back to article Health minister warns ISPs: Block suicide websites or face regulation

Telcos face being regulated by the government if they fail to block websites offering advice on suicide, the health minister Norman Lamb has warned. There are already calls for ISPs to cut off access to content that's inappropriate for children, such as pornography, by default – thus requiring smut oglers to opt in. This week …

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  1. Andraž 'ruskie' Levstik

    Can you say

    Feature creep?

    1. Ru

      Re: Can you say

      Oh, you betcha. Material safety data sheets? You'd better be keeping them under lock and key. Some sort of safety datasheet safety datasheet is in order, so that datasheets describing hazardous materials can be kept in a safe and secure location.

      Also, did you know that Wikipedia publishes LD50 values and effects of poisoning and overdosing on various colours and flavours of chemical?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Can you say

      Yeah exactly! Porn, now suicide.. where is the line drawn? Slightly off topic... Is gay porn on the ban list or is that ok? Just wondering if that meant kids wouldnt be able to kill themselves or watching m/f couples getting it on, but two blokes together is fine, dont want to upset stonewall now and the apparent "minority"....

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Can you say

      Actually, this is far more restricted in terms of print media that porn is. You can basically see anything (that's not specifically illigal) in terms of porn, however there is very strict censorship about suicide discussions and particularly details. There is an extremely strong correlation between articles in the press about suicide and its occurrence there was a cluster of teenage suicides in Wales (IIRC) last year.

      There is also a very high occurrence of teenagers killing themselves having visited sites on the web about how to do it, where they can get support for the idea that they may want to kill themselves, rather than being told to seek help from friends, family or doctors.

      I would far rather this was censored than porn, if there was a choice.

      1. Ru

        Re: Can you say

        "I would far rather this was censored than porn, if there was a choice"

        The underlying issue, to my mind, is that there's no clear dividing line between discussions of suicide, and the rather broader subject of "material likely to hard the moral and physical health of the youth of the nation", or whatever the current PRC-speak describing their censorship policies is.

        There's also the related issue of euthanasia and all the moral and ethical cans of worms that entails. I appreciate your underlying point, but it isn't at all clear that our legislature can avoid Thoughts About Children and the resultant need to Be Seen To Be Doing Something; not a good match with recent tendencies to draft ill-defined and overly inclusive bits of law that are easily abused.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Can you say

      Living in big brother UK is enough to want to make you top yourself.

  2. b0llchit
    WTF?

    Guidance

    How to kill yourself:

    - perform a lethal action(*)

    So, I guess that TheReg now will be on the banlist? Surely they deserve to be punished for allowing advice on suicide.

    (*) Anything that will stop your significant body parts from functioning, using sufficient mechanical or chemical power will suffice.

    1. Wize

      Re: Guidance

      Anything on assisted suicides will probably be blocked too. Anyone campaigning for the right to end their own life in the UK will now be hidden.

      So, the list is porn and suicide.

      I expect they will add:

      guns

      bikini photos

      bomb making

      photos of high heels

      free speech

      bananas

    2. Keep Refrigerated
      Boffin

      Re: Guidance

      Actually - not speaking from experience - but it's incredibly difficult to commit suicide, at least, successfully that it ends in death.

      Statistically you are more likely to screw something up and survive with very severe, debilitating, repercussions i.e. by not swallowing enough pills/poison/chemicals; not swallowing the right concoction of pills/poison/chemicals; not managing to cut off enough air support; not managing to damage the right organ(s) or break the right bones...

      Basically, the human body is such a resilient thing - it wants to survive even if the owner doesn't.

      The danger here is that by cutting off discussion of suicide, the UK government may^H^H^H will also end up blocking websites that offer impartial, expert advice - and after receiving that advice may end up changing their mind - reading what I've read I can't see why anyone would try to risk it!

      http://lostallhope.com/suicide-statistics

      1. Voland's right hand Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: Guidance

        As someone who has studied toxicology properly (as a part of a Chemistry MSc degree) I am going to disagree.

        Past a certain education level in Chemistry, Biology or Pharmacology (~ 2-3rd year in uni) you learn enough to terminate anyone you like with ease - including yourself. So if we go down this route we should also ban access to most Biochemistry, Organic Chemistry and Microbiology sites while we are at it. After all they contain dangerous material ya know. Actually we should ban studying those subjects and replace them with Politology and MBAs.

        Though that will not be original. Previous government already tried that including restraining orders on subject so they do not attend chemistry courses (I remember writing a request for Q in the commons to my MP on that one).

      2. Gordon Stewart
        FAIL

        Re: Guidance

        I don't think it's difficult at all. I think the real reason for most suicide 'failures' is that they never realy intended to kill themselves in the first place; just a 'cry for help' or an attempt to get attention.

  3. Evil Weevil

    As "ruskie" (the poster above) says.....

    ...this was bound to happen.

    So shall we have an office pool sweep stake on which websites will be on the ban hammer list for the sake of the children.

    1. Circadian
      Facepalm

      Re: As "ruskie" (the poster above) says.....

      And just how would you find out which sites are on the banned list, without being one of the "insiders" making the decisions? I suppose you could only know if you happened to know of the existence of the site beforehand - in which case, you will soon be contacted by the Department of Love for re-education.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: As "ruskie" (the poster above) says.....

        Well, for a start, how do you think these sites will be blocked? Are the "insiders making the decisions" going to do it personally? No, they'll outsource it to ISPs. At which point, that list will leak, if it hasn't before.

  4. GrumpyJoe
    WTF?

    Didn't we all see this coming?

    Next, it's websites for political parties that have a hate agenda, then maybe those nasty trade unions who stir up dissent and cause national strikes, then pressure groups who don't have the same agenda as us...

    It's not as if people haven't been killing themselves for thousands of years - I can't imagine that 'jump off a high spot' is going to be difficult to fathom out without a diagram and a Youtube video.

    Fight the CAUSE of suicide (depression - why are they depressed?) not the symptoms (people killing themselves). But we know the goverment often confuses cause and symptom eh?

    Depressing me now - better get some HowTo guides quickly before they disappear off the net.

  5. BristolBachelor Gold badge
    FAIL

    Government "help"

    " This week, the government has launched a campaign in England to help prevent people from committing suicide"

    You might think that this would include easy access to mental halthcare professionls, councelors, etc. but no, all it needs is threats to ISPs. That will help those at their wits end.

    1. AndrueC Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Government "help"

      Fixing the economy might be a good starting point as well.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Government "help"

        You have a great point, access to mental health care is ridiculus in this Country and I have first hand proof.

        Case I was having a big problem with a reoccurance of my childhood OCD problem*. My particular problem, which I myself identified, was getting to the point where I was being irrational about everyday tasks. Talking to friends and family is not always and option as my paticular problem could not be resolved by them, yes they were aware. I needed to see someone trained in the proffession, so I went to my doctor to arrange to see someone (I had no idea who to go through for it). 8 weeks, yes you read that right 8 weeks later I got to see someone.

        By this time I had largely sorted myself out and the session was mostly used to confirm what I had gone through in my own head. Now luckily for me my particular problem includes an irrational fear of death so I would never have hurt myself even if the thoughts were there at tmes. But if I was someone that was thinking of doing something and the inclination to so so and had also sought help, well 8 weeks is a long time to wait.

        Basically, you should be able to access these services as you would a doctor but because they are not needed so much then they are an afterthought. This is my story just to prove the percon above is right about access. Stop using these silly big brother methods that helps no one!

        * it never really went away but it is something that I can easily push aside - usually - as I am aware of what it is and the rationale

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Government "help"

          My doctor, on discussing the depressing thoughs I had, handed me a Samaritans card and told me the NHS was just too overloaded to have Mental health professionals available for me.

        2. C Ridley
          Headmaster

          Re: Government "help"

          If you were OC about spelling then I'd say you're definitely cured now.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bit of a pity...

    ... to see the reg also copying the wilful reversal snuck into the censorship debate.

    Having to ask to not be censored is not "opting in", thank you.

    1. Greg J Preece

      Re: Bit of a pity...

      Having to ask to not be censored is not "opting in", thank you.

      Seriously, you're going to have to explain that one. Not even being sarcastic (for once).

      "Please don't censor me" != "Please allow me to see the censored content" ?

      1. Graham Marsden

        @Greg J Preece - Re: Bit of a pity...

        The point is that the "opt in" should be "please censor me".

        1. Greg J Preece

          Re: @Greg J Preece - Bit of a pity...

          Aaaah, I see where you're coming from now. My apologies, I got the wrong end of that particular stick. I blame Mondays.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            N'mind that.

            I realised I worded that part the wrong way around, but didn't think it worth the hassle to retract and write again. Apologies for confusing you. Then again, who cares what's behind the black bar, anyway?

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oh damn, I was going to kill myself but I can't find a website telling me how. Are they for real?

    1. JimC

      It seems you can't apply common sense to Suicide decisions...

      You only have to consider that since there was a maximum purchase introduced for paracetamol, the number of overdoses involving it has dropped significantly.

      When the legislation was introduced I was saying something like, "so what: if people what to top themelves the'll just buy a packet from 4 different shops instead, so why should I be prevented from buying a large bottle at home so I only have to buy the stuff once a year"

      However it seems I was quite wrong: it seems that if you make it inconvenient for people to commit suicide then a significant number just won't bother. So it seems entirely logical that if you make it difficult to find out how to kill yourself quickly reliably and painlessly, then you actually will save a significant number of lives.

      Strange, but, it seems, true.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: It seems you can't apply common sense to Suicide decisions...

        But offing yourself with OTC painkillers isn't, strangely enough, quick and painless.

      2. Jedit
        Headmaster

        "Strange, but, it seems, true."

        And entirely misleading. As you say, the paracetamol purchase limit didn't stop premeditated suicides from shopping around, so the suicides it did prevent would be those committed on impulse with the easiest tool to hand. No doubt a few potential suicides did back out because they didn't like the thought of cutting themselves or whatever, but most of the people who would have committed suicide by overdose just went and killed themselves by another means.

        On top of which, paracetamol overdoses are nowhere near as reliable as you think, and a lot of such overdoses are not serious suicide attempts. I can only speculate how many mentally disturbed people have died as a result of the purchase limit forcing them to try more lethal methods.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: It seems you can't apply common sense to Suicide decisions...

        JimC: A few points spring to my mind.

        Firstly, someone I knew both as a child and and adult sadly committed suicide a number of years ago. I recall conversations with this individual shortly prior to her killing herself. I will avoid the details here but, because of these conversations, I am firmly of the opinion that, no matter what restrictions are in place, any individuals who are truly intent on killing themselves will do so regardless. Restrictions on purchasing OTC drugs and suicide (assistance) web sites, in my opinion, will do little* or nothing.

        Secondly - just a few moments ago - I was watching a news article where it was stated that middle aged men are the demographic most likely to commit suicide - not teenagers or children.

        Thirdly, tragic events happen in real life. Sometimes such events lead to a 'knee jerk' political reaction, As sad and as tragic as these events are, such 'knee jerk' reactions are, for the most part, nothing more.

        As someone who has unfortunately witnessed first hand the impact of mental instability and suicide, howsoever caused, I for one believe that the time, effort and money being spent on ideas such as that under discussion in the article would be much better spent by providing new (or improving existing) mental health outreach programmes.

        Mental health problems are a bigger issue within society than many care to realise. A serious problem requires a serious solution. Blocking access to 'suicide sites' is a no way, shape or form, a serious solution.

        Politicians need to wake up and stop thinking that placing blocks or restrictions on or to online content are a magic bullet. It is not, nor will it ever be such.

        * Yes, little would be better than nothing. But I am convinced the money spent on such 'initiatives' as 'opt-in' to view this type of content are a distraction to the root causes. The money would, based on my life experienc(es) be better spent in other ways.

        1. Graham Marsden

          @Mike Hock - Re: It seems you can't apply common sense to Suicide decisions...

          "little would be better than nothing"

          Except that's often not the case because that's the argument used by politicians et al for the "Precautionary Principle", ie "well we don't *know* that this will do any good, but let's introduce this measure *anyway* just to be on the safe side".

          The fact that said measure will probably infringe on the liberties and rights of many others never seems to concern them so much :-(

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: @Mike Hock - It seems you can't apply common sense to Suicide decisions...

            I agree with what you say Graham, entirely. It's a good footnote to add to my post.

  8. adam payne

    I don't think blocking suicide websites is really going to cut the number of suicides.

    I guess it'll be a standard DNS block anyway.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Actually...

      There is pretty good academic research to say that it does.

      1. Circadian
        FAIL

        Re: Actually...

        ...and we are supposed to trust the word of an Anonymous Coward without any links to any such research.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Actually...

          I don't have links to research, I have spoken to a healthcare professional - involved in the field - who I know on the subject and he assures me that it is the case. But that's what these debates are all like on the Reg, you side with the person who you think supports your view, regardless of any knowledge of the subject.

          All I can say is: Go and look at the press compaints web site, there are a lot of suicide specific complaints, it's very strictly managed what can and can't be said about suicides because there is proven links to copycat behavior and clustering when details of suicide are published, particularly on front-page articles.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Actually...

            "I don't have links to research, I have spoken to a healthcare professional - involved in the field - who I know on the subject and he assures me that it is the case. But that's what these debates are all like on the Reg, you side with the person who you think supports your view, regardless of any knowledge of the subject."

            There are always two sides to every coin, hence debate and argument. For every argument here there is likely to be a counter argument. Will blocking access to such sites reduce the number of suicides? I can't say with any degree of absolute mathematical certainty, and I don't believe that is possible for anyone else to either. When it comes to suicide I would suggest that there are 3 types of individual. (1) Those who suggest suicide as a way of seeking attention. (2) Those who are (seriously) contemplating suicide. (3) Those who have committed suicide. How one includes 2 of these 3 these types of individual into any statistical correlation could be problematic and lead to false positives, or indeed, false negatives.

            "All I can say is: Go and look at the press compaints web site, there are a lot of suicide specific complaints, it's very strictly managed what can and can't be said about suicides because there is proven links to copycat behavior and clustering when details of suicide are published, particularly on front-page articles."

            Press complaints do not imo have any statistical bearing here. Additionally, an individual who has committed suicide may indeed have looked at suicide assistance sites, but that in itself does not prove absolutely that such sites were instrumental in their suicide* and to draw such a conclusion may be viewed a safe approach, but that does not necessarily make it the right one.

            Clustering is to be expected. It is not unusual behaviour - it is commonplace in most every aspect of online life.

            Much more unbiased research is needed. Either way, the money wasted here could be better spent elsewhere. Individual support is paramount in these circumstances and this is not support. IMO, of course.

            *There is an AC post above that in fact illustrates the exact opposite, in a single instance.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Actually...

              *There is an AC post above that in fact illustrates the exact opposite, in a single instance.

              Sorry, I mean below - page 2 at time of posting :)

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: proven links to copycat behavior and clustering

            Proven how, exactly? Did kids kill themselves because they saw it in the paper, or because they were having similar problems quite independently? Did they all do it in a fortnight, when it might otherwise have been a few weeks later before they went over the edge? Did they choose a method they knew worked (it was in the paper) when they might otherwise have tried something else less (or more) effective? Nobody is doing double blind tests, and there are just too many variables to know. But apparently something must be done ...

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: proven links to copycat behavior and clustering

              The point I was making is that newspapers and magazines are not allowed to publish details of suicide, other than it happened, because of the proven clustering of copycat events if they do. If you look at the PCA web site, you'll see how seriously this is taken.

      2. Archimedes_Circle
        Boffin

        Re: Actually...

        Look up social proof and the woether effect (aka copycat suicide). I'm not advocating censorship, but there is a huge correlation between media coverage and suicide rate upticks. In the context of social proof, people identify with other people and are then more likely to copy their behaviour (no shit right?). Anyway, what group is more likely to be identified with than the PR managed image of celebrities, who are designed to resonate with target demos. One offs themselves and a huge chain of fans follow. This deserves better, but I'm typing on a phone, so I'll call it an end. Again, not calling for censorship, but a little less media sensationalism.

  9. boltar Silver badge
    Facepalm

    More moronic think-of-the-children legislation

    I mean no teenage thinking about doing themselves in would ever think of jumping in front of a train or in front of a bridge without help.

    Or , on the other hand, perhaps some of these websites allow them to discuss issues with each other that they can't talk about with other people. Who gets to decide which sort of site it is? Some clueless civil service wonk who probably last used a computer in 1985 when his secretary was off sick?

    1. Dan 63

      Re: "... or in front of a bridge ..."

      So which part of a bridge is the front?

      1. richard 7

        Re: "... or in front of a bridge ..."

        I was thinking more on the line of 'They move?!' Come on, hard stats, how many people are mowed down by bridges each year and why isnt anything being done to stop this outrage!?

  10. Matt Williams
    Unhappy

    Every day

    Every day people in power come up with new reasons to introduce web censorship.

    I suppose it has been decided that the huge range of legal powers already available to UK police have been deemed insufficient to counter this threat.

    They're just trying to make use of a VPN compulsory.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Every day

      "They're just trying to make use of a VPN compulsory."

      Ah, but when does this madness stop and here does this path lead? Proxies illegal? Anonymisers illegal? Tor illegal? Authorised VPNs only? Compulsory filing of public/private encryption keys before use?

      It's a big slippery slope greased by the Westminster fuckwits at large.

  11. John70

    18+

    Won't be long before you have to be over 18 to use the Internet and must hold a valid Internet License.

    1. A J Stiles

      Re: 18+

      Well, that would actually be a good idea.

      If you had to be over 18 to use the Internet, then there would be no perceived requirement for it to be family-friendly.

      1. boltar Silver badge
        FAIL

        Re: 18+

        "If you had to be over 18 to use the Internet, then there would be no perceived requirement for it to be family-friendly."

        Sorry , why should the internet have to be "family friendly" anyway? Thats a bit like saying roads or the post office should be family friendly. Its a service used by all, not just bloody kids. Its up to the parents to make sure the children don't visit inappropriate sites, not blanket censorship by government. And before anyone comes out with the usual blah blah of how can we monitor our kids - simple , you can't be arsed to monitor them , then don't by them a friggin computer or smartphone. Don't blame society for your own lazyness, inadequacies or inability to say "no , you're not having that".

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @ Boltar

          Sir, I agree with everything you said, but you should learn to spell simple words properly like "buy" and "laziness".

          It would probably be really easy to just switch on the spelling checker that is built into your browser.

          1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

            1. Long John

              Re: @ Boltar

              rat's

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: @ Boltar

              @Boltar - You do know that telling people to "fuck off and die" is really not very nice don't you? Before you write something on the Internet, maybe you should think if you'd say it to their face. Then really think if you'd say it to their face, in actual reality.

              1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

              2. boltar Silver badge

                Re: @ Boltar

                "@Boltar - You do know that telling people to "fuck off and die" is really not very nice don't you? "

                Oh boo hoo, sob sniffle.

                This is an internet forum, not nursery school. Just thought you should know...

            3. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: @ Boltar

              "Typo trolls like you should learn that *illiterate morons* don't actually give a rat's arse about minor spelling mistakes."

              There - FTFY.

              Which is why human collaboration is going down the pan. Nobody can understand each other any more as standard protocols are not being adhered to. God help us if there's another war.

              Besides which, typos are fine and easily overlooked. Being deliberately ignorant of the correct way to communicate, such as you are, is worthy of stiff vituperation. Oh sorry, you probably don't know what that means.

              I think we would all be better off if in fact you were to FOAD. Or as a slightly less drastic measure, maybe you should try reading some books?

              1. boltar Silver badge
                Headmaster

                Re: @ Boltar

                "Which is why human collaboration is going down the pan."

                Says Mr Anonymous Coward.

                "God help us if there's another war."

                Certainly for you since I doubt your russian or chinese spelling abilities are as good as you think your english ones are, so any waspish verbal defence you may have mounted against the enemies propaganda has gone straight out the window. You'd just have to make do with muttering about their accents.

                "maybe you should try reading some books?"

                Yes, perhaps I should read some more psychology books that talk about people who have nothing to add to an argument so pick up on unrelated trivia (eg spelling) instead because their narcisistic oversized egos make them desperate to make a point, any point.

                PS: I spelt narcissistic wrong just for you so you can have your final moment of glory. Enjoy.

        2. This post has been deleted by its author

        3. John H Woods Silver badge

          Re: 18+

          As a parent, I absolutely endorse your statement: my kids, my responsibility.

  12. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

    Sir

    There is an argument to be made about preventing people who are feeling depressed and vulnerable going to websites where there will be other people who encourage them off the cliff, or under the bus.

    In my eyes that actually is a serious issue. Sometime people need help, not encouragement.

    That said, this isn't the way to do it. Education is the best solution to this, and tell me again how much these wankers are spending on pubilc health education again? Don't they know some people are allergic to peanuts and can DIE!

    1. andreas koch
      Megaphone

      @Sir Runcible Spoon - Re: Sir

      Ban Peanut-product-related websites!

  13. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    This is easy to fix

    Just stop being such a shit government and ruining peoples' lives and the desire for suicide will decrease.

  14. andreas koch
    Unhappy

    This is how the wedge goes in:

    Spying on communication allowed (even for indifferent offences, when the your local council decides to check if you're bragging on facebook about how you dropped a pizza box into the wrong bin), Indecent porn censored (laudable, no doubt; but the people who decide what is indecent porn have a few weird ideas. Actors who might not look over 25? Flat chested actresses? [allegedly banned in Australia, can someone confirm?] Drawings and paintings that could have an erotic nature in someone's mind and display 'aberrant practices'? ). Downloading stuff. Yep, stuff: it's obviously OK to bulk-spy on people to catch the odd not-for-profit-pirate (ignoring the traders in counterfeit goods on Blackbushe market, coughcough), because the invasion of privacy will only be revealed if something is found sooner or later. . . .

    Now think of the children, they are so frustrated with their GCSE results (mainly because the teachers are too frustrated by their limited authority to teach the slightly lazier ones) that they hang themselves in the park. They must have got that idea from the web (inherently evil) as well. Let's ban websites that might be related.

    Next week: Herpes spread by bird poo: Government decides to ban websites of pigeon breeders.

    ...and so on. If that goes on like this, the internet will be broken for most people within the next 10 years.

    1. Steve Brooks

      Re: This is how the wedge goes in:

      " Flat chested actresses? [allegedly banned in Australia, can someone confirm?]" Technically not flat chested no, that was used as an example of what could constitute CP. The actual meaning is, if the actress looks as if she might be under the age of 18, for example if she has very small breasts. You could have an 80 year old with very small breasts, she would be fine, but a 19 year old, even if she held her ID up beside her very small breasts, could be used as the basis for a CP charge.

      1. andreas koch
        Joke

        Re: This is how the wedge goes in:

        Is 19 y/o with very small breasts allowed?

        No offence, but she doesn't look hot to me anyway.

        But I'm sure that some government lackey will have that filtered.

  15. Lockwood

    You see, before the internet, noone knew about railway bridges. Or poisons. Or rope.

    It's all the internet, I tells you!

  16. Scott Broukell

    Is it just me

    Or is this just a consequence of Governments who want dumbed down masses, who can't really think for themselves, or be bothered to use their vote etc, yet find themselves in the position of having to play nanny more and more to the same masses. I think they have put the blinkers, cart and horse not only in the wrong order but in the wrong field again. Banning all this stuff is like trying to un-invent gun powder. Pornography has been around for ages and ages before the advent of the inter-webs along with abuse of all kinds and the worst kinds of human behaviour imaginable. Pulling the plug on the internet isn't going to magic it all away. If coming across this sort of material whilst browsing the webs causes peeps to become unstable, suicidal, sex freaks then the problem might have more to do with the level of educational achievement those folk were able to attain in their lives. The web is a mirror to most of human society, reflecting what has been there all along. The vast majority of which is fine and wholesome, with some cranks thrown in. A minority of it is utterly appalling - live with it! It isn't going to go away because you put your hands over your eyes, learn to ignore it if you wish but don't imagine you can actually stop those who want to access it getting there in the end. I am aware bull fighting exists, think it is barbaric, and have never felt inclined towards seeking bull fighting material on the web for that reason. I was able to do that all by myself, wow!

  17. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Thus we see the innate contradiction in the Tories: on the same day they are promising to slash bureaucracy and needless "'elf and safety" they are threatening to introduce more red tape. Well which is it: are you pro-liberty or pro-control? Or could you manage a more nuanced debate about good regulation verses bad regulation?

    (It's okay, I realise the minister is just attempting to be seen to be "doing something". I know we can't afford to do the things that actually need to be done. I just wish the minister would have the cajones to admit it.)

    1. Graham Dawson Silver badge

      The uh, minister in question is a Lib Dem.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Counter productive?

    As the title says. Posting AC as I was right at the bottom of a depression spiral a few years ago, and was actually researching suicide methods with intent. Virtually every one I came across gave the potential downside (apart from death ofc!) of each method.

    Jumping off a bridge or in front of a train? Good chance you'll only be permanently crippled rather than killed.

    Pills? Actually quite hard to do especially in the UK where barbiturates are more carefully controlled than places like the US. Most of the available drugs you'd have to take so much that you'd vomit them up before taking enough, and chances are you'd end up with permanent orgain problems.

    I could continue, but the end result of my research was that it would be damned hard to be 100% sure of killing myself rather than leaving myself alive but much worse off!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Counter productive?

      But you are only a one-off, and I'm glad you're still around, but: There are lots of reports (father in law is a pathologist) of people killing themselves having carried out lots of research on these sites. Rather more worryingly there are some sites which actively encourage people.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: lots of reports

        But who would get the reports when people look at suicide sites and then decide not to do it? This is perhaps a slightly unfair example, but consider how most serial killers are found to have consumed violent media of one sort or another, and people look at that and try to say this proves a connection, ignoring the people who watch/read/play it without any problems.

        I admit the case for a suicide advice - suicide connection is quite a bit more plausible, but there's still a sampling bias here. For the record, I too have looked at suicide advice sites and have never attempted suicide.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: lots of reports

          However, if people don't kill themselves after they've looked at these sites, they're still alive whereas people killing themselves is really rather final and would seem to need more attention paid to it.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Counter productive?

      On two occasions last week there was a "person under a train" [or some other diplomatic phrase used].

      I think what you are saying is, if the facts are published, it might prevent suicides ?

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Reliability

      I would imagine that if you jumped off something more than 4 storeys high and landed on a hard surface, that would be a reasonably guaranteed method of success.

  19. Mondo the Magnificent
    Coat

    ALT+F4

    Suicide by keystroke?

    Enough said...

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's really rather simple. Who is the ISP for the house of commons? Anyone work there?

    Get them to ban everything, problem solved.

  21. Detective Emil
    Thumb Down

    The "think of the children" card is even more overplayed here than in previous nannyism. The Department of Health's own recently-published statistics show that both under-15 and 15-19 age groups have a considerably lower suicide rate than any other age range. While any suicide is sad, recent successes in cutting the number of young male suicides mean that the age range that needs to be targeted is us middle-aged blokes. I have my doubts that web site blocking will help.

    See http://www.dh.gov.uk/health/files/2012/09/Statistical-update-on-suicide.pdf for chapter and verse.

    1. Matt Williams
      Thumb Up

      That PDF made me want to kill myself by hanging, strangulation or suffocation.

  22. Anonymous John

    Beachy Head.

    Are sites that mention it going to be blocked?

    1. hamcheeseandonion
      Mushroom

      Re: Beachy Head.

      ...and followed shortly thereafter by sites with any mention of Sir Isaac Newton, for noticing gravity...still the only 5* recommended method for those who have the serious intent of meeting oblivion up close and personal.

      can you say "terrminal velocity"?

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Whitehall has also allocated £1.5m for new research into suicide prevention.....

    Ooo lets try this for starters.

    Stop the cuts to mental health services,

    stop the cuts to youth services

    stop the cuts to social services

    stop the cuts the voluntary sector (donations)

    improve prospects for teenagers.

    There just saved £1.5 million and now no longer need to block the websites.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Whitehall has also allocated £1.5m for new research into suicide prevention.....

      Well done, you saved £1.5M by spending several hundred million in public services that the country can't afford. The middle earners are going to be the ones topping themselves if the government doesn't get public sector spending under control.

      1. Growly Snuffle Bunny
        Unhappy

        Re: Whitehall has also allocated £1.5m for new research into suicide prevention.....

        We can't afford "several hundred million" to help the vulnerable members of our society, and yet we can spend 40+ billion a year on 'defense', most of which ends up in offshore tax avoidance schemes? We have dozens of ultra hi-tech aircraft with nowhere to go, billion-pound ships with peashooters, a dozen officers for every grunt on the ground..

        We could build a bloody big wall around the UK for that sort of money, and the next year start looking after those that need it.

        And then we get to the government schemes that really piss our money away..

        Our country is trully shagged, and will continue to be so until our priorities realign with the people not the companies who employ our retired or fired politicians.

        1. John H Woods Silver badge

          Re: Whitehall has also allocated £1.5m for new research into suicide prevention.....

          "Our country is trully shagged, and will continue to be so until our priorities realign with the people not the companies who employ our retired or fired politicians."

          THIS

    2. Greg J Preece

      Re: Whitehall has also allocated £1.5m for new research into suicide prevention.....

      FUCK ME YOU'RE A GENIUS!

      Just like that, eh? Wow, if only they had thought to "improve prospects for teenagers." It's just so clear and simple! Why can't we get something that brainless implemented TODAY?

      Oh, right, your post is nothing but pisswaffle. Also, our government is big enough, thanks.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Whitehall has also allocated £1.5m for new research into suicide prevention.....

        Wow, if only they had thought to "improve prospects for teenagers."

        You mean like not cutting subsidies for post school education and raising university fees.

        There are two for starters.

        Lets not forget getting rid of youth services, which WILL lead to more antisocial behaviour (when we opened our volunteer led youth club ASB fell by 85% and that fact is from the Police), which in turn leads to more criminal records, which in turn leads to lower job prospects, which leads to more crime...see where this is heading?

        We spend billions clearing up the mess from crime, poverty, poor health, poor morale, yet comparably fuck all in prevention (well except shitty TV ad's).

        A person locked up for 12 months would pay for several people to go to Uni, but guess which one fits the expenditure to result line chart better.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Whitehall has also allocated £1.5m for new research into suicide prevention.....

      or we could just stop teaching them in school that everything they think, feel and do is an accident of the universe, rather like that rock formation at the bottom of the cliff.

      Even if you think that's true, what purpose does it serve in a school environment? Does it make you better at any of your subjects? Does it improve your memory or critical thinking techniques? Does the lack of it make you a worse doctor, mathematician, engineer or steelworker?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Whitehall has also allocated £1.5m for new research into suicide prevention.....

        or we could just stop teaching them in school that everything they think, feel and do is an accident of the universe, rather like that rock formation at the bottom of the cliff.

        Yeah howabout we teach them that they were created by an omniprescent being who loves all his children. That way when they feel their life is shit, they'll feel all the more betrayed because He seems to have forsaken them. Great move!

        And what purpose does that serve in a school environment? Does it make them any better at subjects? Improve memory... you get the idea.

        The point in teaching it in school is exactly the same reason the kids have to sit through RE, to give them a broad-range of education. If they choose to believe that we were created by some sky-fairy, that's their choice. If they decide that it seems implausible, that's their choice. Can't really see that teaching them the history of the universe contributes to suicide rates any more than teaching them that humans can be really nasty sometimes (studies of wars etc) does.

  24. IT Hack
    Pint

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WwylBRucU7w

    Pint in case these utter morons decide to ban breweries because well...drunks are soooo unseemly.

  25. Khaptain Silver badge
    FAIL

    How to verify ?

    How will the ISPs differentiate between websites that promote commiting Suicide and those that promote avoiding suicide ?

    It's two opposite sides of a coin but you can be sure that they both contain almost all of the same words, themes.

  26. Leona A
    Angel

    welcome to

    the nanny state!

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Dear Politicians....

    ...the job of the ISP is to provide access to the "internet" in return for financial renumeration. The ISPs job is not to decide what I can, or cannot, view on the aforementioned "internet". So, with that in mind, please kindly f**k off.

    Love and kisses,

    Everybody with an interent connection and at least half a briancell.

    1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Dear Politicians....

      "briancell" ... "Free Brian!!"

      Sorry ...

  28. Uncle Slacky Silver badge
    Stop

    Will this apply to Usenet too?

    I think alt.suicide.holiday is still around...

    1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

      Re: Will this apply to Usenet too?

      Usenet isn't the www, therefore it isn't the internet. QED.

  29. This post has been deleted by its author

  30. RonWheeler

    Joined-up thinking

    No smut sites = depressed = suicidal

  31. vulcan

    I always thought it was the responsiblilty of parents to keep their offsprings safe, seems that's an old fashioned veiw!

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    Oh Man...

    Had to do a major reality check! For a moment I thought I was back in China.

  33. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

    So, it's proven again?

    Anything seen on the internets forces people to do it in real life?

    So if all political websites on the internets will be blocked no one will ever want to become a politician?

    I'm all pro-censorship now!

  34. Chad H.

    Ultimately

    What we're looking at here is the government threatening to place a prohibition on information on how to perform a legal action - it is not illegal to kill yourself.

    I'm not saying people should do it, and those contemplating it should get a completely different style of help, but where the heck does this end? What other legal actions do we prevent people finding information on because we find it a bit squeamish?

    1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

      Re: Ultimately

      What we are really looking at is government exploiting issues having high emotional impact (suicide, child abuse) and the tool to ramrod widespread deployment of Internet filtering infrastructure.

      Once that is in place, they will forget about children or depressed people and will be busy blocking anything that is making them uncomfortable at any particular moment. They will no longer need to issue "public consultation" and some such nonsense. Using "national security" as the pretext, the blacklists will be secret and ISPs will not be even allowed to talk about what they are blocking.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Ultimately

      I'm sure many others will have have already said the same by the time I finish my post, but it IS illegal to kill yourself - at least in the UK. Have you not seen the news about near-vegetables with zero quality of life desperately fighting for the 'right to die'?

      My stance is that the websites shouldn't be blocked. Those that look into suicide online risk missing out on offers of help or counseling and even the hard truths of how the 'traditional' methods run the risk of leaving you alive in a ruined shell of a body. Those who research the subject extensively online have likely already made their mind up to go for it. Speaking as someone who has 'looked into it'* at a low ebb, sitting at the computer reading about it is very important because it means you're not sitting in the bath with pills or a razor. Half an hour thinking can often be all that's needed to calm down and decide to get through another day.

      *Several years back, I'm much better now. FYI I found sweet FA about doing the deed because the searches were clogged with forums for people who wanted to talk - forums the government are putting at risk. That buffer gave me the time I needed to come to my senses. all this is personal experience, your mileage may vary.

      AC for obvious reasons.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Illegal? No.

        I thought similarly to you, but I checked, and actually this is not the case in either the UK or the US.

        The specific act of suicide is NOT an offence where it affects only the deceased person.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legal_views_of_suicide

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Illegal? No.

          The reason for that is obvious, surely?

      2. Vic

        Re: Ultimately

        > it IS illegal to kill yourself - at least in the UK

        It isn't. Hasn't been for decades.

        > Have you not seen the news about near-vegetables with zero quality of life desperately fighting for the 'right to die'?

        They are fighting for the right for someone else to help end their life, as they are no longer capable. Proponents of such an act call it "assisted suicide", opponents call it "murder". And therein lies the problem; it's very, very difficult to enable the former without accidentally enabling the latter.

        I'm not sure the UK courts have actually got it right; that bloke a couple of weeks ago would not seem to be an on-the-line case...

        Vic.

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I wrote to my MP outlining why it's a ridiculous piece for the government to be cocking about with

    (I even persisted in the consultation piece even though it was a disaster)

    I got a 'won't someone think of the children' reply, seems to be the common response in all things from this government, how could anyone possibly not want to protect children from nasty things.

    In other news I saw a report about a parent having to skip meals just so they could put a bowl of soup in front of their child due to cost of living overtaking salaries

    Won't someone think of the children

    Fucking government is the shits

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Hmm...

      Can you tell me what's bad about "thinking of the children?"

      They're children, by definition not able to act as an adult, therefore by definition not always able to act in their own interests, this does mean that people/society has to think of the children because they can't always.

      I realise that think of the children is used as a shorthand for going too far in the course of thinking of the children, but it strikes me that a lot of commentors here have forgotten that and take a knee jerk reaction of "fuck the children".

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Hmm...

        lot of commentors here have forgotten that and take a knee jerk reaction of "fuck the children".

        I though we were taking measures to stop that from happening?

        Yeah, sorry, I know, tasteless.

  36. tkioz
    Facepalm

    the dangerous and disturbing online content which, without proper controls, our children can access almost at any time

    You know what the ultimate in proper controls to protect children from dangerous online content is? PARENTAL SUPERVISION. The Internet isn't a playground, it isn't a babysitter, it's a mirror of humanity, showing everything great and everything truly disgusting about us, of course you shouldn't let your kids wonder around it...

    Take responsibility for your spawn, and stop making the rest of the world suffer because you needed to breed.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Really?

      I take it you're not actually a parent, then? You can't supervise children all the time, certainly not teenagers, apart from anything they have to learn how to stand on their own two feet and constant supervision prevents this.

      1. tkioz
        FAIL

        Re: Really?

        No, I'm not, but I'm the eldest (by 11 years) of 5 siblings, and let me tell you my parents never let me on the PC unsupervised, and that was in the age of BBS... once we got internet access when I was around 17 (some of the first in our community) that rule was just as strictly enforced, the PC was in the lounge room, not a bedroom, and if someone was online, then there was an adult in the room.

        Not looking over their shoulder, but just having an adult presence in the same room did wonders to keep us honest.

        My friends that have children all follow the same sort of things, PC in a public space, kids only allowed on with an adult in the room.

        How about you actually parent your children, instead of demanding the rest of the world cater to your lazy ass.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Really?

          I don't know if you've noticed or not, but children and teenagers these days tend to have access to the Internet all over the place, from handheld devices as small as an ipod to the family computer.

          It's not that easy and to represent people who don't enforce a rod of Iron against their children as lazy is just a poor way to get out of a debate.

          1. Ben Tasker Silver badge

            Re: Really?

            take it you're not actually a parent, then? You can't supervise children all the time, certainly not teenagers, apart from anything they have to learn how to stand on their own two feet and constant supervision prevents this.

            As a parent I take a similar view, except my conclusions are different to yours. Kids need to be taught to stood on their own two feet, yes, but part of that is learning responsibility. They don't learn that if the Govt does all the blocking for us, to survive in the real world they need to learn what it's like. I'd much rather mine asked me about something than went of looking in dodgy places, but I don't feel the need for a Govt run filter to try and prevent that.

            There's this thing called talking to your kids (no iron rods needed ;) ), treat them as adults and explain it's a big bad world out there. I'd like to think mine will come to me with almost anything, and if I ever did feel the need to do something about their Internet access because of mis-use, it's quite simple - access gone for a set amount of time.

            Obviously kids differ, but I know for sure that mine would quite happily spend time circumventing any filter that was blocking something they wanted to see. Fuck, I did much the same when I was younger, and it was always more about the principal than the content on the other side. End result, filter's pretty much worthless.

          2. tkioz
            FAIL

            Re: Really?

            I don't know if you've noticed or not, but children and teenagers these days tend to have access to the Internet all over the place, from handheld devices as small as an ipod to the family computer.

            Guess whose responsibility it is to make sure they are accessing safe sites and using those devices responsibly?

            Here is a hint since you seem so slow, it's not mine, it's not the governments, it's not the ISP, it's YOU.

            If you don't trust your kids to act in a manner you approve of, why the hell are you giving them unfettered access to the 'net via mobile devices?

            I detest people who claim we should block out access to things just because of "The Children". The Internet is for everyone, not just for your spawn, why the hell should we be punished because you can't take the effort to actually parent.

            I personally find the "suicide" sites in question morally repugnant, but then again there is a lot of stuff online I find detestable, doesn't mean I want it censored, I simply don't visit it.

            Be a parent and stop expecting the government to do your job.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The Thick of It

    Anyone else reminded of the Minister's hopeless and hapless launch of the "Digital Dividend" initiative on last week's episode of The Thick of It?

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Optional

    One reason I might decide to accidently put a very fine drill bit through a webcam on a laptop is the internet can be a scary place for children, no matter how mature they are it's about reducing that risk and anything that helps and doesn't interfere with adults using it is a good thing IMHO.

    The idea this is robbing children of their freedom isn't one I've seen in the comments, just that people don't want it to be opt out which I agree with. With piratebay blocking BE do all the blocking upstream from my router so it's not as easy as a DNS switch. They spoof reponses from the real priatebay IP with a warning page and for SSL send the correct RFC ICMP saying the content is being administrively filtered, although firefox sees this as a timeout for some reason, you can get around it but it invovles going through another network.

  39. John P
    Stop

    @AC 12:02

    While I'm sure that people have killed themselves using methods found through research conducted on these sites, the fact that they went to such effort to do the research would seem to suggest that they were rather dead-set (pun intended) on topping themselves anyway.

    Say for instance, in a single year, 15 people look at a specific suicide website, all with the intention of committing suicide. 5 kill themselves, the other 10 decide they'd rather live. How many of the 5 who died would've killed themselves anyway, and how many of the 10 who didn't would have if the site had not been there to put them off the idea?

    Legislation like this needs to be based off of real data and scientific and social studies, not one out-of-touch minister and his yes men aides trying to find some means to justify their existence.

    As the first poster stated, this is feature creep of the worst kind and it is only the beginning...

  40. Amorous Cowherder
    Mushroom

    "Suicide is No Solution"

    Easier to simply cut off the information and make it look like you're doing something to pacify the Daily Mail reading middle Englanders than spend some of money trying to found why society is so fucked up that kids who have barley even lived are contemplating their own demise. How about spending money getting out into schools and colleges to inform anyone who may be listening that there is always hope and there, budget cutbacks aside, will be someone who will listen and advise.

  41. Stuart 22

    Punishing the disabled for being disabled

    This is just another case of punishing the disabled for being disabled.

    Anybody in the suicide prevention business knows that you can't stop able bodied people committing suicide. All you can do is to try and remove the reasons for committing suicide. That can be surprisingly effective.

    For those you can't persuade you can at least offer comfort during the process. For many its the one decision they have left and its one I wouldn't want to take away. So if they can do it themselves - I'm in the clear. For those that are too disabled to do it themselves - they are robbed of that choice. Does that prolong lives? Maybe. But against that you have the quality of life. Living a life they do not want. They can get quite fixated on that.

    Paradoxically giving them the option to die can save life. The decision is not hypothetical, it is real, and they are going to examine the meaning of their life in the deepest way. That again can open their minds to choose another way. It is not always possible but overall live or die people get the choice they want.

    I find it easier to deal and empathises with these people then those that insist they must continue to suffer no matter what.

  42. Tom 15

    Bah

    Mildly annoying that it's a Lib Dem furthering this illiberal stretch of the current censorship laws...

    1. JimmyPage
      Unhappy

      Re: Bah

      I think it's pretty obvious the LibDems left their principles by the door in 2010. I honestly can't seen any sign that they have in anyway managed to dent the increasingly loopy direction the Tories are lurching in.

      Leaving us with no credible choice at all.

      Note to USians .... seems like you're catching up with the UK .... having absolutely no one worth voting for,.

  43. J.G.Harston Silver badge
    FAIL

    Define "a website offering advice on suicide". So.... all of Wikipedia, all of the BBC, all of the NHS, all of the Health & Safety Executive, all of which seomwhere will have something that says that substance X will kill you. CARN will be blocked because somewhere in there it mentions ingesting plutonium will kill you.

    Double fail in automatically coupling "website" with "contaent that may or may not be on one or more pages withing the website" and as withthe failure to define "porn" in a way a computer (ie router, server, etc.) can match, a failure to define "suicide advice" in a way a computer, etc., can match.

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So a government site says that Hanging, strangulation and suffocation are statistically the most reliable methods if I wanted to kill myself?

  45. Dr Dan Holdsworth
    Flame

    What we're seeing here is an exact parallel of the beginnings of the War on Drugs. Initially a moral panic fanned by moronic media, and instituted by a Government too stupid to tie its own shoelaces best out of three. If Net censorship is instituted, then we will pretty quickly move along to the current situation with drugs.

    As things stand with drugs, a bewildering array of chemicals are banned, including fungi which grow wild in the UK. Huge amounts of money are spent on trying to enforce the ban, whilst the nation's youth circumvent the ban with contemptuous ease whenever they feel the need to do so.

    A ban on assorted things on the Internet will result in exactly the same end situation: much money being spent to try to enforce a ban which is treated with the contempt it deserves by all and sundry, and especially the technically literate youth whom it was meant to protect.

    Let's simply not go there.

    Let's save ourselves the money and hassle and just not bother with the censorship/ban/pointless moral outrage.

  46. The Alpha Klutz
    Megaphone

    LOL

    i can think of loads of ways to kill myself. its quite easy really. Don't need the internet for inspiration.

    I guess it's mostly women looking at suicide sites, because when men attempt suicide, it usually works.

    I can't believe it's 2012, we had the founder of the web in the opening ceremony of the "best ever" Olympics, and every puppet in this government is coming out with internet censorship bills from a different fucking direction.

    What's the big deal with suicide, I would never do that shit, because even though life is grim for me, we are going into an age of global austerity where my life is actually of the freest and highest quality and we will all get poorer and less free from here on out.

    21 trillion dollars have been stolen from us, you think that'll make a few people wanna kill themselves. That number again: $21trillion. Just Google 21 trillion dollars stolen. You think the people who stole it will still let you Google that after they get the internet tracking tech installed in our (up until now free) telcos?

    Ha!

    I shed light into the darkness, but the darkness did not understand.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: LOL

      "...I guess it's mostly women looking at suicide sites, because when men attempt suicide, it usually works...."

      I wonder if you have noticed there is a problem getting women into IT?

      I'd suggest that you are part of that problem, given the outrageous sexism in your comment.

      1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

        Re: LOL

        He is part of which problem - that women may not be as successful in killing themselves as men?

      2. The Alpha Klutz

        Re: I'd suggest that you are part of that problem,

        while i am one of the most prominent figures in the IT world that women look to when considering a career in the field, I must say that generally i am correct even if it offends some of them.

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The underlying push ....

    Since time immemorial, people in power have sought ways to keep themselves in power, and (by implication) those out of power, out.

    Why do you think so many cousins married in the Royal bloodlines of Europe - going back to the Romans ?

    One immensely useful class of tool for keeping the hoi polloi under the thumb, are laws which aren't easily defined. That way, you can lock people you don't like up, on pretext of breaking one of these "laws", even if everyone else is doing it too.

    Look at the anti-terror laws (illegal to own a map), the extreme porn laws (illegal to own an excerpt from a BBFC film), if you need more examples.

    The only saving grace, is traditionally, privilege and knowledge have never really sat easily together, because it takes hard work to actually learn anything - hard work which the ruling classes tend to avoid. However, this will just result in a two class society ... the rulers and those savvy enough to work around them, and everybody else.

    Here's a question for those that may doubt this. If you were to abolish a law a day, what would the date be, before we got back to (1) the number of laws in 1997 (2) the number of laws in 1979, and (3) the number of laws in 1900 ?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The underlying push ....

      "Here's a question for those that may doubt this. If you were to abolish a law a day, what would the date be, before we got back to (1) the number of laws in 1997 (2) the number of laws in 1979, and (3) the number of laws in 1900 ?"

      Trick question I reckon, because they are adding more than one law a day as it is.

      I never used to see the point in Revolution, since it inevitably replaced the ruling elite with individuals who then became what they sought to overthrow. I think I'm starting to see the point now though - you get to nail some bastard to a wall who thoroughly deserved it.

  48. TallPaul
    Stop

    Anyone for helium?

    Two grim ironies about this latest shitstorm. First is that apparently there's been a big rise in the use of helium* to commit suicide which has been attributed to knowledge gained from the Web. So if we accept that at face value is it really smart for the people who are concerned to be that specific about the method when discussing it with reporters? Especially because when you're feeling suicidal you can just Google for "suicide helium" and the first hit is http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suicide_bag

    Which brings us on to the second issue: people have talked about having to block Wikipedia because it talks about things being lethal but it's *far* more specific than that.

    * other gases are available

    1. Vic

      Re: Anyone for helium?

      > apparently there's been a big rise in the use of helium* to commit suicide which has

      > been attributed to knowledge gained from the Web

      I find it disappointing that this is attributed to the Web,

      When I did O-level Biology, we were taught that the impetus to breathe was down to CO2, not oxygen. A sufficiently large volume[1] of some anoxic gas is therefore going to give you a situation where life cannot be sustained, but without the discomfort of a CO2 drive. I thought this was commonn knowledge...

      Vic.

      [1] It needs to be a suffciently large amount so that exhaled CO2 does not build up sufficiently to generate the desire to breathe. That would be the plastic-bag suffocation you see depicted in films...

  49. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

    Wait a second!

    BBC is saying that government's own reports are showing that "Suicide rates among young men - previously the most at-risk group - have fallen. There was a total of 4,215 suicides recorded in 2010" and "Overall the rate of suicides has fallen..."

    If I take the usual government logic that everything you see on the internets has direct correlation with what you do or don't do for real and add to that an assumption that the number of suicide (as any other websites) is growing, that means that the higher the number of suicide websites, the lower the number of suicides.

    Hence, by reducing access to suicide website the Minister actually wants to increase the number of people killing themselves!

  50. David 45

    Nanny

    I thoroughly resent all this alleged nannying, which is only censorship under another name. "They" will probably gradually ban just about everything else that's only slightly dubious on the net - all in the name of "think of the children". It's parents who should think of the children and regulate what they see, not some technically illiterate grandstanding politician. Why should any ISP be responsible for policing this? It's not THEIR job and the cost will doubtless be passes on in the form of higher subscription fees. It sounds as if UK MP's have been taking lessons in how to disrupt the net from their American counterparts. They just want control. I despair.

  51. James 100

    Slippery slope

    I saw this coming back when TPB was blocked and the loony for Devizes embarked on her web-burka crusade, but even I wasn't pessimistic enough to expect it this soon!

    They put filters in place to block child pornography (CleanFeed) - fair enough, it's illegal, nobody should look anyway - it restricts Wikipedia for a while - well, mistakes will happen, etc ... then they want to block "adult" content, "pirate" content, "unsuitable" content ...

    Unless we make a stand now, sooner or later we might as well not have Net access. I've contacted my MP about it, how many other Reg readers have?

  52. P. Lee Silver badge

    Forget the topic

    Does anyone else think that if the government thinks suicide sites need shutting down then they *should* be regulating them?

    Its very very important! So important, we're not going to devote any time to it. We're just going to throw random threats around and hope someone else does it for us.

    If the government wants something regulated, it should jolly well regulate it, not try to slip in restrictions by the back door. Go ahead, say you want to censor it and provide the justification.

  53. JaitcH
    WTF?

    Blocking Web Sites Futile and Cameron's Nanny State

    You would have thought by now even Tory cabinet members would realise blocking web sites is futile.

    All a potential self-terminator need do is to e-mail friends overseas and they could either send e-mails of contents or even burn a DVD.

    Why is it that European governments think their citizens so immature? Children look for pornography, preachers look for pornography, it doesn't just 'pop' up - it requires searching.for. My employer has a search group who work on client contracts and all they do is search for material. That's six women for 40 hours a week and they rarely accidentally happen across porn. In fact the web site producers might be disappointed for whenever their are a burst of giggles I know they are laughing at some of the featured antics.

    In fact one of the best porn lists was published by the Australian government. It was their block list for ISPs.

    If someone decides to kill themselves with gas, or to take a toaster into the bathtub, or to asphyxiate themselves in a car you don't see governments banning the supply if gas, or electricity or petrol.

    Parents are responsible for their own children and if they want to block InterNet or long-distance calls, etc. they can damn well do it themselves without restricting the whole of the citizenry. Why should the greater public be penalised because some incompetents can't program their computer software or TV channel blocking.

  54. Baudwalk
    Flame

    Problematic on so many levels

    Freedom of speech.

    Freedom of information.

    Freedom of self determination.

    Freedom of self termination.

    ...

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