back to article 'Porn lock' heralds death of WikiLeaks, internet, democracy, universe

The British government wants to gag WikiLeaks, and is drawing up Orwellian plans to exploit fears over the effect of online smut on children to achieve that aim. That was the snap conclusion drawn yesterday in fruitcake-friendly corners of the web in response to a Sunday Times front page splash, which reported that the …


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  1. Evil Weevil
    Paris Hilton

    Someone's got to say it.....

    ..... "Will anyone think of Paris Hilton?"

    I'm worried that if this idea gets the go ahead, the El Reg "Paris" icon will be barred !

    Mines the long trench coat and I'm wearing no trousers!

    1. It wasnt me
      Thumb Down


      So, you're wearing no trousers, and, since you're going to get it, currently no coat. That brings to mind the sort of scene that these rules are trying to stop. It may be no bad thing after all :-)

    2. LinkOfHyrule
      Paris Hilton

      "I'if this idea gets the go ahead, the El Reg "Paris" icon will be barred !"

      You can take our interwebz. You can take our freedom. But you'll never take our Paris!

      I'm also wearing no trousers as a mark of solidarity!

    3. LinkOfHyrule
      Paris Hilton

      Oh and just one more thing, Evil Weevil...

      Oh and just one more thing, Evil Weevil - you're real name doesn't happen to be Lt Columbo dose it? The flashers mac you're wearing is what gives it away!

      You're the original mac fanboi!

  2. Pete 2 Silver badge

    Disturb who?

    > on a political level it [an opt-out censor] would be likely to disturb many Lib Dems

    Hardly, likely. We've discovered recently that the L/Ds are just as much power-tarts as all the other parties. When given the choice between sitting to the right of the Speaker or sitting to the left, they are willing to sacrifice any principles they might have persuaded us they had.

    1. mmiied

      point of order

      I know lib dem abshing is the new sport but can I put up a bit of a defence

      I sugest you look up the meaning of the word compromise

      to sumerise in the nogations in order to get any form of goverment (and if we had no goverment it could have killed the country) both sides had to drop some of there promises one of the ones the libdems droped was there failey recent opsertition of an increse in tuitions fees but they did get some of what they have wanted for longer namley a refremdum on electrol reform

      1. kissingthecarpet

        Is your spelling

        a deliberate joke? If not, I suggest that you should be the one to be browsing the dictionary

        1. Anonymous Coward

          Re: Is your spelling

          No, the comment was done in the style of Officer Crabtree from 'Allo 'Allo!

          1. mmiied

            I wish

            I had thought of that

        2. mmiied


          dyslexica and lasyness

      2. Andrew Meredith
        Thumb Down

        Nothing new

        > I know lib dem bashing is the new sport but can I put up a bit of a defence

        Not for people round here it isn't. It's LD vs Con in our constituency, which under the old boundary fell mostly to the Con vote. Labour comes 4th to UKIP most times. However, we now have a LD MP who is the ultimate in political glyphs. He supports exactly what everyone around him supports wherever he happens to be. Put him in a bunch of cannibals and I would be unsurprised if he just chowed down with the rest of them. He looks the very image of a stereotypical modern politician. I wouldn't trust him if he said the earth went round the sun.

      3. Jon 52

        coalition agreement

        The Libdems negotiated to be allowed to Abstain on the fees issue, to keep their pledge not to vote for higher fees. However as tory back benchers also hated the fees certain lib dems were needed to vote for, so they were whipped into voting for a policy they pormised they would not.

  3. Scorchio!!

    What is wrong..

    ..with using an aftermarket DNS provider? If people don't know how to use such a thing perhaps there needs to be a modem driving test FGS. For an extra 10 quid they can have all of the bells and whistles.

    I emailed Perry with details of this and other ways to improve internet security, but it seems that she'd prefer to grovel around her senior patrons in the Tory party.

    The Tories and Lib-Dems are traditionally the parties of the market. Bending to a band of incompetent parents who've not done any research to see how to look after their kids is not the way forward. If parents cannot learn how to do this they ought not to have a connection. Expecting others to do it for them is over the top.

    Correct software, correct hardware and an aftermarket DNS provider, even if only the free version. It's a bit like owning a car; the owner is required to maintain and keep it safe. The same applies to an internet account. No security, no account or. In fact, those who fail to implement proper security could be fined, since they are among the most likely to create a nuisance by having a bot on board, never mind the 'sex' issue.

    (I hope that you are reading this, Ms Perry.)

    1. Adrian Challinor

      That s the correct answer...

      If you want to put a block on things "for the children", then educate people on how to use a seperated DNS provider. Such as OpenDNS. With OpenDNS you can block exactly what you think that the children should not see: which is not just pornography. It should also include gambling, drugs, phishing sites, etc.

      The answer is Education, Education, Education. If you want a block , get yourself educated to do it. Maybe set up agreements between the ISP's and DNS providers to have this autoinstalled on commercial modems from the get-go.

      Want to lossen the shackles? Then go online and do it.

      Want to change the modem? Well, then you are definitely out of the job public, lets-have-a-BT-HomeHub brigade. Like kit cars, you are on your own.

      What I object to the Opt-In lobby is that there will almost certainly be a subclause that demands that anyone who decides to manage their own DNS will be reported to out 1984-style overlords. Just because I don't want my ISP deciding what I can and cannot access does not make me a pornographer and does not impact on my children. If the government wants to see what websites I access, get a frickin court warrant - don't try it by any backdoor.

      The internet see's restrictions like this as a failure and routes around them.

      Mine's the dirty mac with "Routing for Boys" in the pocket

      1. Anonymous Coward


        Playing the devils advocate like Pacino, but with the cast of Bedazzled, don't most kids now have phones?

        Setting your router to point to another DNS will not prevent little timothy from seeking MILF Fisters #6 from t'internet.

        Disclaimer: I feel blocking porn would ruin the web. Long live Usenet!

    2. Annihilator

      Solution #2

      I dearly hope that Mr ISP brings the following solution to the table:

      "We can sell a discounted copy of Net Nanny if it helps?"

      Why on earth would an ISP want to build a highly complex system off the back of a government imposed sanction? If it were wanted by the public so badly, an ISP would have launched it as a product.

      My only hope is that the Tories don't really like public service ideas, and prefer the markets to take care of themselves...

      1. Rob 5

        If it were wanted by the public so badly, an ISP would have launched it as a product.

        That's more or less what the pub industry and others said about the smoking ban. Didn't work then...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          But it's a good idea

          We should pressure the Daily Mail to take the lead. Rather than demanding the government do something, the Mail should see how many of the grotesques who buy the paper actually subscribe to its 1950's net-curtained view of world.

          They could guarantee that there will be no porn, a Queen's head on every page, payments in Pounds sterling only, absolutely no blacks, gays or Irish, and lots of bulletin boards where people can fume, fulminate and exude generally toxic levels of moral superiority over the state of the country.

          And the rest of us can add their domain name to our black lists.

          Everyone wins.

        2. Tom 35
          Thumb Down

          Straw Man...

          "That's more or less what the pub industry and others said about the smoking ban. Didn't work then..."

          A pub is not like your home, more like a library (where the internet is filtered). You don't have a smoking ban in your home (though some think that would be a good idea) unless you set it your self.

          If you want a porn ban in your house you can do that your self now. This is about people who want to ban stuff they don't like (and don't think anyone else should be able to chose different), and people who want to get the infrastructure in place to block stuff so they can easily add more stuff they want to block later.

          And there are such products available in some places like the bible belt USA.

        3. Andrew Meredith

          Smoking Ban ?

          > That's more or less what the pub industry and others

          > said about the smoking ban. Didn't work then...

          So therefore the government stepped in and slammed down a totally over the top, one sided brick of a bill. Step two, we find out that yes, the majority of people who go to pubs to drink beer actually do like a cig with their pint. So they have to either stand outside in the freezing rain, or stay home with their mates and a slab of sub-tax-priced tinnies from Safeburys. And so the pub trade starts a death spiral that is seeing more pubs shut per month than we have ever seen before, through any recession, ever.

          So that worked really well didn't it.

          turns out the market had been doing the balancing ok all along. The promised hordes of non-smokers who were supposedly put off from going to the pub by the pong simply didn't exist. We now see what the publicans knew all along; if you ban smoking in pubs, they will empty and go out of business. Tadaaa!

          You either trust the market to do the job or you make up the truth for yourself based on party dogma .. choose.

          1. Anonymous Coward

            Well, sorry to not fit your model....

            ....but I now go to the pub because it isn't polluted with smoke any more, whereas when smoking was legal I didn't.

            Most people I know that don't smoke have much the same opinion too.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Well, sorry to not fit your model....

              "....but I now go to the pub because it isn't polluted with smoke any more, whereas when smoking was legal I didn't."

              Yes, all the whining about how the atmosphere would be ruined without all the smoking turned out to be the usual "I'm living really hard - look, I'm smoking!" nonsense: it was the booze that made that hazy atmosphere, of course.

              And in various places, the pubs which suffered the most appear to be the ones that were the haunts of chain-smoking, all-day "local" drinkers where the management probably turned a blind eye to stuff like serving under-age people or people who are already too drunk to be served. The smoking legislation probably put a lot of iffy places on the spot, and then out of business altogether.

              What were we discussing, again?

          2. Rob 5

            Wrong end of the stick.

            You appear have it.

            My point, with the smoking ban analogy, was that government doesn't have a very good track record for letting the market continue to take care of things when it sees an opportunity to interfere.

      2. Scorchio!!

        Re: Solution #2

        That is a solution that should be dear to every Tory and Lib-Dem public school boy, since most of them are used to nannies. "Nanny knows best!" ;->

    3. Jim Morrow

      dns is not the answer

      using your isp's dns service or third party dns providers to filter access to smut simply won't work. though there's a lot of money being made selling that snake-oil to the gullible 'think of the children' clowns.

      rewriting dns replies or making servers tell lies will crash and burn when secure dns gets used. once you validate responses, you'll be able to tell when someone's been fiddling with the data.

      1. OffBeatMammal

        not tainting...


        OpenDNS (for instance) has an option to disable access to certain sites or categories of sites... and takes you to a nice page explaining why (just like when ISPs hijack results to serve their ads)

        I actually like the Live Family Safety app ... runs on the PCs that the kids use and does the same thing but no DNS fiddling required (and unlike the pretty crap NetNanny, it's free)

      2. Cameron Colley

        @Jim Morrow

        In what way can it fail? Your device queries its primary DNS server and gets a reply of "not found" or a different IP address and, because your OS knows it's fake, queries the second DNS server which gives the same replies -- so, how does your device then get to the blocked site?

        If you are designing a system to stop anyone from getting to a certain site (library or school computers etc.) then yes, I agree, but from a home user perspective if your kids type in because they're looking for the latest "Barbie shares her cup" model they will not get to a scat site by mistake -- that is, as far as I know, the point of this kind of thing. DNS filtering is to stop kids browsing for porn "accidentally" not to lock the machine down in Aussie Firewall style.

      3. Scorchio!!

        Re: dns is not the answer

        It certainly is a big part of the answer. I use very little of my DNS provider's options because it restricts me too much, but I can see that some scared chicken might like the idea. Then there are firewall rules, hardware firewall rules, rules for the AV system (mine can block specific sites), hosts files, malware blockers and cleaners... ...and if Ms Perry and her friends find this too much trouble I suggest they discontinue their account and use the public library.

        1. John Smith 19 Gold badge


          "and if Ms Perry and her friends find this too much trouble"

          Believe it or not, that is *exactly* her argument.

          They're all too *complicated* to set up and maintain. Interestingly she never mentions that quite a lot of her target audience, the Middle class, relatively well off Mumsnet types (not the 7 MP's present at the recent debate) with either substantial jobs or a very well paid husband, would certainly be able to hire some tradesmen to do it for then.

          1. Anonymous Coward

            Oh dear...

            Bored housewives..."My husbands is away!"...(rough)tradesmen at the front door...oh dear, I think I need an internet filter and a lie down....

            1. Scorchio!!

              Re: Oh dear...

              Now it is funny you mention it but precisely those thoughts went through my mind as I read the response to my post. Then there's the tradesman's entrance.

          2. Scorchio!!

            Re: @Scorchio!!

            These are not so very different from their like minded colleagues in the Labour party. As someone once said "There are no longer people to vote for, only people to vote against".

  4. phuzz Silver badge


    I can't help but think there's a market opportunity for ISPs to offer an opt-IN system so people can keep their little darlings safe in the big bad interwebs.

    Any by the time you think about switching it off, they'll probably be old enough to hack round it anyway.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Don't those already exist?

      Are you referring to technologies like Net Nanny? I've never used them myself, but do these softwares BLACKlist or WHITElist? For the purposes of making a guarded webspace for children to surf (still supervised), I would think the WHITElist approach would be safer so that "stranger" sites are excluded until they've been vetted first by either the provider or the parent.

  5. Jolyon



    Merry Christmas.

  6. Ian Yates

    Wrong time of year

    But why not ask all the nefarious websites to use the new HTML5 tag: <meta name="evil" content="yes" /> and filter by that?

    1. Scorchio!!

      Re: Wrong time of year

      Now that you mention it, don't most modern browsers have a filter set up which only the sysadmin can touch, meaning that kids can be given guest accounts? Or are the parents not internet savvy... ...hmm.

  7. Marco Mieshio
    Thumb Down

    oh not again

    As an ISP owner I will not pander to the governments control of the Internet. I didn't set up an Internet Company 16 years ago now to be bound and gagged by the commons. If you don't want your kids seeing Internet porn then don't let them go on the Internet and don't let them mix with any other children or adults for that matter. In fact wrap them in cotton wool and keep them by the fire (but not too close). I am tired of legislation, there is already far far far far far far far far far far too much of it already. This is a ticking time bomb, only time will tell....

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    commercial proxies ?

    I've often wondered, if people are *that* concerned about internet smut, why no one has successfully set up a service offering a "clean feed" proxy. Open an account, download a settings file, lock your (kids) browser profile in, and away you go.

    I'm always wary of governments barging in where free markets fear to tread ... could it be there's not as much demand as the Daily Heil will have us believe ?

    1. Davey Bee


      The Daily Mail's coverage of this was essentially as a news item (the article was uncritical, but then that is equally true of the Daily Mirror's reporting on the proposal). I can see no evidence that the Mail imagines there is huge public demand for an opt-in system.

      In addition, the Mail's online replies were overwhelmingly hostile to Vaizey's plan. Very few supporting it.

      But then actually reading the items in question before ranting on about the Mail would probably be too much to ask of you.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        and ?

        Whenever the Daily Mail runs a story about cannabis, the replies are 90% in favour of decriminalisation.

        Just pointing to the publics desire for, or against a particular measure has no correlation to it's being implemented. Ask the 1,000,000 who marched to stop a war we still got involved in.

        And my use of the Daily Heil was *representative* of the hectoring media we have today with their "think of the childrun" approach to persecuting paediatricians. - understood by most here.

    2. Ray Simard

      @commercial proxies

      There are ISPs specializing in filtered content. One I've heard of is called IntegrityOnline. There must be others. I don't know much about it, but if it's what it seems to be, it's the best kind of answer: those who want it can get it; those who don't want it aren't subject to unwelcome and probably politically-driven interference, and the market decides if there's enough demand for the product to justify its existence.

  9. Gusty O'Windflap

    hang on...

    the last goverment told us we could not have "extreme pornography" whilst actually leaving the definition of extreme a little vague for the courts, and now the new lot are saying that all porn should go because children could access it? And i guess if you wanted to be able to look at pornography you would have to register yourself as an opt-out and therefore be flagged immediately by the powers that be as some sort of wrong un.

    I have posted it many times before and I shall continue to do so as long as I keep reading things like this...

    "My final point about alcohol, about drugs, about pornography...What business is it of your's what I do, read, buy, see or take into my body as long as I don't harm another human being whilst on this planet?

    And for those of you having a little moral dilemma on how to answer this, I'll answer for you:


    1. The Fuzzy Wotnot

      Ah but it isn't you see!

      The Gov allowed you to be born, they own you and unless you want to be flagged up as some sort of paedo-terrorist-anti-Brit-trouble-making-wrong-un in need of "correction", you will toe the line and do as we say!

      "Shut your mouth and get back in line

      and if you don't like it -

      well it suits us just fine.

      WE pull the levers

      WE hold the strings

      and these are just a few of our favourite things.

      Learn the words of the company song

      "The right IS right, IS right IS strong".

      Come on children all sing along

      'cause if you think you can change

      you were never more wrong."

      1. galbak

        cut, pasted, printed, stuck to bus shelters, and pub windows. just waiting for the boot on the door

        great little rhyme, anyone know who wrote it originaly?

        "Shut your mouth and get back in line

        and if you don't like it - well it suits us just fine.

        WE pull the levers, WE hold the strings

        and these are just a few of our favourite things.

        Learn the words of the company song

        "The right IS right, IS right IS strong".

        Come on children all sing along

        'cause if you think you can change

        you were never more wrong."

  10. This post has been deleted by its author

  11. cannon
    Big Brother


    So are they going to ban the sun's page 3 as our children can pick it up. parenting is the parents responsibility not some fascist dictators...

    its always the same line though, we must control you to "protect our children", if its not padophiles, its terrorists or pirates used as a fear tactic to gain popularity to remove our liberties...

  12. Pypes

    Here we go again

    "We’ve got to stop treating children like adults and adults like children.”

    few months later

    "You can't be trusted to raise your kids, so we are going to do it for you, won't you please think of the children"

    New boss, old boss, etc.

  13. Ged T
    Big Brother

    And, if truely concerned, what about TV access to 'porn'?

    In the UK, there are numerous TV channels readily available to view on Freeview and Freesat, without any real controls in place. Even where there are controls, the "pornographic" content is rarely any different than you could find in many UK papers, magazines or even regular TV.

    Before getting all bent out of shape about the 'internet', shouldn't this government minister first look into the these 'low hanging fruit' opportunities to rid the UK of cheap sleaze? At least, then, we may gain a channel or two for HD (DVB-T2/Mpeg4) services...

    Maybe it's some other agenda, then...

    Surely, that fact the owners of such freely broadcast 'smut' make lots of money from it (0900 numbers, paid subscriptions etc) and that some of those broadcasters even channel some of that money, by way of political donations, to thier politician friends and parties isn't a factor? Is it?

    Maybe, then, its that the 'purveyors of porn' are being targetted by UK gov because they make no contributions to UK political parties?

    Or maybe its because the 'minister concerned' can't think of a way of 'monetising' or taxing it?

    Or maybe its because this UK gov and the 'concerned minister' are just as determined as the last UK gov and minister to erode all notions freedom to choose as well as corrode notions of personal responsibility...

    1. Chad H.

      Tv porn

      Tv porn is regulated by ofcom and you need a license to broadcast. Go too far or show at the wrong time, bye-bye license.

  14. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    You'd think ISP's would be tripping over themselve to offer the TOTC deal?

    Oddly though no one does.

    Maybe real people don't think they want their viewing cut down to a kiddie safe internet.

    That's *no* image search, "Safe search" options permanently on and of course any of those "suspect" sites which mix harmless with "inappropriate" content (Wikpedia, Wikileks) and of course *any* website signed up to *any* web filtering service.

    Now try looking up Scunthorpe on Google under this system.

    I guess most parents will just have to suffer the dangers of their little princes and princesses being menaced at every possible turn by a torrent of filth*

    *Unless they learn how to enable their PC's filtering software and sign up to it.

    Get someone to set it up for them.

    Only let their children view the internet it in the living room when they are present. (and can see it as well).

    Prepare them to be careful in the same way you would not let your child cycle on a motorway.


    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I think the main problem ISPs would have with enforcement

      Is that the internet will then become officially "their problem".

      In essence if they agree to do anything more than provide unfettered access to everything except stuff highlighted as really bad by the IWF (with that responsibility resting with the IWF) then they will be effectively held responsible for anything they don't block.

      1. John Smith 19 Gold badge


        "in essence if they agree to do anything more than provide unfettered access to everything except stuff highlighted as really bad by the IWF (with that responsibility resting with the IWF) then they will be effectively held responsible for anything they don't block."

        You need to understand that Vaizey does "Not believe that ISP's are dumb pipes" (look at the video of the adjournment debate). He's been told how much "traffic shaping" IE packet filtering by DPI they already do. He *beleives* it already *is* their problem.

        By "optimizing" their network throughput (IOW filtering because they can't provide the bandwidth users *think* their contracts *promise* them) they've given him the idea they'd be perfect for filtering (and recording) other stuff ( he already likes them for stopping file sharing).

        You're right that they *should* provide unfettered internet access (which is what EU common carrier law requires them to do).

        Every time they bend over for some other special interest group (namely anyone trying to do copyright enforcement) their position gets more compromised. ISP's who do their own spying (BT & Virgin with Phorm, Talk Talk with their Chinese boxes to "protect" uses from "dangerous" sites) cause more trouble.

        As for what sites people view

        No need to ask. No need to know.

  15. Refugee from Windows

    Market opportunity

    How about this for ISP's? Block email from known spamming IP's, monitor, kill botnet traffic and outgoing spam then do the anti virus/malware stopping at the server, so it never reaches you? Another few extra quid a month? Also knocks their traffic down.

    No it's not rocket science, but even Paris would understand the benefits. However I think that vested interests might knock this on the head.

    Back out into the raging blizzard again I suppose.


    Opt out of responsible parenting?

    A responsible parent should never leave a child with unsupervised access to a communications network (be it post, email, phone, or web).

    Even if you filter every bit of pron? Other threats remain. (Grooming to give just one example).

    And the boundaries of child friendly censorship become very difficult to specify. Should young children see news stories, war reporting, violence? What about controversial politics, and demonstrations? Who decides how they learn about their own sexuality? What religious information? Healthcare? Sexually transmitted disease? Abortion?

    Censorship of legal communications, in a democracy, should be always be *voluntary*.

    Yet even voluntary censorship, still, doesn't allow parents the luxury of opting out of responsible parenting.

  17. DrXym Silver badge

    Here is a simpler proposal

    Mandate that all ISPs should state in a clear way if they supply parental controls and let consumers decide if they want nanny ISP to hide their ickle wickle eyes from lady bits. If they do then and filtering is done server side thing then it should be disabled by default and accessible from an account management page. Simple.

  18. Dazed and Confused
    Big Brother

    Wrong reason for being stupid

    The main reason that it would be stupid is that an internet filter of all smut would be impossible. There are so many porn/smut sites out there, many of which are long lasting, many come and go very quickly. Many expired domains get bought up by companies who sit on domain names with the hope of making a profit from selling them. In the mean time they host all sorts of junk, anything that will make a few bucks. A fool proof filter isn't ever going to happen (even before you worry about hijacks). Any system based on black lists is clearly just going to be playing catchup. Any system based on white lists is going to be susceptible to change of use of names and white listing will always be viewed as an extreme form of censorship, it would stop people from launching new website as an when they wanted. You would always have to wait of the MinistryOfThoughtControl to give its approval.

    If you want to protect the kids and Mary Whitehouses of the the world then you need to build them a new network. A walled garden where freedom of thought and expression is heavily limited. Only approved suppliers would be allowed in. Strict rules would need to be imposed on content. Then you'd have a constant battle on what would be deemed appropriate. Should you treat 17 year olds the same you you treat 3 year olds?

  19. Anonymous Coward


    "This is a very serious matter," said Mr Vaizey. "I think it's very important that it's the ISPs that come up with solutions to protect children."

    This might sound a bit sodding radical Mr Vaizey but how about the parents of said children come up with solutions to protect their children? Maybe they could keep the computer in the living room where they can see what is going on.

    Is he going to ask Ford and GM to come up with solutions to stop people aren't old enough from driving from getting in a car? Or ask gun manufacturers to put solutions in place to stop people who aren't entitled to use guns from actually using them?

    Why when it comes to the internet do parents apparently just walk away from the situation stating that its not their responsibility?

    Wont Someone think of the Children?? How about as a parent you take some sodding responsibility for your children's activities for once?

  20. The Fuzzy Wotnot


    I wish you best of luck with that stupid plan Mr M.P.!

    "The internet...designed by adults, for use by adults. Children tolerated!"

  21. Jeremy 2

    Don't worry, it'll never happen...

    ...The Aussies started all this at a time of economic plenty when all the streets were paved with gold (or printouts of internet porn, one or the other).

    The tories are trying to start the same thing when everything's gone to hell, with budget cuts and the smell of mothballs lingering in every corner of Whitehall.

    This begs the obvious question. Leaving aside the technical and philosophical flaws with the idea, examining all the worlds websites to decide which are naughty and which are nice is going to be an astronomically expensive and never ending process. So who's gonna pay for it?

    Assuming government don't want to have to pay for it (that's normally what "we don't want to legislate" means) then it would come down to the ISPs who would obviously pass the cost to their customers, which would be commercial suicide.

    So even if they then push on (which they won't), you'll be able to have your clean-feed internet if you want but if you take the filthy-dirty-middle-england-offending-wont-somebody-please-think-of-the-children-feed instead, it'll cost you a tenner a month less because it's so much cheaper to administer. Which will people choose?

    1. Martin 19

      I have the answer

      "Leaving aside the technical and philosophical flaws with the idea, examining all the worlds websites to decide which are naughty and which are nice is going to be an astronomically expensive and never ending process. So who's gonna pay for it?"

      The government is investigating using a well experienced contractor based at the North Pole. Apparently this contractor is so scrupulous about their naughty/nice list that they even check it twice. Hence the announcement at this time of year...

      1. Anonymous Coward

        There are some problems with your post.

        I heard they were going to contract HP

      2. Havin_it

        I saw a film called "North Pole" once.

        Very disappointed, Santa wasn't in it at all. I thought there was an elf at one point, but it was a dwarf. Still, maybe some of the 37 sequels are better.

        Icon: dark glasses due to worsening blindness :P

  22. Anonymous Coward

    When a politician says they don't want to legislate...

    >" The most important and substantial thing Vaizey has said repeatedly on the question of internet pornography is that he really doesn't want to legislate."

    You have to read between the lines sometimes, and anyone familiar with the conventions of British politics over the past couple of decades might well read this as a veiled threat rather than a statement of benign good intent. How many repressive laws did the last government force through the statute books after initially having said they'd really rather not legislate? This is one of the most bog-standard political strategies nowadays:

    1 - Identify "problem" based on media hysteria, start highlighting it but mention how little you want to legislate and how preferable some kind of self-regulatory solution would be.

    2 - Propose extremely drastic restrictive legislation, wait for initial fuss to die down a bit.

    3 - Withdraw initial excessive suggestion, present new "watered-down" proposals that are in fact what you really wanted to get passed in the first place, claim to have been reasonable and listened to the voice of compromise.

    4 - Profit, as "new" proposal passed by herd of tame backbench MPs who can now sell it on the "reasonable compromise" line.

    Just because a politician says they do or don't want to do something doesn't necessarily mean it's true, you know. They do have a record of deception. Skepticism is entirely an appropriate response.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Better ban everything

    Better ban alcohol and tobacco sites, substances that kill 40,000 people a year. And ban violent games sites, which are very poor role models. And ban all fashion sites which drives youngsters to anorexia. And better ban junk food sites too.

    On the other hand, I've NEVER seen a hospital report of an admission due to porn, except the poor bugger who decided to improvise with his vacuum cleaner. He wasn't looking at porn at the time, so do we ban vacuum cleaners?

  24. Dennis Wilson


    If my kids try to visit a porn website they are stopped by Cyberpatrol, a nifty bit of kid protection software. If my kids visited porn websites it is because I have no kid protection software. In that event i am showing that i have no desire to do everything my body can do to protect my kids. If parents with kids do nothing to protect their children from the sicko of the net then they too are showing that they just don't give a dam about protecting their children. I would have no problem bringing in social services.

    I love my kids enough to protect them, parents that do not should have their children put under council protection.

    Stopping the country from viewing Wikileaks is censorship gone mad and one step towards China and its absurd censorship.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Parents without censoring software may just be showing that they don't understand how to protect their kids, by posting here you show that you are almost certainly above average in the IT literacy and Internet familiarity stakes. There are many parents who just don't have the first idea what is out there, or what they can do to control access to it.

      I don't think that censorship should be turned on by default, but allowing it to be easily turned on and off, doesn't really seem like such a problem. The main issue I would have is the extra cost incurred by the ISP.

      1. Dennis Wilson
        Dead Vulture

        Kid protection

        With so much publicity including high profile killings of children common sense kicks in and they find out what to do. Most kid protection software disable the connection to the internet if tampered with.

    2. Shannon Jacobs
      Big Brother

      Not just China

      What bothers me is the remarkable hypocrisy of it. On one hand we say that "totalitarian" governments we dislike such as those in China, Iran, and North Korea would be weakened by the disclosure to their citizens of what their governments have been up to, but on the other hand, heaven forbid that our "democratic" governments should let our citizens find out.

      In conclusion, most people throughout history have been more or less slaves (though the historians say almost nothing about most people). The exact forms of slavery have varied, but the bottom line is that most people have had little to no choice in their lives. Nowadays the slaves in the so-called advanced countries are primarily wage slaves locked in by their crushing debts, fears of losing their incomes, and restrictive and punitive personal bankruptcy laws. However, the punchline is that most of them are too lazy to learn enough to be free, at least in the democratic countries where they apparently prefer so-called 'strong' leaders like faith-based Dubya over rationalists like Al Gore. (Jury's still out on President Obama, but I'm (obviously) not optimistic about America's future.)

  25. Christoph

    Great idea

    If they implement this we can finally stop children being exposed to that obviously obscene Olympics logo on the net.

    Of course they will still see it all over the place, but that's OK because it isn't on the internet so it doesn't count.

    Do these imbeciles really think they can come up with a definition of 'porn' which a majority of people will agree on, *and* which will be stable enough to last a usable length of time, *and* will be easily applicable to new material and to new technical developments, *and* won't be trivially subverted, *and* won't be easily twisted to apply to them as well?

    Haven't they even heard of the very first response to this kind of thing, to substitute the names of the relevant politicians for any 'rude' words they try to ban?

  26. Richard Porter

    Vigilance remains vital

    Yes. vigilance by parents on what their little darlings are up to. But it would be far better to educate them about "inapropriate content" instead of creating forbiden fruit which they will just have to get at one way or another. The challenge of circumventing the filter only makes it more likely that kids will find serious porn sites, as opposed to just Googling boobs and bums.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I cannot access 'bad' content at work. Perhaps the big bad 'they' can share some of that magic around the place?

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    I am a genius so shut your face and listen.

    One one side of the fents is the lunatic religious saying that a dickless man went into low earth orbit, that sex is bad, dirty and nasty and your should save it for the one you love and that masturbation is bad, children born out of religious ceremonies are bastards and single mothers ought to be ashamed of THEMSELVES...

    Shame, Shame, Shame - guilt, guilt, guilt, masturbation makes you go blind and we will invent all this silly puritanical bullshit so that NOT having sex makes you pure and having sex makes you sinful....

    So side A is anally retentative.

    Then on the other hand you get all the crazies who act out all the mad shit that was done to them and their society by Team A and their "morals"....

    And it's all crazy.

    My scope on the sex online is that some of it is useful in identifying issues, some of it is useful in terms of sexual education, and some of it is exciting and some of it is just really screwed up people acting out what was done to them in their families in direct and in direct "reflections" of the abuse and neglect.

    And some of it is just really good "lets fuck like animals" sex...

    But my main issue is not that sex is a moral issue, or right or wrong or this type of sex is good and that type of sex is bad etc...

    My main focus is on "Is this really role modeling how to have healthy relationships - starting with yourself, and you inner circle of family friends and acquaintances and strangers..."

    A lot of online sex really is unhealthy - in terms of setting a bench mark for others to live by and learn from.

    I think a lot of it really is harmful and bad for ones self esteem.

    A lot of the porn industry is a manufactured product of sicker and sicker activities, in order to stimulate the audience, in order to generate revenue.....

    It's just like sticking more and more booze, coke, heroine or gossip into the scene.

    While the argument really does hold true that it's up to the parents, and that the parents should be censoring what their offspring access and or view, the truth is that they don't and can't; and what is more important, many parents are hopeless role models who either have no idea on how to role model relationships with themselves and their partner, and if they don't most of them are trapped in the idea of "You must not go an ask for help" - which is coupled with "And what will people think of us if this gets out - the intergenerational family shame and secrecy - the keeping up appearances".....

    It's all bullshit.

    You cannot role model what you don't know how to do.

    And if you don't know, it's your responsibility to go and find out.

    Healthy adults dole model healthy relationships and - they raise sane children who can trust their feelings - and when they kids see the crap relationships being portrayed in most of the sexual goings on on the net, they will generally ask themselves, "How does this make me feel?" and much of it "Feels really crazy - because it is really crazy".

    People who have been raised to have healthy relationships, pull away from the madness and those for whom it's all they have ever known embrace it.

    I found that this book was a good starting point.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Seriously, what?

    2. John Smith 19 Gold badge

      @Tool of Lucifer

      A worthy successor to AManFromMars ?

    3. Stephen 10

      May I make a late nomination

      For Troll of the Year!

      He's ticking all the boxes; lunacy, indefensible 'logic', impenetrable grammar and highly inventive 'speeling'... let's all get together and buy him a bridge for Christmas.

      Awesome work, made me smile with his audacity.

  29. Steve Evans


    As there are a multitude of broadband providers, if this is a feature that was high on the wish-list of customers, we would see it advertised in huge print from the likes of BT/Talktalk etc. It's called having a free market, and market forces.

    However we don't. In fact they seem to hide restrictions (caps on unlimited connections for example), which can only indicate one thing. People don't want it! What people want is a reliable high-speed connection, and HMgov have managed to do nothing about that! How about "All houses to have at least 20Mbs by 2011" for a sound bite? That would get more attention.

    Filtering smut is impossible. It would be easier if the .xxx TLD was approved but politicians don't seem to get that and object to it. Even so it will be still scattered anywhere and everywhere. Politicians love the sound bites, but know nothing about how the internet works. Neither do their advisors, or the advisors of the advisors. Jen from IT crowd springs to mind, an army of them in ill-fitting shoes! Even if they did manage to block some of it, every 12 year old boy would quickly locate it somewhere else that the men in suites and women in tight shoes had never considered (or knew existed), such as usenet, remember that? Oh yes, that's still alive, and yes, full of smut!

    HMGov should keep their noses out of people's business, and out of the money trough too whilst they're at it.

    If they want to do something useful, they should direct some of their hot air at the UK airports to defrost the planes, I'm getting a bit bored of the continually rotating snow news!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      Ah yes, USENET \o/

      That's where I get all my best junk is the greatest (and not for the faint of heart)

      1. John Smith 19 Gold badge


        Are you mad?

        The last thing you want to give a Minister is an idea.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    said it before

    If there's such a demand for this why isn't there an ISP out there catering for this supposedly vast market that's looking to be protected?

    I would suggest the reason for there not being such an ISP is because there isn't a high enough demand for the product, and where there may be demand it's tapered by the fact that Joe Average would rather get his free broadband deal and occasionally watch the hardcores when the families in bed.

  31. Andrew Norton

    all I want

    ... is for Mr Vaisy to stop thinking about my children. That's the sort of thing perverts do. Is he a pervert?

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why control content so far up the stream?

    I'm on OS X here, and there's a Parental Controls option for every account that allows you to dictate precisely what content it can access, right up to the level of locking out everything bar whitelisted sites.

    So, your child wants to visit, but can't because it's blocked: you go visit, find it's okay, and update their whitelist accordingly. Easy stuff, and not far removed from the days when our parents would determine what TV shows and books were suitable for us to consume.

    1. Dazed and Confused

      Re: Why control content so far up the stream?

      For most families the kids know more about computers than the parents.

      We, the readers of El'Reg, are in a minority where this is perhaps not always true.

      But your approach is unlikely to work against a determined young person. How do you cope with the case were they find a way to get a site you have approved to then display content of which you don't.

  33. Magh

    And will government SS use the opt-in list to target parents and steal more children?

    First, it is NOT government's responsibility or area of acceptable intervention, to occupy with what the children see or not. It is THE PARENT'S area, solely and completely. The fact that some isolated cases of irresponsible parents may result in children viewing porn DOES NOT JUSTIFY such a regulation which would influence ALL PARENTS IN GENERAL!!!!!! Undermining their non-negotiable parental rights!!!

    Second, given the fact that British SS are heavily corrupt and involved in child-stealing operations and in an underground adoption market worth $$$$$ (plus paedophile-rings suspicion), it is more than certain that the opt-in lists of ISP's would be accessed by SS workers in order to incriminate parents who opt-in, regardless if they are in a perfectly fine position to effectively exclude their own children from viewing porn.

    Third, the pretext of "child care" has gone too far and has been used too often as a bait for removal of fundamental political liberties. Enough is enough!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      At a risk of undermining my position

      I disagree. To a point.

      parents should generally be the final arbiters of what their children can or cannot be exposed to, within the structures in place through the way the children are brought up, treated and generally prepared for the big bad world.

      However, this only works when every parent is a competent and responsible interested party - surely government has the duty to define certain lines and then step in if they are crossed?

      Some people would have a problem with their 15 year old accessing hardcore [vanilla] porn, others would not. However most people would be at least uncomfortable with the idea of a parent allowing their five year old to watch some of the more robust adventures of the great Impaler, Lex, say.

      It is extremely trite to start spouting about "thinking about the children" but a trip down many a high street these days will likely show you cases of parents who are obviously not up to the parenting standard we would like. Sure it is a tiny minority, but it is a tiny minority of children we are talking about. And that is one of the things I pay my government to fix.

      I think you mistake "non-negotiable parental rights" with something that actually either exists or should exist. The only "rights" that should be addressed here - and to be fair talking about any of this in the terms of "rights" is both bombastic and insulting to those who are having real rights denied to them - is the rights of children to be children. And sometimes that means saying "no", and if you can't or won't say it when it needs to be said then you need to stand aside and let a grown-up deal with the situation.

    2. John Smith 19 Gold badge


      I'll presume you mean Social Services when you use the abbreviation SS.

      Actually a recent study by Loughborough University of families in crisis indicated that in *every* case the actual policy of the department was "Keep the family together."

      Interestingly their work also found that the only ones where this was a good idea were the parents had got their substance abuse problems (and most had them) within 6 months of the birth.

      The Peter Connolly case (where various services made about 60 visits over a 4 month period while failing to identify the female had a new partner and they were using the child as a punch bag until he was beaten to death) sort of demonstrates the whole keep-the-family-together-at-any cost ethos, when a less trusting approach might had kept the child alive.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    'Vaizey is, however, not stupid'

    Now, now, now, let's not get ahead of ourselves.

  35. Dave Bell

    "Think of the Chirldren"?

    Just what does that mean?

    There are people old enough to marry who are classed by the law as "children". They can bonk their brains out, but they can't look at pictures.

  36. Mattyod

    We really must protect the children...

    Yup, we need to protect the children from the absurd costs such a plan would incur. After all it's them that will be paying for this nonsense once they get a bit older and start work.

  37. Valerion


    When I was a lad we got our smut in magazine form. Now I'm older I just get it from the inter... sorry, I mean I don't need it any more because I'm married. So why not ban mags as well?

    I wish people would stop telling me what's best for me and my kids. I'll decide, thanks very much.

    And sort out the stupidity of the laws, i.e. you can have sex at 16 but can't look at someone else doing it until you're 18. Very much like you can join the army at 17, be given a gun and told to shoot Afghans but you can't do the same in a computer game until you're 18.

  38. A1exF

    Surprise, surpsrise

    How did the Convervatives pre-election battle cry go? Oh yeah:

    "Big society, small government".

    Tell you what Mr Vaizey, why don't you grow a pair and tell the useless, red top reading, outraged, scared of their own shadow, child mollycoddling morons who think this is a good idea, to look after their own darling precious little peoples minds, bodies and souls.

  39. yossarianuk

    Its as easy as apt-get install tor


    - how is said govt going to stop them ?

  40. Wibble

    One rule for parents, one for everyone else

    Can't we have a rule that states "Anyone with children should have filters installed". Given the importance of looking after the children (and their insufferable parents), the filters should be crowdsourced. So no mumsnet or daily mail to fuck with tiny little heads.

    What's wrong with banning children from the internet anyway? They're not allowed in pubs, so why do we have to put up with their parents whining on about the internets - ban the lot of them and leave the rest of us alone.

    1. The Fuzzy Wotnot
      Thumb Up

      Well said, Sir! Here, here!

      I have kids and I find it disgusting that I am allowed to have an internet connection with all that porn on the end of the line! My wife was obviously so stupid that she allowed herself to become pregnant, it stands to reason we cannot be trusted with something as dangerous as an internet connection!

      I want all parents, who obviously cannot be trusted to make proper decisions for themselves, to be banned from the internet until their kids leave home! Of course, the Gov have made sure that no one can afford their own home so that means kids have to wait around for Mum and Dad to kick-the-bucket and get their gaff anyway!

      I demand the Gov do my thinking for me!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        You really need to calm the fuck down.

        Read the article, and then cross reference it with [sorry El Reg[] a real news site like the BBC. You will see the story is, in a nutshell, government would like ISPs to take on some parenting and governmental roles - on the one hand just in case some parents are not doing their bit (through negligence, ignorance or wilful bastardy) and on the other cos it is cheaper for the government if someone else pays - especially if government can claim the credit.

        If you act like a fucking grown-up and take steps to protect your children on line then nothing will change - you won't be labelled a bad parent and you can still look at pictures of boobies when everyone else has gone to bed. If not then the government is trying to get ISPs to do it for you. Either way no on-line nipples and flange for your precious ones.

        However, your rallying against any internet control by the impressive use of passive-aggressive verbosity is at best misplaced and at worst completely twattish.

        I imagine you have a car - but I also imagine you don't let young children drive it to school. Likewise you probably have alcohol in the house but if you let your young'uns drink any it will be in a very controlled fashion. I am certain you have electricity in your house and you let your kiddies watch TV and have the benefits of light bit I also imagine you don't let toddlers change fuses in plugs or install additional power outlets.

        Equally so, if the internet is deemed to be a dangerous place for children (and it is difficult to argue otherwise) then surely the appropriate response is to ban children from accessing the internet until they reach a certain age? When they decided smoking was too dangerous for children they didn't mandate that all fags be harmless, and when the same was decided for alcohol they didn't make pubs booze-free - and as a clincher - when they decided that there was such a thing as "too young for sex" they didn't ban fucking across the entire age spectrum - just involving those deemed at risk.

        So, calm down, take a deep breath, maybe lighten up on the gin, think about things realistically and stop getting arsey with people who don't see why they should have to suffer just because a small subset of society might be offended because it is possible (with shite parenting) for a different subset of society to get "troubled" by what they might see when they enter an adult arena and see things they should not really be seeing at that age

  41. Mark .

    "Do it or else" *is* as bad as legislation

    Saying to the ISPs "Do it yourselves, or we'll make a law to force you" is not voluntary; it's almost the same as simply passing the law anyway. If anything it's worse - there's no room for political debate as the Government will say it's the ISP's choice, whilst the ISPs will say they were told to do it by the Government; and the list will be drawn up by a separate body accountable to no one (as with the IWF / Cleanfeed).

    You can read the relevant Commons "debate" at . Edward Vaizey: "what we are really talking about is ensuring that we can protect not only children from accessing unsuitable adult material, but adults from the extreme versions of pornography" ... "Clearly, there is material that should not be published at all."

    There are also worrying endorsements of the CJIA 2008 "extreme porn" law which (as Jane Fae Ozimek of The Register has covered well) criminalises adult porn involving consenting actors and fictional scenes, and has even been used by police for things like CGI "tiger" joke porn.

    Yes, I hope that this is little more than saying some fluff to appease pro-censorship voters, without actually doing anything. But if the ISPs do "voluntarily" introduce it out of fear of legislation (as they have already done with mobile broadband, so this is not hypothetical), then there is concern over that.

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And the ongoing tread continue....

    No one else think it all rather convenience, that in the past few months that laws in countries here and there have been trying to push through laws dealing with 'policing the internet' for whatever reasons, but the vast majority of which have appeared to of failed. Mainly down to freedom of speech etc etc.

    Then all of a sudden we get this wikileaks crap all over our screen, most of which is of very little interest to anyone!, and the really bad stuff we were already aware of, or at least had our own suspicions about.

    But now its all we can do to stop corrupt fat leech... sorry politicians, coming at us from all angles telling us that we need to 'police the internet', again for 'whatever reason' appears to be most exaggerated for there own populations, and we're now getting the easily persuded thinking that this is a good thing?

    Giving governments (regardless who's) the ability to shutdown any platform for free speech is a bad idea!

    And this is what this would be all about, anything else they say is just to panda to your own populus fears.

  43. Alexander Vollmer

    Star Trek in Danger

    What about the Borg queen and Captain Picard? Cross species eroticism? Inappropriate? Banned?

    Or does inappropriate mean that every statement of active politicians which isn't the whole truth will be filtered? Beautiful world, we will never hear again of ideas like porn lock.

    That makes this initiative inconsistently and contradictory.

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Similar Crap going on in the USA

    The reason they are screwing with our communications is they don't want us to know their crimes, treason, corruption. They want us dumb down, passive, and paying their salary. They want to know who isn't dumb down, passive and paying their salary. They don't want economic recovery, they want us dead and buried. (The Gulf Oil Disaster+depopulation = corporate profits for BP who feeds the US oil for the war - See Jessie Ventura's Conspiracy theory S02 EP7 - GULF OIL SPILL CONSPIRACY) They don't want us to know about high treason, or an intermittent constitution, they want us to pay for streaming corporate controlled news and information fluff. Crap like NFLX instead of having unfiltered access to all your ports, and the ability to dig up dirt on these criminals running both our countries as opposed to you running a rack server out of your home. I don't know what the equivalent to the US Constitution is in the UK, but the UN is not the friend of either of our countries sovereignty. This has NOTHING to do with children, porn or sex.


  45. Anonymous Coward

    Snap conclusion...fruitcake friendly?!?

    That's shill talk. Umm, they've been wanting to censor the net for years. Nanny (thinks it) knows best.

    More importantly, what does human rights law have to say about government intrusion into individuals' private (and legal) business? Oh you must have forgotten to mention that. Just like Ed Vaizey, Phorm, BT etc etc...

    Silly you. I'm sure it won't happen again. /sarcasm off.

    As for "...he would quite like ISPs to do something about it for him", is that along the lines of “Who will rid me of this meddlesome priest?” (

  46. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    XXX and filters

    Are there not means to filter stuff already? For example: schools.

    So why can't a carer/parent/minder instruct home computer to use access limitations similar to those at school? Maybe even to restrict browser only to use content that is available in school (heck! even the child's schoolwork?). Maybe even a school login?


    I think the downside of not allowing specific content providers access to XXX means that they are forced into mainstream and I am sure at least some XXX intended users (as in content/service providers) are probably only too happy to do so?

    Sad icon: after all it is the 21st century. The trouble WikiLeaks?

  47. Mark Eaton-Park
    Thumb Down

    This is a Tory Government - Follow the Money

    The Tory Government's motivations are always money, I imagine the local porn kings are a bit annoyed that the content they became rich selling is now being given away for free.

    This is not about saving the children this is about improving the market for Tory porn marketeers.

  48. Rab Sssss

    god not fitering software....

    Used to work a ISP that supplied some, chirst what a nightmare TBFH.

    From dipshit users installing it not registering it then it killing the net connection , no kids likley to ever be accessing the machine and ignoring the big important "register in a week or your connection will go down" message, to kids trying to bypass it and turning machines into paperweights.

    To many convos centerign round "yes little johhny tried to bypass the filter, no thats the only way your going to get THAT error message" to "did you not follow the instructions? ok do you have any chirlren that will access teh machine? No? then why did you install filtering software if you don't want the connection filtered? Ah it was on the disk......<slam head into desk repeatdly>...

    Man i need a drink now...

  49. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Time to get moving.

    We need to start a public campaign. Let people know exactly how badly defined, expensive and mission creep filled this will be (as well as the fact that it will even further slow our already truly pathetic infrastructure and will take someone with a modicum of skill around 10 seconds to bypass. We need regular protests outside parliament, cost them money. Let them know anyone who votes for it will lose public support. Even distribute disks with free VPN software and the IP addresses of alternate DNS servers to hopefully make the government realise it useless. Above all, remind people that censorship will not make up for crap parenting. If that doesn't work, I've been considering moving to scandinavia for a while already anyway.

  50. Damien Thorn

    impossible to block

    Mobile phone companies pre-fetch pages as standard before allowing some pages to display certain words. (And most unlock it almost immediately to do normal stuff as the filters block nearly everything)

    On broadband the system is very different, it would create chaos to implement and drag decent networks to a crawl.

    And finally its impossible to block anything on the net, a tiny encryptor and plugin for a browser would render the block ineffective (works well in china)

  51. Svantevid

    Is he serious?

    "I think it is very important that it’s the ISPs that come up with solutions to protect children."

    What, like finding responsible parents for those children?

    1. John Smith 19 Gold badge


      "Is he serious"

      In a word. Yes.

      He actually seems to believe that since most major ISP's "traffic shape" users bandwidth they should do this as well. They should either bank roll Perry's plan to age certify (You know, U, A, PG, etc) *every* web site or do it themselves.

  52. Alan Brown Silver badge

    I had to opt out......

    ..... because T-Mobile's content filters regard as pornographic.

    No, I'm not making it up!

    (And all I wanted to find was if a fixture was on, because parking around Watford is hell on game days...)

  53. P. Lee

    ISP level filtering

    Whether it's voluntary or not, it's a bad idea.

    Never ever put infrastructure in place that could be used against you.

    Fortunately, in this case, I doubt the ISPs would even attempt it. It's too much of a headache to manage. Port filtering smtp is one thing, maintaining and answering queries on a naughty-or-nice list is very different.

  54. Frumious Bandersnatch

    "This is a very serious matter," said the politician

    "Something must be done."

    "This is something, therefore we must do it..".

  55. nyelvmark

    Now, come on guys - I don't want to have to legislate.

    One can imagine the pope saying the same thing to Galileo.

  56. ph0b0s

    Parents like porn to.

    So if they manage to get over all of the technical issues and roll this thing out, who says it will have the desired effect? I would not be surprised if quite a few parents opt out since, just cause you have kids, does not mean you don't like looking at porn. You would be a bad parent if you opted out, which is dumb since isn't this system aimed at bad parents who cannot be a$$ed to learn about parental controls etc. So the parents the system is aimed at are likely not to used it, great plan....

  57. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Thumb Down

    Vaizey & Perry for dummies.

    Vaizey's had a meeting with major UK ISP's and "UK Rights Holders, " IE Big Film and Big Music. The ISP's explained how much they can filter packets by their contents, slowing down all those file sharers Big Music is so concerned about.

    He seems to have concluded "This is great. They can filter whatever *we* want them to". BTW He has stated he does not believe ISP's are viewed as "Common carriers" like telephone and postal services *despite* AFAIK this *is* their definition under EU law. "I don't believe they are dumb pipes," and by not *acting* like common carriers they have played right into his hands.

    Perry actually knows the Internet is big. She reckons 250 million web sites with about 30 million being p()rn. Her plan is that as there are c450 UK land line ISP's and 6 of them control 90% of the UK market control *them* and the websites can be certified *easily*. Just link up the age verification systems used by online gambling sites (the ones that check every registration against the UK electoral roll and the UK banking system to verify a set of valid bank account details have been entered).

    BTW the pron standard will be the Obscene Publications Act but she has not explained *who* will do the certifications.

    According to UK review show Film 2010 around 13 films a week are released in the UK each year. That's just under 700 a yr. But factor in straight to DVD films, games (do they still vet them?) it could be as much as 2000 items a year. All vetted by the British Board of Film Classification. So BBFC would only need to expand by about 125 000 to cover the WWW.

    So I guess the key question to ask anyone who thinks this is a *good* idea is "So whose going to certify these sites then?"

    Thumbs down for this nonsense but disliking politicians won't educate them.

  58. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Request part of the Internet before you can reach it?

    I don't know anything about the law, but I wonder if this is more about finding excuses to remove legislation than to add it. Currently, would an ISP have to have permission from the customer BEFORE discriminating between different hosts the customer tries to reach?

    Imagine the next step here too. When it becomes apparent that some people are circumventing the block it will be suggested that any traffic whose exact purpose can't be determined by routers it passes through (with the exception of some whitelisted ssl services like for example the major banks' online banking websites) must be dropped. That means deep packet inspection if we want to be really certain - and we can't be too careful when there are cocks flying around the 'net. That in turn means that, oh dear look at that, we'll have to very reluctantly demolish privacy laws, which of course nobody ever wanted to do. But every second we waste on quaint notions of privacy another million cocks slip through the net.

    I'm not really worried though. The idea that the Government would want ISPs to do DPI for them - and keep the huge logs they extruded of everything they've digested in the process - no matter the practical difficulties, cost, privacy violations or illegality is just plain silly.

  59. Ian B

    The exercise of power without democracy

    This is standard underhanded political practise in the UK. It's called "the rule of the threat of law". A minister declares a problem and the "hope" that industry will respond, threatening legislation if they don't. The industry then panics and implements some kind of "self regulation system" which can then be used by the State to impose whatever it wishes. The odious IWF is already an example of this in regards to the internet.

    One early example is the BBFC; set up by the early movie industry to avoid threatened state legislation, it immediately became a pawn of the government and made Britain the most censored country in the "free" world.

    Governments of both Left and Right love this mafia style "if you don't play ball something nasty might happen" system as it saves them the hassle of having to be democratic, like pass a law. It is pure political thuggery. It also allows them to claim that there is "no state censorship" because in a purely technical sense the censorship is voluntary and private sector. Try reading the Hansard debate over the 1984 Video Recordings Act for instance, full of MPs crowing about how it wasn't State censorship because the "indepedent" BBFC were doing the censoring.

    No doubt OFCOM and the IWF are rubbing their hands with glee at this, and no doubt they've lobbied hard already for it. The IWF desperately want the carte blanche power over the internet that the BBFC have over movies, and have been angling for it for years. Every website required to apply for an age rating certificate or be blocked by CleanFeed? Coming to a "free" country near you, shortly.

    1. Autonomous Cowherd

      @Ian B

      This is an interesting dynamic that I was hitherto unaware of, but an important one. Cheers!

      (Someone should probably write all the little machiavellian tricks and slight of hands of of large institutions down into some sort of 'defend your democracy - be aware' information thingie.)

  60. ScottishYorkshireMan

    Will Politicians be included?

    Thinking back to the old mantra of scandal that if it's sex it's the conservatives, if it's money it's labour and if it's something that no one really cares about then it's liberal.

    Can we have a declaration then that policians have their internet status divulged along with their earnings and expenses.

    In fact can we have it trialled for 5 years on politicians alone before the populous gets it?

  61. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    opt in for porn and...

    ...then apply for CRB clearance to work with kids. In fact, may as well treat the porn opt-in as a request to be placed on the sex-offender's register.

    Apart from that my ISP provides every subscriber with a security package, not necessarily "best of breed" but it does includes a content filtering option. I would not be happy if my choice in respect of that option were to be recorded by the ISP for possible future accidental, wikileaked or required disclosure to third parties.

    Personally I find the female form appealing - to the extent that I married one of my own (there were other considerations too...) but I understand the representations of ladies on the internet do occasionally deviate from the artistic appreciation of feminine curves. I use ODNS to put a level of content filtering/monitoring in place for the household.

  62. Winkypop Silver badge

    "Ed Vaizey, is concerned about the availability of pornography...."

    Oh, I'm sorry to hear that Ed.

    I could email you a few links!

    wink wink, say no more....

    1. John Smith 19 Gold badge


      Forget the links.

      Perhaps you could arrange to have some transferred to his PC.

      The internet can be *so* unreliable at this time of year.

  63. shaunhw

    Who really wants this ?

    It's clear by the comments here, and on the Daily Mail web site, that hardly anyone wants this.

    As for the government, they'd do well to remember that *we* are supposed to be the masters, not them, and to consider what happened to John Major after "Back to Basics".

    There could well be a censored feed made available to the ladies of "SaferMedia", and their ilk but would they pay the cost of it ? NO they think WE should pay, even though there are perfectly good solutions out there.

    My solution for my (now 17 and 19) children (when they were younger) was to install VNC on their machines, so their mother and I could randomly remotely look in to see what they were up to. If they disabled it, they would face instant disconnection. They knew too, we could look at their cache and history etc.

    We never had a problem but we were alwayts honst with them. They knew when we were looking as the VNC icon turned black on their computer.

    If you don't understand all this stuff, either learn, or keep the family compute where you can see it!

  64. Isendel Steel
    Big Brother

    I think I've mentioned this before...

    K9 webprotect does a fine job of filtering - and is the point of access rather than out in the Web...

    Big brother - because sometimes you need to be in your own network.

  65. Anonymous Coward


    "I think it is very important that it’s the ISPs that come up with solutions to protect children."

    I *know* that it is the *parents* responsibility to ensure that they come up with solutions to protect children. Maybe taking care of them perhaps, not just sitting and looking after yourselves, just a thought.

    Typical british parenting, trying to pass responsibility to someone else. Never themselves to blame!

    I would send in the social services to Vaisey's kids, his kids need parents who *actually care* for them, and don't teach them that it's someone elses fault.

  66. Lindsay T

    Wide scope

    Until yesterday, I had left the "porn filter" set on my smartphone expecting it to be of no great concern. Then I tried to access an article about Alexander McQueen, the late fashion designer, and found it was labelled as porn! Now I know he sometimes clad ladies in slightly revealing dresses but hardly pornographic. This is the problem; who decides what is unacceptable.

  67. Scorchio!!

    BBC article

  68. EUbrainwashing

    TrickiLeaks or WikiBollocks.

    If WikiLeaks were truly agents of change; exposing state crimes, openly publishing secret information, an independent platform for whistle-blowers, would there not be some tangible evidence of this in the material they release? Instead, it is clear no lasting damage has been done.

    For those who work a little harder assembling the raw material, opinions and facts, from which they draw their own reasoned conclusions, other than just entirely drawing a ready made paradigm from a compliant 'mainstream media', WikiLeaks is being broadly decried as nothing less than a sham. A propaganda operation with a clear agenda.

    There are not two but three conclusions to draw of WikiLeaks; 1. they damage 'western' security and interests, 2. they are providing an important 'check and balance' - exposing misdeeds, or 3. they have been deliberately feed information and the process of (so called) 'redaction' is a further control in the process to manage the effect of the release for optimum political effect.

    The key rafts of independent 'truth' opinion, available almost exclusively via the internet, study and consider apparent falsehoods behind; the attacks of 9/11 including subsequent events, man-made climate change and, steaming from both of these, the recognition of a drive toward an authoritarian neo-socialist global governance. WikiLeaks is no ally to these campaigns to expose these truths.

    WikiLeaks has made statements which clearly attempt to deny the veracity of such truth movements and has not ever been first to release any documents which assist either movement's case. Indeed it is now becoming evident WikiLeaks has been and continues to be fostered by some of the very elite considered to be the forces serving and behind the agendas these truth campaigns have set-out to expose.

    Aside from the immediate political agenda actually being served, by the managed release of these selected and censored documents, the wider danger is the resultant demand for a new series of international legal mechanisms to police the content of the internet.

  69. Anonymous Coward

    Ah where to start...

    Look this isn't about "protecting anyone". Its about imposing a blanket standard of morality (decided by the "great and the good") on everyone else. The ex-drugs advisory panel guy got it absolutely right when he wrote an article entitled "What if E was totally safe?" He's right too.

    The IWF paedophile stuff does enough collateral damage on a day to day basis to make it almost useless. People actually go out of their way to use dodgy proxies to get whatever the hell crap they were after from rapidstore/etc. If you ever take a look at the IWF you will find that Kafka-esque doesn't even BEGIN to cover it.

    The last govt made some "erotic" cartoons illegal, although how the hell a cartoon can be erotic is beyond me. They also made a load of other "porn" illegal to the extent that a LOT of consenting couples filming themselves are breaking the law.

    So now its "think of the children" time again?

    Fuck that and fuck the law.

    Really, when the people making the law are as clueless as the wankers we've had for the last couple of decades and the police are such useless tossers what else is there to do?

    Rule of law? Don't make me laugh.

    1. Scorchio!!

      Re: Ah where to start...

      "The last govt made some "erotic" cartoons illegal, although how the hell a cartoon can be erotic is beyond me."

      This would be thought crime I do believe. One of the Labour pet legislative tricks, denied, but there.

  70. solaries
    Big Brother

    Pron lock hearalds death of WikiLeaks ,internet

    This seems to be part of a worldwide tren with the USA right wingers calling for Assange head and I got off a Anime News Network forum about Tokyo bill 156 to censor anime for youths freedom of expressionis under attack everwhere in atempt to control information and entretainment and keep the public ignorant. As for protecting childrin that a sick joke Megan Smith was worth to state of Forida dead than alive Iheard the day she was kidnapped there was a bank robbery quest how long it toke to solve the bank hold up a matter of hours were as with the girl days or weeks that shows societies prioritetys.

  71. Mike Cardwell

    Registered porn viewers?

    I wonder how long it would take before an unencrypted copy of one of these registered porn viewer lists gets left on a usb stick on a bus.

  72. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Scorchio!!

      Re: Pedophile Cult

      "If this numbstick really wanted to protect children, the numbstick would be pushing to eliminate Christianity, and be pushing to put the cult's child-raping ringleaders in prison."

      It's not just Xtianity. A certain other religion has this problem but the congregants will not disclose, because they are a minority and afraid. Anywhere you find people organised into groups around a central ideology there will be crimes of all sorts. Sounds a tad Marxist but, just as truths are the property of no individual, organisation or other group of humans, it's not necessary to be a Marxist to know that where people cluster offences take place. How to eliminate all religions? Ironically the solution lay in the then closet Catholic Blair's hands; by education, education, education of a secular nature. Children won't believe in fairy tales if they are not spoon fed them.

      The thought of any religion prospering at Xtianity's expense would mortify me, an atheist.

  73. chrisjw37

    Flying Pig Alert

    Oh look a Flying pig !!!

    No its Ed Vaizey

  74. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    Who wants this

    Parents who' d too any Sun/Daily Heil/Grauniad/Torygraph stories on "Parents *shocked* at how easy their kids view p()rn (very easily indeed if they don't apply access control, child filters and let their kids view without supervision)

    People who want to get the deeply-concerned-but-just-too-lazy-to-do-anything-about-it vote.

    ISP's looking forward to a nice neat log of every website you have visited they can sell to advertisers.

    Any senior civil servants who fancy a relatively cheap way of watching what everyone in the UK is watching on the internet 24/7/365.

    Providers of age verification services.

    Identity thieves (especially those who've already infiltrated age verification service providers) looking for a reliable list of valid UK adults with valid bank account numbers (which is how the *proposed* age verification system is meant to work).

    The British Board of Film Classification. It's workload would grow by roughly 125 000 fold. They'll be looking at a *major* budget increase.

    Which just leave the other 99.99% of the UK population. Who either don't want it or don't know it's even being proposed.

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