back to article Jimbo Wales: ISP smut blocking systems simply 'ridiculous'

Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales has attacked "absolutely ridiculous" network-level porn-blocking systems that are being introduced by the UK's biggest telcos over the course of the next few months. Tory MP Claire Perry, who has pushed hard for content to be filtered by ISPs, took to Twitter on Sunday to moan about the comments …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    MP in 'completely clueless' shocker ...

    I'm not sure which is more surprising/shocking: the fact that I actually agree with something that Jimmy Wales has come out with or that Clare Perry is yet another shining example of an MP expressing opinions on something she knows precisely fuck-all about.

    Must be Monday ...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: MP in 'completely clueless' shocker ...

      Indeed. You can't 100% block every adult image (legal or illegal) any more than you can stop every person from breaking the law or swearing.

      To assume that adding a filter to the Internet will be reliable and 100% is crazy. It is just like adding a burglar alarm to your house and assuming you won't ever get burgled.

      Allowing kids to use the Internet without supervision is like letting them walk around the streets alone late at night.

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. Jamie Jones Silver badge

      Re: MP in 'completely clueless' shocker ...

      @ Simon Ward:

      'me too'

      I was going to comment, but you basically wrote exactly what I was going to write - especially about Jimbo, and the mp

    4. David Webb

      Re: MP in 'completely clueless' shocker ...

      Actually Jimbo is incorrect here. We already have a filter in place to block child abuse images, the IWF filter so switching the new porn filter to "off" will not allow a pervert to access blocked websites that contain child abuse images.

      The filter is wrong because it's not an ISP's duty to monitor what kids watch online, it's a parents responsibility, they are just passing the buck and will now happily let their kids sit in their room unsupervised watching porn which is illegal in the UK, with the parents blissfully unaware because they ticked a fucking box.

      HELLO PARENTS! If you don't want your kids to watch porn on the internet, monitor them yourselves, keep the computers/tablets where you can see what your kids are doing, and guess what, the kids won't be watching porn whilst you can see what they are doing, 100% more effective than a placebo porn filter.

      But yes, Jimbo is incorrect in his claim that turning the filter off will allow access to child abuse images, so let's focus on that and not on the fucked up plan for a porn filter which 98.7% of people will turn off the moment it blocks the BBC website or some other website we use which isn't actually porn.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: MP in 'completely clueless' shocker ...

        fraid he wasn't wrong, you didn't read what he said correctly. The ignorant MP is suggesting that any porn is a gateway to illegal desires and that we all need it filtered to stop us from becoming child pornographers. his point was that was not only ridiculous but that they could turn THAT on, not child porn. (which incidently wont be blocked in the slightest if they are swapping it encrypted over networks like tor)

      3. Michael Habel

        Re: MP in 'completely clueless' shocker ...

        Naghhh it'll never work, and your just grasping for straws in La-La-land...

        I'm sure there'd be less Youth Crimes too if Parents, actually started to ya know BE PARENTS?!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: MP in 'completely clueless' shocker ...

          Filtering can't possibly work however they do it. If they do it by site then it's a constant game of whack-a-mole and there are more people capable of cloning porn sites than there are government employees to add the sites to the list...they are simply outnumbered. Filtering by keyword can't possibly work either, and additionally will probably drop the poor bastards in Scunthorpe off the net again.

          1. oolor
            Thumb Up

            Re: MP in 'completely clueless' shocker ...

            @ moiety: that link is excellent

      4. funkimunky

        Re: MP in 'completely clueless' shocker ...

        Having porn available 24/7 with no competent age verification is like saying lets put extreme porn on terrestrial television all day with no lockout facility. If children happen to stumble upon it the fault is with the parents not the television licensing board.

        Most parent don't have the know-how to install filters on the home machines and these do not even work for portable devices.

        Extreme content should have adult verification so that children cannot access it. This stuff is damaging and will cause trauma to any ones mind.

        1. cotsweb

          Re: MP in 'completely clueless' shocker ...

          Extreme content should have adult verification so that children cannot access it. This stuff is damaging and will cause trauma to any ones mind.

          What constitutes "adult verification"? I can't think of any viable way of verifying that a person is an adult on the internet.

        2. Vic

          Re: MP in 'completely clueless' shocker ...

          > Most parent don't have the know-how to install filters on the home machines

          Most parents don't have the know-how to set broken bones, should one of their little darlings have an accident. It is their *responsibility* to find someone who can.

          But in the case of internet filters, it's a trivial matter to learn ho to set them up[1]. That they do not speaks volumes...


          [1] At least as effectively as anyone else would...

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: MP in 'completely clueless' shocker ...

      We are doing this all wrong.

      Why can't we just have access to Clare Perry's surfing habits and logs (and those of everyone else in the government) just to make sure nothing untoward is going on?

      The people have a right to know.

      1. night troll

        Re: MP in 'completely clueless' shocker ...

        Because the HoC use of the internet has already been shown to to be in a large part porn sites, facebook and betting sites. She would not like the disclosures to be more specific as some of her colleagues may be surfing porn or laying a bet while she speaks.

  2. Ian 62

    Just maybe he'll be able to educate them

    If only even a little.

    The people complaining about the filters aren't the ones confusing child pron with adult content filters.

    We all agree the *illegal* content should be removed and those responsible prosecuted. Using the existing laws.

    The issue is that those in positions of influence keep using "protecting the children" as an excuse to inflict impractical and shoddy solutions on those of us accessing *legal* content.

    Who defines that its something adult? By the sounds of it, it depends on what commercial package each individual ISP has installed. That could end up in dozens of different implementations.

    What about sites that are incorrectly classified as adult? If you're running a commercial online site, that has some content that some may argue is adult (safe sex advice?) then what happens to your business when you're suddenly branded as adult. That could put some businesses bankrupt. Or do you go to each ISP in turn, begging them to re-catogorise your site? You're not their customer, what reason do the ISP have to help you out at all.

    Perhaps the Netflix, iPlayer, other on demand services could be listed as Adult. But what if the ISP hosts its own streaming service? It could easily list the others as adult and use that as a commercial nudge to get its customers to subscribe to its own service. Which just so happens it doesnt list as adult.

    What happens if a legit site is hacked, as found with the recent spike in hacked sites hosting child pron. Does that suddenly fall into the adult content? Never again to be allowed to be listed as normal, even after being cleaned?

    What about sites that children actually want to use? But become the targets of 'grooming'. If youre there to protect children are you going to start listing popular kids sites as adult when they are found to have adults grooming children on them?

    The only people this wont effect are the people that want to get access to pron. VPN, Tor, Proxies, or simply just phoning the ISP and openingly saying. "Make pron appear please!"

    Go search for the epetition and sign up, please folks :)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Just maybe he'll be able to educate them

      He has failed to do so on more than one count.

      Filtering equipment always has a logging function. All you need to take the log and Teresa May dream has just come true _WITHOUT_ pushing the legislation through. All you need is a (secret) court order to have access to the log. Check, Mate.

      The whole porn bruhaha was nevers about porn. It was, is and always shall be about extending surveilance.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Just maybe he'll be able to educate them

        >"The whole porn bruhaha was nevers about porn. It was, is and always shall be about extending surveilance."

        Nonsense. It was, is and always shall be about winning votes.

        1. Rukario

          Re: Just maybe he'll be able to educate them

          > Nonsense. It was, is and always shall be about winning votes.

          They don't need to win votes. All political parties are about total surveillance and total control of the citizenry peasants for the benefit of the élite who pay their bribes campaign contributions.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Just maybe he'll be able to educate them

      "What about sites that are incorrectly classified as adult?"

      the people doing the classifying should be named, and be held personally liable for any mis-classification, including repaying any lost revenue as well as a fine for slandering the site owner in saying the site is "inappropriate". It certainly should never be paid from public funds; the people paid to do a job should pay the fines if they do the job wrongly.

      But far more importantly, the criteria for classifying a given site in a given way need to be public and debated - and not just by clueless MPs and assorted publicitly seekers

    3. Lyndon Hills 1

      Re: Just maybe he'll be able to educate them

      "What about sites that children actually want to use? But become the targets of 'grooming'. If youre there to protect children are you going to start listing popular kids sites as adult when they are found to have adults grooming children on them?"

      I suppose blocking facebook would be one positive outcome.

  3. JimmyPage Silver badge

    Curious as to how they'll try to spin this ...

    Especially since Cameron made great play of being a really "in with the geeks" Tory, by appointing Jimbo in the first place.

    And as for that Perry ... it really does seem she only opens her mouth to change feet.

    It would be funny if we weren't paying for it.

  4. NomNomNom

    Oh no a woman has dared offer her opinion about the future of the internet!! Cue outraged howls of indignation from men...

    Predictable. No doubt she'll come under a hail of abuse on Twitter from Trolls soon.

    Well I for one am going to stick my neck out and support MP Clare Perry. She is absolutely right on this issue. Kids are using the internet more and more and we absolutely need to stamp out unsuitable material. We also have to deal with the problems of internet trolls. Clare Perry is absolutely right that we need filters in every device that will block this stuff out. Shame on anyone who disagrees.

    1. DanDanDan

      Don't feed the trolls

      Sexism allegations: Check

      Think of the children: Check

      Supporting the Tories: Check

      Incorrect use of Internet Trolls inspired by the BBC: Check

      1. NomNomNom

        Re: Don't feed the trolls

        Oh Dan please, how can I be a troll??? I didn't insult or threaten anyone!

        1. DanDanDan

          Re: Don't feed the trolls

          Nice try... I was beginning to think you were genuine for a second there

        2. Fink-Nottle

          Re: Don't feed the trolls

          Exactly! You even included a nice 'Welcome To Facebook' sign with your message.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Don't feed the trolls

          "Oh Dan please, how can I be a troll??? I didn't insult or threaten anyone!"

          2013 revisonist !

          Suggest last century's - Absolute Beginner's Frequently Asked Questions

      2. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

        Re: Don't feed the trolls

        I don't think NomNomNom is a troll; I think the part of his brain that is supposed to critically evaluate the world doesn't work, and he has compensated by replacing it with editorial from the Daily Mail.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      You've just made the same mistake. You've put protecting children and stamping out unsuitable material in the same statement. These are two different issues.

    3. DavCrav

      "Oh no a woman has dared offer her opinion about the future of the internet!! Cue outraged howls of indignation from men..."

      Or, alternatively:

      "Oh no a *complete idiot* has dared offer her opinion about the future of the internet!! Cue outraged howls of indignation from *knowledgeable people*..."


    4. jonathan1

      Where to begin with that...

      That's a little sexist isn't it and an unfair accusation to make.

      Okay there is a clear male majority of commentards (affectionately meant - I love you all) on El Reg due to the history of the IT industry. (Time is changing)

      However the "outrage" isn't to do with the MP being a women.

      Its to do with decisions being made by those who are very ignorant of the area they're making decisions on. Though this isn't a unique or new and has happened since time immemorial; in the context of the internet it effects a very large proportion of the population.

      As already stated adult content != child abuse content but this correlation is being made stronger all the time.

      The true problem isn't the internet, the web or computers. Its people. Those who make this content and commit the abuse. I listened to an interview on Radio 4 not so long ago. They had an analyst from the IWF discussing their job. The analyst then made this throw away comment of "I've taken down this image and the child is now saved". This sums up the problem; removing content from the internet doesn't undo the abuse a child has just suffered in the production of said content! The child has still been raped and/or indecently assaulted.

    5. Velv

      Concept and Implementation

      Concept - children should be shielded from inappropriate material. No sane person can disagree with this broad statement. And it is a very broad statement. It doesn't include the word sex or internet, it covers a multitude of sins, and doesn't mandate HOW the children should be shielded.

      Implementation - we need to enforce censorship on everyone so that they think we are shielding their children from sex on the internet. Oh this fails on so many levels. Technically useless and entirely unethical.

      In some ways I agree with the CONCEPT of ISP's providing a filtering service on each connection - if it stops 90% of kids reaching an inappropriate site (by accident or by curiosity) then it's probably doing good. But the high horsed Daily Mail reading "we must BAN it" does NOTHING to really protect anyone, and the cross-party proposal fails to address the issue, the concept.

      Where do we stop - ban topless bathing at the beach, ban bikinis and budgiesmugglers, ban mini skirts, ban the X-Factor and Strictly Come Dancing. Perhaps the simpler answer would be to require all children to wear blindfolds unless supervised directly by their parents...

    6. nsld


      It has nothing to do with her lack of a penis and everything to do with the fact she has absolutely no idea what she is talking about.

      As for stamping out unsuitable material, thats a rather broad brush term open to abuse by a government with a penchant for mission creep.

      After all, today its an opt in for porn, tomorrow its certain political viewpoints and news channels which will be deemed "unsuitable"

      If you have kids then you have a responsibility to monitor online behaviour, if you cant control them, dont have them, it really is that simple.

    7. mark darwen

      misguided strategy

      I may be wrong but i think the vast majority of people agree that taking some action to stop innocent users stumbling upon pr0n on the internet is a good thing, however the use of device installed filters will technically just not work and while clair perrys et al's intentions are admirable their obvious lack of technical knowledge is the main problem. The strategy which the government is following will just not work, unless they also propose to remove the 1000's of instruction videos from youtube and the likes providing step by step instructions as to how to bypass the filters that will undoubtedly spring up overnight

      1. Abot13

        Re: misguided strategy

        why shield innocent users from porn on the internet when its at every top shelve in every gass station and magazine store?

        the best thing is not to shield at all, if you dont want to see it click away, if you do feel free.

        The biggest problem with filters is that it hides illegal activity, when nobody stumbles upon kiddie porn, nobody can report it to the authorities. And the pervs know where to find it anyway

        1. mark darwen

          Re: misguided strategy

          last time i checked a ten yr old kid couldn't reach the top shelf but they sure can click a mouse. your point is ridiculous.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            @mark darwen

            Last time I checked a 10 year old kid could type in a proxy address...

            A headmaster friend of mine has this issue with their school, they are constantly playing catch up with the proxy addresses! As soon as they block one, the kids use another..

            If kids are already doing it at school, what will stop them at home?

            And VPN's, they won't be blocked on a home network..

            Nothing they can do will stop kids finding porn if they want it, this is just about censorship, pure and simple...

            1. mark darwen

              Re: @mark darwen

              your agreeing with my initial point, i was replying to another reply to my initial "misguided strategy" post,

          2. oolor
            Big Brother

            Re: misguided strategy

            >last time i checked a ten yr old kid couldn't reach the top shelf but they sure can click a mouse. your point is ridiculous.

            My five year old niece can reach any shelf with the aid of a kitchen chair and has been for a year now about the same time she competently learned to use the computer to open a browser and access YouTube or the angry birds.

            Only underestimating children is ridiculous including their capability to intelligently deal with issues like this, sadly they have to suffer the incredible lack of ability adults seem to have dealing with these issues. The kids seem to be doing just fine with the internet, the parents, not so much.

      2. Charles 9

        Re: misguided strategy

        ...many of which will emerge on encrypted channels hosted in countries that don't respect the laws of the Western World. So unless the Western World wants to ban any and all encryption (and to do that would take something on the level of the Great Firewall of China, only MORE pervasive), this is an exercise in futility. There's already an attitude of distrust of government. Something like this would only throw fuel on the fire and re-stoke all the "1984" rumours.

      3. badmonkey

        Re: misguided strategy

        You are wrong.

        - Nobody "stumbles" upon porn.

        - Your use of the term "innocent" implies the opposite of anyone viewing porn. Irrational moralizing.

        - It's spelt "porn". I know that we don't have sex in Britain but some of us are grown-ups and can use the words without feeling icky.

        - Why are Perry's intentions "admirable"? They form a socially conservative puritanical agenda resulting in undesirable government interference in an area it should have no business.

    8. Frallan

      Don't feed the troll?!?

      Ohh so many trollish things writtten in one short post...

      >"Oh no a woman has dared offer her opinion about the future of the internet!"

      Sorry but I don't give a rats ass what you have between your legs its what between your ears that counts...

      >"Kids are using the internet more and more and we absolutely need to stamp out unsuitable material."

      No, no-no-no since the kids are so much more tech savvy than their parents and the government a technical solution will never work. Anyone with children knows that the only absolute foolproof way of getting children to do something is to tell them that they should not and not explain why. What is needed is parental guidance. You have to surf the shadier sides of the web with the kids and explain to them the do:s and the don't:s this will also have the added benefit of getting young grown ups that don't have hard core porn as their only reference when the time comes for them selves to try some cuddling out.

      >"Shame on anyone who disagrees."

      taking the moral high ground only works if you have a clue what you talk about and using such a phrase should really fall under the "Godwin Law" together with Nazi references. and if you dont know what the Godwin Law is then pls refrain from commenting on the internet until you have read up a bit.

      Bloody well hanging my coat up and staying!


    9. Maharg

      Nomnomnom, wrong wrong wrong

      “Oh no a woman has dared offer her opinion about the future of the internet!! Cue outraged howls of indignation from men...”

      Everyone is saying the same things about ‘Call me Dave’ Cameron as they are Claire Perry, yet because she is a women you feel the need to defend her and not him and say the reason people are having a go at her is because they are sexist?

      “Predictable. No doubt she'll come under a hail of abuse on Twitter from Trolls soon.”

      An internet “Troll” is someone who posts comments on pages and threads to either disrupt, trick or annoy, example - posting a topic on a forum titled

      “Can someone help please? I don’t know if I should I feed live crickets and bugs to my baby...”

      Once clicked on full text is seen

      Can someone help please? I don’t know if I should I feed live crickets and bugs to my baby snakes, or should I stick with dead ones until they are older, and at what age can they ‘hunt’ them at?

      The ‘Troll’ uses the character limit in the topic header to turn what could be seen as a normal post into something that plays a joke on the users of the forum,

      Another simpler example is in computer games when pretending to be a novice gamer, asking silly questions, example

      Troll – How do I find the (item) to complete the (name of) mission?

      Helpful Gamer – Its located in the (place name)

      Troll – How do I get there?

      HG – Look on the map

      Troll – How do I get the Map?

      HG – Press the M key

      Troll – Whats a “M” Key?

      Other gamer – Lol Don’t feed the trolls

      What you are describing on Twitter when people post vile threating posts are bullies and in some cases are breaking the law

      “Kids are using the internet more and more and we absolutely need to stamp out unsuitable material.”

      No, We need to stop kids from viewing unsuitable material, not remove it, child pr0n is already illegal, this filter will not make even the smallest amount of difference when it comes to child p0rn, it doesn’t work like that, pedophiles don’t use Google to find images, it doesn’t work like that.

      The ‘unsuitable material’ this will filter out is pretty much anything, for example I can’t use my mobile phone to find information about problems with my mobile phone because Orange think ‘Sony Mobile Web Forum Help’ is unsuitable because as a ‘web forum’ they don’t know what the content is, so it’s blocked.

      So what can we do? If only there was some kind of parental control on that can be ‘activated’ to not allow your kids access adult content, oh wait, most internet providers have this option, all it needs is the parent to turn it on.

      The difference is that currently if I want to stop kids using ‘my’ internet to view ‘adult content’ I have to say so, I have the choice.

      when they go ahead with this stupid idea if I want to use ‘Sony Mobile Web Forum Help’ I have to contact my ISP and be put on a list to say I am a pervert who likes watching the most degrading smut filled snuff films.

      “Clare Perry is absolutely right that we need filters in every device that will block this stuff out. “

      As said before, we already do, people just need to be told to how to do it.

      “Shame on anyone who disagrees.”

      Shame on anyone who thinks this will a) Work, b) make any kind of difference c) absolves them of having to take responsibility in their parenting

      In other words, we need to Educate, not Regulate.

    10. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Oh no a woman has dared offer her opinion about the future of the internet!! Cue outraged howls of indignation from men..."

      Gender has nothing to do with this. Kneejerk ignorant authoritarian pandering to lowest common denominator tabloids does, however.

      You, sir/madam/other, are a waste of skin.

    11. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Her sex is irrelevant.

      I think folk are not annoyed because she's a woman, but because she's clearly completely clueless when it comes to the subjects she's talking about and,more worryingly, involving herself in the legislation of.

    12. Mayor Boris


      Excellent example of trolling sir, for people who need reminding what it means.

      1. ratfox

        Re: @NomNomNom

        Yes indeed, the trolling was surprisingly successful.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: @NomNomNom

          +1 Really nice work, extracting plenty of indignation with such a blatantly obvious gambit. The Internet is not the only thing that needs filters...

      2. Intractable Potsherd

        Re: @NomNomNom

        If it were other than NomNomNom, I would have been tempted to say the same, Boris. Unfortunately, this is a commenter who has form for being as objectionably diametrically opposed to whatever is being discussed as s/he can. It seems unfair to me that Eadon got canned from the boards here when he was no worse than some others, including NomNomNom.

    13. teebie

      Congratulations. An excellent satire of mumsnet.

    14. Captain Queeg


      Well said - spot on.

      Children occasionally get sun burned - ban them going outside.

      Children are occasionally knocked down by cars - ban road vehicles.

      Children sometimes fall off bikes - ban bikes for under 18s

      Children occasionally drown - Close all swimming pools.

      Children occasionally get fiddled with in the park - Close all parks

      Children occasionally see post watershed TV- ban TV after 9:00pm

      Yes, it's so clear now NomNom.

      No, wait, I have a better idea, why not expect parents to behave in a responsible way. You could be really radical and call it "raising" their children, rather than featherbedding children so they have no idea of how to assess risks, make judgements or live lives so they reach adulthood unable to cope, maladjusted and naive.

      No, actually, now i come to think of it, shame on you....

    15. Captain Underpants


      Worried about what your kids do on the internet?

      Fair enough, it's a sensible worry. The thing is, making someone else deal with the problem is STUPID. Yes, all-caps degree of stupid.

      The smart thing to do is learn about how you can control their access to services, and do so. Don't just let them have TV/games console/DVD players in their room. Aside from anything else, you do realise that smut and assorted other inappropriate stuff exists on DVD, Blu-Ray and even paper format, yes?

      Or were you expecting Dave's Magical Bullshit Internet Filter to sort all that out as well?

      I'm not against women having opinions on technology; I have a strong objection to uninformed vote-seeking muppets having opinions on technology, especially if they try and ignore advice from the experts on why their suggested solutions won't actually work to solve the problem they claim to be so worried about.

      For an analogy: You remember all those idiot parents who decided that, based on complete bullshit masquerading as science from one attention-seeking doctor, they weren't going to get their kids vaccinated because OMG ASPERGERS? (If you don't, Google Andrew Wakefield, read what those parents did, then try very hard to do the opposite as much as humanly possible). What Perry is doing here is analogous to what those parents did. Experts who know the technology and understand the problem have all pointed out that it's an expensive and stupid approach to a problem, that conflates legal pornography with child pornography for no other reason than to attempt to silence disagreement. But there is nothing about an internet filter that will stop the creation or dissemination of porn, legal or illegal - in the case of legal porn because the problem of kids seeing porn is down to Crap Parenting (compounded by Lack Of Support For Parents From Government), and in the case of illegal porn because only the very stupidest of potential paedophiles goes to Google and searches for their fix.

    16. plrndl

      @ NomNomNom

      If it were possible to "stamp out unsuitable material" it would have been done long ago.

      Sadly this is just another stupid comment from someone who doesn't have a clue what they're talking about.

    17. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      "Oh no a woman has dared offer her opinion about the future of the internet!!"

      You really can be a right dick at times!

      Vivienne Redding doesn't seem to get the abuse you seem to think all reg readers reserve for women with opinions related to the 'net.

      Maybe you ought to step back and consider if it's what Ms Perry says rather than her gender which might be the problem. This being the woman who keeps conflating illegal porn with "adult" content by mentioning them in the same breath then denying there's any link.

    18. Mephistro
      Thumb Up

      @ NomNomNom

      "We also have to deal with the problems of internet trolls"

      ROFLMAO++. Good job!

      Poe's Law: "Without a clear indication of the author's intent, it is difficult or impossible to tell the difference between an expression of sincere extremism and a parody of extremism."

    19. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "...we absolutely need to stamp out unsuitable material"

      "Stamp out" seems a little stronger than "filter out" - which is it? Or are you really suggesting that sanitising the adult world to make it child friendly is a sane solution to children being exposed to pornography? Next you'll be suggesting we scrap post watershed programming and replace it with looped repeats of the Teletubbies.

    20. Mei Lewis

      She was criticized not because she's a woman but because she's saying something incredibly stupid.

  5. Peter Galbavy
    Big Brother

    One of the biggest problems here is that the self-serving politicians have used the old screaming-from-the-rooftops excuse of "think of the children!" to conflate two technically completely unrelated issues - one of preventing under-age viewing of any material that is deemed unsuitable (porn being just the headline) and the availability of illegal content (again, child porn in this case just being the headline).

    Any technical approach to either of these is, or at least should be, completely different - even if there is any real workable technical solution to either.

    This doesn't even begin to scratch the surface of the real reason for this push, which as we should all be aware as somewhat more technically aware and possibly cynical than the general populace, is that installation of both process and capability to filter anything that the authorities of the time choose to filter.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    money would be better spent...

    ....stopping the illegal images being made in the first place. Stopping the images been easily found online doesn't stop kids being hurt and abused. Its too late after the event.

    Also we are just pushing the problem deeper underground. And the deeper it goes the harder to catch the scumbags.

    The whole thing smacks of headline "think of the kids" glory hunting headlines and potential for further censorship/monitoring with less resistance / noticing.

    Problem is "they" are solving nothing but gaining everything.

    1. Charles 9

      Re: money would be better spent...

      " money would be better spent...stopping the illegal images being made in the first place."

      Except that would basically be impossible because anything a human can conceive, a human can work around. As long as we have humans, we'll have deviants.

      Besides, many of these pedophiles operate in countries or areas where the reach of the law is lax or nonexistent or in countries where custom or sex laws work to their favor.

      So, if the source is savvy enough to keep away from your reach, how do you propose to stop their production?

  7. mark darwen

    Jimmy has been listening to radio 5 live

    Nice to hear that Mr Swales has obviously been listening to radio 5 live recently. In his latest interview with channel 4 news he almost verbatim echoed what i said to Nicky Campbell during a recent appearance on the 5 live breakfast show, including branding the measures as "ridiculous". On hearing the announcement from "call me dave" i had a mental picture of server administrators throughout the land shaking their heads and laughing at the ridiculous suggestions coming from an ill informed government and its advisors (claire perry.... really).

    Whilst i agree that some action to stop innocent users stumbling onto pr0n filled web pages is a good idea yet again the goverment has demonstrated a total lack of understanding from a technical point of view.

    I bet they will also tell you that UK internet cannot access the likes of the pirate bay and h33t.

    Maybe i'll give them a call and offer to help...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Jimmy has been listening to radio 5 live

      'On hearing the announcement from "call me dave" i had a mental picture of server administrators throughout the land shaking their heads and laughing at the ridiculous suggestions coming from an ill informed government and its advisors (claire perry.... really).'

      I don't think ISP admins will be shaking their heads and laughing. They'll be very worried that they're going to be the fall guys in this fiascoette. As soon as one of these filters (inevitably) fails, it'll be the ISP on the end of the Mail's outrage and the threatening letters from lawyers.

      1. mark darwen

        Re: Jimmy has been listening to radio 5 live

        Mike, apologies, i wholeheartedly agree with you, i did use a bad example to underline my point, but i'm sure you understand what i meant. Lets hope it doesn't get to that point.

      2. This post has been deleted by its author

      3. Zombie Womble

        Re: Jimmy has been listening to radio 5 live

        "I don't think ISP admins will be shaking their heads and laughing. They'll be very worried that they're going to be the fall guys in this fiascoette. As soon as one of these filters (inevitably) fails, it'll be the ISP on the end of the Mail's outrage and the threatening letters from lawyers."

        Then their reaction should be obvious.

        Block everything that could possibly be construed as adult and let Perry and her mob deal with the consequences to the economy!

        1. d3rrial

          Re: Jimmy has been listening to radio 5 live

          @Zombie Womble

          Wouldn't it be funny if all the ISPs decided to "enforce" the blocking laws by simply shutting down all routers entirely for 24 hours?

          Sure there'll be lawsuits for days, but in the end it would probably still be cheaper than having to run the hardware for logging and filtering all DNS requests long-term ;)

          Or maybe not a complete shutdown, but a shutdown for private users, not companies. If necessary masked as technical difficulties with implementing the filtering methods

  8. Kubla Cant

    Every device?

    The MP shot back: "The WHOLE POINT is that they are not government ISP filters (excuse the shouting) but are the filters you are expected to install on every device now."

    This is news to me. I suppose that if Perry issues detailed instructions then I might be able to install something on my routers and computers, but the TV may be a problem because I don't have access to the firmware.

    1. Fink-Nottle

      Re: Every device?

      How long until the first 'Download your Government Approved Internet Filters here' malware appears?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Every device?

      "but are the filters you are expected to INSTALL on every device now."

      In Claire Perry World -

      INSTALL == click APPLY button

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    'Yes, I would like porn please.'

    Means that everything you do will be recorded and monitored by the IWF

    Saying No simple means that it might be recorded and monitored

    In any event, EVERYTHING you do on the internet will be recorded by GCHQ and sent to their pals in the NSA

    Encrypting anything will also set the alarm bells ringing.

    We will all just have to get used to being spied upon 24/7 even inside our own homes.

    They will be banning carrier pigeons next.

    Anon simple because it make me feel better while knowing the the NSA know very well who I am.

    1. billse10

      Re: 'Yes, I would like porn please.'

      "They will be banning carrier pigeons next."

      specifically, they'll ban RFC1149 and 2549 .. .and whatever the IPv6 version is .. .

      1. Oliver Mayes


        IPv6 version is the same, just with a slightly larger pigeon

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 'Yes, I would like porn please.'

      Don't worry the IWF don't care about your perversions, they only care about children being harmed.. its the GCHQ who will watch you and ensure your perversions are available to the local council when needed...

  10. nigel 15


    The policy is so wrong and so misguided it's difficult to imagine a way out for the government.

    Myself i follow @RoxyRareXXX on twitter. which does use https. i wonder if they will block twitter.

    Do china block twitter?

    1. Eradicate all BB entrants

      Re: Tiresome

      I didn't even know they had stuff like that on twitter, and here is me just using for mainly motorsports news.

      I also found out about the tumblr pron too late too, but that site just confuses me.

      Maybe someone should also tell MP's the impact the pron industry has on technology? Especially the internet where they drove and developed online payment systems, content delivery systems, streaming and micro payments all before the corporates got in the act. And its even better on the equality stakes as it has a higher percentage of females in top positions (pun not intended, but being left in there) than any other industry on the planet.

      Before it is implemented though they should look at the figures for the illegal immigrant filter they use at the border, or the DVLA filter that stops people without a valid license driving and ah yes, the social services filter, we hear stories every week about how successful that one is.

      1. nigel 15

        Re: Tiresome

        apologies it's actually @RoxyRayeXXX

        and it's very XXX.

        I genuinely am interested in their stance on twitter.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Now that Jimmy has spoken...

    maybe more of you will sign? :)

    I would like Tim Berners-Lee to say something about this too - as the father of the Internet.

    1. DPWDC

      Re: Now that Jimmy has spoken...

      "I would like Tim Berners-Lee to say something about this too"

      He had. (he's not a fan)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Now that Jimmy has spoken...

      You need someone to make this more well known, I had not heard of that petition until now, but I have signed it!

    3. BrownishMonstr

      Re: Now that Jimmy has spoken...

      But I thought Jimmy was into that sort of stuff---ohh, different Jimmy.

  12. Pete 2 Silver badge

    What we need is a confusion filter

    Jimbo's right: the software won't work AND it won't deter people who choose to opt in (though it will give the government a nice list of "the usual suspects" to haul in every time someone suspects a single man might be having naughty thoughts.

    However, it should also be recognised that this filter was never meant to STOP anything - except the continual whining and muttering by the "I'm against everything" brigade. Since none of them can decide what pornography actually is, they won't ever know when they've succeeded in filtering it - but I suspect the issue is more about wielding power, than making progress. Even recent articles on this site have confused nudity with pornography: not to mention the difference between skimpy clothing and wearing _no_ clothing, which seems to be another area where the tutting busybodies go into overdrive (maybe we should ban swimwear and shorts too - or ban the display of ankles and everything above, just to be "safe"?)

    Before anyone starts banning, filtering and marginalising anything, the first thing that should happen is that whoever is pressuring for this added censorship should be asked: "What is it you actually want (as opposed to being against)?" Then, if they can come up with a coherent response, there may be something to base a national debate on.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What we need is a confusion filter

      We should ban clothes! if we're all naked then there is no way to be perverted!

      I suspect nudists are a lot more well balanced than most of the 'ban it' crowd!

  13. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    Hard to believe an MP who bangs on about this subject can remain so f**king clueless

    And yet they do.

    I suspect that being an ex PSB CMD's weakness is that somehow someone's gender gives them special insight into certain subjects when a moments study would show them as about as well informed as some cider sodden dosser on the south bank.

    BTW I think someone is hijacking NormNormNorm's account again.

    Do not feed. :( .

    1. Rukario

      ex PSB?

      Neil or Chris?

  14. Simon.W

    Perry doesn't have a clue about the technologies involved

    After listening to a recent radio 4 broadcast about the topic it is obvious that Clare Perry is ignorant about the technical complexities of achieving the goal of automatically blocking illegal content. And having her continually state "of course it can be done, I've been told!" indicates the high levels of incompetence she has in this field.

    Illegal content should be blocked - no doubt about that. If the technology comes along that can succeed 99.999% of the time then it should be implemented in the end user router or on the computing device. But not in the network as this will bring internet access to its knees with the burden of processing all the traffic - having said that perhaps GCHQ could do the job ;-)

    1. Abot13

      Re: Perry doesn't have a clue about the technologies involved

      Blokking illegal content just makes it harder to find and to really fight against it.

      Blokking is in every case the worst thing to do

    2. Old Handle

      Re: Perry doesn't have a clue about the technologies involved

      There's quite a bit of doubt about that. First, of course there's doubt that all "illegal content" should be illegal in the first place, but let's set that one aside. Let's say all illegal content really is horrible, harmful stuff. I would agree that it should be removed from the internet where possible, and that people spreading it should be held accountable.

      But I have very serious doubts that blocking it is ever the right course of action. It's literally hiding the problem; it's incredibly temping for the authorities to abuse; and even if they don't, it's the exact opposite of transparency, which we need more – not less – of in government.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's not about porn or about CP

    It's about getting people to accept a police state so we stop questioning why out government allows mega-corporates to get away with no tax, ruin the environment, sell arms to war criminals etc. out of fear.

  16. LinkOfHyrule

    These anti porn people are hot - I'm inspired to open up a porno site devoted to middle England moany types - they really get me going! Bet they are all secretly gagging for it, bound to be they're so repressed!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Why the joke icon? That's a damn good idea.

      Can you imagine Mary Whitehouse in bondage gear.

      Now try to make that go away.

      Maybe it's not such a good idea after all.

      1. LinkOfHyrule

        Re: @LinkOfHyrule

        Bloody hell I literally just laughed, chocked, cried and almost vomited and soiled myself to death at the thought of that! Which is probably the sort of thing these anti porn lot would be into seeing me do!

        1. mark darwen

          Re: @LinkOfHyrule

          available shortly on lmfao

          1. LinkOfHyrule

            Re: @LinkOfHyrule

            Well it would be if it wasnt for this bloody internet filter!

      2. Kane

        Re: @LinkOfHyrule

        Now I feel sick, thanks for that Chris.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: @LinkOfHyrule

          >Now I feel sick, thanks for that Chris

          Good job I didn't mention what the horse was doing then

  17. Amorous Cowherder

    Usual story, those beloved MPs in power have no idea how technology works, they only see the internet from their little tiny part of it.

    "Turn on power, wait for Windows to start, click the blue circle/little Foxxy thingy/SIMON game icon and that's the internet! It's magic! So all we need to do is make sure that square box in the middle of the screen cannot show anything pink, brown or olive coloured when it has hairs in it, listen for "huh-huh-huh" noises in the sound and instant porn block!".

    Must be great to be so damn ignorant and get paid 90k a year for talking utter bollocks! Sad part is that those in contracting know this is a loser, just the contract company owners know a Gov contract is a licence to print money so they say they can do something then cock it up for next 5 years, maybe delivering something that does about 20% of the original spec. I've worked in Gov contracting and it's full of managers and admin people, with about one developer/programmer/person-with-brains per 8 managers. Loads of useless tosspots all riding gravy train until it comes off the rails they've obviously but jumped before that happens.

    1. Abot13

      I hate it when that certain someting brown, pink or olive has hairs, where can I download that filter?

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "on every device"

    meanwhile on usenet, I had an interesting exchange with someone who insisted that the PM wasn't talking about fitting filters to all new computers, and that I was making it up.

    Oh dear: @7m29s ....

    So, Dave, me old mate, hows *that* going to work ? And how do you force these "filters" onto someone like me, who builds their own PC, OS-free ? You REALLY haven't thought this through have you.

    I find it illuminating, when a senior (in this case, *the* senior) minister is allowed to make such gaffes in public. It suggests their media minders have made up their mind where the further lies, and - like the praetorian guard of old - have made their decision accordingly. Does anyone recall Jacqui Smiths "we will get paedophiles to register their email address with Facebook" wheeze ? Some people still haven't stopped laughing.

    1. Abot13

      Re: "on every device"

      forcing you to use it on every device is rather simple, no connection until the ISP gets a msg from the prog you need to install about your preferences. and that is the scary part, who knows what added functionality the government required software has? its not that they proven to be trustworthy....ever...

      besides I dont want to use my devices for their stupidity.

      how are they going to enforce it on tourists and other foreigners? Do I need to do a complete reinstall of all my devices on coming home?

    2. Kane
      Big Brother

      Re: "on every device"

      "So, Dave, me old mate, hows *that* going to work ? And how do you force these "filters" onto someone like me, who builds their own PC, OS-free ?"

      How do you get your components/parts to build your PCs? Computer fairs? The likes of Maplins? Other online sources?

      Who are the manufacturers of these parts? How much effort is it for these manufacturers to incorporate something into the hardware that would enable this sort of "filtering"?

      How long before it would become illegal to buy components/parts that are not from an "authorised" reseller, that would be mandated by the authorities?

      How much of a stretch would it be to be able to achieve something like this?

      Be warned, what is currently happening could be the door opening to bigger things...

    3. JimmyPage Silver badge

      Re: "on every device"

      Kindle e-ink readers have a browser. Are those covered ?

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    From the Open Rights Group - read it and weep....

    Short extract ;

    Sleepwalking into censorship

    After brief conversations with some of the Internet Service Providers that will be implementing the UK's "pornwall" we've established a little bit about what it will be doing. To be fair, the BBC were pretty close.

    The essential detail is that they will assume you want filters enabled across a wide range of content, and unless you un-tick the option, network filters will be enabled. As we’ve said repeatedly, it’s not just about hardcore pornography.

    You'll encounter something like this:

    EDIT NOTE: the category examples are based on current mobile configurations and broad indications from ISPs

    (1) Screen one

    "Parental controls"

    Do you want to install / enable parental controls

    ☑ yes

    ☐ no


    (2) Screen two [if you have left the box ticked]

    “Parental controls”

    Do you want to block

    ☑ pornography

    ☑ violent material

    ☑ extremist and terrorist related content

    ☑ anorexia and eating disorder websites

    ☑ suicide related websites

    ☑ alcohol

    ☑ smoking

    ☑ web forums

    ☑ esoteric material

    ☑ web blocking circumvention tools

    You can opt back in at any time

    Full article here

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      As someone else said.............

      Where's the tickbox for "adverts"?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Esoteric content

      I know the "Esoteric" option is causing a lot of concern within New Age/Pagan circles, but looking further into this the definition of "Esoteric" according to Google:

      "Intended for or likely to be understood by only a small number of people with a specialized knowledge or interest."

      Which seems to cover quite a wide range of material, and once again who will be the censor?

    3. John Smith 19 Gold badge

      And so the scope creep begins.

      How long did that take? 2 weeks?

  20. Loyal Commenter Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    Jimbo claimed to C4 News that it was "highly unlikely" – despite claims to the contrary – that US spooks could decrypt HTTPS

    However, if they use a man-in-the-middle attack to intercept the key exchange, they won't need to, and unless you can guarantee the integrity of the route between your computer, and a server on the public internet (hint: you can't), then they are in exactly the position to be able to so. Most likely, at the ISP, where your ADSL line, or fibre, or whatever meets the switching gear. All they need is access, and (possibly) a court order to do so.

    Of course, if certain elements in the Home Office were to get their way, they certainly wouldn't need a court order to be able to do this to everyone, all the time, they would already have unspecified equipment monitoring everyone's connection all the time, 'to fight terrorism', and they wouldn't be doing their job if it weren't capable of this sort of behaviour.

    Something to ponder on...

    Addendum - This does, of course, require the interception device to have access to the SSL certificate that each site that uses https will have. These are issued by a certification authority. It is left as an exercise for the reader to work out how agencies such as GCHQ, or the NSA might obtain these in order to spoof the key exchange process.

  21. Shrimpling

    She isn't going to change her mind now.

    The really scary thing is Claire Perry believes she is right and an ISP filter is the best solution. I don't think anybody will be able to convince her that this filter won't work in the way she thinks it will and the people that it is designed to stop will find a work around anyway.

    Its too late for her to change her mind even if she wanted to without admitting she was wrong. The real target should be convincing other MP's that she is wrong and they should be voting against this proposal.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: She isn't going to change her mind now.

      "Its too late for her to change" what passes for "her mind"

      She's ignorant enough to believe something that isn't true without bothering to learn the facts for herself - which hardly makes her unique in politics - but more dangerously, other people are listening and she's actually being taken seriously (hard though that is to believe).

      1. Jamie Jones Silver badge

        Re: She isn't going to change her mind now.

        "She's ignorant enough to believe something that isn't true without bothering to learn the facts for herself "

        Yes. I understand that she is religious too.

    2. DPWDC

      Re: She isn't going to change her mind now.

      "even if she wanted to without admitting she was wrong"

      This is exactly the problem with the current bunch of politicians... They brainwash themselves in to defending an opinion (sometimes, as in the case, wrongly) and can't be shown a differing viewpoint. When they delve into I.T. issues (which most readers on here are highly knowledgeable of) it just highlights how little these people know, while still maintaining the IMPRESSION of having a strong/informed viewpoint.

      If we can see how little they know about things in our field, yet make decisions based on their small amount of knowledge, it make you wonder what else they are making judgements on based on very little information.

      Makes me sick...

    3. MrXavia

      Re: She isn't going to change her mind now.

      someone needs to prove it to her...

      By demonstrating how easy it is to bypass, and what won't be filtered!

  22. Spoonsinger

    He looks very relaxed in that picture,

    what are his hands doing?

    1. NomNomNom

      Re: He looks very relaxed in that picture,

      it's jimmy wales not jimmy saville you muppet

  23. G Watty What?

    Content Filters Help Me

    I know I probably be down-voted in the extreme but our family find the content filters provided by our ISP brilliant.

    To be clear, the desktop PC is in the front room and our kids are free to use it and are supervised. However, everyone keeps telling me over and over again that I need "layers of security/protection", isn't this just one more layer? Is it perfect no? Can it help? Certainly!

    What it means it that my little ones can be given control of the computer and I can be reasonably confident that when they click a link from google, if the endpoint is something super-dodgy then it will be blocked before my son or daughter is exposed to it.

    It might not be the right solution for everyone but surely there is some value in it for the masses who are now able to get another layer of security for free?

    So free content filtering at the ISP level get's a +1 from me and a +3 from the rest of the family.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Content Filters Help Me

      I'll up vote you actually.. But because you are CHOOSING to turn them ON.

      You're taking an interest, and doing the right thing.

      But I'd ask you a question. In years to come, do you want your children, or grand children to be prevented from seeing content that anonymous lobbyists have campaigned to be removed?

      And you don't get to know what it is or why or when it was removed, or the fact that it was removed at all?

      When they grow up, should they not have the same right to decide for themselves what content they want to see?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Content Filters Help Me

      Doesn't using Google image search bypass the filters? Or does it force on the safe search feature (BlueCoat does)

      1. G Watty What?
        Thumb Up

        Re: Content Filters Help Me

        Yes it does. Searching for "tits" in google images doesn't bring up as many ornithological pictures as one might hope when the filter is active! :)

        However, I have cure for that. My inbuilt "Daddy filter" is highly tuned to spotting flesh tones on a screen from incredible distances. As such the aforementioned "bird search" would ring my bell, causing me to eject the family from the room whilst I had some time "investigate the results".

    3. kdh0009

      Re: Content Filters Help Me

      Yes the advantages of individual ISP content filters are many.

      But... that's a different thing to a UK wide opt in content net.

      You will be free to opt in and still use your ISP's filters in the way you do now - so what do we gain from setting up a potentially very holey wall which can be knocked down with a checkbox?

    4. Tom 38

      Re: Content Filters Help Me

      OK. But why does protecting your family involve me divulging to either my ISP or the government what legal 'adult' topics I am interested in?

      Can you, as a parent, not see the downsides in asking the general populace to classify and enumerate the things they are interested in which the government thinks are morally objectionable? For instance, can you see that having a "Gay/Bi-sexual" tickbox on the 1936 German Census, in hindsight, wasn't such a great thing for LGBT rights in Nazi Germany?

      1. G Watty What?

        Re: Content Filters Help Me

        Opting out and selecting what types of content I do and do not want filtered are two separate things. My ISP's implementation allows me to opt-out completely and not have to specify what my interest was in my choice for opting out.

        However, I can also partially opt-out. For example, my filter setting "allow gambling" because I want access to the national lottery website to check on my dream tax contributions.

    5. teebie

      Re: Content Filters Help Me

      An upvote from me, because you are doing it right.

      Choosing to use an available filter, being aware it won't be perfect, not calling for this to be forced on everyone else. This is the solution parents should be aiming for - it helps them parent, without having the side effects of a government-mandated filter.

      Everyone should be able to do what you are doing, no one should be forced to.

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Content Filters Help Me

      Supervised usage, the best way to control kids online...

      BUT here is the issue, what do you consider inappropriate? what do I consider inappropriate?

      what if they were to look up the Young British Naturists, would you want that blocked?

      If they were to be looking up safe sex advice because they are too embarrassed to asked their parents or have a question about something they learned in class but were too embarrassed to ask?

      Now I am sure each parent will have different ideas of what should be blocked, which is why filters should be per household and opt in only.

      Oh and if your kids are in secondary school, they can bypass your filters if they really wanted, that is unless they are really unpopular and have no friends to tell them how....

      1. G Watty What?

        Re: Content Filters Help Me

        Could the kids get around the filter? Yes, hell even I can get around the filter :)

        However, the filter does prevent accidents and gives me peace of mind when they are using the computer. As for people with different ideas, our ISP's filter is configurable so I guess there is scope for different tastes but how you set that up would be your choice. I was happy with the defaults, well except for the gambling bit I mentioned before.

    7. Captain Underpants

      Re: Content Filters Help Me

      @G Watty What?

      The thing is, you're using a content filter at your home level. I've no objection to that, and neither do any ISPs - in fact, the big boys will oblige and offer software/advice on how to do this if you ask them. The problem is not content filters, but network-level content filters that treat everyone in the country as if they're actually children who couldn't possibly be trusted to make informed decisions for themselves.

      Signing up for a contract wth an ISP requires you to be an adult in the eyes of the law and able to enter into a contract. That means that you should be asked if you require filtering on your service, with the default being "no" (on the basis that adults can make decisions for themselves). If you say "yes", having an optional network-level filter available is one option - having client-level filters as well is another, and running your own DNS is yet another (though more involved and technically challenging). But those are decisions you should be making as a parent, not decisions that should be made for you by an ignorant and ill-informed MP who has gotten confused about the difference between "can find legal porn with Google and an unfiltered connection" and "contributes in some fashion to the creation and dissemination of child pornography".

      The thing with child porn is that the priority is protecting children from exploitation. A filter on the network will do fuck-all towards that end. It will do fuck-all towards the end of preventing further dissemination of existing child porn, because if you think that child porn right now is primarily distributed through high-Google-ranked publicly-visible sites then I've got a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you - and the folks at CEOP are of the same opinion (see The Telegraph for example - look for Jim Gamble's comments).

      It's a bollocks initiative championed by the uninformed (don't believe me? Go and read the exchange between Claire Perry and Paul Staines that was the result of someone getting access to Perry's website and sticking porn all over it, and consider how little technical knowledge she demonstrated in that exchange. Then think that this is the person insisting that they know better than everyone else in this area, including the agency that directly deals with online child exploitation issues. Still convinced that she's someone who should be making these decisions?) that will fail to achieve its stated goals, but will succeed at its actual goals of establishing government-accessible network filtering as something that "the public wants". And will totally not be misused, just like RIPA was never misused. Oh, wait...

      1. G Watty What?

        Re: Content Filters Help Me

        You make an excellent case. However, I fail to see how any of what you have said invalidates my perceived benefit of the service?

        Am I saying a network filter will stop child exploitation? No.

        Am I saying that a network filter is another layer of protection for our household? Yes.

        Am I saying we should all be opted-in/opted-out? I think I am saying - meh - the end result would be the same, some will opt-in and some will opt-out.

        I guess being given the choice is the key part here or are you concerned that this "thinking adult" is incapable of making the decision to opt-out when the default is to opt-in? I, for example, opted out of the phone book but had I done nothing I would have been listed. This was an informed adult decision was it not? I am sure I am not alone in being able to make one of those. So I guess from my perspective (and I appreciate you hold a different view) the default of opting in or out is irrelevant to me. I make my own choice regardless.

        Yours was an interesting post though and for that you have my thanks.

  24. SonicLife

    Quick TT filter test

    Has anyone else tried testing one of these filters turned on?

    I am with talk talk so I tried turning the filter on and setting it to max the other day, results were as expected.

    Going to Google image search and typing in rude words resulted in the expected screen full of filth, clicking on the image links didn't work.

    Going to youtube resulted in the whole site being blocked, but using the android app there was no block, and videos with the word explicit in the title played fine. Tumbler was also blocked at the domain level using the browser

    Got bored at this point, it's obviously as bad as the critics suggest, full of holes and over blocking, how many parents will simply disable the whole thing when they want to use youtube and fail to re-apply it afterwards? And who here is confident that the systems could ever be developed to keep clever kids out, it only take one kid in each school with enough knowledge to defeat the filter and the whole school will soon know how.

    I would love to see a proper test of these filters to see how well they really work.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    in my day..

    man, you should have seen some of the stuff depicted in the grotmags i used to find in various ditches when I was out playing as a child. the mags in question were, more-often-than-not, german in origin and hardcore in content. we're not talking about a muddy copy of escort here - i'm talking chicks-with-dicks, all sorts of multiple participant scenarios, scat etc. i used to find this stuff regularly with my mates from the age of about 7 onwards. my theory is that all these errant mags (anyone alive and a child in the 80s will know what i was talking about) were thrown out of the window by international truck drivers nearing home on their way back to the wife & kids. anyway, point is that even if you banned all porn off the internet full-stop, kids are still going to get their mitts on the stuff. they bloody well want to most of the time! go out looking for it....i know i did lol. i think we need some honesty in this debate, and we need to recognise that children actively seek this stuff out - it's not thrust (no pun intended) upon them in most cases. ban it from the interwebs and they'll go find it somewhere else.

  26. N000dles
    Black Helicopters

    Meanwhile..... lurking the in the shadows.....

    I somehow think the government technical people that are advising Cameron on what is and isn't possible know full well what they are doing here.

    Step 1: Educate and convince the public into accepting a simple non intrusive filter you can turn on or off that will filter them off from 100% of all adult rated nasties.

    Step 2: A tragic newsworthy story appears in the future showing it's a failure. The masses realise that the solution put forward by the government has great intentions but is technically flawed.

    Step 3: The experts within government and the security services recommend that Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) is the only way forward to stop what happened at Step 2

    Step 4: They have it legislated that every piece of data be categorised by DPI so it can now be diverted off through via the security services. Everything can now be read by these people who Edward Snowden has shown us can be completely trusted to do the right thing!!!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Meanwhile..... lurking the in the shadows.....

      Almost to BOFH standards -

  27. Abot13

    freedom of expression and the raising of a clueless generation

    What happened to freedom of expression, isnt that a human right anymore. does a government really feel that its its job to censor in this day and age?

    besides, its better to have kids who know what porn is and how it comes to be, then a generation who will not knoe what to do once they reach legal age and do see porn.

    What makes the internet different from the numerous rages that show porn?

    What is the policy for false negatives? will the government pay for losses of income since they are the ones making it a must to opt out in the first place?

    1. fajensen

      Re: freedom of expression and the raising of a clueless generation

      does a government really feel that its its job to censor in this day and age?

      It grows naturally from the governments obsession with spin-control and media management instead of solving actual problems: Censorship completes the package. With censorship, the government can (secretly) decide what the people is allowed to know about so the government will always be right about everything!

      Since the government is always right, there can be no false negatives. The future is shiny!

  28. Roo

    Jimbob did make at least one good point that is often overlooked because it is so bleeding obvious.

    I read the article on the BBC News website... Jimbob pointed out that existing legislation is already sufficient and that he feels the money would be better spent on enforcement and prosecution rather than mucking about with filters...

    Much to my surprise I found myself agreeing with Jimbo.

    We have plenty of laws, we should try enforcing the laws we already have properly before creating more of them.

    1. JimmyPage Silver badge


      We have plenty of laws, we should try enforcing the laws we already have properly before creating more of them.

      The problem is parliament (sees it's) job is to make laws. And given how many MPs have come from the legal professions, it's obvious that's what they will do: Make laws.

  29. Luke McCarthy

    No need to decrypt SSL

    Eventually any encrypted connection that connects to an unencrypted endpoint will leak information. From what I understand of the XKeyscore system it works by cross-referencing this leaked information to identify who is using a VPN for example.

  30. Psyx

    "The WHOLE POINT is that they are not government ISP filters (excuse the shouting)"

    Impressive debate technique being shown by our elected leaders there.

    Do something you know to be rude or stupid and acknowledge and apologise for it in the same sentence.

  31. Anonymous Coward

    Tonight at six--Politician badly out of depth with technology!!

    In other news, water is really wet!!

  32. RonWheeler

    Techo arrogant fool

    The issue should be attacked at source (default-on filtering is morally wrong). Attacking the problem like this? Like chavs yelling at the government that speed cameras are wrong by putting up Youtube vids of themselves mounting fake plates on their tarted up Citroen Saxos then blasting through the local town centre at 90 mph.

  33. BrownishMonstr

    Slight variation on the Underwear Gnomes

    1: Introduce Porn Filters


    3:Children are Protected


    In the end it's going to be about money.

    This will fail as Claire Perry et al. know. The response will be a more extreme system, which we and they know will fail. That will be followed by a white list only system. To get your site on the white list you will be required to fill out the forms and pay a fee. Initially the fee will be trivial, so no-one can object. In due course the fee will rise and become significant.

  35. promytius

    Simplest Device Ever! Great Idea, there, gyrl!

    Basically it is a sign:



    or GO AWAY.

    This - THIS costs you Brits Billions?

    No wonder we won the war! :)

  36. randommagic

    I think a lot of people are missing the point on this. This isn't about stopping children watching porn its about winning votes in the next election. They have deliberately picked a policy that appeals to the 2.4 children family hoping that enough people will forget the abject misery they have caused. They need those middle class votes and they have done enough surveys to realise that parents worry about their kids and struggle to watch them all the time and this looks like a policy that will win them votes with the middle class. It doesn't matter if you think its wrong and it doesn't matter that it won't work because by the time anyone realises this they will have already been voted back into power.

    Anyone that thinks MPs and Prime Ministers do things for the good of the people are naive they do it for the money and the perks. When the perks get removed they pay themselves more to cover the loss using "Independent" advice. If they really cared would we see all these disabled people being treated so badly by ATOS or our soldiers injured in the war losing their homes?

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Some people really are very special

    Although I also have a low opinion of Claire Perry, that is not who I'm talking about here.

    "child abuses images should be blocked"

    "spend billion of pounds"

    "The issue is 100x deeper that you know."

    I really hope that 'Kelly' just forgot to write [sic] in regard to those quotes, but in reality it seems unlikely since all of her articles demonstrate a similar failure to use words correctly.

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