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British MPs Propose Censoring Internet By Default 255

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the think-of-the-children dept.
judgecorp writes "An all-party inquiry by British MPs has proposed the Internet should be censored to prevent children seeing 'adult' content. Users would have to opt in to see adult content. The proposal is similar to that already used by mobile operators." From the article: "The move, first suggested in 2010, has been firmed up , after a cross-party Parliamentary inquiry examined the state of online child protection. The current proposal is a 'network-level "Opt-In" system,' going beyond the 'active choice' model launched by ISPs ... last October. ... They also want the Government to 'consider a new regulatory structure for online content, with one regulator given a lead role in the oversight and monitoring of Internet content distribution and the promotion of Internet safety initiatives.'"
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British MPs Propose Censoring Internet By Default

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  • by Dog-Cow (21281) on Wednesday April 18, 2012 @10:27AM (#39723193)

    When the parent opts in, how does that prevent a child from using his PC or iPod Touch from using the same connection?

    Finally, a good reason for ipv6 NAT :)

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 18, 2012 @10:32AM (#39723239)

      I'm 15 and I still can't figure how not allowing me to watch pron is protecting me.

      • by SJHillman (1966756) on Wednesday April 18, 2012 @10:39AM (#39723329)

        Just because you already learned it in sex ed years earlier doesn't mean you should know it!

      • by cpu6502 (1960974) on Wednesday April 18, 2012 @10:50AM (#39723465)

        Same here. When I was a teen I started downloading nude women on my Commodore 64 and Amiga (4000 color), and it didn't do me any harm. (Except give me a strange nostalgia for low-res 360x240 photos.)

      • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 18, 2012 @11:01AM (#39723605)

        OK, seriously, here's the only warning teenage boys need about porn:

        Porn is to IRL sex as movie car chases are to IRL driving. They do some things that look cool but would be absolutely horrible IRL. If you jump your Charger/Camaro 20ft. in the air it is going to be wrecked when it hits the ground. If you try to do anything seen in a F&F2+ movie you'll cause a horrible accident (or if you're lucky, turn your transmission into a box of metal cornflakes first). In movie car chases the laws of physics are fictionalized. In (straight) porn, it's women's sexuality.

        Using spit for lube is freaking gross and doesn't work, and anal sex can cause horrible, painful anal fissures. Sperm burns like hell if it gets in your eye. Most women don't want you to cum in their mouth and many don't even like it on the face. Just jamming your cock in and thrusting like mad won't pleasure most of them, they like a lot of foreplay - sucking your dick doesn't count as foreplay. I could go on but I think these are the most important.

        So watch and enjoy but don't emulate.

      • by daem0n1x (748565)
        They're trying to prevent you from wanking yourself to death.
    • by FyRE666 (263011) *

      Do not question our infallible overlords. There's no way this idea could possibly fail. It's foolproof...

    • They simply would not opt in, theoretically.

      • by Jawnn (445279)

        They simply would not opt in, theoretically.

        Uh, yeah. Sure. Parents would never look at Pr0n.

        • by forkfail (228161)

          I suspect that this site, due to this thread, would now be considered a site that one had to "opt in" to view.

    • by X0563511 (793323)

      It would place the blame firmly on the parents for opting in?

    • by digitig (1056110)

      When the parent opts in, how does that prevent a child from using his PC or iPod Touch from using the same connection?

      What child? There are no children in my household.

    • by Rakishi (759894) on Wednesday April 18, 2012 @10:54AM (#39723517)

      Simple solution, parents should never ever opt-in and any who do are obviously unfit since, as you said, their children may sue their computers. So if they do then the parent will simply be brought up for child endangerment charges and have their children taken away. Problem solved.

      Given the UK's famous bureaucracy, I give it two years before their version of the CPC starts using that line of argument.

      • Simple solution, parents should never ever opt-in and any who do are obviously unfit since, as you said, their children may sue their computers.

        Ah, I love it when a typo transforms into profound social commentary!

      • by StillNeedMoreCoffee (123989) on Wednesday April 18, 2012 @01:15PM (#39725417)

        Ahh Catch 22 all over again. This prudish anti-natural anti-sensual puritan ethic is what causes so much trouble in the world, not the least is the troubles from fights to wars caused by sexual repression exploding out in other area's of peoples lives. The assumptions of what is bad here (love as opposed to say war) should be what is being questioned. We are regressing to older times where old ladies with umbrellas would take after children who were holding hands in public. Lets not go there shall we?

        • by ghostdoc (1235612)

          I completely agree. It is a messed-up culture that lets its children watch people brutally murder each other but not gently screw each other.

          I blame the christian church's poisonous use of sex as a weapon of population mind control. We should not feel guilty about having sex!

    • by joocemann (1273720) on Wednesday April 18, 2012 @11:35AM (#39724029)

      How about we leave the internet alone, as is, and then hold parents responsible for their kids! Yay for responsibility!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 18, 2012 @10:28AM (#39723205)

    America has dibs on taking away liberties in the name of child safety, sorry UK, find your own thing.

  • by Thanshin (1188877) on Wednesday April 18, 2012 @10:28AM (#39723211)

    This would be a better world if we just shot all politicians who used the instinct to protect children to push agendas.

    • by Quiet_Desperation (858215) on Wednesday April 18, 2012 @10:41AM (#39723341)

      Or people could just stop voting the alpha sociopaths into positions of power and- pbbbbbbtttt BAH HA HA HA... yeah, couldn't keep a straight face there.

    • by cpu6502 (1960974) on Wednesday April 18, 2012 @10:43AM (#39723379)

      Think of the children in 10-15 years when they're grown up. As young adults will they want to live in a world where they have a censored internet? Of course not. By protecting children, you are actually HARMING them by limiting their freedom as free, adult citizens.

      • Think of the children in 10-15 years when they're grown up. As young adults will they want to live in a world where they have a censored internet? Of course not. By protecting children, you are actually HARMING them by limiting their freedom as free, adult citizens.

        Agreed - this is "helicopter parenting," made worse by the fact that the vast majority of the people affected will be adults who have not been in need of parenting for quite some time.

    • Ban Bullshit (Score:4, Insightful)

      by kawabago (551139) on Wednesday April 18, 2012 @11:11AM (#39723731)
      to silence all politicians!
    • by hemo_jr (1122113)
      The last resort of the scoundrel is no longer patriotism, it is paternalism.
  • Hmmmm (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SJHillman (1966756) on Wednesday April 18, 2012 @10:30AM (#39723217)

    I thought the Internet already had an opt-in. It's called getting on the Internet. There's already plenty of solutions for parents to limit what children can see on the Internet (including technological solutions and good parenting). Why fuck it up for the rest of us by adding yet another layer of complexity that can go wrong and block everything?

    "Teacher, I couldn't do my homework because the government required an opt-in for Wikipedia because there could be a link to a link to an article with citations that might contain a penis."

    • Re:Hmmmm (Score:4, Informative)

      by X0563511 (793323) on Wednesday April 18, 2012 @10:56AM (#39723541) Homepage Journal

      Problem solved. [schools-wikipedia.org] ... not that I disagree with you, I'm just ruining your particular example.

      • by Thud457 (234763)
        blocked by my firewall at work.
        • by X0563511 (793323)

          That's special...

          Well, what it is is a reviewed hand-selected wiki dump that is downloadable and fits on a DVD. The articles are selected to mesh with the curriculum of most UK schools.

    • by Imrik (148191)

      I think if I ran an ISP required to provide censored internet I would use a whitelist consisting of the ISP's website. Attempting to access any other site, or even to get to your ISP provided email (someone could send porn to your children through it) would require opting-in.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 18, 2012 @10:31AM (#39723229)

    "Opt-in by default" makes no sense. I believe they mean "Opt-out"

  • by forkfail (228161) on Wednesday April 18, 2012 @10:34AM (#39723259)

    ... hasn't been paying attention.

    They won't quit until all 'net speech is controlled, censored and regulated.

    • britiain? control freaks?

      bah!

    • by X0563511 (793323)

      I'm sorry, part of your comment is missing and impairs it's readability. You might try typing it all into the body next time.

      That said, this is exactly what is going on. The UK is just ahead of the US, that is - we're still fighting the copyright battle... they have yet to pull the "think of the children" card from the deck.

  • by Baloroth (2370816) on Wednesday April 18, 2012 @10:37AM (#39723283)

    How will the system distinguish between children and adults? At a guess, I'm thinking you would need some sort of login system, where known adults would have a login they could use to access "uncensored" Internet (oh and yeah I'm guessing torrents would be censored by default too, since of course you can use that for porn also), which means they will be able to track anyone accessing "undesirable" content. Oh but of course the government would never do such a thing... right? Only people who access illegal things need to worry about the government watching you! Just think of the children!

    And anyways it'll never work, new sites spring up way to fast for a censor to keep track of them all, unless you use a white-list for approved content, so again, if you browse "unapproved" content, you will need to log-in to the system, which allows for tracking. Paranoid? Maybe. You can bet many governments would absolutely love such a system, though.

    And of course, if you decry the system as restrictive, you must be a pedophile who hates children and wants them to see porn. Obviously.

  • "Congress shall make no law... abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press." They can't censor the internet. Or cable TV. Or books. Or newspapers. Doesn't the UK have a similar Bill of Rights to forbid the Parliament from censoring the right of speech?

    • by KermodeBear (738243) on Wednesday April 18, 2012 @10:44AM (#39723389) Homepage

      They can pass laws regarding "obscene" content.

      The Supreme Court has found that obscenity is an exception to the constitutional rights under the First Amendment, and is usually limited to content that directly refers to explicit sexual acts that are publicly accessible, though it has at times encompassed other subject matters, such as spoken and written language that can be publicly transmitted and received by the general public.

      • by cpu6502 (1960974)

        Got examples in the last 2 decades where obscene content was censored by the U.S. Congress? I'm trying to think of some, but came up with nothing.

        The sole exception is broadcast TV/radio and that's only because the broadcast spectrum is visible to everyone (therefore the FCC restricts its use). Cable TV or radio is not censored. Nor the internet. Or books/newspapers.

        • Got examples in the last 2 decades where obscene content was censored by the U.S. Congress? I'm trying to think of some, but came up with nothing.

          Probably because Congress doesn't handle censorship of "obscene" content, the FCC does.

          To that end: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Super_Bowl_XXXVIII_halftime_show_controversy#Aftermath_and_effects [wikipedia.org]

          • by cpu6502 (1960974)

            CanHasDIY doesn't know how to read. I quote my previous post - "The sole exception is broadcast TV/radio and that's only because the broadcast spectrum is visible to everyone (therefore the FCC restricts its use). Cable TV or radio is not censored. Nor the internet. Or books/newspapers." The Congress and its subordinate agencies are forbidden by the Superior law of the Constitution.

    • by 1s44c (552956)

      "Congress shall make no law... abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press." They can't censor the internet. Or cable TV. Or books. Or newspapers. Doesn't the UK have a similar Bill of Rights to forbid the Parliament from censoring the right of speech?

      No, it doesn't. But even if it did the governments of the world can and do break their own rules.

    • by sohmc (595388)

      You must be new here.

      A few months ago, Congress was considering a bill known as SOPA & PIPA. While the sponsoring representatives said this legislation was necessary to stop copyright pirates, many technical people said it would cripple the internet. SOPA was pretty much going to pass, if it weren't for the "meddling nerds" who just painted the law in a negative light, forcing the representatives to table the bill for a non-election year.

      There is a difference between how the world *SHOULD* be and how

    • by MoonBuggy (611105)

      The UK actually has remarkably weak free-speech protections - there are a few cases of people going to prison for a couple of posts on Twitter or Facebook already. My impression (from having lived in both countries) is that the UK has a few terrifyingly bad laws that manage to remain because they are rarely applied, whereas the US has a whole swath of moderately bad laws which are applied with some regularity. Both systems suck, but I marginally prefer the UK's, for the moment.

    • The UK doesn't have a written constitution like the US.
      The closest thing we have to the Bill Of Rights is the Human Rights Act, but there is widespread opposition to it based on the fact that it gives rights to prisoners, foreigners and other folks who seem a bit shifty. That enshrines a right to freedom of expression, but provides exceptions "for the protection of health or morals" which I guess would allow this law.

      Even in the US, it could be argued that this isn't censorship since you can choose not
  • Awesome! Lead the way into a free and unshackled future of- oh, wait... what?!

  • by JustAnotherIdiot (1980292) on Wednesday April 18, 2012 @10:39AM (#39723327)
    What to protect the children from the internet? Disconnect from it.
    Bam! No porn, no children being hurt, no annoying/expensive laws needed.
    • by SirGarlon (845873)
      If only that were possible. I don't have kids in school but my impression is that public schools (in the U.S.) these days require kids to use the Web. I think keeping one's kids off the Net till they are 13 or so could be a sensible decision for some parents, but unfortunately the government officials who run the schools deny us that option.
  • Backwards (Score:2, Interesting)

    by wisnoskij (1206448)

    Should they not first prove that porn is harmful to children?

    And I thought that Europe was supposed to be less prudish then North America.

    • Re:Backwards (Score:5, Insightful)

      by TheGratefulNet (143330) on Wednesday April 18, 2012 @10:53AM (#39723507)

      this is the UK. the UK is NOT EUROPE.

      even europeans don't want to be mixed in with the UK riffraff.

      sorry brits, but you truly have fallen. a once great culture, you have fallen so fully and completely.

      so sad.

      • by MoonBuggy (611105)

        Particularly irritating is that the UK's comparatively sub-par language education makes it rather difficult to move to one of the parts of Europe in a better political state.

      • OH, the UK might once of been important enough for a small country sized island group to be considered a continent but that is not true any longer.
        And besides it appears the UK is in Europe as far as academics are concerned (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Europe), but even more surprisingly Iceland is as well.

  • If we protect them properly, the only thing the world will have to offer when they turn 18 is some kind of corporate sponsored police state.

    • by Dan1701 (1563427) on Wednesday April 18, 2012 @11:39AM (#39724095)

      You can tell that most of the comments on this posting are from outside the UK, because they all assume that the net filter will be effective. It will not. The UK has a long track record of egregious and laughable failure wherever any form of computing device is involved in government. The previous government spend twelve billion pounds (roughly $18 000 000 000 US) on a healthcare computer system which to date has not delivered ANY working product. Indeed this NHS computer system was so dire, so doomed to failure that one of the participant companies recently bought their way out of the original contract.

      UK ministers are computer-illiterate morons almost to a man. They are also utterly incapable of running a project successfully, and the companies which prey upon these dullards know this, expect it and exploit it. Any normal project will run via one of the many project management organisational systems, going from initiation through problem capture, solution design, build and implementation phases. Once out of problem capture phases, any good project manager will tell any interfering PHB that amendments to the project will be added to the wishlist for Project 2.0 and will not be acted upon at that time.

      This does not happen with most UK Government IT projects; ministerial interference is expected (and indeed hoped for) since it gives the outsourcing companies a very good excuse for why the project is not functioning and producing the expected deliverable. Interference also allows them to push up costs and milk the boondoggle for all it is worth before it gets canned. To summarise, there are companies in the UK which make a point of getting paid for not producing working results.

      To date in this parliament we have already had a proposal to build a vast Internet spying system to try to incriminate as many UK citizens as possible, whilst conspicuously ignoring such minor and unimportant inventions as Tor Onion routing and VPNs to neutral countries. Now we're getting another similar internet control scheme, once again conceived by utter morons and to be implemented by exploitative outsourcers. All this in the current economic climate, too.

      At present the UK has a structural deficit. It is spending more money per year than it can find in taxes, and is borrowing the remainder by selling bonds and by magicking more money into existence with quantitative easing. The main bank interest rate is being held at 0.5% to try to force people to spend rather than save, and none of these supposed remedies are working. The government is also deeply wedded to the EU project, despite this entity's slow and inevitable fiscal collapse, and seems to want to carry on feeding this beast too. The aforementioned spying projects can therefore be viewed as the actions of scared fools trying to do something, because they don't know how to solve the looming crisis that is about to hit them.

  • If they're going to filter any pornography, I demand that they also filter words with the letter 'e' in them. They offend me greatly when written by other people, so to be safe it's best to just get rid of all of them.

    [Filtered]

    If going to any pornography, I that also words with in. by, so to it's to just rid of all of.

  • by garyok (218493) on Wednesday April 18, 2012 @10:49AM (#39723447)

    Reading the report, all parties consulted were either child protection special interest groups or the ISPs (whose arguments could be dismissed as just them trying to save money). No-one from any civil liberties groups were asked to testify. This is the archetype of the Nanny State infantilising its electorate. And would (as pointed out upthread) require people to sign into their ISP and enable personalised tracking of web browsing.

    Fuck that.

  • Just take those British children offline, along with their funny spelling.

  • Thanks, but I've got this.
    There are, at my disposal, many technological tools for censoring this or that content on my Internet connection. If I feel the need, I can make easily make it reasonably certain that nobody using that connection can see naked human naughty bits. Please butt out.
    • Thanks, but I've got this.

      There are, at my disposal, many technological [censored] for censoring this or that content on my Internet connection. If I feel the need, I can make easily make it reasonably certain that nobody using that connection can see [censored] human naughty bits. Please [censored] out.

      You know they are not going to draw the line at a sensible point, right?

  • Well there goes the instruction book.

    And the historians say: Look another version of fabricated guilt over things in nature.

    And the religious leaders say: Wonderful... more business

    And the underage geeks say: Dammit we're busted.

    And law enforcement say: Wonderful... more business.

    And the Catholic church sex abusers say: Thanks you god, we need sex ignorant children.

    And you say: ...

  • Now I can relax and leave my children to surf totally unsupervised, completely safe in the knowledge that there is no way that the curious inventiveness of technically literate young people can bypass the... eh, no son, that octopus-thing us just giving the nice lady a hug, in all her private places.
  • Knowing what the brits are capable of inventing to legally steal money (congestion charge anyone?), I give it 2 years before the activation for adult content is a privilege you must pay for.

    JigJag

  • Politicians conflate the printing press with what it prints when it comes to the internet.

    And perhaps intentionally.

  • by phonewebcam (446772) on Wednesday April 18, 2012 @11:10AM (#39723727) Homepage

    Clearly these British MP's can all be trusted and have no ulterior motive for such censorship. Why, if they'd had their way, we'd never know about the great corruption exposure of the summer of 2009 [wikipedia.org] where MP's from every party were variously fiddling their duck houses [telegraph.co.uk], moats [wikipedia.org] and yes, even the noble Home Secretary was at it fiddling her (yes, her!) porn [wikipedia.org].

    That's the thing about censorship and control freakery. You have to trust the people doing it 100% or you are screwed.

  • So? Kids have had access to all manner of internet smut for ages now. So what effects has this had? I don't see any myself.

    Maybe we don't need to go to extraordinary lengths to shelter our children from reality. It need not be any different than them seeing people using drugs, drinking alcohol, or being unspeakably violent toward each other on the television. Just sit them down and explain to them that such things are very fun for adults, but they are not for children.

    But that is just me, speakin
  • Here's an idea for the politicians out there: if parents are unable or unwilling to monitor and regulate the behavior of their children, IT IS NOT THE JOB OF GOVERNMENT TO DO IT FOR THEM. When an army of porn-addled youngsters starts rioting in the streets, then maybe we should consider drastic measures. In the meantime, please stop couching every idiotic bit of nanny state nonsense in terms of protecting the poor defenseless children.

  • "Would the Prime Minister admit that he opted in for adult content on the internet connection at Number 10? And would the Prime Minister further agree that he's as much a hoary old stoat as any of those involved in the Profumo Affair?"

  • by ThatsNotPudding (1045640) on Wednesday April 18, 2012 @12:08PM (#39724417)
    And nothing else, ever. Especially the unbreakable, distopian police state they will inherit.
  • by naich (781425) on Thursday April 19, 2012 @04:56AM (#39732261) Homepage

    This is just a report from a parliamentary inquiry and is not being proposed as a new law. Personally, I can't see it making it through the system even if it does get proposed at some point. There are many more important things that are actually in the process of being made law that we should concentrate on.

Chairman of the Bored.

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