back to article ISPs under pressure to control online porn

Campaigners will meet with the internet minister, Ed Vaizey, to lobby for ISPs to be forced to control access to pornography. Vaizey issued the invitation to Tory backbencher Claire Perry, who said the availability of sexual material online is "a fire is burning out of control". The minister offered to act as an "honest …


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  1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

    It is called 'parenting'

    Some might have heard of it.

    We have some moral lobbyists who will play in to the hands of all sorts of other censorship issues. If parents were concerned, would they not take steps to stop it? You know, maybe like talking to their children about the issue? Or keeping the PC in the living room?

    1. Chizo Ejindu

      re: it's called parenting

      You're absolutely right! The problem is, it's far easier for the parents to stick their head in the sand for a bit of peace and quiet rather than control their kids entertainment. So they'll give kids a pc for their room "cos my mate steve's dad got 'im one and i want one innit!", then they'll go buy them GTA 4 "cos keith down da road said it was well sick innit! straight merk dem fools innit blud!"

      Then when their precious little mouth-breather goes off the rails it's everyone elses fault - the government, the schools, the video games, the internet, keith down the road and steve's dad. Cue Mrs frothing spittle-flecked outrage from Litttle Hatington writing to the Daily Fail, "Why won't they think of the children!!!" Knee-jerk from the Minister for Soundbites, "This is outrageous, we need legislation!" and the next thing we know there's some ridiculous attempt to randomly curtail a wide variety of liberties in the pursuit of a glowing redtop headline and some Sky News facetime.

      And anyone with half a brain is standing there thinking, what... the... fuck?!?

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Either of you got any kids..?

        Most of these IT'S THE PARENTS' FAULT comments seem to come from adults with little experience of raising children themselves...

        1. Sir Runcible Spoon


          "Most of these IT'S THE PARENTS' FAULT comments seem to come from adults with little experience of raising children themselves"

          Which, in my opinion, just goes to show that they inherently have more sense.

          1. jon 2

            lazy parenting!

            Either you take responsibility for the media your child consumes or you dont. It's pretty simple.

            I don't want the state doing what parents should be doing themselves, but are too feckless or just downright thick to do.

        2. Paul Crawford Silver badge

          @Either of you got any kids

          So my anonymous friend, what exactly is wrong with the suggestion that some education and supervision of children would work?

          Or are you a parent who is unable to reason with, or control, you kid(s)?

          1. Charles 9

            But as me this.

            How do you outsmart the kids when the kids are smarter than you? It's not easy since they have access to things the parents may have never even heard of (like secret wireless routers they conceal in the furniture or, as said, the iPod Touch they can easily pocket).

        3. Ian Stephenson

          I have a child.

          He is 4 and very bright (I would say that though wouldnt I)

          He can navigate his way around both a Linux and a Windows desktop, prefers Firefox to IE, and has his own bookmarks (Cbeebies and Playhouse Disney sites) in his own passworded login.

          Who is responsible for his surfing?

          His mother and myself. No one else.

          He only gets access when at least one of us is in the room with him, and yes the pc is in the living room.

          We are the judges of what is suitable for him to view/play not the government and and certainly not the moral minority who yell louder than anyone else.

          Wont somebody think of the children??? I damn well do and dont you forget it.

          1. Semaj
            Thumb Up


            Posts like yours give me hope.

            Got to remember though - it's not JUST your responsibility as parents, it's his too. Just like it'd be his responsibility if he was being a fool and fell over and hurt himself. Completely shielding kids from everything bad seems just as bad as letting them get on with it themselves (just look at the stupid 13 year old who thought it'd be a really great idea to jet off to Gatwick without telling anyone).

            I'm sure that you guys will do fine though :)

        4. Bluenose

          Sorry I have kids and....

          I make sure that I can see what they are doing by keeping the PC where I or my wife can see it, by talking to them about what may happen when they use the internet, what to do if they see something that upsets or concerns them, explaining that porn is not something that they need in their lives and that if I catch them looking at inapprorpriate material I will stop their net access for a period of time.

          I am a parent and my rules apply in my house. My oldest is not getting a laptop because they spend to much time on Facebook and at this time they do not need privacy for their internet usage.

          The other thing I have done is to explain the facts of life, explain about relationships, love, abuse and sex. I encourage them to talk to me or mum about anything that they want to discuss or know more about and I make sure that they understand that at all time they should be in control in their relatinships.

          As others have said, I am a parent and I have a job to do when it comes to bringing up my kids. I cannot avoid their coming in to contact with porn, racism, religeous fanaticism etc but I can make sure that they understand how to deal with such issues.

        5. Martin 71 Silver badge


          Keep the little darlings under control. If you're not capable of doing that, you're not fit to be a parent. It's easy *

          *Yes, I know it's not as black and white as that anymore, with nanny state telling you you can't discipline the lovely little people anymore, but the basic point is valid. Don't say 'the job's too difficult for me'. You chose to have the children. Inconveniencing the rest of us, and putting the control of what is and isn't allowed to be viewed in the hands of an ISP who in turn are effectively controlled by the government, is NOT what the UK is supposed to be about. We're meant to be a free[ish] society .

          1. Mark 65

            Filter fail

            Of course it won't work but politicians never let facts get in the way of a popularity contest or soundbite. This sort of behaviour is exactly what I hated about the last Government. Let the public know that nothing is their fault and that big buddy Government will shield you from all the nastiness and all you do is create a nation of contemptibly stupid mollycoddled dickheads - not the majority but a very vocal "I know my rights" minority. We've all encountered them. It's about time some of these idiots were given a bit of education about parenting rather than having their ineptitude pandered to. If they want to bring in legislation how about something along the lines of "before you get an internet connection you'll need to have gotten a clue else use the library"?

      2. Northumbrian

        Before the internet

        We were, I suppose, lucky. The internet as we know it was non-existent when I had to worry about my children. There were things to worry about, though - sex, drugs and heavy metal for starters.

        One problem is that we keep talking about "children" as if they are all alike, but there are huge differences between seven-year old children and fourteen year old children.

        When they're seven, you can ban computers in the bedroom, and control mobile phone access and screen their friends. Come fourteen and they head out of the house, "Where are you going?" "OUT". And you have to decide whether you are prepared to make an issue of it. I didn't, but I was prepared to make an issue out of what time they came in - and spent 2 years of my life on a permanent war footing. And discovered that they had more stamina than I had, and more relish for the fight.

        On the other hand I never had many worries about alcohol - I knew they would get drunk from time to time, and doubtless regret some of what happened as a result. But I had let them sample wine/beer at mealtimes since they were quite young and they largely despised those of their peers who went crazy the minute they could get into a bar.

        I suspect that, as other posters have suggested, that the only way to handle this is education. But you have to do it early enough. They learn a lot very young these days, so you might as well take advantage of that knowledge.

        If they know what porn is before they really want to access it, then you can talk to them about it before [a] they find it too excruciatingly embarrassing to talk to their parents about sex and [b] they want to make a point of conflict, because fighting their parents is what teenagers do.

        [Pundit mode]The worst damage that porn does is not that it makes innocent children think about sex, when they would otherwise be pure in heart and body, or even that it gives them the wrong signals about acceptable bounds of behaviour in real life. The latter will usually correct itself . It's that they can end up with totally unrealistic ideas and ideals about their own bodies and the opposite sex, and sexual performance and that can cripple them for life. Most porn is about as realistic as World of Warcraft. You can't just teach them (or try to teach them) not to use the stuff - it's a learning ground for many young people. You can teach them to distinguish it from real life.[/Pundit mode]

        But they will fight you, and try to outwit you about something - that's part of growing up for most teenagers.

    2. GrahamS

      Re: It is called 'parenting'

      Do you honestly think that most parents have the technical knowledge to outsmart a hormonal tech-savvy teenage boy who has plenty of spare time, motivation and access to the hive-mind of a world full of other teenager in the same boat?

      Keep the PC in the living room - he'll use his phone.

      Take his phone - he'll buy a cheap iPod Touch off eBay.

      Use OpenDNS filtering - he'll use IP addresses and proxies.

      Turn off the router - he'll use the neighbour's instead.

      I don't think ISP filtering is the answer - but I'm not sure what is.

      1. DannyAston
        Thumb Up

        Posted Friday 26th November 2010 14:51 GMT

        Spot on - most people I know with kids don't even know that sort of content that exists on the web and how readily available.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "most people I know with kids don't even know that sort of content that exists"

          That's because they're clueless and not fit to be parents. If a teacher allowed that sort of behaviour in school, the daily fail comic would be petitioning for beheadings of said teacher. (see

          Rather than a license to access online material that isn't suitable for children, people should require a license to breed, I mean raise, model citizens.

      2. Paul Crawford Silver badge


        Which is my point - trying to block it is going to fail, and you should be educating kids to behave 'reasonably'.

        You won't stop pr0n access by a dedicated teenager, so the best you can do is make them understand what it is/means beyond the obvious titillation aspect.

        It is like the whole sex education debate again: telling kids "just say no" or banning contraception is not a successful approach. Educating kids to stand up and either refuse peer pressure, or at least to use a condom for their own (and partner's) protections, is far better.

        Yes it is embarrassing (probably for both), and yes it is not an easy subject to explain, but it beats ignorance by a big margin.

      3. Alex 14


        Jeez, if my son learned how to use IP addresses, proxies and hack wi-fi networks to bypass my blocks, he'd deserve to see some porn for his trouble.

      4. M Gale

        Kids, eh?

        "Keep the PC in the living room - he'll use his phone.

        Take his phone - he'll buy a cheap iPod Touch off eBay.

        Use OpenDNS filtering - he'll use IP addresses and proxies.

        Turn off the router - he'll use the neighbour's instead.

        I don't think ISP filtering is the answer - but I'm not sure what is."

        By the time your darling is old enough to do all that, he's probably old enough to know a few things that'll turn your hair grey a few decades too early. Censorship by that time is a little like trying to shut the stable door after the entire race meeting has just departed in haste.

        If on the other hand a young child even has the requisite debit card to buy something from ebay (and if you keep giving a nowty little sod money to buy an iToy), then you have something wrong there that a national Internet censorwall will never fix.

  2. Ihre Papiere Bitte!!

    O2 already jumped on board

    Just had a SMS from O2 this morning - they're blocking access to all "Over 18 Content" via mobile phone for anyone who doesn't verify age. What "Over 18 Content" actually means is anyone's guess, I don't know if it's just porn, or if it will also include (e.g.) video game sites where the game is rated 18 (as the sites often request confirmation of age before allowing entry) and the like.

    Apparently confirmation requires a credit card, where they debit £1, and then credit £2.50, so people aren't out of pocket by verifying.

    I would've thought that the fact that my phone is on contract (which you can't take at under 18), and they've got all my details - including date of birth - would be enough to verify my age!

    1. GrahamS

      Re: O2 already jumped on board

      Ummm.. are you saying you just got a random text message asking for your credit card details and you replied to it????

      1. Ihre Papiere Bitte!!


        "Ummm.. are you saying you just got a random text message asking for your credit card details and you replied to it????"


        -I received a text message from O2 (verified sender as compared to previous comms from O2)

        -I contacted O2 to confirm that this was a valid current operation - it is.

        -I went to the update website - via the main O2 site, on my desktop - and completed the transaction at this secure (https) location.

        I assumed that Reg readers would be familiar enough with the basics that I wouldn't need to spell it out in detail.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      That kind of verification has been around on mobile for ages, and is more straightforward than the internet because mobile users are generally known to the operators in some shape or form (and if you're a billpay customer you shouldn't have received that text - the operators are usually pretty good are pre-checking). Its a different story with general internet access and I'm firmly in the "its the parent's responsibility" camp (and yes, I am a parent).

    3. kevjs

      T-Mobile do that by default

      T-Mobile already do that - Twitter is blocked as I found out when our SDSL connection went down and I tried to find out if anyone else had issues... And in the past I have found a page on our website listing Essex Steet, Hull and another address in Scunthorpe also caused the page filter to kick in - argh!

      Fortunately on personal contracts you can unlock from the My T-Mobile website.

    4. Andrew Parsons

      Over 18 content on o2

      O2 have been doing this a while. You can go into one of their stores with photo id to get the filter removed also.

      Sites they blocked included the good pub guide for me. Obviously o2 are scared of the kiddies learning about the dangers of Real Ale as well...

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Good to know. O2 off the appropriate suppliers list.

      I assume they offered to let you out of any contract with them because they changed the Ts&Cs for this? No? Might be a nice little suit for breach of contract in there, then.

    6. Tom Jasper

      O2 Age Verification, data privacy and maybe shared profit from porn

      There's a bit of a discussion going on at the O2 "Discuss O2" forum regarding O2, their use of Bango, the collection of data, incompetent site categorisation and just which sites are the 18 which are referenced in the spamming SMS

      "O2: You'll need to prove you're over 18 to go on 18 websites on your mobile. Call our free automated service 61018 or go to . You'll need a credit card"


      * Site categorisation ( is a naughty site)

      * Mobile content (of questionable taste?) billing

      * Site analytics

      * Boasters of how much data they can grab, store and pass on to their customers.

      * Age verification...

      I fear it's not a give us your credit card, we will deduct a pound and give you two pounds fifty back... more of give us your credit card, we'll sweeten it a bit and then be able to bill again and....

      This is what they say on their registration website

      "The first time you use a credit card to prove to us that you are 18 or older we will charge £1 to your credit card and credit £2.50 to your mobile account. Please note that each time you age verify, your credit card will be charged £1. You will only receive £2.50 credit when you use this service for the first time. "

      Personally, I think this smells a bit like a the uncollected bins left out the back of the local fishmongers during a summer council strike

      Anyhow, take a peak at the forum and make your own judgements

      1. Ihre Papiere Bitte!!

        @ Tom

        Interesting info there Tom, thanks. Insomnia struck at 4am, so I've been having a look at this and at some other stuff about the banjo-players...

        Interesting to note that the O2 response confirms that the transaction will only be made once (from chris@O2 1721 26/11).

        Be keeping an eye on the credit card statements, and in the meantime have taken a copy of the one-time only statement. The monitoring/disclosure (job applications? WTF???) is a concern, it'll be interesting to see what they come back with in response to yourself and prking.

        (I assume you're using the *****7 monicker on there, so info above for anyone who is following here only)


    7. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Its not all it seems!

      This blog post explains the importance of the transaction.

      Yet another reason I am glad I dont use O2 mobile anymore.

  3. Delmo

    Parenting Fail

    Why is it that people think of the internet as somewhere safe for children and that we should give them free reign to browse unsupervised, and that it should be down to ISPs to monitor and filter everything we do?

    I always thought the .xxx domain idea should be flipped on its head and we have a .kids domain that are legislated and guarenteed as safe for children, with massive fines and action should you abuse a .kids domain. Then all you would need to do is block internet access to anything other than .kids and there we have it. Instant, or at least heavily reduced chance for your children to see Goatse.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Paris Hilton

      That .kids idea sounds good...

      But then you suddenly encounter teletubbies....

      Gotta say, in the Olden Days, we didn't download porn but browser the lower shelves of the local comic book store for original french content. Guido Crépax was a bit much for my soft mind though.


      The problem is

      the net is an international telecommunication network, not a national broadcast network.

      You can regulate content in national broadcast telecoms (to an extent). You can't rely on regulation alone to protect children using a international telecommunications network.

      Consequently... you can't give kids unsupervised access to the internet (censored or not) because other more sinister users will exploit them. Censorship cannot possibly be effective unless it is exclusive (and therefore, the nature of an international telecommunication service is rendered useless).

      That same applies to post, phone, email, SMS, mobile or web. Would you let your ten year old kids send/receive letters from strangers without supervising them? I wouldn't.

      1. Charles 9

        But how do you supervise them...

        ...when they know your routine and know ways around them? You may now even know they get lettes from strangers because they beat you to the post and pocket all the incriminating evidence. How you control SMS when they get their own personal phones from college-age friends? How do you keep them off the web when they've learned to piggy-back off the neighbor's wireless link on an iPod Touch they can easily pocket?

        1. Circadian

          Re how do you supervise them?

          You don't. As you say, unless you clamp down so hard on your kid that he/she has no freedoms, all you can do is teach them how to survive in this messed-up world. How to use their own judgment on what is safe and what is dangerous. Give them a grounding in common sense and sensibilities, and hope that their mistakes are never too serious. And most importantly of all, make sure that they know that you have their back, and whatever happens, they can talk to you.

          1. ph0b0s

            Childrens Internet

            If I was the ISP's I would say to this group. Yes, we can put in a system are children not able to access stuff they should not. They can have their own internet, with only approved content . The links will be tunnelled over existing internet links so you cannot get from the child internet to the normal one. It will have it's own Search engines and DNS and a seperate link the house and to the PC's in the house your children use.

            But it will cost 3 to 4 times as much as a normal internet connection. But whats money to keep the little ones safe. Or maybe you could spend a little more time learning how to use those perental controls.......

            And why childless people have to opt into a non controled internet. Put the onus on perents to opt out. They decided to have children after all, why has it got to be my problem suddenly.

            1. Tim Hale 1


              Exactly, @ph0bos. It's like having to have a PIN on Sky to watch a film after the watershed so that the kids I don't have can't watch the film that is on after they would have gone to bed (if they existed, you see what I mean). But if I record that film I can play it back at 10:00am without entering a PIN. How does that make any sense? It doesn't even work properly and yet I still half to suffer it's half-arsed attempts to think on behalf of some notional parents.

              If you've got kids its your responsibility to go out of your way to look after them. If you don't have kids it's your responsibility not to go out of your way to do anything harmful ('Whee! I've got no kids, I'll drive through that playground blindfolded!' No. Not cool.).

              Opt out. If you have Internet access, Sky, whatever, know how to use it. Use OpenDNS, ask someone, read. a. book. It's not like saying 'Oh, it's too complicated' is a defense when driving a car, is it?

              Being a parent is hard? Who said it was going to be easy?

  4. Semaj


    This is getting beyond a joke now.

    How do these lobbying groups get formed? Is it possible to set up a sensible lobby group to counter these ones? I think we need it because it seems to me like the common sense message is being drowned out by the insanity. I'm thinking along the lines of what the ASP have done in Australia.

  5. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Big Brother

    We didn't start the fire; it was always burning since the world's been turning...

    "She wants tighter controls on material that is legal for over-18s to access."

    That is _still_ legal to access, that is...

  6. Jim_aka_Jim

    Silly title

    ISPs wouldn't be under pressure to control offlive porn now would they?

    There's so much porn becuase it makes money. If govs could control the advertisers better (or at all) then by default you control certain content. Unless it's 100% free. Which is always nice.

  7. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. GrahamS

      Re: Typical parents - blame someone else!

      And get all your neighbours to do the same? And all the local wifi hotspots? And 3G access?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Let me guess

      pony tail and goatee?

    3. Circadian

      (b)reading skills

      "...those who insist on breading..." - yep, making children involves lots of dough!

      (I'm sorry, I really am - but the evil side of me forced me to post this!)

  8. Anonymous Coward

    indeed it's called parenting..

    sorry mods - can't even spell check or proof read - here is a literate version:


    Through technological ignorance, time pressure, or for a myriad other reasons, I'm unable to look after the interests of my own kids by learning about how computers work and understanding how I can take reasonable steps at home to control access to inappropriate material. It interferes with my active social life to spend time talking to my children and supervising their online activities. I would like someone else to look after this instead, the Internet service people for example. It doesn't really matter that that this practically impossible, provided it looks like it is and I don't have to worry about it anymore...

    thank you.

    1. Marky W


      Have an ePint on me.

      Both my kids are under 3 but I've already started worrying about this issue. Rather than running around hysterically and commenting on Daily Mail articles, I've actually investigating ways to solve this myself (by using the esoteric, high-tech magic of a Google search, and then applying a hefty dollop of Common Sense). By the time they hit their mid-teens I'm sure they'll be running rings round me, IT-wise, but by then they'll be old enough to process what they are exposed to in a more rational, and less damaging way.


    Please would someone encourage Vaizey...

    to meet **ANTI**-censorship/**ANTI-surveillance campaigners...?

    We can be reached on (provided that your ISP is not filtering/censoring your communications, obviously).

    We'd very much like an invitation from him too.

    I've got my coat ready, and my parenting skills handbook, with the page entitled 'your responsibility to supervise your own children' book marked.

  10. Big_Ted

    WTF is with these people......

    What do thet expect the ISP's to do, look at every website in existence ?

    How else will they know which ones to block ?

    Or are they calling for Deep packet inspection of everything going through their network .

    This is the sort of stupid approach made by people who can barely understand how to turn a computer on let alone how the inter web works.

    All we need is a simple price of software that parents can install and put blocks onor decide which websites are allowed........

    Oh right there are plenty out there already .....

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: WTF is with these people......

      "Or are they calling for Deep packet inspection of everything going through the network ."

      I don't yet want to put any money on it, but I suggest a bit of background study might be beneficial.

      There are sufficient "fake charities" around that have been set up specifically by a body to lobby that body for changes that the body could otherwise not suggest. The anti-smoking lobby is one, anti-alcohol another. I wonder if this is another?

      As Uncle Jim Gamble formerly of CEOPC is now at a loose end, does anyone know what he is up to?

      Beer 'cos it's Friday _and_ I have a cheque to pay in!

    2. John Smith 19 Gold badge


      "What do thet expect the ISP's to do, look at every website in existence ?"

      Yes. They really *are* that ignorant. Like that previous bottom feeder who thought *every* video on YouTube should have a rating, because, well how many can there be?

      "Or are they calling for Deep packet inspection of everything going through their network ."

      You can bet if they *knew* what it was they would. Mind you that might require filling their pristine skulls with some actual *facts*.

      "This is the sort of stupid approach made by people who can barely understand how to turn a computer on let alone how the inter web works."

      True. Facilitated by an MP who needs more than the average number of whacks from the clue stick.

      "All we need is a simple price of software that parents can install and put blocks onor decide which websites are allowed........

      Oh right there are plenty out there already ....."

      So I hear. In fact it's my impression that most paid pron sites sign up with *all* of them as a matter of course. I think it's because they consider themselves in the "Adult" entertainment business, not the shocking-little-kiddies-with-blatant-sexual-imagery business.

      Ah, another election, another group of clueless attention seeking media whores looking for a cause to champion who will wear their ignorance of one of the major forces shaping their children's future with *such* pride.

      1. John Smith 19 Gold badge

        The NuLabor bottom feeder I had in mind wanting to certificate all YouTube content

        Was the Minister at the time Andy Burnham.

        This jobs seems to be like the old Home Secretary's. Nice people turn into monsters. Sadly it does not seem to turn rabid right wingers into liberals.

  11. Greem

    Parenting Fail?

    I'm sure I'm not the only reader of El Reg who's simultaneously a parent and a technically literate Internet user. As an experienced hosting and network engineer of almost 15 years, and a parent for 7, I can see quite clearly that:

    * most readers of El Reg know that a global filtering system is doomed to fail. False positives only have to happen once (or worse, more than that) to drive a bus through the whole argument. False negatives are even worse.

    * most parents are perfectly responsible for their own children.

    * too many Daily Fail readers and their ilk big up the "THINK OF THE CHILDREN" so loudly that those parents who aren't technically savvy get taken along, because explaining the technical difficulties behind such a scheme in terms they understand is very, very difficult - it's far easier to follow the soundbites.

    As a parent, my main worry when my kids get a bit older isn't that they'll stumble across some porn when using the Internet at home (and remember, kids, The Internet is rather more than just The World Wide Web). It's that they'll be exposed to something using a mobile phone by a friend. I just hope that they'll be comfortable enough to talk about it to me when they do, and let me deal with it rather than some "parent by proxy" system which kids can work around.

    To cap it all, a pair of technical question (which you should write to your MP to ask): Who would be responsible for the system, and how would they enforce it in multi-occupant properties? You know - family homes, with multiple age ranges?

    I think a less sensationalist approach to the whole issue by all concerned would work wonders, personally.

    1. Northumbrian

      Hear, hear

      As I said in another post - talk to them about porn when they're old enough to have seen it, but young enough not to mind when you talk about it.

      The technical question you asked:

      "Who would be responsible for the system, and how would they enforce it in multi-occupant properties? You know - family homes, with multiple age ranges?"

      has a simple and deadly answer. The people putting forward a filtering system mostly know that it will fail. They have then established [a] that we "need" and "will accept" a "filtering system" (i.e. internet censorship) and [b] that the existing system doesn't work.

      So the only solution is to have a national firewall which will keep out all of this "filth" as well as "undesirable material" of other kinds - like instructions for making bombs, or sites advocating a jihad or a global caliphate or telling you how to commit suicide. (All of them "filters" which have been actively promoted in this country).

      After that - well, fill in your own pet "filters". Welcome the Great Firewall of Britain - joining that of North Korea, China, Australia and doubtless many others.

  12. Paul 87

    It's back to front!

    The "government" shouldn't be pushing the ISP's to censor and filter the internet, the ISP's should see the business opportunity to capitalise on people's fears and offer a filtered network that parents can choose to sign up to if they so wish

    Heck, if the "government" feels so strongly, setup a state run ISP that offers it and see how popular it is.

    1. Ben Tasker

      Not state run but.....

      already do this!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up


      This is one of the best comments I've seen on this subject.

      Please, please do send your idea to your local MP (so they'll impress Parliament with it, as if it's their own idea), as well as sending it to the government (the Tories will love the money-making business opportunity for their private sector friends).

      Can I also add the following idea?

      The internet is something upon which various other things go - the web, email, usenet, VPNs, etc. A fully nannied net could itself be put on top of the internet, for those who want to live in a nanny state. The rest of us can remain free in the rest of the internet. Such a nannied net could exist as a sort of giant intranet, with ISPs providing access using existing equipment for direct connections, as well as providing access over the real internet via VPN.

      All the technology for this already exists, and has done for years. It's just a matter of actually doing it, and meeting the (claimed) market demand for such nannying.

  13. Red Bren
    Big Brother

    Personal Choices

    If you don't want to look at porn, then don't.

    If you don't want your children to look at porn, then take the time to supervise them.

    If you don't want anyone to look at porn, have the balls to stand up and say so, instead of hiding behind the "think of the children" argument!

    If no one wanted to look at porn, no one would make it.

    Perhaps ISPs should block all access to for a few days, just to show what a double-edged sword this net censorship can be?

  14. FailKing


    Kiddix is a complete operating built on Linux and Open Source Software designed just for kids! Kiddix provides children with a customizable environment loaded with applications, games, and educational material. We put parents in control with comprehensive parental controls that can lock down and monitor internet access and many other features of the OS.

    That is all.

  15. Anonymous Coward

    Dark Nets

    Yup, with these people creating the "rules" of the internet, I think it's time to setup / join / create a darknet. Everything in the Darknet please except facebook, and .govt

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Darknet inevitable

      It will take some draconian regulations to push people to create a fully worldwide fast and reliable darknet. I look forward to the day when this becomes a reality. Once it does they will have lost absolutely all ability to control anything at all. This will only happen if they push it though, so in my view it's inevitable and only a matter of when.

  16. Just Thinking


    There is a real problem here, and arguing that parents should just take responsibility for their children is too simplistic. Or looking at it another way they will take responsibility in the only effective way they can see - by voting for censorship of the internet.

    Schools these days pretty much assume that kids have internet access at home, and set web based homework accordingly. In KS4 this can mean hours a week online. Plus the fact that any kid who isn't on FaceBook all the time is regarded as a social lepper who might as well wear their tie at a sensible length and have the wrong smartphone.

    Put yourself in the position of a parent who doesn't know much about the web except a vague notion that it is dangerous for children, who has been given a free government laptop which they haven't a clue how to use (but their children are a whizz with it), don't have room to set it up in a communal area and don't have 4 hours a night spare to hover round while the kids do their homework.

    Easiest thing for them to do is to support censorship of the internet (why should their kids be exposed to porn just because some other pervs want to see it ). That is what you are up against.

    1. Paul Crawford Silver badge


      Really, it is sad to think that parents some how can't find the time and inclination to care about their kids.

      You don't have to sit there watching their every move (bad idea, I think, as it pushes them to get out of doing thing), just put the PC in a corner of the living room and the prospect of being observed occasionally will moderate all but the most accidental pr0n searching. After all, you have found space for the TV, haven't you?

      If they cared, it is easy enough to get protection for most of it - but it is never going to be 100% covered, and eventually they WILL find it. So it is better to bring them up using their own brains and judgement - they will need it one day.

      That is what the lobbyists overlook, kids need to learn judgement of their own. Just look how well our drink-related age limits serve us as a nation.

      1. Just Thinking

        15 years ago

        Not so very long ago kids did homework out of books and talked to their friends on the phone. Nothing for parents to worry about (except the phone bill).

        Now parents are more or less obliged to give their kids internet access, which is great because it vastly improves access to learning materials, it just has the downside that it also potentially allows them to access porn.

        You have one group of people telling you its all your fault and you should be a better parent, and rearrange your house so your kid can do their homework in the lounge rather than their bedroom, and buy/configure extra software, but still keep watch over them because however expensive the software was it won't work properly.

        You have another group of people telling you it is actually the evil ISPs fault for pumping porn into your house without giving a crap about your kids just so they can make a few quid out of the pervert down the road. The solution is to censor the internet just like they do the telly.

        Who is going to get the most votes? Populist wins over sensible every time.

        1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

          @15 years ago

          When I was young, we had this thing called "the world" that existed outside of our homes. When we were little our parents would take us out there, holding our hands, and warning us of the dangers such as cars and the odd dirty bloke that hung around the parks.

          When we were older, we got to go out on our own, based on the agreement that we were going where we said (e.g. friend's house) and would be back within a reasonable period of time.

          On the basis of mutual trust, that we would act sensibly and they would allow us some freedom if we kept that bargain, we grew up with relatively few incidents.

          The internet bring the world inside, and I don't really see how it differs.

          p.s. You can get cheap protection of sorts by singing up to OpenDNS if you really can't trust your kids judgement. And I do hope, as a reader of El Reg, that your kids don't have admin rights on the PC?

        2. DavCrav

          This is the point

          "...but still keep watch over them because however expensive the software was it won't work properly."

          Right. So why will government wishing it so magically make such software turn up? You think Net Nanny *deliberately* make their software so that things still get through?

    2. Circadian

      @Just Thinking

      Very depressing read, and all too believable.

      Just shows how messed up democracy as it presently exists is.

      Those who want power are manifestly unift to have that power - the very act of trying to obtain that power should disqualify the person from getting it.

      And now we bring in to the equation the quality of the people who have the vote. Or more precisely the lack of quality as anyone* can vote.

      So we have eminently unsuitable people putting themselves forward for power, and the selection from them is by a populace who are don't have the time/don't have the inclination/don't have the ability to judge worthiness and practicality - and there is wonder that we seem to be ruled by sound-bite these days.

      I'm depressed - gimme that beer (though I would much rather a nice little red wine myself)

      *pretty much, as long as you are over a given age, and not in certain circumstances - I think jail or certified incapable of running your own affairs

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      For the parents out there (and I know a few) who are not as IT literate as their kids, there are people like myself who are and if asked will give advice, there are also books out ie the dummies range and others that can explain in a laymans terms what they can do to protect their kids online. I agree too much overt supervision will cause the child to rebel. But as a responsible adult why should I have to opt-in, shouldn't it be the case as with so many other things you're in until you opt-out

  17. Anonymous Coward


    If MPs stopped entertaining these fucktards, they'd soon have to go back to actual parenting instead of sitting on their worthless arses watching X-Factor while the internet raises their equally worthless spawn, then complaining that their kids are fucked up.

    If you don't want your kids looking at porn, do something about it, don't go crying to the government to ban it for everyone just because you're a lazy retard.

    Anon, the religious right will probably brand me some kind of paedo for disagreeing with their moralistic diarrhoea....

  18. Disco-Legend-Zeke

    Parental Control "Should"... an OPTION.

    Concerned parents have no problem forking over $5 -$10 a month for filtering.

    Back in my ISP days we offered a proactively filtered DNS server for $4.95 per month.

    Other technological solutions exist, any laws should merely require that one or more be available to customers.

  19. Dave Murray

    Will not work

    "Perry indicated that she will press for the industry to introduce systems that block porn sites unless users opt in to access them, after verifying their age."

    As I stated earlier this week when this stupid woman last reared her head it will not work. If I want to be able to look at porn when the kids are in bed then I would opt in and verify my age as much older than 18. Then how will my ISP know if it's me or my kids on the net looking at porn?

    Who will decide what is / is not porn? What about a medical site that has a section on STDs with graphic images of body parts and symptoms? This is the kind of information that our children should have access to.

    All she will achieve is to create another government gravy train quango to supervise the scheme, increase broadband prices and put this country back to the supposed prudish days of the Victorians (who weren't nearly as up tight as they're usually portrayed).

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    They'll just go finding unfiltered internet in bushes.

    Why is it always 'opt-out?'.

  21. Flugal


    Perhaps Royal Mail should also stop delivering adult material to, er, adults.

    Part of me does think 13 year old boys should have to go to the lengths I had to go to to get hold of grubby material, but most of me is just jealous I didn't have such easy access (fnaar fnaar) when I was at a tender age.

    ...btw, and evidence that early exposure to porn is actually harmful? (Not saying it isn't, just doubtful)

    1. Circadian

      Obviously porn is bad for children because it's obvious!

      Well, look who says porn is bad for kiddies! Of course it must be bad for them if politicians and church leaders and very religious nutte.. er, I mean people with deeply religious beliefs all agree that it is bad for them. Heaven forfend that they should actually employ scientific principles to check the state of children's development in countries (e.g. Scandinavian) which have a less fucked-u... er, I mean less strict take on nudity and the sexual activity.

      What has happened in Britain so that nakedness is all tied up with sinfullness and bad, where it is actually the natural state for people (until early scientists found that using other materials to protect your skin was a very good idea)? When - or why - did covering up because it was very practical become cover up otherwise you are being sinful?

      1. Anonymous Coward

        What's So Offensive About The Human Body?

        One does wonder, sometimes, the way politicians in particular go on about it. I doubt anyone here on El Reg defends the idea that children should be exposed to adult pornography, but if only that was what we are talking about. The fact that an endlessly dreary succession of political opportunists and soft-shoe moralisers - everywhere - seem intent on legislating away the sexual freedoms of consenting adults to enjoy perfectly healthy online porn is becoming ever so slightly irksome.

        Preface any attack on the civil, sexual, creative and intellectual freedoms of grown adults with a call to arms to 'protect the kiddies!' and I'm afraid these days it looks like you can get away with just about anything.

        A plague on all their houses.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        "When - or why - did covering up because it was very practical become cover up otherwise you are being sinful?"

        Since you asked, it's Genesis, chapter three, verse 21: "And the Lord G_d made garments of skins for Adam and his wife, and clothed them."

        Fundamentally, this means it's OK to watch people bonking so long as they're wearing leather.

        1. LyingMan


          .. that was after they had that apple.. until then they were in 'God's image'!... God is naked, isn't (s)he / it? ..

      3. Northumbrian

        Why discourage porn?

        Said this elsewhere: the damage done by porn is not that it destroys the innocence of young minds - the playground will do that. It's not that it will sexualise them too early - the TV will do that, along with the development of hormones at an increasingly young age.

        The real damage done by porn is that it will mess up their (eventual) sex lives, and give them a wholly unrealistic ideas about their own bodies now, that of others of the same sex and any/all of the opposite sex. Thinking you should act like a porn star, and have a body that will give the same results will make them unhappier than they need to be.

        You can still horrify and amaze a porn-savvy generation by showing them pictures of the genitalia of ordinary men and women. Tell them about how a real woman experiences sex and they will be astonished and depressed. (both sexes)

        But banning it is NOT the answer. Explaining the difference between fantasy and real life is.

  22. LawLessLessLaw

    Market Forces ?

    This should be a golden opportunity, the campaigners should start a business offering porn free internet / porn by password internet.

    They'll either make a mint or lose out from lack of demand.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      If there's such a great demand for porn free internet then why is there no big label porn free ISP just eating up all that demand for porn free internet.

      Oh right, there isn't it's just more bs, lobbying cash in the pocket of c---s, and tough on s--t that isn't a problem media coverage.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Ed Vaizey is thinking of that

      I wouldn't be surprised if the odious runt won't try telling us that ending net neutrality will mean porn free surfing (for a price).

    3. Ben Tasker


      Those who speak most loudly about it aren't willing to pay more for it. They pay their taxes so they want it for free and fuck the rest of us (except paradoxically, in their ideal world the Government would censor them for doing so!)

  23. Paul Dx
    Black Helicopters

    Or to turn this on its head

    Why not ban anybody under the age of 18 from accessing the web ?

    That way the problem is with the parents to police (and has as much chance of succeeding as the ISP doing it).

  24. Mark Eccleston

    Give the children porn

    "We are talking about preventing children from having access to inappropriate content, and how we can work with ISPs to make it that little bit more difficult for them to do so"

    So they are going to make it more difficult for ISPs to prevent children from having access to innapropriate content.

    It may be just me, but isn't that the revesrse of what they are intending?

    1. boboberg

      Will it work?


  25. boboberg

    Stopping adult porn

    This is a hopeless quest, pornography is ubiquitous throughout the web. Just type "pussy" into Google Image search. Pornograhy can no more be stopped than downloading mp3s can be stopped - undoable. Mark Montgomery NYC, NY

  26. Andy 73 Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    First they came for the porn...

    Of course, once we've blocked porn, we should also restrict scenes of violence and abuse.

    And then there's the terrorists to stop.

    Then we should consider sites that promote gambling.

    And drugs.

    And if we want the world to be a safe place, there should be no sites that incite religious hatred.

    Or satire.

    And perhaps we should stop sites that promote un-democratic regimes.

    And we must block sites that help you get access to unfiltered content.

    Or people who disagree with us, or criticise our aims.

    Or alternative view points.

    Or people with a *#!$ing clue.

    Then, my child, the world will be safe.

    (It's a facile point to make, but these people must understand that the children absolutely _won't_ be safe to freely browse the internet just because your ISP has switched on some technical widget.).

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    When I was 14 I knew how to work peer-to-peer.

    Just saying.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Before I go off all righteous against the idea...

    ... I do recall ISPs selling "filtered" service to those who want it, mainly on the Christian ticket. And it's not automatically bad to filter, as spam filtering shows us. I know of at least one major ISP who presents a panel full of spam filtering options to the discerning user.

    The problem with mantadory filtering as with the IWF censoring, is not the filtering. It's the mandatory part. Before you argue it's "voluntarily", no, end-users get no choice, and ISPs effectively have no choice either. That makes it censorship.

    And I do believe that censorship is the death of a free country.

    So, as long as these people stay well away from "mandatory", then I might not care. I will still care if you have to opt-out instead of opt-in. While children are very important for the continued existence of species and people, that is no reason to treat everyone as a child by default.

    As long as these plans limit themselves to making available extra filtering options to parents as an opt-in, then that's fine.

    In fact, why doesn't dear ms Perry start her own ISP? That would be a far better idea than touting inevitably controversial legislation. Why should someone else solve her problems for her?

  29. Anonymous Coward

    We are not typical.

    You have to remeber reg readers are not typical. (Thank God). Most parents haven't a clue about filtering and no matter how responsible parents are it will not stop a 14 year old boy accessing porn via the net if they can.

    Think of yourself when your were 14 and what lengths you would go to to get a look at Maria Whittaker's boobs. If internet porn had been so easily accessible then as it is now, would a converstaion with your Mum and Dad have stopped you looking at it?

    1. Paul Crawford Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      @We are not typical

      And thank $DEITY for that!

      I don't think most of us believe that it is possible to block pr0n effectively, and most of us do not want to. The issue here is what represents the best overall solution for children and free society as a whole.

      My view is it comes down to education and supervision at the early (i.e. most vulnerable stage) so as children naturally develop an interest in things sexual through puberty, they have the sense to know good from bad, and the restraint from accessing that inappropriately. Thinking for themselves, in other words.

      I don't want a knee-jerk government or lobby group telling me what to think, or what I can access where the subject is in fact perfectly legal to do. I believe that is my own decision to take, and parents should those decisions to a point, then allow their children to do so as they mature.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Think ahead a little.

      There's no reason why parents wouldn't know how to access some panel at their ISP's that enables and tunes the filtering. In fact, the next generation will likely know very well how to deal with that sort of thing, and their children will have a much harder time circumventing things.

      Meaning that I see no reason to destroy this particular freedom --likely for decades, possibly centuries, for laws are slow and repealing them is slower-- because parents today haven't caught up with it. There are better ways to do it, such as educating any and all parent who cares. Because it's the parents' responsibility and that includes obtaining the necessary clue to enable this sort of filtering. And if they don't care, well, then they don't care. That's up to them.

      I don't mind facilitating parents: Have opting in be stupidly easy and lessons in how to use the filtering system available at cost at the local cps or something. You can do lots and lots of stuff. But I do object to treating everybody as immature by default, and worse if laws do it. Grow up already.

  30. Sir Runcible Spoon


    These people who cry foul at pr0n don't seem to realise that if it wasn't for pr0n the internet would still be at the 56k dial-up stage.

    pr0n paid for the internet.

    1. Graham Marsden
      Thumb Up


      ... Avenue Q for more details!

  31. Marty
    Black Helicopters


    When our daughter became old enough to have her own computer in her bedroom with internet she knew the rules....

    A friend of hers while staying over one night (whose parents did not allow internet) went searching for un-savory sites.....

    As it goes, she did not know that I was keeping tabs on everything on her pc and was quite shocked that within a few days she found most of the internet blocked and needed my authorization for her to access it... (Default blocks on everything)... several of her friend’s parents were shocked to receive printouts of the language there little cherubs were using... (Did not believe until printout was produced)

    For 6 months this strict system remained in place... every new website she visited I got an email for me to authorize it...

    Afterwards, when she begged for the restrictions to be removed and we agreed, there has never been a similar event... she won’t let friends use her computer or if they bring their own laptops, she won’t even ask if they can connect via our wifi,,,,

    It’s a parent’s responsibility to teach the kids to sue the internet responsibly not the government or the daily fail....

    What next? Ban kids from going to WH Smiths because there are magazines that thought police don’t approve of?

    1. Charles 9

      I commend you on your efforts.

      Still, I have to ponder if things are going on which you may not be aware. As in, kids finding ways to go online that you can't necessarily track or filter. Have you been taking pains to make sure the computer doesn't have a hidden anonymity (TOR/i2p) router or virtual computer hidden inside and that there isn't a hidden WiFi device around the house?

      All I'm saying is that just because all's quiet on the bedroom front doesn't mean another front may be opening without your notice.

    2. LyingMan

      being strict..

      .. would more alienate you from your child and feel resentful .. and once she becomes 16 (which is not too far by the looks of your post) and moves out) she would be only too happy to binge on what you made her feel missed.. .. you were a child once and what would you feel about your parent if they did that..

      The best route would be to discuss with your child and make sure your child does not need that excitement and the pitfalls of moving around in the real and online world without precautions and caution.. pure exercise of power never works whether it is home or country..

  32. Cunningly Linguistic

    The simple answer is...

    Let the kids see as much porn as they like. Most of them have the attention span of a goldfish and will soon get bored and disappear back into the bowels of Facebook.

    The risk of damage by excessive masturbation is minimal.

    1. Disco-Legend-Zeke

      Except For The...

      ...hairy palms and blindness, of course.

    2. Dazed and Confused

      Re: Cunningly Linguistic

      Or set it as homework in which case it would instantly become deeply un-cool and all the kids would stop looking at it.

  33. This post has been deleted by its author

  34. Bert 1

    Futile Technical Arms Race

    Surely there is absolutely no point in trying to outwit a technically savvy hormonal teenager who is actively searching this stuff out.

    The ONLY point of this is to prevent accidental access to inappropriate content.

    Anything else should be managed by open discussion and trust.

    And yes I do have offspring.

  35. Bert 1


    how do you use filtering to stop google image search?

  36. Maty

    We've got the data ...

    For about the last decade the internet has been an unrestricted all-the-porn-you-can-take buffet.

    The evidence of whether the world is collapsing into moral depravity (well, collapsing faster than usual) should by now be pretty clear.

    Have sex-crimes gone up dramatically? Teenage pregnancies? I'm cynical enough to believe that if there was any er, hard evidence that porn on the internet was seriously, or even noticeably damaging society, the dear old Daily Mail would have let us know.

    OTOH, maybe some frustrated individuals can now blow off steam in front of a computer instead of pestering real-life humans.

    Just a thought.

    1. Galidron

      "Teenage pregnancies?"

      Teen Pregnancy has increased here in the US, but people usually point to Bush era abstinence only sex ed. as the cause. God forbid we allow teens to have condoms, having one is like forcing them to have sex.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        Saw slight decrease while all other states saw an increase in teen pregnancy. Ps California was the only state that decline federals funds for sex ed. Oh yeah if you took the federal funds you had to teach abstinence only . This was during the bush era. Kids are expose to more stuff by other kids . So the less people parent, the more likely kids are exposed to crap. Hmm lets pass a law sawing you have to parent . I know its radical Idea.

        1. Charles 9


          Any kind of crime committed by a kid under your legal custody, in addition to the kid serving some juvenile term, the parent must also serve a term of some sort (say for "contributing to the delinquence of a minor by negligence" or something) relative to the severity of the kid's crime. Perhaps that would enforce the idea of parents looking after their children as they would normally be obligated by moral and legal custom.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Thin end of the wedge

    Of course it starts off as "think of the children", and "it's purely to block porn", before you know it that's widened to include anything the Government of the day doesn't want people seeing using the same laws.

    Remember we are the country where the official secrets act can be used for virtually anything, I was surprised to hear someone on a chat show the other day (think it was someone from Wham or similar 80's boy band) who spoke to Lady Diana Spencer years ago at one of his concerts, he said she was followed rapidly by a guy bearing the official secrets act for him to sign to prevent him talking about what they had just said!

    So something along the lines of "I want to tell you how much I enjoyed your show" is suddenly vitally important information that must be kept secret?

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Parenting is the issue

    I have 4 little blighters and they are not allowed laptops in the bedrooms, until they have learnt to self-censore and recognise dodgy sites, email etc.... and become more mature in it's use.

    Also having GFI monitor reports helps too.

    The internet is just too big and too wild to be totally censored by the state or other thrid parties including "nanny walls!"

  39. MinionZero
    Big Brother

    So yet another day & yet more Police State moves :(

    Like others have said, the key is good parenting. That means parents have the responsibility over their children, its not the ever more Totalitarianism state's responsibility to control everyone. When is enough finally enough with these control freaks.

    The most dangerous "fire" that is "burning out of control" is all the control freaks seeking ever more ways to control us all! These self important arrogant Narcissistic control freaks in power have lost all concept of freedom & privacy. Just about every day we have yet more examples of yet more ways they find to impose their arrogant will onto us. Its relentless, control this, spy on that, over and over again, step after shocking step towards Totalitarianism with them in ever increasing control over us all.

    When is enough, really, finally enough!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      When is enough, enough?

      When I was going though that stage myself, learning what was enough meant that I had to recognise what was too much. And that meant being allowed to make my own mistakes so that I could learn from them.

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm quite worried: With all that p0rn out there...

    .. my 15 year old son only appears to be interested in video games.

  41. Ray Simard

    Good intentions, bad (non-)solution

    There's nothing remotely new about this. Cries for censorship (never call it that, though; it's "control") for the sake of "the children" have risen over and over again, and fallen flat every time. The reasons comprise a long list, but probably highest on it are: (1) that it's not technically workable (remember the sage words of John Gilmore), imposing as it does a burden of parallel enforcement on ISPs far more onerous than even technical people can see at a quick glance, much less the non-technical masses who want to believe you can restrict the net the way you restrict sales of printed porn to adults, (2) the inevitable warfare over what should and should not be censored, and (3) imposing a moral code designed for children upon adults.

    Advocates of this kind of thing look only at one side of it, assuming that, because there's a problem, there's got to be a solution someone else can devise. It's easy (though unconscionably moralistic) to take the position that the world can survive without online porn, so who cares if the adults can't get it as long as the kids can't either?

    This makes good political theatre, though. Pols who don't fall behind these ideas are lambasted as not caring about the kids and promoting the headlong rush into decadence of society in general. The Aussie experiment is supported only for that reason.

    These modern-day Anthony Comstocks need to take responsibility for their own lives and households. Yes, its tough and worrisome, but then again, raising kids is always tough and worrisome for a lot more reasons than this. Porn sites are in it for money and the kids don't have credit cards and can't pay it; that's one thing. Filtering software is the next defense.

    But, like so many say, the best defense is diligence. Sneaking online porn via a login stolen from someone else is the cyber-equivalent of the ubiquitous Playboy under the mattress. Keep an eye on what the kids do; check caches and histories if you feel you must, teach morals as any parent should, and accept it that there is no way, nor would it be wise if there were, to raise kids in a morally antiseptic world that fails to prepare them for the realities of adulthood.

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oh FFS

    Here we go again.

    I brought my kids up ok and managed to keep them off the motorway when they were playing footie.

    I could have formed a pressure group and had all cars made of rubber foam and a speed limit of 1 mph in case any of the little dears got a bump when they were playing on the motorway.

    Instead, we have managed to teach kids (in the main) to stay off the motorway because it is dangerous, and only to go on there in a car driven by someone older and wiser. We even have laws that mean a swift feel of the collar for anyone found on foot on a motorway.

    So why the hell do these people expect to be able to leave their kids in another dangerous place, unsupervised and for everything to revolve around them? For God's sake get a grip on what is *your* problem and what is *someone elses*. YOU look after YOUR kids and supervise them on the net, and don't give me all that I don't know any tech stuff bullshit. How much tech do you need to sit with your kids when they are on the internet and instil some values and sense so they will know how to avoid the crap when you are not there? Clue: none.

    Sorry, rant over, but FFS.

  43. Dylan Fahey
    Paris Hilton

    And next, it will be YOUR access to porn.

    And next, it will be YOUR access to porn. We're all smart here, so I don't have to go into the process for the leap from children getting access to porn, to YOUR access to porn.

    If the moral minority conservatives get this through, it wil be YOUR Internet habits that will be next on the plate.

    Paris, because my video will not get more play time with my fan base.

  44. Dan 55 Silver badge

    It's pretty fecking simple to fix

    Obviously there are a bunch of sheep who panic at anything more than clicking on the blue 'e' icon, so their ISP needs to develop a technical solution for them.

    When you sign up for your ADSL connection can choose what DNS servers you want your account provisioned with, either the 'think of the children' DNS servers or the normal ones. This question is no more difficult than asking if you want to go ex-directory when you get a phone line.

    When you connect to your router it uses DHCP to get the DNS servers which are provisioned for your account. In addition, if your account is provisioned with TOTC DNS servers then all DNS traffic is forced to go to the ISPs TOTC DNS servers no matter how the computer or router is configured.

    The TOTC DNS servers are regularly updated by whatever ISP association is in charge of stopping nasty things happening on the Internet in the UK. It is staffed by Mary Whitehouse clones and anything remotely naughty is lopped off the list.

    There is no way around an account provisioned with TOTC DNS servers unless you ring up customer services. If the parents want the whole Internet then they also implicitly recognise that they're going to take responsibility for parenting their kids and they cannot complain if their children see something which in their opinion they shouldn't.

    We also solve the problem of censorship, because a TOTC ADSL connection will be so restrictive that a good percentage of customers will want the real deal.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I believe there is.

      You go in to your DNS settings and insert standard DNS servers. That way, instead of using your routers as a DNS, your computer goes out to wherever it likes.

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge


        If the ISP puts a transparent proxy on your account with a rule for DNS.

  45. mark l 2 Silver badge

    filtering doesn't work too easy to get past

    After working in IT support for schools for a number of years everyone in the industry knows that blacklists of band sites just dont work, there are too many new sites coming on the internet all the time that its impossible to keep the list up to date, and even the ones that are banned the kids just use an online proxy tool to get around it, then if you have keyword blocking as well it gives you false possitives such as searches for sCUNTthorpe being banned or pages on smelting being blocked because they contain the word SLAG.

    Im all for ISP offering a filtered service for those who want it but it should be an opt in service and if the ISP wants to charge more for it then thats their choice, don't screw up my internet connection by making it an opt out service that means my Internet costs will shoots up to pay for everyone elses filtered internet that i don't need or want.

  46. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Thin end of the wedge

    Of course we all know the real agenda here. First you say it's just an opt-in with age verification. Then you compel the ISPs to hand over the list of opt-ins to whatever branch of the Morality Police is currently in charge of harrassment. Then you make it illegal to download anything that hasn't been certificated by Ofcom. Welcome to China.

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Claire Perry ... "a fire is burning out of control"

    Sounds like she's been looking at something she shouldn't have. Needs to calm down - have a cold shower or something.

    It's frightening how quickly and easily Vaizey and Perry are jumping us into the same mess that the Aussies have been suffering. Why is it that our 'leaders' only pick up on the shit ideas from around the world.

    1. Ned Leprosy Silver badge


      Ed Vaizey seems to be one of the worst culprits for leaping on any passing bandwagon that he thinks will help get his face in the paper, unfortunately. I'm not sure he and his ilk have the integrity to care about the effects their more ill-conceived policies have, as long as it keeps bringing in votes from the idiotic contingent of the electorate.

  48. Harry Tuttle
    Big Brother

    Free content filtering software is available

    I've got 3 kids. I'd use something like this for their Interweb access

    (They're all under 5 at the moment, so have no use for Interwebs)

    I certainly don't agree that the Interwebs should be censored when material is within legal boundaries for adults. As far as I'm concerned the default setting on the Interweb ought to be "adult". Other settings should have to be implemented manually by those who require them.

  49. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    Those of you who wish to giver her a tap with the clue stick I recommend the dead tree approach.

    Claire Perry MP

    House of Commons

    London SW1A 0AA

    It's that simple. Short words, no swearing and keep it tight and focused.

    Check out the YouTube feed on the "Debate" @

    This woman seems to spend a *lot* of time talking to herself.

    Highlights so far "In 1996 I made a new years resolution to find out more about the Internet"

    So not quite got round to keeping that one I'm guessing.

    2 mins down, 43 to go.

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Broadband router with filter

    At work, we've got a web filter. There is an external company which is responsible for updating the list of nasty sites and sending them to the unit, so there is no serious administration hassle at our end.

    If a broadband router was pre-configured (and didn't have a nasty little reset button) and then shipped to the home, then it could do all the filtering at the home level. It wouldn't matter who attached to it from what source, they'd get filtered.

    Because the connection account details would be pre-programmed in to the router before it was sent out, the little tykes can't replace it with another router because they don't know the account details to log on to the broadband service.

    It would probably need a thorough work over to protect against hacking, and would likely require a few pounds contribution to the filtering service, and as it is in the home there is every chance of being able to take advantage of DPI technologies to filter out the more detailed nasties.

    Any child brave enough to take the lid off the box, hook up some cables and start talking to the chips directly ... well, they'd have earned a bit of self abuse in my book.

    1. Charles 9

      What about encrypted connections?

      Encrypted connections can't be inspected and can go anywhere if they're part of an anonymity system. As others have said, packet filters will be useless against darknets.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Very true, but...

        I don't know of very many of those services that actively encrypt their traffic. So long as they've got your credit card details, they're happy enough to carry on and let you carry the can for any rules that get broken.

        Plus, of those that do, you need to have a log on in order to initiate the encrypted services. Therefore a child having prod around is very, very likely to be in unencrypted territory and thus stoppable.

        1. Charles 9

          How about a router on a router?

          Add on an anonymity service like Freenet, TOR, or i2p, and the hardwired router will probably won't be able to figure out where you're going or what you're doing. And you can't block encryption wholesale because you need encryption for money-related e-services. And note that these anonymity networks are DESIGNED for use in "hostile" environments.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward


            It won't stop the deliberately intent teenagers with technical ability, not a lot will short of unplugging the internet.

            But with the ability to use DPI legally on the home side, it beats trying to use it on the ISP side for stopping unintentional porn browsing. More effective at cutting the unintentional stuff without causing traffic problems, censorship or extra cost for the rest of us.

  51. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ah well...

    ... I've put my money where my mouth is. I wrote to Vaisey. Details here -

    You might as well enjoy it, 'cause the chances of any of this actually getting to Vaisey are probably zero.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      Good Stuff!

      Following your example, I'm inclined to send some suggestions myself.

      May I suggest you also send copies of your emails to your local MP? I gather they can be a bit more effective in actually getting government ministers to respond.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Local MP

        My local MP ... hmmm... I've been sending him stuff for a few years now. When it comes to important stuff that could be a potential hot potato, he never replies. Waste of a vote.

        Harking back to all the old cartoons of bloated politicians, I never did see the point of calling them gutless wonders.

  52. dave 46

    We all pay, again

    If there was any demand at all for filtered commercial ISPs would offer it. They don't so it proves parents don't want it or don't care about the issue.

    If the parents can't be suffered to put their hand in their pocket why should everybody else?

  53. Anonymous Coward


    I think it would make a lot more sense if we prevented parents/people like this from reproducing...


    If you're that worried about your children seeing pornography because you're a lazy bastard who can't supervise them then maybe you shouldn't have any...

  54. Anonymous Coward

    Re. preconfigured routers

    Good idea in principle, but the big problem is that unless they have been substantially modified (by removing and epoxying over the pads of the reset switch for example) they can be dismantled and reset by techno-savvy teenagers with minimal effort.

    Not least the problem of the WPA2 key being inaccessible to the end user which means it it gets hacked there is no way to fix it short of sending the router back to the ISP.

    I suggest an alternate solution, have the routers set up so that they have two separate systems, one accessible by the parents and locked using a challenge-response system based around a biometric lock and WPA2 key, and another which is limited to basic safenet and limited email with write-only filter additions (so a given site can only be added to the list and never removed)

    I still wonder why you can buy a basically unlocked-and-unfiltered 3G dongle pretty much anywhere, considering that they can be hidden too easily.

    Perhaps parents should be able to buy 3G/edge active denial systems which detect 3G traffic in the vicinity and alert them via text that it is in use.

    AC, because this is WAAAAY too much information for certain people...

  55. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Vaizey - part 3

    To complete the triad, here is part 3 of what I've just sent to Vaizey's office. A fiver that this doesn't get read by him either.

  56. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

    It is all very simple, really

    First you create a censored net which is what everyone gets by default - 90% of the population are too unaware or too lazy to get anything other than default.

    Next, you block all the stuff that you don't want the great unwashed to see - starting with wikileaks, of course, and then followed by anything else that says or might say unpleasant things about you and your sponsors.

    You can easily argue that it is not censorship at all - you still can "opt in" into an uncensored net (which just happens to be a slightly complicated procedure, involving a check by MI5, submission of your biometrics and registering with police - but, hey, nothing is too much when we're talking about protecting childrenz, right?)

    Finally, the time comes when you send the black vans in the middle of the night to "cleanse the ranks" from the dissident perverts.

    1. Charles 9

      At that level...

      ...why not just WHITELIST instead. This would also take care of the possibility of new bad sites that have yet to be inspected; instead you deny by default and only allow those sites which have been 100% inspected clean and their webmasters bound (maybe even bonded) to vouch for their sites at all times under severe legal penalty.

  57. Charles Smith

    Politicians are like leopards

    The politicians are like leopards. They cannot change their spots. They cave into unrepresentative pressure groups and dream up legislation/regulations even when they do not fully understand the problem. It seems as though newspaper headlines, rather than common sense, is still the major factor in gaining political promotion.

    I thought that'd already faded away when we got rid of the last control freak government, but it seems that I'm wrong.

  58. Michael Nielsen

    Really what is the problem

    Concentual sex, nudity, and so forth, does not really interest most children, until they reach a certain age. And even then none of that will harm them..

    The main problem with society is the "fear" of anything sexual, which adults continually impose upon their children, which makes it harder and harder for kids to get any facts about sexual behaviour, because their parents either act shocked, uncertain, or in general adversion to it's discussion.

    It's no wonder that so many young people get into trouble with sexual diseases, teenage pregnancy, because the adults stick their heads into the ground, thinking it's better to make sure they kids know absolutely nothing about the subject... Most adults seem to think "lets keep them absolutely ignorant about the subject, and it will protect them" No it won't it will just make sure that some one can trick your children, or they experiment with friends, and you get a pregnant teenager on your hands, due to your idiocy, it's not the teenagers fault, because you (the parents) are the cause that the teenager is experimenting, and has no knowledge to protect them selves.

    Seriously it's stupid to think that ignorance about a subject will solve anything, kids will experiment, and they will get into serious trouble, because they have not been prepared for the the situation. The more taboo, and the more nonsensense like censorship, prohibition people come with the worse it becomes, which we have had more than 300 years of experience with, and we are still having kids in the 14-15 years old becoming pregnant, kids down to 13 years old are having sex - with others around the same age.. So what has ignorance, and prohibition actually done for these teenagers ?.

    The best way forward is openess, and information. That is let them seek it out, but take the discussion with them, either proactively or reactively, but do not condem, or behave like it's the worst thing in the world, as that will encourage them, in a negative way, to experiment.

    The protecting the children (from porn) mentality is completely the wrong thing to do, because you are NOT protecting them, you are NOT teaching them to survive in the world by protecting them against everything.. In fact a lot of the protection that parents impose on their children have exactly the opposite effect.

    Forbid somthing, then it becomes even more interesting.

    Act shocked, or offended, then it becomes even more interesting.

    Censor something, then it becomes even more interesting.

    Use ignorance, and they kids will guess, and probably guess wrong, and get into serious trouble.

    So in the name of protecting the children you are infact harming them.

    1. Charles 9

      The Forbidden Fruit Effect

      To quote from a comic book, "If it ain't kind of creepy and dirty and mysterious and forbidden, guys don't get off."

      We Westerners seem to have an innate curiosity for those things which we can't figure out. Put a "Do Not Touch" sign, and someone will touch it just for the sake of it: disregarding any potential dangers because, "I'm bored." Put that together with a fundamental biological instinct (which is sex at the most fundamental level), and you have to wonder what the conservative Christians (who are the groups behind the strongest sex taboos) are thinking: unless, as some do, that instinct is considered evil and that the human condition to do it because "I'm bored" needs to be bred out of humanity in order to save its collective soul (1984 ring a bell?--similar ideas).

  59. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    I've seen the whole video. let me lay it down.

    The rejection of the original version of this post has caused me to revise it. I'll hope it is allowed while preserving the full body of the original.

    I apologise to the divine moderatrix herself for any offense caused. I naturally submit to her cruel but just authority.

    The point of view expressed is my own.

    <profanity filter off>

    First I need to describe the mutual circle jerk that is an adjournment debate in the House of Commons.

    Essentially a group of "Concerned" MP's sign a petition. Unlike the online ones for mere subjects of the Crown in the UK this can result in getting a debate (with an actual Minister in some cases).Depending on their real POV the minister will either count the minutes till this time wasting ritual (in their POV) is over or hang on every word of every speaker. Roughly 8 assorted mono maniacal [redacted] were in the Chamber and Ed Vaizey himself showed up. Make that 9.

    it seems Clare has got some new friends at a "Safer Media Conference" sponsored by the MP for Enfield Southgate (Wikipedia said this is "David Burrow but the [redacted] doing the talking at this point was rather more [redacted]. Google Viz comic characters for details) who probably showed her some [redacted]. In best NoTW she was Shocked & Disgusted at such acts.

    She should *also* have been [redacted], as should the [redacted] as possession of [redacted] is an *absolute* crime. You're holding it, you're guilty. Case closed.

    After various assorted quotes and a shit storm of statistics which basically show parents are scared shitless of what little Lucy and Jonquil are viewing but know fuck all about how to use parental filters and can't *quite* manage the time/commitment/intelligence to *learn* (or bother to pay someone to do it for them) she explains her Cunning Plan.

    She *is* aware there is an estimated 250 million web sites (of course she knows [redacted] about anything else *but* the WWW) and that c12% (30 million) websites are porn.


    There are *only* 450 UK landline ISP's and the top 6 control 90% of the market and they turnover £3Bn (Vaizey seems to think this is *profit*, not turnover. Pretty sweet deal if he's right. Not so good otherwise)

    And Age Verification works *fine* on Gambling sites using a combination of UK electoral roll and financial data. Imagine that. Gambling sites have access to both your house address details *and* your financial records to make sure you're not little Johnny. Thank you [redacted].


    linking these 2 *together* we get *universal* age verification of *all* UK subjects and blocking on a site by site basis.


    Perry "You don't need to be Bill Gates to make this a much more effective system"

    (But you do have to be a fucking clueless moron to think this will work IMHO)

    Exactly *how* and *who* will classify these 250 *million* sites is not actually stated but how difficult could it be (Well at 1 *second* per porn website you can get it done in a bit over 347 days. But the others will take a bit longer)

    In her mind (Which seems pretty [redacted]) the 3 problems are.

    1)Restricting access to "inappropriate material" is a restriction on freedom of speech. But this is *too* nasty not to restrict (yes she does know about the IWF but they're just *not* THINKING OF THE CHILDREN enough). Yes it is *already* illegal to make, posses, view or distribute [redacted] in the UK (I'd *love* to know if the organizers of that little event got [redacted] on that point). But it's not enough.

    2)Too costly and difficult to implement. But Ha Ha its *only* 6 UK companies, 450 at the most.

    3)But what *is* porn? Well she says the Obscene Pubs Act is perfectly alright for TV and films.

    And of course *every* web site on the planet would go along with the UK definition of porn because hey they like to be helpful.

    Various other [redacted] chime in with stuff like "Long term damage to the mind, far worse than the short term harm of under age alcohol or cigarettes." Not that he's actually *seen* an underage alcoholic or what LSD can do to someone whose head is not screwed *very* firmly on.

    Again the mixing of regular porn (hard or soft core) with [redacted] porn.

    But then Vaizey comes in hard for the government side. I wish.

    What Vaizey believes & likes.

    The OPA deters people and "Keeps them in boundaries" even if you can't get a conviction on it.

    Does not subscribe to the theory that ISP's are "Dumb pipes" but it's not like the Royal Mail opening *every* parcel (or letter) they carry.

    That appears to be a logical contradiction. EU law states they *are* common carriers like telephones or post services and the Ministers opinion is worth exactly fuck all. In fact it is *exactly* like them opening every piece of post they carry (or BT listening to *every* phone conversation "Just in case" it might be a drug deal/ransom demand/organising a fight between rival gangs of soccer hooligans.

    Someone else pointed out that sending porn through the mail *is* a crime.

    Likes mobile phone operators putting in age controls by default and you have to verify your age before they remove them

    Likes CEOP and thinks it's worked *so* well he wants to broaden its remit. Warm welcome to "Peter Davis" (who he?) taking over after Jim "Panic Button" Gamble.

    Likes the fact that ISP's *can* "Traffic manage" so they know what's going through their systems (and can throttle it) and when he acted as an "honest broker" between them and the "Rights holders"

    IE Big Music and Big Film companies they could soon use the new stuff in the Digital Economy (Lord Manderscum's [redacted] ) Act to stop these [redacted] (No he did not say that but you do get the impression that's exactly how this [redacted] thinks)

    Applauded Tanya Byrons research which lead to the setting up of the 170 member "UK Council on Child Internet Safety" whatever that is.

    Looked forward to "Brokering" a meeting between the major ISP's Ms Perry and any organizations she wanted to invite.

    Perry likes all this but asks him to set a timetable for improvement as there is "Universal acceptance of a huge problem"

    "Universal" that is amongst about 8 MP's.

    No mention was made that this would also in principle leave a complete log of *every* web site visited as the ISP's cross checked your credit details Vs your electoral roll entry (universal registration. The right to vote *guarantees* the right to porn). Not that *anyone* would do that and say sell it onward. Right?

    If I were to break into the backstage area at Crufts and smear premium quality dog food on the [redacted] of *every* contestant there I would not witness quite so much mutual [redacted] as this 44 minute session.

    She seems to have learned just *enough* to be a major waste of public time and money.

    She either can't or won't understand the answer to the question "How difficult can it be" is complicated in detail but briefly put "very fucking complicated indeed."

    I image tech support at the Commons dream they could assign [redacted] to "sort out" her IT problems in a very final way.

    It's hard to say if he's a [redacted] looking for promotion on the Next Big Moral Panic, a [redacted] who likes the idea of all that data which will *have* to be kept up to date or just a [redacted] who has *no* clue how much this will cost and how easily it will be by-passed.

    I've spent enough time listening to these fuckwits. I don't suffer fools gladly and fools with ministerial responsibility make me want to hurl.

    While I don't think they are demanding of quite the action the staff at Phorm deserve I think a trawl through their history tabs and a few postings might give a few chuckles.

    The Wacqui Jacqui saga and the porn on expenses story still gives me a chuckle or two.

    Flames because frankly [redacted].

    </profanity filter off>

    1. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: I've seen the whole video. let me lay it down.

      I didn't reject your last one but I would probably have done if I'd seen it. I'll let this through but please try and keep it pithy next time. Ta.

      1. John Smith 19 Gold badge

        @Sarah Bee

        I noted your name on some of the moderator comments for this forum and wrote accordingly.

        In my defense its a 44 minute video of politicians talking about a subject I have some interest in (some of them having the ability to act on their opinions) and showing both their deep arrogance and ignorance of the subject at the same time. I was a tad vexed by the time it had finished.

        But I''ll try and keep it harder and tighter next time.

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