with Jihadis, but because Youtube has been so effective in political campaigns.

    Yes, Andy Burnham is a twat, but on this he's just a sacrificial twat; it's Brown and Barroso pulling the strings

  55. michael

    @ac

    "". Structure legislation and penalties such that "unrated" is favourable to "wrongly rated" so that emphasis is on getting ratings right and building confidence - warnings would be included to permit corrections to ratings.""

    there is the fall down as the internet spans the globe the legislation and penalties would have to be global as well and therefor would not work as most countryes would not inforce it just look at all the fishing etc web sites that are all ready out there if there could be global action on legislating the internet there would have been closed down in the first few waves

  56. The Fuzzy Wotnot
    Alert

    What a prat!

    Whitelists is the only way to go, you sign up to Websense or some such other mob, you pay a sub for a whitelist, your kids are slightly better off, not perfect but part of your arsenal. Worst case you write your own whitelist and maintain it.

    Sorry to break it to you Andy, mate! The "inna-web" was designed by adults, for use by adults and it contains adult material, bit like....what's that thing....ermm oh yeah, REAL F**KING LIFE!

    As a responsible parent I do my best to protect my kids from the nasties in life until they are old enough to know better, that includes ANY form of media no matter where it comes from. Not just because I am tech savvy, but because I am one of the small group of parents still left in this world who cares about their kid's welfare. Christ, my non-tech relatives insisted that I help with locking up the family PCs until their kids all reached a mature age and could be trusted, you know why Andy? Some of us are capable of making our own decisions and taking our parental responsibilities seriously!

    Now go stick your head up your arse and see if you can find the brains you were born with!

  57. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Whats he doing

    looking for videos of beheadings, does this means there's a new Neu Labour change in the criminal justice bill looming?

  58. Wayland Sothcott Bronze badge
    Linux

    Works like the smoking ban

    "Burnham told the BBC any new rules would be run on a self-regulatory basis by the internet industry."

    A website owner does not get prosecuted but the ISP that hosts the site or allows access or host the domain name would be threatened by the law. Since the laws are deliberately vauge the ISP's won't take the chance. Self censureship and self regulation.

    Has any smoker been prosecuted for smoking in a pub? I don't think so but I know a pub who allowed smoking got fined £2000. Once government licences are required to operate a service then they have a threat to hold over you.

    Unfortunately I think this will work to a large extent. However there will be those who avoid regulation. The real unfiltered Internet will be maintained using priavte networks, vpn and other technologies. It will be like prohibition, a very successful time for that which was prohibited.

    TUX symbol of Freedom

  59. Florence Stanfield
    Stop

    Look at history see what happens when you leave children unsupervised anywhere!

    I never left my two children online for 2 hours 21 years ago mind I was a parent who considered they were my responsibility to protect them. How many children have vanished from parks, shopping malls, even holiday apartments due to be left unattended..

    This is your problem and if this politician does leave his children unattended or feels he has no time to supervise his children then he needs to revaluate his responsibilities. If he has children then their health and safety is his responsibility. If you have the child taught your ways even after 21 they will keep letting you know where they are.

    The problem with today’s children is lack of parental control or more lack of parents giving the children quality time instead of being too busy. They spend too much time on their own watching videos, DVD’s or left on the internet losing communication skills plus gang culture as many are allowed out all hours by parents who want to be without them for 2 hours. No child should ever be left unsupervised regardless of where they are. He should stay home at Christmas to be with them instead of spouting this rubbish in interviews is a start.

  60. David Hicks

    @AC 15:37 yesterday...

    "Personally, I don't like any filtering and prefer parents to take responsibility, but parents can't be everywhere at once (kids will have notebooks/netbooks with wireless) and I'd prefer that kids have more freedom than granted by some distant filtering service provider who doesn't want to get sued (and who may have certain bias in site selection)."

    So you want the government to publish a whitelist then, instead of another, commercial third party?

    That's basically what you're saying?

    So websense/netnanny etc are subsumed into a government role. Well, much as I hate the idea of government growing yet more functions and taking yet more money, I don't see anything wrong with that, so long as its use is controlled by the subscriber.

    Frankly though, I don't think it's appropriate for the government to take on parental duties. They should be there for essentials like health, law and defence.

  61. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    the answer

    just connect everybody's internet to the bbc / pravda / whatever and there you go, nobody can be exposed to incorrect thoughts.

  62. Graham Marsden

    My nephew has a T-shirt that says...

    .... I'd like to see things from your point of view...

    ... But I can't get my head that far up my arse!

  63. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @David Hicks, @michael & other stuff

    @David Hicks:

    > "So you want the government to publish a whitelist then, instead of another, commercial third party? That's basically what you're saying?"

    Not really, though I suppose who makes the whitelist doen't much matter - reallistically, it has to be made by someone other than the parents and that means handing over the choice of what gets viewed to someone else. The main issue with whitelist vs. ratings is the degree of choice vs. the degree of protection - IMHO, whitelisting is more suitable for K-6 age kids while ratings are more suitable for high-school ages (and easily offended adults). And, as I think I said, they're not mutually exclusive.

    @michael:

    > "there is the fall down as the internet spans the globe the legislation and penalties would have to be global as well ... <snip> ..."

    Surprisingly, I'm already aware of that! :-)

    I don't envisage in my wildest dreams that every country and every site would embrace an online ratings system, but most Western democracies could - and that's the bulk of internet content of interest to Western kids (or even adults). I suggest that a parent would default to a setting of "block all unrated content" (or tighten further to the age range of the kid in question), which would mean blocking content from countries/sites that don't participate ... save for deliberate spoofers, but with them, I propose treating them the same as illegal sites now - contact the appropriate law enforcement agency and request a takedown (or stop their ratings spoofing).

    Site admins and/or content authors can make a conscious decision to leave their site unrated, meaning it won't be seen by clients (kids) who use the ratings system.

    Generally:

    I don't see why "online age verification" would be needed - I see the role of the parent being to set the ratings limit on the kids computer or for that browsing session - of course, there needs to be a tool to make that easy, but we have that sort of thing already.

    It's not perfect, but nothing will be. I stress I prefer no filtering at all and any such system should be opt-in, but at least a ratings system (if it can be made to work) can cut down a lot of the crap while maintaining better choice for older kids (or easily offended adults) with, IMHO, virtually no performance penalty.

    I remain aware of the possibility of wedge politics, i.e. once a ratings system is introduced, a future government could tighten it at will. The only answer I have for that is to make sure that the right of adults to choose to view unrated content be made clear in any legislation. This is the main reason why I prefer no filtering.

  64. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    brb reviewing every website.

    Hi Im just gong to review every website in the world. The only problem is in the time it took me to write this message there has been 10thousand more webpages uploaded. Now TheRegister stop making me have to work more.

  65. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Think of the children

    Why is it that any time some one says something about the lines of "think of the children" i prepare to put on my bullshit wading boots.

    If you as a parent are worried about stuff your kids can find on the internet, then you should not let them on unsupervised.

    When did the responsibility for children get transferred from parents to the government.

    Yes let the government decide whats acceptable and not, they have such a great IT understanding and their IT projects record is spotless.

    Why is it that its always some wing nut with unreal perception of morality and will to impose it on other that get elected.

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