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Censorship The Internet Your Rights Online

UK Gov. Wants IWF List To Cover 100% of UK Broadband 281

wild_quinine writes "The UK government stated in 2006 that they wished to see 100% of UK consumer broadband ISPs' connections covered by blocking, which includes images of child abuse. 95% of ISPs have complied, but children's charities are calling for firmer action by the government as the last 5% cite costs and concerns over the effectiveness of the system. According to Home Office Minister Alan Campbell, 'The government is currently looking at ways to progress the final 5%.' With a lack of transparency in the IWF list, firm government involvement, and blocking that only 'includes' (but may not be limited to) images of child abuse, it looks like the writing is on the wall for unfiltered, uncensored Internet connections in the UK."
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UK Gov. Wants IWF List To Cover 100% of UK Broadband

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  • Re:Absurd! (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 24, 2009 @04:04AM (#26966861)
    meanwhile, they did it in Italy, and nobody said a thing.
  • Not So (Score:3, Informative)

    by shin0r ( 208259 ) on Tuesday February 24, 2009 @05:21AM (#26967227) Homepage

    Some ISPs will never comply. Super Awesome for the win! []

    I'll get me coat

  • Re:Hold your horses (Score:3, Informative)

    by nmg196 ( 184961 ) on Tuesday February 24, 2009 @05:37AM (#26967289)

    Zen are about the highest rated ISP on [] but they're not particularly cheap. You get what you pay for though, and the service and support are the best I've ever seen from an ISP. Beware though, of fairly low download allowances unless you spend a lot of money. I was with them for a few years and only switched away to get better value through a local unbundled ISP.

  • Re:Who is the 5%? (Score:3, Informative)

    by sakdoctor ( 1087155 ) on Tuesday February 24, 2009 @05:45AM (#26967329) Homepage [] is one.

  • Re:Who is the 5%? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Ciarang ( 967337 ) on Tuesday February 24, 2009 @06:09AM (#26967439)

    Try [] - they use Entanet as their upstream provider (no filtering, as another commenter pointed out). Additionally, you are supporting free software by using them, and unlike pretty much every other they are customer friendly - e.g. if you want a MAC code, you can get one instantly from their web site, without them making you go through multiple phone calls where they try and persuade you not to leave.

    Check out their statement of policy:

    Statement of policy regarding censorship, Phorm/Webwise and other content interception

    Our policy is that the electronic communications of our customers are private. We do not intercept, censor, scan or otherwise interfer with our customers' internet service.

    UKFSN does not and will not have any dealings with Phorm, the company behind the Webwise system being deployed by some other ISPs to intercept customer internet traffic. We are firmly of the opinion that the Phorm Webwise system is illegal under UK and EU laws. We also believe it to be fundamentally unethical to intercept customer traffic in this manner. It will never happen here.

    There is some suggestion that the UK government would like to mandate some form of interception and possibly censorship. We would encourage all interested persons to make it clear to MPs and the government generally that this is not acceptable.

  • Re:Absurd! (Score:3, Informative)

    by Nursie ( 632944 ) on Tuesday February 24, 2009 @06:52AM (#26967643)

    If Daemon only hijack dns requests then they're doing it differently to everyone else. The 'normal' way to use IWF is to route the actual http requests via a logging/blocking proxy.

  • by Brian Ribbon ( 986353 ) on Tuesday February 24, 2009 @07:31AM (#26967853) Journal

    "it's more "Any kind of filtering is bad"
    thin end of the wedge type of thing. First it's Child porn, once that's gone we'll move on to the next most horrific thing, until eventually all we have left are things we don't consider bad at the moment.

    Actually, they're already starting to use child pornography as a wedge tactic for wider censorship of the internet. A research paper [] for the Coroners and Justice Bill mentioned that a clause criminalising foreign ISPs who violate UK virtual child porn laws [] "could potentially provide a test bed for the future development of wider internet regulation."

  • by Anne Thwacks ( 531696 ) on Tuesday February 24, 2009 @07:46AM (#26967927)
    child abuse

    UK statistics generally include "use rude words or making offensive statements" under the heading of abuse, and thus calling a child "ignorant" is lumped in the same category as raping them. While this strategy makes the problem seem worse to some, it makes the statistics completely worthless.

    I think we should ban pencils and paper, because people might draw their own porn.

  • Re:Absurd! (Score:4, Informative)

    by VJ42 ( 860241 ) * on Tuesday February 24, 2009 @08:09AM (#26968049)

    Strictly speaking, if you want to put a numeric identifier on it, Australia would be in the second world although the term "New World" is generallay used.

    Er.. No, second world was the east European communist block. Australia, has never been in the soviet sphere of influence as far as I know.

  • by radio4fan ( 304271 ) on Tuesday February 24, 2009 @09:15AM (#26968417)

    Next chance I get, I'm off.

    Shamefully reposted from the last time we had a story like this:

    I left in 2007.

    There wasn't one single thing that made me go, but the accumulative weight of paranoia and illiberalism.

    Shamelessly ripped off from here []:

            * The government can ban any groups it labels 'terrorist' (Terrorism Act 2000)
            * The government can monitor any and all private communication (Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000)
            * Armed forces can be deployed on UK soil in peacetime (Civil Contingencies Act 2004)
            * Property and assets can be seized without warning or compensation (Civil Contingencies Act 2004)
            * Spontaneous protest is now illegal around Parliament (Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005)
            * Without trial, any British citizen can be tagged, put under house arrest and banned from using the telephone or internet (Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005)
            * Any citizen can be imprisoned without charge for 28 days (42 days has passed the house of commons) (Terrorism Act 2006)
            * The executive can change any current legislation without consulting Parliament, with very few exceptions (Legislative and Regulatory Reform Act 2006)
            * Arbitrary punishments with no legal precedents can be issued with little legal recourse, based on hearsay evidence (Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003)
            * British citizens can be extradicted to the United States with no evidence presented (Extradition Act 2003)
            * Compulsory identification for all British citizens, with an unlimited amount of details stored in a central database, which the private sector will have access to (Identity Cards Act 2006)
            * Upon arrest the police have claim to your DNA, even if you are released without charge (Criminal Justice Act 2003)

    Note that some of this predates 9/11.

    The government is not-so-gradually putting in place all the mechanisms that a totalitarian police state needs.

    What's sickening is that this is largely supported by or ignored by the public.

    Every letter I wrote to my MP was replied to by a "we need it to keep people safe, and the public support this measure" fob-off.

    In theory I should stick around to try and change things, but it's like staying in a pool that other people are shitting in.

    I first left for France, now I'm living in Spain. These countries are not Utopias, but they are a hell of a lot better than the UK. There are no moral panics about predatory paedophiles, and the 'content industries' are not so powerful. And it doesn't rain so much.

  • Finland (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 24, 2009 @09:20AM (#26968447)

    Why does this sound so familiar?

    Oh, wait, yeah.

    Here in Finland we have DNS-blocking of whole domains by "voluntary" ISPs for the use of blocking child pornography.

    ( Voluntary in the sense that the actual argument goes, if they won't participate we'll make it mandatory. )

    A) This just hides the problem from people's minds without doing anything to prevent the actual child abuse from happening. It also takes resources away from this work.

    B) The time to go around the block is the time it takes to type (for example) OpenDNS DNS numbers.

    C) The list is secret so there's no way of knowing what is being blocked...

    D) ...Unless of course you do a comparison of blocked DNS listing to a one not blocked. Essentially the police is just posting a list where to find the stuff.

    E) Mistakes happen and stuff ends up on the list that should not be there. We are supposed to trust that this happens really seldom and is corrected.

    F) We already had laws that covered everything needed to prosecute people guilty of child abuse. There was no need for this.

    G) As an added bonus the law violates the Finnish Constitution.

    H) As was predicted, there has been suggestions of blocking net poker sites, sites that violate copyright...

    So, UK, welcome to the club. My English is much better than my Chinese.

  • Biased BBC article (Score:3, Informative)

    by mdwh2 ( 535323 ) on Tuesday February 24, 2009 @10:07AM (#26968853) Journal

    Indeed - the recent Wikipedia / Virgin Killer example shows that their definition is not just about abuse. Another example would be to note that the law now covers images up to 18, even though the age of consent is 16, so anything above that is entirely legal to do.

    The IWF like to talk about "child abuse images", but their actual list covers anything which is potentially an "indecent" image of somebody under 18.

    I'm particularly displeased at the BBC's bias on this article - they reproduce the spin that this is just about images of child abuse, and don't give any opposing point of view (apart from a brief statement from Zen Internet - good on them). No mention of the issues with Wikipedia (it only appears in "See also", which is presumably an automated list).

    They also mention the NSPCC and the Children's Charities Coalition on Internet Safety, implying that two organisations are lobbying for this - but the NSPCC are in fact a member of the latter group!

    You can complain about bias: []

  • by mdwh2 ( 535323 ) on Tuesday February 24, 2009 @10:21AM (#26969019) Journal

    Indeed. And another problem with the UK's censorship is that you don't even know the site is censored - they just falsely return a fake 404 error.

    We should aspire to be like Saudi Arabia [] - their censorship system presents "an official government page instead, telling you that it is blocked. You can even fill in a form explaining why you think the site should be unblocked".

  • Re:Hold your horses (Score:3, Informative)

    by jimicus ( 737525 ) on Tuesday February 24, 2009 @10:47AM (#26969315)

    Funnily enough, that may be easier than you think.

    I'm quite sure I've noticed a shift from the media in the last couple of months away from "ID everyone!!11" and towards "Is this a Big Brother state?". Wonderful, it only took them about 5 years.

  • Re:Absurd! (Score:2, Informative)

    by Hegsa ( 1442669 ) on Tuesday February 24, 2009 @01:27PM (#26971903)
    They already have one list, not IWF but Finnish censorship list: []

You know, Callahan's is a peaceable bar, but if you ask that dog what his favorite formatter is, and he says "roff! roff!", well, I'll just have to...