back to article Lockdown bidder block shock: Overzealous parental filters on Virgin Media and TalkTalk break eBay for UK users

Second-hand tat bazaar eBay was unavailable for some UK users this week, after Virgin Media and TalkTalk mistakenly blacklisted the site’s CDN in their parental control filtering software. While the primary eBay domain was unaffected, both ISPs had inadvertently blocked ir.ebaystatic.com, which is responsible for serving CSS …

  1. Dave Pickles

    Tchotchkes

    This is the second article I've seen here recently which has used this word, so I looked it up. From "The Joys Of Yiddish" by Leo Rosten (1968):

    1. A toy, plaything

    2. An inexpensive trinket

    3. A bruise or wound

    4. A nobody

    5. A misfit

    6. A loose or kept woman

    7. An ineffectual person

    8. A cute female

    9. A sexy but brainless broad

    Maybe Virgin thought users were looking up one of the other meanings?

  2. Mint Sauce
    Go

    I love it!

    Mrs Johnson, is that you?

  3. Mage Silver badge
    Facepalm

    ISP parental Control?

    Some things need to be controlled by the seller, like access to an Off-licence, Casino, Betting office or tobacco.

    Surely an ISP shouldn't block anything, though I suppose they have to if a Government says so. Parental responsibility.

    1. Arthur the cat Silver badge

      Re: ISP parental Control?

      Surely an ISP shouldn't block anything, though I suppose they have to if a Government says so.

      The parliamentary position was their heads up their arses"will nobody think of the children?", as is usual with idiot moral panics. Except that a) they only insisted the six large ISPs do it, small ones and business oriented ones don't have to play which totally undermines their position, and b) a quick visit to the relevant ONS page on households shows that only 29% of households have dependent children, and that includes 16-18 year olds who can legally do what they're not allowed to see online.

    2. Cederic Silver badge

      Re: ISP parental Control?

      I got the impression it was an industry agreement to self-regulate rather than requiring more onerous Government involvement.

      A lot of stuff goes that way, but on this occasion the ISPs really should've told the oppressors to fuck right off. Don't censor my internet :(

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: ISP parental Control?

        No-one is censoring your internet.

        This is an optional opt-in, no different than if your Mummy and Daddy bought net-nanny or something similar.

        1. fireflies

          Re: ISP parental Control?

          "Optional opt-in" - I think you missed the point of the article. This isn't people opting in to parental controls. This setting has been turned on by default and people have no idea until things like this.

          I came across this very issue last week when someone reported not being able to reach eBay on multiple browsers - a quick check in developer tools revealed some files failing to download, and ironically, I only discovered it was down to parental controls when I googled the ebaystatic page to bring up links to people talking about the issue, to show that other people were having the same problem, that's when it popped up with Virgin Media's parental control block stopping google search results.

          The person in question didn't have kids, and had no interest in parental controls. How many others have this underhand state thrust upon them without their knowledge - not even a courtesy email or letter to inform them.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: ISP parental Control?

            When you register with an ISP you get a big page asking you if you want to subscribe to the filter or not.

            I think the filter sucks, and your post gives one example of it, however it is opt-in - either your client forgot, or his ISP had messed up.

            1. Cederic Silver badge

              Re: ISP parental Control?

              It's opt-in on wired broadband, opt-out on the mobile networks.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: ISP parental Control?

                Interesting, I didn't know the mobile networks were like that.

      2. jake Silver badge

        Re: ISP parental Control?

        a) It's not your internet (whatever "the internet" is!).

        b) It isn'lt being censored, but your access to certain content might be.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: ISP parental Control?

          When you register with an ISP you get a big page asking you if you want to subscribe to the filter or not, so if it's censorship, it's self-administered.

          Still, your points are valid. Upvoted.

      3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: ISP parental Control?

        "I got the impression it was an industry agreement to self-regulate rather than requiring more onerous Government involvement."

        The "think of the children" crowd were threatening government regulation if the ISPs didn't do it themselves.

  4. Keven E

    Trust issues

    "...endemic problems in ISP-supplied parental filtering software, which routinely block legitimate and innocuous content."

    - and -

    "...have opted customers into filters without explicit agreement. Filters are dumb..."

    As, methinks, most will anticipate the occasional ("routinely" may be a bit overstated) mistake in website identification, the

    real issue is ANY default opt-in.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Trust issues

      When I last moved ISP, the sign in form offered a big "Do you want the crappy adult site filter?" check-box.

      It was hardly hidden.

      1. Tomato Krill

        Re: Trust issues

        Indeed it’s a part of the on boarding for a new BT connection and is a page in and of itself.

        It is, as the poster says, not something you can miss.

    2. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: Trust issues

      >"...endemic problems in ISP-supplied parental filtering software, which routinely block legitimate and innocuous content."

      It also works the other way...

      One widely used content filter, will block gambling sites.. however, a quick test of the filter wil demonstrate that yes it will block the big name sites but not the more locally focused sites. Additionally, due to the lack of granular controls in the filter, you have to disable the block if you want to access the National Lottery to submit a funding bid or to report on funding received...

  5. To Mars in Man Bras!
    Mushroom

    eBay Don't Need Virgin Media or TalkTalk...

    They're quite capable of completely fucking up access to their increasingly disfunctional site, all by themselves.

    Since about the past month or two, every time I try to do anything on the site which involves changing something [ie. ending a listing, editing a typo in one of my listings, etc] I get presented with a stinking reCaptcha then, after solving that, a login screen, then another reCaptcha, then another login screen.... etc. etc. rinse and repeat until either the heat death of the universe or my laptop getting thrown through the frigging window.

    What makes all of this a thousand times more irritating is that eBay [like Amazon] is one of those sites which greets you by name, allows you to navigate all through your account and perform all manner of actions until you try to do one certain thing.. at which point, it suddenly decides you're a complete stranger who it's never seen before and torments you with untold logins, reCaptchas and other annoyances, until you want to scream.

    1. Claverhouse Silver badge

      Re: eBay Don't Need Virgin Media or TalkTalk...

      Also it keeps making the actual site flatter and whiter with each iteration, so that presently it's a sea of glaring white with heavy brightly coloured blocks. And it randomly forgets preferences, like 'use classic style', or 'change number of results to 200 or whatever', or disregards the filters which narrow down what one seeks.

      Actually the filters themselves are a mess: used to be at the left; now sometimes a reduced set at the top. And actually, if looking at, say, 'all-in-one computers' as they style them such as finely specced boxen that turn out to be early Pentiums at a more modern price, it really doesn't help to have the first 500 results to be second-hand spare parts.

    2. Tomato Krill

      Re: eBay Don't Need Virgin Media or TalkTalk...

      If I had a pound for each time I’d been made to link Packlink to my eBay account as though I’d never used it before...

    3. Adrian 4 Silver badge

      Re: eBay Don't Need Virgin Media or TalkTalk...

      I had the same problem.

      I had to use an older browser (pale moon) instead of the usual Brave to access feedback and messaging.

  6. Claverhouse Silver badge
    Holmes

    The Demon Butler Struck Again

    One of David Cameron's finely wrought cock-ups.

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