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UK Govt's Censorware Blocks Tech, Civil Liberties Websites

timothy posted about 4 months ago | from the but-you-must-give-it-time-you-see dept.

Censorship 148

A few days ago, we mentioned that the UK's ISP-level censorware software not only does a poor job of its stated job (blocking porn), but blocks at least some sex education sites, too; now, reader badger.foo writes to say that's not all: "It fell to the UK Tories to actually implement the Nanny State. Too bad Nanny Tory does not want kinds to read up on tech web sites such as slashdot.org, or civil liberties ones such as the EFF or Amnesty International. Read on for a small sample of what the filter blocks, from a blocked-by-default tech writer."

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148 comments

not slashdot! (5, Funny)

ganjadude (952775) | about 4 months ago | (#45762177)

I mean, where will the people in the UK get their week old news from!

I kid but in all seriousness this is exactly why the filters should be done by the individual, We dont need the government telling us what is best for us, especially when the filters cant seem to tell the difference between "porn" and slashdot. I guess we can all blame AC for posting goatse every day

Re:not slashdot! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45762343)

blame AC for posting goatse every day

Rule #1 was always that you don't troll as an AC. But I can see that you are new here.

Trolling British Style (3, Interesting)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | about 4 months ago | (#45762987)

Rule #1 was always that you don't troll as an AC

In Great Britain you don't need to troll as an AC, for in the British Parliament you get to see those "Lords" trolling each others to death whenever they get the chance.

United Kingdom used to snide at China for their infamous "Great Firewall of China" censorware. Now the table has turned.

At the very least, users from China can still access Slashdot, even with that "Great Firewall of China" playing at full blast.

Re:not slashdot! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45762419)

slashdot and many of the other supposedly blocked sites work perfectly well from my work computer, which as it happens is in a government building. Either the government doesn't block its own employees' access or the writer hasn't been altogether thorough in his research. Having bumped against the filter when trying to access other sites (there's a category for "useless", believe it or not) I'm going to go with the latter option.

Re:not slashdot! (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 4 months ago | (#45764769)

Every ISP runs their own filter, so the rules aren't consistant. You're probably behind one operated by your government building IT department.

Re:not slashdot! (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45762545)

try on the O2 url Checker: http://www.childline.org.uk/

I find:

Parental Control
(opt in u12 service) Blocked

That implies that both O2, and the UK government and David Cameron (PM), either condone abuse or are using the impreciseness filtering or are using it as an excuse for other matters political means.. "oops we banned an anti-child abuse website, we clearly didn't mean to do that, we also didn't mean to do freebsd.org"..

Re:not slashdot! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45763217)

well I do not appreciate regular goatse but I do appreciate regular pr0n. In reality there is not such a big difference. Most of it is fake, boring and sometimes really ugly anyway. This said I am not sure - I think one should be helped by gov in his attempts to get to quality pr0n - there are things I have been confronted with which I would appreciate a warning for. What the brits are doing is a warning only anyway. BTW: a stream with their spooks attached to the stocks would not be pr0n but a case of lesson in civics.

Re:not slashdot! (1)

Trepidity (597) | about 4 months ago | (#45764581)

We dont need the government telling us what is best for us

I thought that was the whole idea Thatcher was trying to push. What good is a goddamn anti-government party if they don't even believe that?

It's for your own safety citizen (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45762179)

now pick up that can.

I have to agree (-1)

cold fjord (826450) | about 4 months ago | (#45762209)

I have to agree with the Tories on this one. I'm not sure that using Slashdot for "sex education" is a good idea. I think you could say there are some strange ideas on the matter that get posted, others are just plain baaaaaad ideas. (No, I won't link to them.) ;)

Re:I have to agree (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45762255)

Feeling sheepish?

Re:I have to agree (2)

Fluffeh (1273756) | about 4 months ago | (#45762509)

Feeling sheepish?

I think sex-ed sites that involve sheep probably could be blocked - and nothing of value will be lost.

*sips coffee*

Re:I have to agree (5, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | about 4 months ago | (#45762511)

I'm not really sure if the Tories are a good source of information on how to lead a healthy sex life. Unless of course you subscribe to the "do as I say, don't do as I do" school of thought.

Any wide-scale blocking will have such problems (4, Interesting)

mi (197448) | about 4 months ago | (#45762223)

Our hobby site got blocked by Googe/SafeBrowsing twice this months. No, we weren't hacked. No, we weren't hosting malware. We just happened to use the same advertising broker, that was fooled into showing malware ads earlier.

If one wanted to make a good case, they could point out, how you can disappear from the Internet for mere association with someone else — and how suspicious it is, that that "something else" just happens to be a direct (if small-scale) competitor to Google...

No, I don't like governmental censorware — as Heinlein put it in several of his books, the real danger comes not from content, but from the government's attempt to tell their citizens, that they can not be trusted to view it. That UK is doing just that is an outrage. But the fact, that the automated censor happens to be mis-categorize some content has nothing to do with it — the censorship is scandalously wrong whether or not it functions as designed.

Re:Any wide-scale blocking will have such problems (3, Interesting)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about 4 months ago | (#45762251)

We just happened to use the same advertising broker, that was fooled into showing malware ads earlier.

Maybe you should use a different "advertising broker", this sort of thing is something that "advertising brokers" should be very very very very very very up on not allowing to happen... You know, like number one thing...

Re:Any wide-scale blocking will have such problems (-1)

mi (197448) | about 4 months ago | (#45762397)

Maybe you should use a different "advertising broker",

Maybe. And, maybe, sex-education sites should make more effort to not appear like porn...

Re:Any wide-scale blocking will have such problems (4, Insightful)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about 4 months ago | (#45762435)

Maybe. And, maybe, sex-education sites should make more effort to not appear like porn...

It's probably a "key word" filter, maybe some generic tit's and cock pictures.

Seriously, a "sex education" web site by definition should be talking and , you know, sex? And what parts of the body are involved with sex?

Are you suggesting modern "sex education" web sites should roll it back to the 1950's?

Re:Any wide-scale blocking will have such problems (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45763169)

And MAYBE fucking PRUDES like you should join the Catholic Church and rape little boys. Asshole.

So you WERE serving malware (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45763033)

Their is nothing scummier than the owner of a website complaining about THEIR inconvenience when someone attempts to protect users from malware put onto users machines by that site.

Here's a message for you, you CRETIN 'mi'. You, and YOU ALONE are responsible to your users for the actions of ANY affiliate you allow to operate via your website. If you make money from serving ads, you are 100% responsible for any damage caused to users by those ads. And if an ad 'broker' has engaged in sickeningly criminal activity by placing malware on a users machine at ANY time, your use of that ad broker is a direct attack against your users.

The ONLY ads you should permit are those filtered through your own servers, and limited to JPGs or similar.

I'll be blunt. I would happily see the law changed so people like you, mi, do serious jail time if you, or any agent you contract with, serves malware via your website, or actively seeks the potential to do the same. You have ZERO right to make advertising revenue at the expense of risking serious criminal damage to your users' computers.

Re:So you WERE serving malware (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45763891)

Who pissed in your fucking Wheaties this morning, assfuck? Go fuck yourself. Kiss my ass. Suck my dick. I hope you go to jail and get fucked in the ass. Cocksucker.

Re:So you WERE serving malware (1, Interesting)

mi (197448) | about 4 months ago | (#45764555)

Their [sic] is nothing scummier

Oh, yes, there is. Posting illiterate insults as "Anonymous Coward" — to avoid the beating to what little karma there is — is an example.

complaining about THEIR inconvenience when someone attempts to protect users from malware put onto users machines by that site.

Except our site didn't do it. The ad-broker did not do it either. The broker was blacklisted by Google, because at some point earlier they were fooled by a malicious ad. Google blacklisted them, and everybody using them...

Here's a message for you, you CRETIN 'mi'.

Wow, what passion. I can't imagine, what you'd say, if were an accessory to murder or rape — rather than a mere computer "infection". Take a chill pill or something...

Re:Any wide-scale blocking will have such problems (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45763187)

No, we weren't hosting malware. We just happened to use the same advertising broker, that was fooled into showing malware ads earlier.

If your ad broker was showing malware ads, then while it's true you weren't technically hosting malware, you WERE linking to it which amounts to the same thing.

the censorship is scandalously wrong whether or not it functions as designed.

I agree completely. In a Free Society, it's up to the Citizens to decide what they do or do not want to view, and if they want to restrict their children's viewing habits it's up to the parent to enact controls to block any "objectionable" sites.

Re:Any wide-scale blocking will have such problems (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45764073)

You hosted the ads that brought malware, you hosted the malware (and drop the guff about the ad broker being fooled.) Sort it out instead of bitching that someone was trying to protect your users from infection.

Me too! (1, Flamebait)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about 4 months ago | (#45762231)

...blocks "sex education" web sites...

Yeah, that's how I feel about xHamster [xhamster.com] , too.

Re:Me too! (1)

_merlin (160982) | about 4 months ago | (#45763489)

You could've at least linked to one of your favourite informative, educational videos rather than dumping us at the random smut-of-the-minute on the front page.

i do not like (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45762237)

beta.slashdot ending up on beta.slashdot at random.
make up your mind please.

Hmph. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45762249)

Couldn't happen to a more deserving country.

Personally I think it would have been better to cut the submarine cables that connect the UK to the rest of the civilized world.

Apparently... (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45762277)

They blocked the BNP website. (I don't agree with the BNP or anything those racist thugs stand for, but I don't condone political censorship.)

Also the PPUK website.

Re:Apparently... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45762389)

Wow. How is this possibly even legal? Oh, I forgot - the laws only apply to the poor.

Re:Apparently... (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45762495)

It's also blocking sites about homosexuality and LGBT rights.

Re:Apparently... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45763331)

It's good they're keeping those filthy perverts away from our children!

Re:Apparently... (2)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 4 months ago | (#45764395)

Some people consider that a sin. Some people think they shouldn't even tell children about it for fear of "confusing" them. They are idiots of course, but you can very they will complain when the filters don't block that stuff.

That's the problem. You can't please everyone, and sometimes a child's right to an education overrides the parent's wishes.

Useless Article (5, Informative)

Afty0r (263037) | about 4 months ago | (#45762295)

He states, based on a single "URL checker" from O2, that every website he tried to check including slashdot, other tech news/resources sites and his own blog are "blocked by a parental controls regime - according to the URL checker".

But a little testing would have shown him that disney.com is blocked on this. As is www.gov.uk - the UK governments own official site. The parental controls he's ranting about are bunkum. He should have researched his subject, and posted from an informed viewpoint, instead this article is a waste of time.

Nothing to see here... (4, Informative)

mwvdlee (775178) | about 4 months ago | (#45762351)

This.

Every single site I tried was either not listed or "blocked by the parental control regime".

I don't agree with filters, but this particular one (the parental control) is an opt-in filter which just seems to block everything by default.

Re:Nothing to see here... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45764113)

The u12 (Under 12) list is actually a whitelist, so you're correct on that, and this entire article is severely flawed in that way.

Re:Useless Article (5, Informative)

leuk_he (194174) | about 4 months ago | (#45762383)

What is relevant is that the default nanny state setting is “Default Safety“. Almost everythin is blocked in the parental cotnrol setting. I think as a parent you have to manuall add sites to that filter to have anything that resembles the internet.

Re:Useless Article (4, Insightful)

Okian Warrior (537106) | about 4 months ago | (#45763185)

He should have researched his subject, and posted from an informed viewpoint, instead this article is a waste of time.

No, he shouldn't have.

We need to start using the tactics our opponents use. Let the public get the impression that the UK system is bad, by any means. If the UK government has to take the time to patiently explain why the article is wrong, it puts them on the defensive and puts a sliver of doubt in the mind of the public.

It doesn't matter if it's inaccurate or if it's immoral or unfair or anything like that. What matters is whether it's effective.

To quote an old geek saying, it's not enough to be right, you also have to be effective.

A widely-read article that's well written, facially correct (everything he says is true), and casts doubt on the UK filters. That it isn't a fair assessment is immaterial - it serves the right purpose.

Let the UK government respond - we shouldn't be helping them justify the system.

Re:Useless Article (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 4 months ago | (#45764317)

I hate to say it but I have to agree. I was thinking we could do something like they did to that Santorum guy in the US. Redefine "Cameron" as pissing inside someone while having sex with them. Maybe giving someone a Tory could mean safety pins thorough their nipples. Get those terms on the bad word block lists, make them hard to Google.

Is there a submission page for the blocklists? we should start submitting Daily Mail pages in bulk for a mix of child porn and hate mongering. And racism and religious hatred.

Re:Useless Article (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45764447)

protip: all parties do this, and it is the cancer that is killing the free world

instead of trying to be more of a status-mongering chimp, try being less of one

Re:Useless Article (1)

Okian Warrior (537106) | about 4 months ago | (#45764651)

I hate to say it but I have to agree. [...]Maybe giving someone a Tory could mean safety pins thorough their nipples. Get those terms on the bad word block lists, make them hard to Google.

You mean like Prince Albert, yes?

"My love, when I die I want my name to live on as a museum [wikipedia.org] , a library [westerncape.gov.za] , and something uncommon".

"What uncommon thing, dear?"

"Oh, I don't care - surprise me [wikipedia.org] ".

Holy crap - you're right! (1)

Okian Warrior (537106) | about 4 months ago | (#45764735)

From Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] :

The campaign for "santorum" neologism started with a contest held in May 2003 by Dan Savage, a columnist and LGBT rights activist. Savage asked his readers to create a definition for the word "santorum" in response to then-U.S. Senator Rick Santorum's views on homosexuality, and comments about same sex marriage [...] The winning entry, which defined "santorum" as "the frothy mixture of lube and fecal matter that is sometimes the byproduct of anal sex". He created a web site, spreadingsantorum.com (and santorum.com), to promote the definition, which became a top internet search result displacing the Senator's official website on many search engines, including Google, Yahoo! Search, and Bing.

Let's totally do this!

I'll donate $50 towards prize money for the winner of the contest.

This should be done by a Brit. Any takers?

Does it filter this site? (2, Funny)

BringsApples (3418089) | about 4 months ago | (#45762297)

http://genki-genki.com/ [genki-genki.com]

Because I'm trying to figure out if that's even porn or not.

Re:Does it filter this site? (1)

leuk_he (194174) | about 4 months ago | (#45762417)

Wel.. NSFW, that is for sure. That kind of site is the result of the censoring of dicks in japan. So they decide to show something else there. tentacles are not forbidden.

Re:Does it filter this site? (1)

BringsApples (3418089) | about 4 months ago | (#45763257)

Because I'm trying to figure out if that's even porn or not.

Your answer: tentacles are not forbidden

BRRRRP! Wrong answer. The answer that we were looking for was:
It's not even porn, it's odd porn.

Seriously though, jap-fap porn is hard to come by.
Thank-you, thank-you. I'll be here all week.

Terrifying... (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45762339)

Its fucking ridiculous. State-controlled internet filtering is unacceptable in *any* case. Given how we more-or-less live our lives on/via the internet now, I'm shocked that more people aren't vocally objecting to this.

Re:Terrifying... (2)

SternisheFan (2529412) | about 4 months ago | (#45762449)

I can understand /. getting filtered, there is a lot of fucking cursing going on here. Myself, I find it disgraceful!

Re:Terrifying... (0)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | about 4 months ago | (#45763467)

There is a lot of ambiguous or misleading commentary going around here.

The main child safety/evil censorship* tools making the news in recent weeks are being adopted by the top few largest ISPs in the UK. If you don't like it, for now you can still choose another ISP that doesn't do this sort of thing. No need to vocally object, just vote with your wallet, and if you feel like it, tell others that they can do the same.

I suspect that if the government actually tried to institute compulsory censorship, at least if everyone knew about it because it was actually used, that government would not survive the next general election, and it's highly unlikely that the ministers responsible would still be in office by that time.

* Delete as applicable.

Oh noes - the opt-in under-12 filter (4, Informative)

gnoshi (314933) | about 4 months ago | (#45762359)

So, what he's saying is that the blocklist labelled "Parental Control (opt in u12 service)" - i.e. Opt In Under 12 year old - blocks a lot of stuff. Pretty much everything, in fact.
That would be scary, except that it isn't the default opt-out list, and it is apparently intended as a whitelist of known ok sites. Any whitelist based system will block most stuff, because that's kind of the point.

I liked this guys post called Content filtering is stupid, but you are stupider [johnband.org] .
To quote: "However, and unfortunately, most of the last couple of days’ Twitter chat about content filtering has involved gibbering idiots who know fuck all about fuck all talking embarrassing nonsense.". I think that sums the OP nicely.

Re:Oh noes - the opt-in under-12 filter (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45762593)

Funny how the mental sum of seeing people incorrectly assert their opinion in this case is basically 'ah heck people are stupid, guess those governments aint so bad after all, the filter probably works alright.' I mean.. nobody could have thought about that before hand, and readied a cadre of sock puppets to stage the sentiment.. could they?

Re:Oh noes - the opt-in under-12 filter (1)

gnoshi (314933) | about 4 months ago | (#45762673)

Yeah, because that's exactly what the guy I linked too was saying when he said, as his entire second paragraph:

As everyone sensible argued in great detail at the time the PM promised it following a Massive Stupid Media Panic, content filtering is pointless: it’s easy to bypass, provides a false sense of security, leads to false positives so that sex education sites get blocked, and puts the infrastructure in place for a more Daily Mail-friendly government to run wider censorship modes.

The point isn't that filtering isn't stupid. It is.
The point is that the OP is stupid because it isn't actually discussing the filtering that matters. It's similar to bitching that an under-12s bookshop doesn't include books on politics and censorship.

Animal Farm (1)

tepples (727027) | about 4 months ago | (#45763081)

It's similar to bitching that an under-12s bookshop doesn't include books on politics and censorship.

That depends. Do elementary schools over there ban Animal Farm by George Orwell?

Re:Animal Farm (1)

gnoshi (314933) | about 4 months ago | (#45763251)

The analogy was more around the idea that an under-12 bookshop must explicity and intentionally include everything it contains, and everything it contains is included for under-12s. However, that is far from clear from my original statement, so my bad.

If this filtering were being applied to schools then I think it would warrant much more attention, but what we're talking here is the extreme implementation of 'Parents need to manage what their kids do on the Internet'. Don't get me wrong, I don't think this is the best way for parents to do that, but if parents are having to spend so much time choking on how evil the Internet supposedly is for their kids and it's for porn etc etc then the existence of this kind of filtering is inevitable. Some will argue it is a good thing to give parents this option.

Another challenge that applies to the 'elementary school' situation is that in a school library, Animal Farm is a single book. It's there. Someone ordered it, and it got stacked on the shelf. However, on the Internet there are no doubt many thousands of sources for it so whitelisting them all is impractial.

Re:Animal Farm (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45763469)

I know that the movie version was shown in my elementary school back in 197x

Worse than censorship (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45762407)

I just woke up from a comma and I heard that they cut off Angelina Jolie's tater tots? Is this true? Because if it is I don't see the point in living anymore.

I see now why Tipper Gore supported this (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45762413)

It's sad to see this anti-freedom crap leaking out of the US and ruining other countries.

Re:I see now why Tipper Gore supported this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45762655)

Was that a joke? The UK has been doing this kind of shit and surveilling the masses on their own accord for quite some time.

I know it's easier to just always blame America than it is to look at your own country, but maybe one of these days you can consider it.

Anti-circumvention (2)

MichaelSmith (789609) | about 4 months ago | (#45762427)

Information which helps circumvent filters has to be blocked by the filters, for the filters to work. So yeah, thats why lots of other stuff has to be taken out and its why the filters won't work.

Also there's the other thing about webmail. In my experience a lot of casual porn gets delivered by yahoo mail, etc. So are we going to block webmail now?

Re:Anti-circumvention (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 4 months ago | (#45764347)

So what everyone needs to do is put the URL of unblocking information in their signatures. In fact, just put the info in there directly. Post it in every discussion on every mainstream website. Those sites will then be blocked.

Remember those censorship badges you could put on your website out in your forum signature? We have to do everything possible to undermine these filters.

Re:Anti-circumvention (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | about 4 months ago | (#45764441)

Yeah but I don't think you need to. It only takes one post about getting around the filters to get slashdot.org filtered.

childline blocked for u12s (5, Interesting)

toshikodo (2976757) | about 4 months ago | (#45762497)

I just checked to see if the filter would block children from accessing the website of the UK's most important helpline for children, childline [www.childline.org.uk]. Guess what? It does - you really really really couldn't make this shit up. Lets hope the little darlings aren't feeling suicidal as a result, because it also blocks their access to the Samaritans [www.samaritans.org]. Speechless!

Re:childline blocked for u12s (2)

julian67 (1022593) | about 4 months ago | (#45763899)

I just enabled the Kids Safe filter on my TalkTalk broadband. It takes about a minute to take effect after being toggled on or off or the settings changed. I checked that it is active by trying to visit an online betting site. The filter blocked it and informed me that it had done so.

Next I visited http://www.samaritans.org/ [samaritans.org] and then http://www.childline.org.uk/ [childline.org.uk]

Both pages load perfectly normally and are fully accessible. Anyone in the UK with an ISP that offers this filtering can check this for themselves.

If *completely optional* filtering was in fact some kind of draconian censorship then people who object to it would not need to resort to making hysterical misrepresentations, would they?

Uk Govt Censorware Blocks Sites.. (1)

gallondr00nk (868673) | about 4 months ago | (#45762695)

But don't worry, Slashdot still allows any poorly researched knee jerk blog post onto the front page.

Oblig xkcd (4, Interesting)

gmuslera (3436) | about 4 months ago | (#45762723)

Oh, wait, even XKCD [xkcd.com] is blocked according to http://urlchecker.o2.co.uk/ [o2.co.uk] . Even wikipedia is blocked.

Probably the people behind this wants that the UK population be at least as stupid as them. In the race to the bottom there is no winner.

This is not censorship as the user is in control. (4, Informative)

julian67 (1022593) | about 4 months ago | (#45762847)

The article is bunk and the language used is deceitful and apparently deliberately so.

I'm in UK and my ISP is TalkTalk, the first ISP here to introduce such a filter. It is entirely optional. The *account holder* controls it, not the government or the ISP or anyone else. I can switch it off or on at will and it takes just a minute or two to take effect. It is even customisable, for example I can allow/disallow any of the following categories:

Dating
Drugs, Alcohol and Tobacco
Gambling
Pornography
Suicide and Self-Harm
Weapons and Violence

The above are default blocked *if* I enable the filter and don't deselect them. Additionally I can add:

File Sharing Sites
Games
Social Networking

Using the term "censorship" implies that something is redacted, withheld or forbidden or otherwise placed off limits in a way that is outside of the user's control. That is absolutely not the case. The account holder is fully able to switch the filter off or on as they see fit. I was informed of the availability of the filter via email from my ISP and tried it in various options in order to satisfy curiosity and then decided it can remain permanently off.

What the government has done is to require the major ISPs and telcos to implement a filtering system that allows the account holder to opt in or out and even to have fine grained control. Basically this means that adults control their accounts as they like but that children whose mobile phones and internet access is the responsibility of their parents are obliged to defer to the responsible adult.

Allowing adults full discretion is not censorship by any stretch of the imagination. Parents having some say in what their children consume is also not censorship - it is part of parenting.

Re:This is not censorship as the user is in contro (3, Interesting)

mrbester (200927) | about 4 months ago | (#45763063)

No. What this is is a default on filter that you specifically have to opt out from in order to see such subversive content as Childline. Alternatively, it could be stated as a system where you have to specifically opt in to see the same sites as you did yesterday (like Slashdot). Now they have your name and the knowledge that you are a disgusting immoral piece of pond scum of the type the hysterical mouth foamers of the hypocritical Daily Mail would advocate stringing up if they thought they could get away with it.

This is something that has no legislative backing and no Parliamentary support. That that cunt Cameron threatened ISPs in the first place because of some shrill bitch few have even heard of makes it even worse.

Re:This is not censorship as the user is in contro (2, Insightful)

julian67 (1022593) | about 4 months ago | (#45763159)

You use words and phrases such as "pond scum", "mouth foamers", "cunt", "shrill bitch" yet you claim *others* are hysterical?

It's this kind of huge exaggeration and irrational and maniacal reaction that makes discussion futile, or at least too boring and wearisome to pursue. I assume this is intentional as it serves to obscure the facts and clears the field of rational actors leaving the discussion in the hands of people with an axe to grind.

The funny thing is that in your reply you perfectly fulfil the description of an intolerant, unreasonable reactionary who is either deluded or dishonest, all the while clearly imagining yourself to be reasonable, honest and right thinking.

Re:This is not censorship as the user is in contro (1)

mrbester (200927) | about 4 months ago | (#45763999)

It already is in the hands of the axe grinders. They have been far more vocal than a rant on a forum. And, yes, I am intolerant of those who arbitrarily decide what adults can see using any form of the "think of the children" bullshit *and advocate that it is applied by default*.

Porn mags are sold to children. It's illegal but still happens and is the fault of the newsagent. Should every adult who wants to buy one put their name down on a list - and thus be marked - so the innocent kiddies don't get their minds warped? When it comes to online porn it is the responsibility of the parents (i.e. a proper opt in system, which is not what O2, BT and others are implementing under an insidious and undemocratic threat of legislation).

Re:This is not censorship as the user is in contro (2)

gnoshi (314933) | about 4 months ago | (#45763295)

No. What this is is a default on filter that you specifically have to opt out from in order to see such subversive content as Childline.

No it isn't. It's opt-in parental controls for under-12s to limit access to only whitelisted sites.
By all means, get angry about opt-out filters affecting adults which achieve nothing and restrict access to political speech and information, and indeed porn. Just save your anger for cases where they really are opt-out filters which affect adults.

When you are getting angry, though, you may want to present yourself as less of a raving nutbag; otherwise you'll just do the anti-censorship side damage.

Re:This is not censorship as the user is in contro (1)

mrbester (200927) | about 4 months ago | (#45763913)

Is it opt in when it is set by default by the ISP? Or do you consider it to be "implied" opt in, just like Summary Care Records and the care.data transfer, where if you don't even get informed that it happens you are deemed to have agreed to it?

Re:This is not censorship as the user is in contro (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 4 months ago | (#45764377)

These filters are for under 12s, but his point about the global filters is correct. The government is building a database of perverts. What husband or wife would date turn the filter off, if their partner might find out? How long until opting to see violent/pornographic sites is grounds for divorce?

You already get scary warnings when doing legitimate searches. I don't advise trying it but Bing warns you not to be a paedo when you search for words like"lolita", even though it is a normal girl's name, a French pop star, famous book and two noted and awarded films. You probably get a black mark against your name too, just in case you ever want to work with children or date someone who wants to do a police check on you.

Julian67 = Common Purpose shill (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45763129)

Tony Blair even created an agency to train loyalists to shill for his initiatives throughout the UK- an agency called 'COMMON PURPOSE'.

The censorship systems universally applied to mobile phone access to the Internet in the UK were designed to prepare fro similar draconian systems that would apply to ordinary ISP services.

-mobile phone censorship was specifically designed to have as wide a reach as possible, introducing default categories of restrictions that ban all but mainstream media outlets (like those controlled by the BBC and Rupert Murdoch). By definition, being on ANY banned list implies their is something fundamentally WRONG with your content. Banned lists are purposely designed to blacken the reputation of websites in the minds of ordinary people. People who choose to deactivate such filters are labelled in the UK press as 'perverts', 'terrorists', 'extremists', 'anti-social', 'trouble makers', 'mentally ill' - well you get the idea.

-despite what vile shill Julian67 states, it is incredibly DIFFICULT for the user of most mobile phone services to remove the censorship filters. ***NO*** you cannot simply go to a web-page and uncheck the filters- the excuse being that such a system would be 'insecure' and exploitable by the 'kids'. No, most phone companies require a complex series of 'in person' contacts and requests, with the filters being automatically reapplied at the drop of a hat. At every stage, mobile phone operators are trained to question WHY you would want to be such a deviant, and remove their blocks.

-mainstream media journalists in the UK are instructed to NEVER discuss the extent of UK internet censorship, and imply in every report that it somehow blocks only porn and 'illegal' stuff. The 'illegal' meme is essential, for it implies that everything blocked that is not porn is illegal in some sense, and that allowing people the ability to view such material is appalling, and must be prevented by future laws.

In 2014 the BBC, for instance, is planning multiple broadcasts on the basis "DID YOU KNOW THAT N% OF UK HOMES WITH CHILDREN UNDER 18 REFUSE TO ACTIVATE INTERNET FILTERS?". New laws are planned at the end of 2014 making it an offences under child protection principles for households with children to have unfiltered access to the Internet. At the end of 2015, it is proposed to extend this principle as an excuse to make filtering mandatory in most categories, and to make use of VPN services illegal for unlicensed entities (ie., ordinary citizens).

             

Re:Julian67 = Common Purpose shill (1)

julian67 (1022593) | about 4 months ago | (#45763213)

To enable or disable my ISP's filtering I log into my account on ISP's www site using my username and password. I can then switch filtering on or off in a couple of clicks. The changes take effect within a minute or two.

This remains the case whether you call me nasty names or not.

I looked up Common Purpose on Wikipedia and it is apparently a "a British charity that runs leadership development programmes across the UK." which employs 125 staff. I'm not one of them, nor had I ever heard of them until just now.

If I were you I would pay a bit more attention to getting a grasp of some easily available and verifiable facts and a little less to paranoid name calling and exciting conspiracy theories.

Re:This is not censorship as the user is in contro (0)

tepples (727027) | about 4 months ago | (#45763227)

Parents having some say in what their children consume is also not censorship - it is part of parenting.

Is it likewise an acceptable "part of parenting" for an abusive parent to prevent a child from accessing information about child abuse?

Re:This is not censorship as the user is in contro (1)

julian67 (1022593) | about 4 months ago | (#45763367)

Would that by any chance be one of those straw men, a leading question, heavily loaded with bias and expectation?

It's good to see that the well worn but always emotive "think of the children!" is a straw clutched by those people of all persuasions who prefer to carefully avoid dealing with such boring and troublesome things as facts and reason.

Re:This is not censorship as the user is in contro (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45763635)

Nope it's merely a natural consequence of this "think of the children" bullshit.

Re:This is not censorship as the user is in contro (2)

tepples (727027) | about 4 months ago | (#45763679)

It's a reaction to the report [slashdot.org] that ChildLine is blocked, plus guessing at a reason why a parent would want to leave it blocked.

Re:This is not censorship as the user is in contro (1)

julian67 (1022593) | about 4 months ago | (#45763835)

Here are two amazing facts:

1) A telephone can actually be used to make voice calls! The childline number is 0800 1111 and is accessible to anyone with a telephone! Doh.

") Here is an even better fact: I have enabled the "Kids Safe" family filter and checked that it is active by trying to go to a gambling site betuk.com. The filter blocks the site and informs me it has done so. Next I search for childline and follow the link to the official site http://www.childline.org.uk./ [childline.org.uk] It loads as normal.

CHILDLINE IS NOT BLOCKED.

This "but what about childline, think of the children!" argument is utterly bogus and dishonest. Anyone in UK who is a customer of one of the big ISPs or telcos can enable the family filter and see for themselves.

Another thing the family filter does not block is slashdot and nor does it prevent pathetic attention seeking activists telling lies and doing their feeble minded pseudoliberal scaremongering.

Re:This is not censorship as the user is in contro (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45764165)

Censorship doesn't stop being censorship because a parent does it instead of the government. If you will argue for blocking your kids from having free access to information, then have the decency not to make excuses about it.

Blocking information, regardless of the nature of information, is censorship. Let that sink in for a while.

Is *windows*, *update*, *apple* blocked? (2)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 4 months ago | (#45763149)

just wait for one the block by default systems to mess up systems in odd and unseen ways

Existing Solutions Popular? (1)

ScottCooperDotNet (929575) | about 4 months ago | (#45763439)

There's many parental control packages out there, both built into Internet Security suites and stand-alone packages. There are even home-use hardware solutions. Why does the government need to mandate something the market has already taken care of?

It's a shame parents are under the belief they need to keep their kids "pure and innocent" from sex, as if it's some great evil that they grow up to enjoy. No matter how many filters you put up, it doesn't matter because there are still print magazines full of naked women. Teens masturbate, even apes and monkeys do, no matter what your deity says. Internet filtering is like circumcision in the Victorian age, a counterproductive strategy to combat what's at worst a lesser evil than the cure. After all, what's more harmful? Used tissues or the suppression of free speech?

It's a whitelist (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45763691)

Skimming the comments of the article, Anonymous posted

Don't get your panties in a bunch. It would appear 'Parental control' is a whitelist. Only specific children's sites are allowed, everything else is blocked.

Using a Decent ISP will help. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45764171)

Disclosure I work for a ISP (Business not domestic),

I would move to Virgin media first they are going to be the last of the big 5 who add the block, but Andrews & Arnold and Claranet wont add them unless forced to by law (and even then A&A have a reputation for fighting for users rights, one of the owners troll's and sues cold callers) they are not perfect but they are the best of the bunch.

I don't work for the ones listed, I just give my opinion (and use one of the listed ISP's), but if this carrys on I can see a BIG spike in the off shore VPN market.

Great Britain (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45764271)

Britain! Let's all lobotomise the most revolutionary piece of technology ever created so that we never have to look at pictures of dicks when we aren't expecting it. God save the Queen!

Please, someone fucking invade us or something. I am embarrassed. Fuck.

Heh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45764495)

And they wonder why we came to America.

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