back to article Brown launches 'Zip it, Block it, Flag it' net code for children

Prime Minister Gordon Brown will today be launching a new internet safety strategy for children and young people, drawn up by an unprecedented coalition of Government, industry and charities at the first the UK Council for Child Internet Safety (UKCCIS) Summit in London today. As Children’s Secretary Ed Balls commented today, …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    Won't somebody please

    think of the children.

    Or - novel idea - We could let parents take responsibility for parenting their own children (The clue's in the title)

    1. Bilgepipe


      Judging by the bands of rogue teenagers roaming the streets drinking, shagging and robbing, I think that parents have pretty much failed the whole "take responsibility" thing.

  2. Dave Murray

    Zip it?

    So you want kids to compress their personal details before sending to pedos? Coz that's what 'zip it' will mean to them. Not that politicians would understand that.

  3. Ted Treen
    Big Brother

    They're demonstrably certifiable...

    and " backed by £2m of government investment..." really means "That's another £2Million of debtwe've pointlessly got you into."

    Hoons. Utter Hoons. All of'em.

  4. Craig Dewar

    I love ths initiative

    As a teacher of Year 10 PSHE (Not my main subject but we have to teach it in my school) and knowing how much the kids love and respect this subject. It is taken so seriously by them, I am sure a talk to them about internet safety and staying away from Paedos. It ill maybe be as effective as the video about gonhorrea of the throat that we show in my school (aimed at men)during sex ed. Maybe we should make it the parents responsibility about telling them about the risks of the internet when the children are 5 year old.

    I also wonder why we ae referrin to it as the green cross code of interet safety, has this stopped childen and adults getting run over or stopped hem running across the road when parents are not present?

    Or maybe we can trust that most of our students do have a smattering of intelligence and common sense and can smell a paedo on the web reasonably well and spend their time slagging of the saddos(their phrase not mne) on a reglar basis. And also slagging off any friends who decide that meeting a stranger from the web is a good idea as he/she sounds so nice!. Don't underestimate peer pressre amongst 16 year olds.

    I am off to start recording Predator Raw as the basis of my lessons

  5. This post has been deleted by its author

  6. Jax 1


    We could teach them about spam, fraud and phishing. Maybe even some general security principles?

    That'd be a better use of this bluster.

  7. Ken Hagan Gold badge

    Those soundbites in full

    "Click Clever, Click Safe"

    but whatever you do, don't worry about the difference between adverbs and adjectives. After all, if you can become a government minister or senior civil servant without understanding this point, why bother? In fact, why bother with skewl at all?

    "Zip it, Block it, Flag it"

    That's "compress your porn to save space", "encrypt the connection to block your ISP's deep packet inspection" and then "flag its location to all your friends".

    Sheesh! My kids know more about the internet than these bozos.

  8. Steve Adams

    Error: Zip is a reserved word

    Why use the word "zip" which is already widely in use in the context (personal computing/Internet)?

    Anyone else think this is daft and confusing?

    Or am I being pedantic?

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Nope, it's Paedogedden! Run for the hills!

      Nope! First thing I thought of when I saw the word ZIP. Even my missus, not a massive technophile, would assume ZIP in context of computers means package and compress to save space! She works as teacher at nursery so that's, "Zip it! Lock it! Put it in your pocket!".

      While I appreciate what they are trying to do, don't they ever bother sending these Whitehall planks out to meet the Great Unwashed and try to come up with something useful? Nope, rather they get these demented, narrow-minded and utter shite ideas from some minister's wife. She got concerned about little Tarquin being subjected to these supposed millions of paedos that, according to the Sun, lurk around every corner!

  9. MJI Silver badge

    PKZIP it

    Hmm seems like a right troll suggested zipping it up.


  10. Ed Blackshaw

    Zip it, Block it, Flag It,

    Ignore it. In much the same way all but the most impressionable children usually ignore the patronising crap spewed by government.

    Money could be much better spent in educating children in the ways of questioning everything they are told, in the scientific method sense, with particular emphasis in questioning everything politicians say.

  11. Joe Harrison


    "...will become as familiar to this generation as ‘stop, look, listen’ did to the last."

    What does that mean? Is Mr. Brown referring to "stop, look, listen, think" which was used in the Green Cross Code campaigns? Although kids did of course prefer to replace "think" with "stink" wherever possible.

  12. EvilGav 1

    Flag It ??

    "Flag: Highlight any suspicious individuals, activities or websites to the relevant authority, including site admins, teachers or even police."

    Who will be doing the high-lighting ??

    Who determines what is suspicious ??

    Who decides whom the relevant authority is ??

    When can we vote these bozos out of office, I want my country back.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Brown launches Telescreen

    "The Government also announced today that all 270,000 computers to be provided under the Home Access scheme will incorporate the CEOP Advice, Help, Report button. This is designed to help children and their families quickly report inappropriate content or internet approaches from strangers as well as get help and advice on issues such as cyberbullying, viruses and hacking."

    i.e. instead of the child looking to their parents for advice, for help and to report problems, they turn to government directly. That's not healthy.

    You know the anti-social behaviour thing, where instead of neighbours arguing problems out between themselves, they now call the police and social interactions are now police interactions, breaking down what social cohesion there was and making the police a vector to attack neighbours you disagree with.

    And you know how Browns response to the slight increase in troubles in Northern Ireland was to send a load more troops back in, which has resulted in a breaking down of communities again, and more violence.

    And now he's done this. Injecting government right into families homes. The inevitable result will be every little problem timmy has with his parents will be CEOP matters, with police moderating all matters in family life.

    Do these computers have webcams and remote access by any change? They sort of seem familiar. I think I've read about these somewhere.

  14. BlueGreen

    Another braindead initiative.

    witty, catchy phrases that would make a kid cringe (per @Ken Hagan) and no forethought will emasculate this one too.

    > But we must ensure that the virtual world is as safe for them as this one

    The virtual world is a part of the real one and neither are 'safe', and the pretense of safety should not be attempted or the sprogs' sense of danger will never be tested and so remain underdeveloped into adulthood. And maybe more kids get damaged by their parents than by strangers, how about some stats Mr. Brown, just a thought.

    > as well as get help and advice on issues such as [...] viruses and hacking

    or just have an account where the kid doesn't have the rights to download & run executables? Just for once an actual existing technical solution to a problem.

    > Highlight any suspicious individuals, activities or websites to the relevant authority, including site admins, teachers or even police.

    You haven't even the guts to deal with criminal spam, now you want to do this.

    Have some balls and fix the underlying problems.

    1. Anonymous Coward


      Have these people ever been near a computer? But then I guess, the use of 'zip' as an access control mechanism is well established in government circles. These are the sort of people who 'ping' each other emails.

  15. Winkypop Silver badge

    Kids 1 - Government 0

    Very many kids know exactly what they are dealing with.

    Many have been brought up with all manner of technology during their (short) life.

    It's the adults who seem to be struggling here.

    Send the politicians back to school !!

  16. BlueGreen

    and one more thing

    learning that some strangers can be trusted is just as important as learning that some are dangerous

  17. Mike 140


    Why does this remind me of the Brass Eye special back in 2001, which came complete with the HOECS organisation (can't remember whst it was said to stand for) ?

  18. William Towle

    Key planks, indeed!

    Quote> "Today we are launching our online version of the 'green cross code'. We hope that ‘zip it, block it, flag it’ will become as familiar to this generation as ‘stop, look, listen’ did to the last."

    Don't they want us to "...think!" any more?

    // Yes I have googled it. To which I say: "Can't run around", "Can't kick a ball for 3 weeks", "No swimming for 6 weeks"? Is a safety campaign or advice for getting out of P.E.?!!

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ain't adults embarrassing...

    I remember a few years ago, some reviewer of nanny software who ended with the phrase "any approach to this problem that depends on parents and teachers knowing more than their children is doomed to failure from the outset !" So is an approach based on catch phrases and technically-dyslexic promises.

    In our local schools, almost every approach by the education authority is based on lowest tender (which mysteriously tends to results in highest prices) and maximum empire-building. The kids simply have the system licked. Most teachers don't know enough. Most parents don't know enough. Those charged with protection of the networks don't know enough. The kids just laugh it all off. The only saving grace is that - with some unfortunate exceptions that the school has no idea how to deal with - most of the kids are pretty level-headed about the whole subject.

    The few knowledgeable parents and teachers are simply regarded with suspicion - especially if they show any reluctance to solve the problem with precisely these tactics.

  20. Anonymous Coward

    Zip-pidy doo dah!

    I agree with previous posts, Zip is a bad choice of words lol

    also, perhaps they should change it all to Record it, peruse it, share it with your friends...

    because from what ive seen of kids using the internet if they see a site they like they write the site down, look at it some more and share it with their friends and the cycle goes on, the government are so full of sh1t sometimes, they need to get real and understand what theyre talking about, course what they really need is to step down and let another party have a go at making fools of themselves. Theres no way kids will want to follow the green cross digital code... theyll laugh it off and carry on glitching on modern warfare 2.

    Mr anominouse

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Green Cross Code

    Begins as Darth Vader. Mutates into Green Dam Man.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Digital code

    A new digital code? I didn't know Brown knew anything about cross interleaved Reed-Soloman they teach that in History degree courses? He's a very clever bloke.

    Well, I suppose it's got the word digital in front, so it must be a good code then.

  23. censored

    To be fair...

    It's a subject that does need to be taught in social education at school, just to make sure kids are aware of the risks of, for example, sending their boyfriend a rude photo. Teenagers pretend to be worldly wise, but how many of them have really thought through the possibly pitfalls of telling someone online what school they go to? Teens take risks, always have, always will, but as responsibly parents and teachers we should discuss the problems and dangers of the real world with them.

    The problem is that most teachers haven't a clue. I was in a school assembly about it a couple of weeks ago, and while the general content was ok, the teacher was clearly speaking from notes without any real idea of what her own words meant

    1. Martin 6 Silver badge

      @to be fair

      >aware of the risks of, for example, sending their boyfriend a rude photo.

      They will be arrested for distributing child porn. Be listed with the local police as a danger to children and simultaneously put on the 'at risk' register

      >possibly pitfalls of telling someone online what school they go to?

      The information will be combined with their medical records and their parent's bank account details and left on a train somewhere

      >discuss the problems and dangers of the real world with them.

      Walking in front of a car is a real danger, clicking on a banner ad isn't

      >the teacher was clearly speaking from notes without any real idea of what her own words meant

      Her own words wouldn't have been officially certified as meeting the objective criterion requirements for key stage 5 subsection b of the national curriculum.

  24. Scott 19


    Why do i always hear about these useless guberment gravy trains to late to get on one.

    1. Chris Miller

      Ear to the ground

      You just need to join the right masonic lodge, Scott.

      [Needs a rolled-up trouser leg icon]

  25. JP19

    SIck of politicians

    Gawd am I sick of politicians inventing problems to solve to justify their existence then pissing away vast amounts of taxpayers money and forcing others to piss away time and money on solutions which wouldn't solve the problem if actually existed.

    Every "it doesn't have to happen" advert I see makes me want to take a knife and stick it in Gordon Brown's face.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    The only key planks I can see

    Are Ed Balls and Gordon Brown.....

  27. Stu Pid

    Wish someone...

    would zip him, block him and flOg him.

  28. Anonymous Coward

    Zip it, Blog it, Flog it

    They seem to have missed out the burning to dvd step.

    1. Mr Larrington

      And then...

      Teach them where best to leave it (train, car, pub etc.) such that it can be found by tabloid journalists or the Russian Secret Service.

      There's a Muslim paedophile living under your child's bed! Vote Conservative!

  29. Steve Brooks

    Kid safe world You bet!

    "But we must ensure that the virtual world is as safe for them as this one"

    Oh dear, oh deary deary me. Whatever will they think of next, make it as safe as the real world, because in the real world you certainly let your 6 year old go down the palyground by him/herself, and just drop them off at the pool and ask a passing stranger to walk them in or send them toddling off across the motorway to buy you pack of fags down the local supermarket. NO IDIOTS!! Kids are safe in the real world because their effing parents don't let them walk around alone, the don't let them cross the road alone, or wander off with strangers! The real worl IS NOT KIDDY SAFE! I wonder if they heard that? Probably not, political selective hearing I guess.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    IT Angle

    Bop it!

    Catch it! Bin it! Kill it!

    Zip it! Block it! Flag it!

    Bop it! Twist it! Flick it!

    Oooowww too slow! You lose!

    Stuff it. Damn it. End it.

    I'm sick of this Government. Bring me a new one.

    1. 1of10

      Sick of this funny government?

      Are you sick of this Government? Why? They are so funny...

      What other party will be this funny? Tors? LDems?

      I would rather vote for this independent one to be our prime minister next round... ...

      Coz we know what to expect from him and of course it won't be has bad as current or any other party that want the same cosy chair.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Bop it!


      "I'm sick of this Government. Bring me a new one."

      in other words "Do it the same. But BETTER".

  31. Chika


    there's a couple of strange men saying silly things about the internet! HEEEELLLP!

    Seriously though, the politicians are targeting the wrong people. Kids do what kids do, and it is the responsibility of the grown ups (not politicians) to guide them right. One thought would be to find a way to get these kids off their lazy duffs and out into the real world but, as a recent magazine article on the BBC website says, said parents are too scared to do this these days. Interesting reading!

  32. 1of10

    Strip it, Lock it, Fart it

    Geee Mr. B strikes again! (Mr. Bean I mean)

    No wonder Mr. Blair abandoned this sink ship years ago!

    With some many incompetents managing UK’s Gov it clearly reached the absurd of the comic world... I wonder why BBC doesn't create a Telly program called "X politicians farctor".

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      "No wonder Mr. Blair abandoned this sink ship years ago!"

      For it was he who holed the thing below the waterline.

  33. Onionman

    If it saves just one kid

    From attack by a roboplegic wrongcock it'll be worth it.


  34. OffBeatMammal


    leaving aside the fact that the mans name is "Balls" - surely we can't say that in front of the children - he's really managed to balls this up (ah, must be nice to listen to the sound of tax revenue going down the drain!)

    how is this really going to help make the kiddies safer on the interwebs? have they thought this through?

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What a bunch...

    ...of morons...still we can rest assured they'll all be dead in the next 50 or so years.

  36. Anonymous Coward


    Z1p it! Rar it! War3z it! Comes to mind.....

  37. legion

    fek it

    And just who is going to protect adults from the children abusing the CEOP initiative? The spoilt, the spiteful, the envious, the greedy, etc Antisocial unpleasant and harmfull behaviour is not the sole preserve of those over 16/18/21 years

  38. Steve Smith 5

    The new internet generation.

    "Flag: Highlight any suspicious individuals, activities or websites to the relevant authority, including site admins, teachers or even police."

    Does this mean that the kids are to report to the relevant authorities, that Mummy and Daddy have been on file sharing websites?

    Year Zero, we've lost the older generation, let's brainwash the young ones, "remember kids multi million dollar corporations selling you the exact same repackaged music/movies every couple of years = good, lending it to one of your friends = bad".

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    [word 1] it, [word 2] it, [word 3] it

    and that will make everyone [x]% [word 4] at doing [word 5]

    Fill in the blanks with words from a hat.

    Damn now I've leaked the official government algorithm for generating propaganda. Oh well I'll just say I left it on the train.

  40. Anonymous Coward

    Nice idea but ...

    ... as with most government initiatives this resembles nothing so much as an actual bowl of shit festooned with flies.

    I think if I were expected to teach this fuckwittery to 13-16 year olds I'd be reaching for the knotted rope right now.

  41. Big-nosed Pengie

    Ed Balls?

    Seriously? Ed Balls? Jezuz - I bet he carries deep psychological scars from his school days. Makes sense, really.

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns


    Isn't going to be taught in schools.

    My daughter goes to a grammar school - this terms IT project is entitled "How To Use A Search Engine" and entails taking screen dumps of Google and typing loads of words about how to use it.

    The IT lessons don't cover - Linux, OSX, viruses, online etiquette, hardware, OS's, file management, trojans, online safety, Quark, Photoshop, troubleshooting.

    The IT lessons do cover Microsoft Publisher, Word, Excel (theory only), Access (theory only) and Powerpoint.

    Fortunately for my daughter she's grown up around computers and was using Linux at age 6. Most are not so lucky.

    IT - Idiots Technology.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      yes but

      Schools have to take into account the fact that beyond the use of Myspace and Facebook very few kids actually care about IT at all.

      Having breezed through high school IT classes with the best marks in the year I'm shocked to hear my younger siblings talk about how difficult and boring they find it. Okay it is boring but it's not difficult.

      If you can paste a screen shot into Word and write about it, you can pass IT off the back of maybe 10 minutes work a week. Yet most kids can't even be arsed to do that.

      Here's how they see computers: "is it working? Great, on to Myspace I go.... wait its broken.... can someone fix this please so I can use Myspace?" You think they care about the monumental technical achievements that make it possible for them to sit drooling in front of Myspace all day? Of course they don't

      That's why they get pwned so easily, and now the government thinks it can help them?

      Give me strength.

      Kids who want to learn about computers are going to learn about computers. Kids who are happy ignorant will stay ignorant. That's life.

  43. ShaggyDoggy

    Huh ?

    Can this perfect world get any more perfect ?

    Oh wait ...

  44. myhandle

    Big asumption

    This assumes that the teachers or "adults in general" know how to protect their own computers. Do the government think that botnets are large networks of childrens computers or something ???

  45. REDKola

    Daft Punk....?

    Anyone else think they got Daft Punk in to write the slogan?

    Zip it, Block it, Flag it... Work it, Do it, Make it, harder, better, faster, stronger, etc

  46. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Thumb Up

    @Tyrunn, @BlueGreen


    "Paul Gadd launches his, 'Zip It, Wipe It, Bury It' campaign"

    I do hope you mean the contents of his hard drive.


    "learning that some strangers can be trusted is just as important as learning that some are dangerous"

    The problem is teaching them how to tell the difference. The penalty for not learning the difference can be severe.

  47. Tony Paulazzo
    Jobs Horns

    The world according to me

    >Zip it, Block it, Flag it<

    Turn on, tune in, drop out...

    Children reporting adults, very 1984. As for making children as safe in the virtual space as they are in the real[tm] world, I hadn't realised they'd perfected the perfect safe environment for children (PSEC), free from bullying, predators, peer pressure, school yard fights, car accidents, bad parents and liars - well done Gordon Brown!

  48. Jon 52

    wow search engines thats advanced

    just 12 years ago I had to show my 'IT' teacher how to get "the little starry thing above the 8". The IT teacher was acutally the french teacher that had done a 2day course becasue it meant they would get a bit more pay than the lousy rate teachers currently get.

    My mum being a computer programmer since 70's had me programming baic on the C64 by 5 and was word processing before I could use a pen.

  49. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    So, step one is shut up then ?

    I look forward to seeing how well this new policy gets implemented ! ;-)

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    If they want to be really advanced they can learn what Powerpoint is actually for. Then tell the rest of us.

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