back to article to get power to force ISPs to block child porn

The European Union wants new laws that would grant national governments the power to force ISPs to block child pornography. The move would enable the Home Office to impose filtering technology on small ISPs who say they cannot afford it, or argue it is ineffective. Article 18 of the proposal for an EU framework decision on " …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Lionel Baden



    somebody please get an old sattelite working we can dial up to with old irridium phone please ...

  2. g e

    In separate news today...

    Jacqui Smith announced that all UK citizens will be required to wear 'Tommy' style see-no-hear-no-speak-no accessories for their own protection.

    Her husband will be required to carry a spare at all times.

    She commented that the additional benefit to the environment would be enormous as vehicle usage would decline sharply.

  3. Anonymous Coward

    Seem quite reasonable to me

    Block off access to the computer illiterate, then there won't be a problem.

    The Daily Mail will be happy as its readers cannot get access to CP.

    The pervs will be happy because they can still get access to their CP.

    The CP producers will be happy as the price will have to go up due to 'diminished supply'.

    The kids will be unhappy because they will still be being fucked.

    It it _REALLY_ too difficult for the politicians to understand that to combat something like CP you have to find those producing it and put them in jail for a long long time. These block lists will accomplish nothing more that a illusion of safety nothing more than an illusion. I wanted a statesman for my Prime Minister, not fucking Paul Daniels.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Hidden List + Mandatory Filtering == No thanks

    While no one in their right mind would support the disemination of child porn I can't agree with this approach to stopping it as it sets such a dangerous precident. If the list was open to review and the filtering was opt in (or at least opt out'able) then I would support it. I might even be convinced to support it if just the list was open but a closed list is far too open to abuse or even mistakes by the powers that be.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It says

    "the competent judicial or police authorities"

    The IWF has shown itself to be the former and it certainly isn't the latter.

  6. Dave


    I would expect the IWF list to be always freely available with an explanation of why each site is blocked, and a rational challenge procedure for getting stuff removed from the list. Only then would I consider that censorship is OK, and even then only reluctantly. It still comes down to differences between individuals as to what is considered acceptable, and while there are certain things that 99%+ of the population would agree should be removed, it's too easy for the line to move for political expedience if there's no oversight. I think we're at greater risk from an unaccountable censorship scheme than from a net where anything goes.

  7. Ash
    Thumb Down

    CP != Abuse

    From a SlashDot article on the Great Firewall of Australia:

    "...Start spreading the idea that anyone for filtering is just hiding the fact abuse continues to happen anyway only that it's pushed underground.

    Start using arguments such as anyone defending the filter is allowing child porn to continue as a dirty little secret that's kept out of the publics minds and that they're basically okaying it as long as the general public doesn't stumble across it or know about it.

    It's eqaully a bit of a stretch, but they're not playing a game of truths and facts here." - Xest (Not my account)

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Does this list..

    Just block URLs?

    Because I happen to know that most of the images are traded via IRC and Usenet.

    So what good is blocking http URLs when the pedos are using a totally different protocol to trade their shit?

    Why is no one in charge clued up on this?

  9. Chris Collins

    Good lay?

    Are children that good a fuck that I'm the only person in the world, apparently, that hasn't tried to fuck them? I've never actually seen any kiddie porn and I've looked at some weird shit on the internet in the last 15 years. Clearly I'm doing it wrong as there's obviously mountains of the stuff served up by whole countries filled with filthy paedos.

  10. Anonymous Coward

    what about drawn children?

    anything about them?

    or would they follow the same route,

    1) think of the children

    2) think of the abused adults (next year proposal)

    3) think of the virtual children (2 year from now)

    4) think of the virtual abused adults (3 years from now)



    99) let all women cover themselves and fear for their souls and salvation.

    I am for filtering child pornography, but why don't they make the law clear, this equipment will be used for this purpose and this purpose only, under no circumstances will this equipment be used for any other purpose even if that purpose is to enforce another law.

  11. General A. Annoying

    @ Cpt. Jamie

    is that 'competent', 'competent judicial' or 'judicial'?

  12. Wayland Sothcott

    County Broadband

    "They pointed out that in 2006 the Home Office had pledged that it would tell all providers to implement filters by the end of 2007."

    When I was a partner at County Broadband a small WISP, we had this letter. I read it and was furious. Then I read it again and realised it was volentary, so I chucked it in the bin.

    An ISP should simply connect the subscriber to the Internet.

    It's not Vaxhalls job to make sure you don't drive where you are not allowed. It's not the ISPs job to decide where you can and can't go on the Internet.

    If the government want to control what comes through our boarders then maybe they should own the routers that link the UK to abroard.

  13. Juillen

    The conversation in a nutshell:

    Policy makers: We're going to make the world safe for children by putting in a filter that'll stop anyone looking at kiddie fiddling.

    Technical experts: It's not possible. By trying to do it, we're probably going to make the whole infrastructure less stable, and less secure.

    Policy makers: La la la. We're not listening. The world will be a wonderful place because we say it will. It won't happen, because we can't see it happening. Oh look, Rome's burning.. Where's my violin?

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just becuase...

    Just because you bandage the bullet hole doesn't mean it'll heal itself, in fact it'll just get worse. I can't stand the powers-that-be treating symptoms and not the diseases. Not only should they be focussing on tracking down the sourses and prodcuers of CP but also trying to tackle the issues that drive people to it in the first place, is the desire for that filth genetic, chosen, is the proliferation of and desensitisation to, sex and violence in various media formats a factor.

    Until someone's put to work on the real issues, this, like most government policy is just creating the illusion of a solution. As AC so succintly puts it "I wanted a statesman for my Prime Minister, not fucking Paul Daniels".

  15. Graham Marsden
    Thumb Down

    "accidental exposure to child pornography"?

    Why not have the Home Office equip everyone with a modified equivalent of the Joo-Janta 200 Super-Chromatic Peril Sensitive Sunglasses which, at the slightest hint of an underage picture, immediately go black to prevent people from seeing something which may offend them...? (The "them" being Wacky Jacqui and the Home Office, of course)

    Meanwhile we go another step down the road of complete Government control over our web browsing for our own "protection" and because WON'T SOMEONE THINK OF THE CHILDREN!

  16. Ted Treen
    Black Helicopters

    @AC 12:01

    'Fraid your verbal shorthand is utterly inaccurate old thing.

    The Daily Mail - oft pilloried here as a reincarnated "Volkischer Beobachter" is actually nothing of the sort. As a Mail reader for many years - and several other papers of differing political hue as well, I can only say that the Mail has been the most vociferous and reasoned over the loss of our civil liberties, and the rise of jobsworth apparatchiks under Stasi-like NuLab.

    Cue immediate flaming from the "I have my views - don't bother me with facts" brigade.

    These are of course, the very same enlightened little souls who've voted for NuLab three times in a row, believing they are a party for the noble proletariat, and refusing to accept the evidence of their own eyes and ears.

  17. Yorkshirepudding


    anyone punching that in to GTA4 gets a surprise best start handing out wanted levels eh?

  18. Anonymous Coward

    Moving the goalposts

    Dear ISPs

    Now that you have the technology in place, would you mind filtering out this terrorist website?

    Oh, and these terrorist sympathisers too while you're at it.

    And [insert rich celebrity here] complained to the police about defamation on a blog. Mind blocking that too?

    Lots of love,



  19. John Smith Gold badge

    How odd

    I did not think it was time for the UK to hold the Presidency again so soon.

    Is this from the same nation that had some MEP say that kiddie p0(n was 50% of all criminal internet activity?

    And what is their nations translation of TOTC?

    Epic fail.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Load of rubbish

    "We know from our work with offenders that it can often start with an accidental exposure and curiosity," is a load of crap. Have a talk with the London Ambulance worker who wrote "Blood Sweat and Tea" who had to help treat a 15 year old who wanted to commit suicide. The kid wanted to kill himself because he wanted to have sex with, and kill, small boys. There are actually institutions in the UK that hold children under 16 who are both victims and abusers; and they don't lock the front door for fear of the little tykes getting violent. Grab a copy of "Diary of an On-Call Girl" out of the library .. that'll open your eyes.

    The sooner these lunatic idiots in power come to terms that child abusers are born and not created, the sooner they can actually do something about supporting these people and giving them whatever pornography is needed to sate their desires ... rather than taking everything away from them and leaving them with only one outlet for their frustrations ... actual, physical child abuse.

    But then, the Home Office and the rest of them know all about this ... they have done ever since I started talking with them a year ago. The worst thing of it all is that no matter who is in Government, these twits in these departments will not change and will carry on regardless.

    Proof positive that they want to try and gain political points rather than actually do something to actually stop child abuse, etc.

    And where are the press in all this? Nowhere to be seen. The BBC, the ITV, the Times, and more ... none of the media want to pick this up because they are s**t scared of public opinion...

    ... so that is our society happy to commit suicide and walk straight in to 1984, then.

    This country makes me sick.

  21. Andrew Oakley

    "internet pages"

    "internet pages" ? Oh dear. Those two words demonstrate how completely and utterly out-of-touch governments are with the Internet. Do they mean "web pages"? If so, why bother, given that the vast majority of illegal content probably lies in torrents, not the World Wide Web? Is this law going to be aimed at novice child pornographers, whilst the expert kiddy-fiddlers are deliberately left alone?

    Sounds like yet another announcement of a half-baked scheme which will only partially be put into action and never meet any its goals.

  22. Chewy

    @Ted Treen

    Is it still April the 1st? The Daily Mail a defender of our civil liberties ha ha

    On a seriously note surely it is the job of government to help fund things that are in the public interest rather than force them on business/individuals expense. The point that Zen makes from their expertise as an ISP should be listened to as we have enough laws with holes in them as it is. And the government line of either you are for the filter or you are a paedophile doesn't wash.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why... so many people here post, "I'm opposed to censorship" and then somewhere in there qualify that they're in favor of censorship for kiddie porn? Let me make this simple for you:

    "I can't agree with this approach... it sets such a dangerous precident [blah blah] I would support it"

    "or would they follow the same route,

    1) think of the children

    2) think of the abused adults

    [blah blah]

    I am for filtering child pornography"

    See how this goes, guys? You can't say "I'm against censorship" and then "I'm for censorship" in the same post. You can't have it both ways. Either reconcile the necessity to protect speech you dislike, or admit that you're fine with the government telling you what to think.

    It's one or the other, people.

  24. Jon Brunson

    If they know

    If they already know all of the websites which have child porn on them, why not shut the sites down? Or why can't they track the users who are regularly visiting these websites and prosecute them (like they do for downloading music)?

    I don't like child porn, or any other form of child/adult/animal/mineral/vegetable abuse, but filtering is not going to cure the problem. They should focus on stopping the abuse at the root, not wrongly blacklisting Wikipedia pages.

  25. Anonymous Coward

    @Wayland Sothcott

    >> If the government want to control what comes through our boarders then maybe they should own the routers that link the UK to abroard.

    Exactly. If they want to police the Internet, then they either need a global police force or a national internet. It certainly shouldn't be down to every ISP to add their own filters - that'd be like every town, village and city having their own UK Border Agency (N.B. UK, not local, border agency). I can't see how a global internet, which spans so many borders, can ever be policed effectively by local enforcers (whether that is a good thing or a bad thing, I'm not sure).

    Ofcourse any filtering is futile so long as strong encryption is allowed and to ban it would (IMHO) grievous. However, if the UK government can make laws which allow you to be imprisoned for carrying a useful tool without good reason, purely because the laws on carrying an offensive weapon were to safe to make convictions easy; I don't see why they won't one day ban encryption (or even general purpose computers) except very limited uses. Personally, I'm waiting for the day when possession of a penis becomes illegal, then we can finally stamp out rape and child sex abuse in one fell sweep.

  26. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

    After looking at "art" by Damien Hirst ...

    ... would you:

    a) Go out a pickle a sheep of your own.

    b) Consider pickling Damien Hirst, then remember the reasons we got rid of the death penalty.

    c) Lock up Zoe Hilton before she goes out and pickles a sheep.

  27. Anonymous Coward

    Kiddy Fiddlers Blaming Pictures

    "The NSPCC believes the reduced chance of accidental exposure to child pornography via a filtered internet connection reduces the risk of offending. "We know from our work with offenders that it can often start with an accidental exposure and curiosity," policy advisor Zoe Hilton said recently."

    Right, so kiddy fiddlers are blaming pictures, rather than taking responsibility for their own actions. And the NSPCC is endorsing that view? What utter rubbish!

    The police who investigate such stuff always say that you never get used to seeing such images. The same goes for the IWF, and others. Those who are exposed to such images, but who don't want to see such stuff, always find such images disgusting, distressing, etc. They never get turned into paedos by being exposed to such material.

    And what about juries? Don't they have to look at the evidence? Do they get a choice? If unintended exposure to such material turns some people into paedophiles, then isn't it dangerous and unethical to require juries to look at such evidence? It might create even more paedophiles! Unless, of course, it doesn't work that way. In which case, the kiddy fiddlers, and the NSPCC (and others), are talking rubbish.

    I'm no expert, but I wouldn't be surprised if part of the problem is kiddy fiddlers refusing to take responsibility for their own actions in the first place. If they took more responsibility, rather than putting the blame elsewhere, they might offend less. Supporting the view that the pictures made them do it isn't solving the problem. If anything, it might be making it worse.

    It's sounds very much like the nonsense with Graham Coutts (Jane Longhurst's killer) and "extreme porn". Coutts fantasized about strangling women long before he knew there was porn of it. But he still fantasized about it. His interest in such porn, once he'd discovered it, was fuelled by his existing desires, rather than the other way around. And yet the government still legislates arse-about-face (anal smothering fetish?).

    We should be lambasting the NSPCC, the Home Office, and others, for endorsing kiddy fiddlers' lame excuses.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Once more the innocent pay

    The children pay with the loss of their innocence. The ISP has to pay for the list. The innocent customer has to pay more for their internet service to cover the cost of a service they don't need.

    I already pay enough for my premium internet service. One of its selling points is that there is no port blocking and no proxies. Now the Government wants it to offer less service for which I will have to pay more or the ISP will be operating below profitable margins.

    It would make a lot more sense for the credit card companies to block transactions from the sellers of CP. Take away the life blood of the sites. Or the police can pay for a monthly check through the ISPs' logs to track who requested the URLs and take them to court like they do for the illegal copyrighted downloads. The government wants the logs but they never use them for anything that really matters.

    Better still, publish the list so that we can add the domains to our hosts file - after all that is what they are there for.

    Now, there is a thought, all new computers to be sold with the CP URLs already blocked in the hosts file.

    Just leave my internet connection alone.

  29. Ted Treen
    Black Helicopters


    No, it's not April 1st, and the Mail really is far more anti Nu-Lab Stasi than the Mirror (inverted snobbery & lowest common denominator), or the Grauniad (intellectual snobbery, smug & patronising chattering and so NuLab it hurts) - both of which are amazing in their fawning obeisance to NuLab.

    As regards "..surely it is the job of government to help fund things that are in the public interest rather than force them on business/individuals expense...", you're spot on, old chap.

    The big HOWEVER in this case is :-

    However, this current shower have not done what is in the public interest, they have done what is in THEIR interest.

    Which is usually NOT in the public interest.

    And they have forced business/individuals to pay for it.

    Put simply, they haven't a clue.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Was always gonna happen, wonder if any of the NSPCC bullshit is peer reviewed and backed by multiple studies. I doubt it, nothing to do with psychology or social science, all to do with opinion and looking like they're tough.

    This is how a social study works, Claim -> Research -> Discuss -> conclusion -> Evalution of Claim -> peer review -> Supporting studies and alternative Claims. Until you've got about 3 supporting studies that have been properly reviewed you've just got an idea.

    You can't just go "Claim" I think pictures make peadophiles as opposed to genetics or environmental issues (child abuse in formative years) -> "Research" talked to some peadophiles who blaimed it on teh pictures they saw by accident, talked to some normal folk who said peadophiles are made by pictures -> "Discuss/Reason" Looks like I'm right -> "conclusion" pictures make peados -> "Peer Review" Gave it to some like minded mates in the IWF, NSCC, Plod and "justice" ministry -> "Support" Same as results as my mates in NSCC, IWF, Plod and justice got -> no need to reevaluate.

    Support for these kinds of things just shows a complete lack of understanding of the human animal, society, and psychology.

    But I've said it before and I'll say it again, facts and evidence don't matter in this world, looking tough and getting your own way through twisted stats is the way forward.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Sorry for the awful typo on my last post. Morale of this is never try and comment on a story while persuading a small child not to redistribute my cup of tea around the room. Seems he doesn't like my choice of Assam blend tea.

    It should have read:

    "the competent judicial or police authorities"

    The IWF has patently shown itself not to be the former and it certainly isn't the latter.

    My previous comments about the IWF on El Reg stand (quango, unaccountable, noble intentions but it fouled up, needs to be held to account and be transparent, et cetera)

    Cory Doctorow makes what seems a relevant point at

    "The cops who specialise in child porn will tell you that trading takes place on private, closed P2P networks, often hardened with crypto -- Cleanfeeds doesn't and can't prevent this"

    What the politicians' response to that is I would love to know. "That's a technical point which isn't relevant" would probably be their glib response, which shows their stupidity.

    Now I've been online in one form or another since 1991 (yes, I'm a grumpy old bastard) and I haven't seen any child porn. None. Haven't had it offered to me, whether online or down the pub...

    If someone down my local had said "'Ere Jamie, I've got some lovely kiddie porn here you'd just love!" they wouldn't have made it out of the pub alive. Quite what the local chapter would have done to the specimen doesn't really bear thinking about (I'm squeamish)

    The previous criticisms of the IWF stand and are still relevant. It isn't comptetent and it isn't law enforcement. It's a quango.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Legal liability

    So pray tell, will the IWF be liable is stuff gets through their list?

    And will they be liable if they block non illegal sites?

    If you wouldn't back them with criminal law, or even civil liability, how can you assign a duty to enforce their viewpoint? Isn't that just setting up a mass censorship right without any responsibilities? Sort of like China has?

  33. Anonymous Coward

    Sweeping the Problem Under the Carpet

    This filtering, which they admit only stops accidental access (but not always even that, as the Virgin Killer fiasco demonstrated in various ways), sounds more and more like an effort to sweep the problem under the carpet, rather than a real attempt to tackle child abuse.

    As keeps being pointed out, such filtering is incredibly easy to circumvent. The Virgin Killer fiasco was itself an opportunity to see how easy it is to circumvent such filtering. I remember reading of a few, very simple tricks for getting round the filter. The tricks tended to be so simple that they could often be applied in the form of easy-to-make links, which meant people could still be accidentally exposed to offending material just by clicking on such links (reminds me of my first encounter with goatse (ahhh, nostalgia...)).

    So what's the point of such filtering? They say it's to stop people being turned into paedophiles as a result of accidental exposure to such material, but we all know that's a load of dingoes' kidneys. As others have said, it's simply to sweep the problem under the carpet. At the very least, that's the point of it.

    But might there be more to it?

    Sweeping the problem under the carpet means less abuse gets reported. It helps abusers get away with their on-going abuse. It's almost like a grand stealth operation, where the IWF, NSPCC, etc, are just fronts for a vast "paedophile ring" operating under child protection guises. Okay, perhaps that sounds a bit tinfoil hat, but isn't such hiding of the abuse exactly what the abusers want? The abusers actually want their abuse to remain hidden (except from other abusers). And that's the service that the IWF and participating ISPs provide.

    The IWF are helping abusers hide their abuse.

  34. Steve Evans

    Anonymous Coward @AC 2nd April 2009 12:17 GMT

    "Why is no one in charge clued up on this?"

    A very good question... But do you really think we need another 100 civil servants, even techie ones to help them with these things?

    Personally I'm quite happy for the Govt to go round making stupid statements like this, and then to sit back and watch as the reality of what they are requesting slowly dawns.

    We all suspect they are idiots, so why not let them open their mouths and remove all doubt!

  35. Dave Bell

    Fuzzy boundaries

    As the "sexting" affair in the USA shows, there is not-obviously-illegal material which could fit current child-porn definitions. The current UK definition could be applied to many editions of The Sun and The Mirror, with page-three models under the age of 18 at the time the pictures were taken.

    It's not so long ago that a picture of a five-year-old, boy or girl, without a shirt, could be unremarkable. Context matters a lot, but there wasn't the current automatic screaming of accusations.

    I'm prepared to concede that the IWF has done a decent job of blocking the clearly illegal. The problem is that there is no way I can know. There seems to be no check on what they block. I suppose there might be a law enforcement operation using the IWF list as an intelligence source, but they'll have to keep silent.

    I don't know how it could be done, but there needs somebody checking on the IWF before they're given these powers. The BBFC works pretty well without the law backing a film certificate, but the films it refuses to certify for public showing can still be seen. The BBFC isn't perfect, but it isn't so secretive.

    OK, I have no reason to distrust the IWF. I don't doubt what police officer friends have told me about what they've seen (and that wasn't any sort of detail). But we still had the failures of Operation Ore.

    It's not that good a protection to be able to argue a case in court. With what the investigation can do to a suspect, we need something a bit better than that. We can't rely on there never being a mistake in the system.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Save the kids from the spin meisters.

    The IWF is a political sticking-plaster that was imposed on the major ISPs by the government who were advised that their solution would be completely ineffective in terms of protecting exploited children. But when did this bunch of incompetent halfwits ever allow anything as inconvenient as reality to intrude into their fantasy view of the world? These are the very same people who thought it would be a good idea to remove all regulatory restraints from the greediest section of society and who are now blaming their own stupidity on 'global factors' and the American sub-prime market. We can only hope that if they spin any faster they will achieve escape velocity and fuck off back to their own planet.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Pushing it underground

    What we should be doing is encouraging people to report child porn when they chance upon it on the internet, not protecting the kiddy fiddlers by making sure civil-minded individuals can't chance upon it.

    This law is a kiddy-fiddler's charter.

  38. Graham Marsden
    Thumb Down

    @Steve Evans

    "Personally I'm quite happy for the Govt to go round making stupid statements like this, and then to sit back and watch as the reality of what they are requesting slowly dawns.

    "We all suspect they are idiots, so why not let them open their mouths and remove all doubt!"

    Unfortunately they are idiots who have the power to pass laws like the "Dangerous Pictures Act" outlawing so-called Extreme Pornography.

    It doesn't matter that this is a ridiculous law which will have no real effect on what it is targetting, it doesn't matter that it's effectively unenforceable unless the Police get their hands on someone's computer for some other reason, it doesn't matter that it's very probably in breach of at least two and maybe three articles of the European Convention on Human Rights, what matters is that the damn law got on the statute books in the *first* place!

    These idiots don't just go around making statements, they go around passing laws to "make the world a better place" (at least in their minds) and then leave us and now ISPs suffering the consequences.

    So don't be happy with this, write to your MP and complain via

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: @Pushing it underground

    Under the current climate, it's easy to imagine people who unintentionally come across such material fearing that they themselves will fall under suspicion if they report it.

    I seem to remember that the police have said, on various occasions, that you can't come across such material by accident, and would have to deliberately seek it out in order to access it. Given such pronouncements, who would want to get the police involved when accidentally exposed to such material?

    There is the very real danger that people are being discouraged from reporting abusive images to the police. This, in turn, could help the kiddy fiddlers.

    It's almost as if they've criminalised being a witness to a crime.

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    subject to adequate safeguards.

    Yes, now there's the rub.

  41. Anonymous Coward

    I wouldn't report it if I found it.

    I'd be put on a register, no doubt at all.

    There should be an anonymous submit form for reporting. People could even become vigilantes seeking it out to report it.

  42. John Smith Gold badge

    @Michelle Knight

    “We know from our work with offenders that it can often start with an accidental exposure and curiosity,"

    I find this statement quite extraordinary. Who is this person? It implies kiddie p0(n is a highly infectious mental condition.

    Curious indeed that people who do watch this stuff on at least a semi-regular basis have described the experience as distressing, disturbing and vile, which they prefer not to do on their own. This claim implies that they actually embarrassed at their real reaction.

    Would it not also imply that any prosecution under the Obscene Pubs Act was in the bag? 1)Check the jury has seen no kiddie p0(n 2) show them the suspect material. 3)Get them to confirm they are aroused. Maybe kiddie p0(n prosecutions under the OPA are not handled that way.

    “no matter who is in Government, these twits in these departments will not change and will carry on regardless”

    That I can believe. They sound like soul-mates to the characters who champion ID cards and the NIR.

  43. Paul

    My concern is...

    I understand the arguements both in favour and against. We may argue that our liberty is being denied when we are restricted from being allowed to choose what we want to see and when. But in the case of child abuse (because child pornography is abuse and not just a photo or video clip), we are through our actions creating a market for such material. When we download child abuse images somebody somewhere will realise that there is a market out there. If there is a market someone will supply and more children will be abused.

    Although any filter will not stop a determined pedophile from accessing and obtaining child abuse material, casual users will be blocked from stumbling across this form of material. This is in itself is a preventative measure that should be supported.

    Please keep in mind that child abuse material is;

    a permanent reminder of a child being abused,

    a permanent reminder of the fact that so many adults are ready to exploit innocent and in some cases underprivileged children,

    the child will be abused every time the material is exchanged over the internet and will never bbe removed from the net.


    Thank you

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I've no problem with the gummint gettings ISPs to implement a block-list and Zen and similar ISPs complaints that this will require more hardware sounds like old-fashioned belly-aching to me.

    I take issue, though, with your comment that we are, through our actions, creating a market for such material.

    For one thing it's not clear who this 'we' is - the IT industry in general, ISPs, or the general Internet-viewing public. While it might be arguable that ISPs by not implementing a block-list aren't making things difficult enough for those wishing to trade in child pornography, that's hardly the same as creating and sustaining a market for such material.

    We can hardly level accusations against the general public either, except to say that (according to a quick google) paedophiles either form 4% of the general viewing public ( - this source doesn't say where this figure comes from though), or that it's not possible to say (wikipedia article on paedophilia, citing the following article

    I suppose we could level accusations against IT on the grounds that without computers this trade wouldn't exist, which is an argument that has small merit based as it is on a 'turn back the clock' mentality.

    My real issue with your point though is that 'we' (in general) aren't creating such a market at all: Paedophiles are. And as with most groups which are prevented from achieving their objectives either by peer pressure, legislation, or a mixture of the two, they will tend to try and circumvent those means which prevent them from obtaining their desired goal. The corollary of this is that any means which are put in place will tend to be circumvented, given enough time.

    This doesn't mean we should do nothing, but if we're serious about stopping child abuse then we're going to have to come to terms with the fact that trade in images of child pornography is likely to continue even when the gummint's ISP block-list plan is put into place. This means that we need to continue to think smarter than people who want to circumvent these measures rather than exclusively relying on blanket measures designed to put a stop to them.

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Paul, Re: My concern is...

    Your comment appears to perfectly summarise the "party line", as it were.

    But first, I'd like to say that I agree that (at least some of) the kinds of images in question are not just images of abuse, but actually form part of the abuse. (I say "at least some of", since I really don't think, say, bath-time family photos, or naturist photos, necessarily constitute abuse.) Those images that form part of actual abuse should, indeed, be dealt with somehow.

    Now on to where we disagree.

    Like Simon Harpham said, your position is contradictory, or at least inconsistent. On the one hand, you put forward the classic market-creating argument. You argue that by accessing abusive images of children, people are encouraging the production of more such material. This is an argument in support of filtering. But then, on the other hand, you concede that such filtering doesn't really work. It only blocks access to those who don't particularly want to see such material, not to those who do. It can't, therefore, reduce market demand.

    Denying access to shoe shops to all those who don't want to buy shoes, while still allowing access to those who do want to buy shoes, isn't going to reduce market demand for shoes much at all.

    You can't have it both ways. Either the filtering reduces market demand, or it doesn't. But you've already conceded, at least tacitly, that it doesn't work, that it doesn't reduce market demand.

    State-mandated interference with the right to freedom of expression has to be justified. Under Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights, such interference has to be "necessary in a democratic society, ... for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, for the protection of the reputation or rights of others, for preventing the disclosure of information received in confidence..." Let me just emphasize that it has to be "necessary".

    Can an ineffective filtering system such as Cleanfeed really be regarded as "necessary"? If it doesn't really do what it's supposed to do - reduce market demand for child abuse - how then can it be "necessary"? Having everyone wear bobble-hats is also useless for reducing market demand for child abuse, and obviously can't be "necessary". If Cleanfeed, and the like, are little more effective than making everyone wear bobble-hats, how can State-mandated use of such filtering count as "necessary"? A useless measure simply cannot be "necessary".

    Except, of course, having said all that, there is still the issue of accidental exposure, which you also pointed out in your comment.

    I can see that the sexually abusive exposure of children to strangers is itself a kind of abuse. Blocking accidental access to such material reduces the amount of such abuse. But the ends do not automatically justify the means (as bobble-hats demonstrate). A "solution" that ends up sweeping the problem under the carpet may actually end up being counter-productive. Things like Cleanfeed can be used to hide the problem, and hide the lack of success in dealing with the problem. Such filtering can end up being a part of the problem, rather than part of the solution. At least, that's the concern that some people have.

    There are plenty of other criticisms and concerns that people have of such filtering. It's simply not enough to say, "This measure is intended to achieve that objective, and since that objective is good, the measure itself is good and it's wrong to oppose it." Such arguments are a recognized hallmark of totalitarianism.

    Shouldn't we work to protect today's children from a totalitarian future?

  46. John Smith Gold badge


    I will proceed on the assumption you have genuine concerns and are not a troll.

    I *very* strongly doubt anyone here thinks this stuff is anything less than a permanent record of a serious crime. We don't like the idea *not* because the crime is not bad, but because the proposed "solution" is grossly misleading.

    It does not stop the root cause (web sites hosting these images). It does not catch the makers. It does not catch the viewers. It does not catch the webmasters. It *does* give the government another weapon to control access to stuff-they-don't-like(TM). It gives the *illusion* of something being done while the real behaviour continues. Despite the image of ElReg's readership I also suspect several people here do children of their own.

    Paedophiles as a group seem highly adept at diversion strategies. "I saw these pictures and started thinking about it," or "I'm sick. I need help. I can't help myself," along with the classic "I was abused as a child myself." My experience of the subject is limited but I've never heard one say "I like looking at young boys/girls. They make me horny." Disgusting, nasty, but honest.

    You seem to buy the argument Paedophila is a communicable mental abberation. That suggests offending rates among members of Scotland Yards Child Pornography squad would be sky high. I don't know but I rather doubt it.

    AC@14:55 put it simply.

    "This measure is intended to achieve that objective, and since that objective is good, the measure itself is good and it's wrong to oppose it." Such arguments are a recognized hallmark of totalitarianism.

    Mine's the one with a copy of the complete "The Thick of It" in the side pockets.

  47. Wayland Sothcott
    Paris Hilton

    Why they block child porn...

    The reason they block websites with child porn is that most people think the web is the Internet and to control the Internet all you have to do is control the filter for the web.

    The reason they are going after child porn should be obvious, everyone hates child porn and no one would say it should be left alone.

    If they said they want to block freedom of speach and prevent disenting voices and that's why ISPs have to pay money to implement this, then it would carry no favour.

    Today on Radio 4 some bloke from a Think Tank (institute for policy research or some such scary sounding conspiritors) was on the raadio saying that the government wants to promote free speach by giving money to the 30 best charities to use on inovative political campiegns. Might one of them be the IWF?

    Paris because if you're old enough then she is child porn.

  48. pete


    Blocking 'child-porn' ?.... but not the majority of images out there which are of the posed 'lolita' type?

    Does that mean the latter are 'approved' ?

    We pedos need guidance!

This topic is closed for new posts.

Other stories you might like