Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed


Forgot your password?
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."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

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

Comments Filter:
  • Re:Absurd! (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 24, 2009 @04:01AM (#26966847)

    As troublesome as this recent trend for censorship of internet connections in the first world (Australia also) is, I can't help but think it might be good that it's happening now.

    Because of the nature of most governments, it seems inevitable that this will happen eventually, and the sooner it happens the sooner we will see serious development effort put into software for bypassing over-zealous filters.

    Let's get coding!

  • Re:Not entirely... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by u38cg ( 607297 ) <> on Tuesday February 24, 2009 @04:24AM (#26966967) Homepage
    More to the point, the legislation just states that ISPs must have a filtering system in place. My ISP does exactly that, and builds their own filters based on user reports. So far, no problems accessing Wikipedia (or indeed anything else).
  • Why block? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by PatDev ( 1344467 ) on Tuesday February 24, 2009 @04:34AM (#26966999)

    Maybe I'm missing something here. I've always wondered why there was a rush to block images of child abuse like this. As long as these sites are up, there is still a possibility for authorities to identify the guilty parties through the websites.

    If every ISP blocks 100%, then not even cops can get an unfiltered connection. That means that they have stopped trying to catch the child pornographers, they just want to pretend they don't exist.

    These are real children being abused. Their abusers are handing the police evidence. Why the rush to ignore it? Why not just monitor them? Keep track of who visits or whatever.

  • Who is the 5%? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ActionJesus ( 803475 ) on Tuesday February 24, 2009 @04:42AM (#26967027)

    Can let me know who the 5% that arent signed up are so I can transfer over to them? If i wanted censored internet, Id move to China.

  • Re:Hold your horses (Score:5, Interesting)

    by h4rm0ny ( 722443 ) on Tuesday February 24, 2009 @04:42AM (#26967029) Journal

    I'm a regular and long-term supporter of Barnardos who do a lot of great work. I'm sorry to see them on the list of signees for this charity and I shall write to them about it in due course. NSPCC I am not at all surprised to see on the list as they are an organization primarily focused on fear and shock tactics. They do little more than terrify adults from the very idea of having contact with children for fear of being suspected a child abuser.
  • Re:Hold your horses (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Ed Avis ( 5917 ) <> on Tuesday February 24, 2009 @05:04AM (#26967141) Homepage

    Same here. I would never give money to the NSPCC but I'm happy to support Barnados. I hope we can get them to change their mind on the subject - or at least, recognize that political lobbying is not one of the functions of a children's charity.

    I was pleased to see that my ISP, Zen Internet, is one of those refusing to bow to the IWF. I will continue to recommend them to friends and family as a sensible, human-run provider.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 24, 2009 @05:06AM (#26967155)

    I'd be interested to see where you think you are going to go when you 'get off'. These things are in various stages of implementation all over the world. The same excuses are given everywhere too, national security,to stop terrorists, protect the children and prevent copyright infringement. Let us know when you find this libertarian paradise you intend to live in.

  • It's more nuanced (Score:4, Interesting)

    by igb ( 28052 ) on Tuesday February 24, 2009 @05:25AM (#26967239)
    I was at the meeting at Portcullis House at which this was announced yesterday (the media coverage was the usual pre-event trailing). John Carr was there but didn't speak, but the minister made a decent speech. The basic position seems to be that industry agreed to use the Cleanfeed system on residential links in exchange for there not being legislation, but some of the industry is saying no on the grounds of cost and effectiveness (not, notably, on any cyber-libertarian position, although that may be their underlying motive). Those parts of the industry which have followed the Cleanfeed line voluntarily are annoyed about cost and complexity that they are shouldering which their competitors aren't.

    My position is that, given that we're not going to be able to avoid the basic problem, legislation is actually not necessarily a bad thing. It would plave the IWF on a legislative footing, which would alter the governance and the contestability in potentially a good way. But people I have immense respect who know a lot more about this stuff disagree, and think the upside (judicial oversight) would not be worth the downside (ministers making positions).

    Sadly, it seems that a huge part of the e-crime agenda is being devoted to child porn, which is only one past of the issue and one where the end users aren't the victims. Fraud and other issues are being subsumed.

  • by Sobrique ( 543255 ) on Tuesday February 24, 2009 @06:03AM (#26967403) Homepage
    The thing is, making the images difficult to access might actually be counterproductive - I mean, making them in the first place is already illegal.
    But think of the person who acquires that sort of thing? The person who does, for whatever reason, find 'underage' to be sexually attractive. This person is ... well, is faced with having to repress their desire, because society deems it wrong, and it's illegal too.
    (I could perhaps draw the parallels with homosexuality, although granted that this is more one sided)
    Anyway, is it better for this person to be viewing porn, or is it better for them to spend their lives sexually frustrated to the point where they might just 'snap'?
    Mostly though, I think censorship of ... anything ... is undesirable and oppressive. So fits in quite nicely with the current emergent dynamics of the UK government. 25% of the CCTV cameras of the world. Yeah baby.
  • Re:Absurd! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by DangerFace ( 1315417 ) on Tuesday February 24, 2009 @06:03AM (#26967407) Journal
    I agree wholeheartedly. I know a guy in Manchester who ran a website - just one of those collections of offensive jokes, pictures of mutilated corpses, all that crap. Needless to say, they didn't take it very seriously and neither did anyone else - I mean, these guys trolled on their own forum. Well, one day dawn broke to the sound of their door, which was also broken thanks to the police battering ram. No, they weren't hosting pictures of child abuse - they had some hentai on their site and had neglected to state clearly that the individuals portrayed as being chopped in half while being tentacle raped were 18. Eventually the case was dropped when the police realised they had no case, and to this day those guys use stolen police evidence bags as baggies for weed - possibly the most ironic thing I have ever encountered first hand. Last I heard it was a year after the police had dropped the case and they still didn't have the domain, or even their PCs, back.
  • Re:Absurd! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Ed Avis ( 5917 ) <> on Tuesday February 24, 2009 @06:07AM (#26967421) Homepage

    It's a shame nobody has put the IWF list on Wikileaks by now...

  • by shinier ( 949631 ) on Tuesday February 24, 2009 @06:20AM (#26967479)
    I would much rather they got their kicks jerking off to CP, than taking it out on a child... This just delegates your child abuse to the person producing the videos. You'd have to be pretty utilitarian to suggest that forcing a small number of children to be abused on camera is better than a larger number being abused in private.
  • What about Google? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mangu ( 126918 ) on Tuesday February 24, 2009 @06:28AM (#26967523)

    The Government have their 'block', ISPs are 'doing something' and we have our Internet. All of it.

    If you depend on Google [] for your searches, you don't have access to the whole internet []

  • by Brian Ribbon ( 986353 ) on Tuesday February 24, 2009 @06:37AM (#26967573) Journal

    As soon as you use those words, you have lost your argument in the eyes of the general public. Studies [] have shown that most illegal images of children do not involve sexual abuse. Data from Garda (linked above) shows that the most serious image possessed in 44% of "child pornography" cases in Ireland (whose child pornography laws mirror those of the UK) decpited no sexual activity whatsoever.

    Pictures of naked children, which presumably comprise the majority of blocked images, should not be called "child abuse images". That term is just newspeak designed to justify the vast powers of censorship and funding which are handed to the IWF.

  • by Creepy Crawler ( 680178 ) on Tuesday February 24, 2009 @06:42AM (#26967595)

    ---Child pornography? That's a shit reason censor.
    ---It also happens to be the one reason people aren't able to argue with.

    Oh, it's VERY arguable. You just need to move the definition of "Child". Children, prior to the 1900's applied to the age group of 10 and under. Over that and you were an adult. And this word adolescent.. made up word in the 50's. I'll provide a framework that might work in your country.


    "The 'Age of Majority' is defined to be the minimum age of a person who has been tried, but may not have been found guilty, as an adult for any crime in any jurisdiction in any state or federal territories for a rolling time frame of the last 15 years.

    The age of majority shall instead convene every right and obligation offered to every adult as we presently know the ages of 16, 18, and 21 afford rights. Every instance of 16, 18, or 21 are now defined to be the 'Age Of Majority' ."

  • Re:Absurd! (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 24, 2009 @06:50AM (#26967639)

    It's a shame nobody has put the IWF list on Wikileaks by now...

    It would be a good test of how resilient Wikileaks is - having a CP directory in plain sight would get every Western law enforcement organisation trying to take it down. (For good PR if nothing else.)

    I admit it would be useful to see which sites are being blocked that aren't showing cases of child abuse, but losing Wikileaks doesn't seem worth it.

  • Re:Why block? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by HungryHobo ( 1314109 ) on Tuesday February 24, 2009 @07:41AM (#26967905)

    You forgot the last bit.
    If the ISP's make it so that child porn isn't accesible then the people who bitch and whine can pretend that it isn't happening.
    If there's no proof that it happens then they can pretend that that kind of thing doesn't actually happen.

    And some people need a wakeup call now and then to remind them that if you're a teacher there is a decent chance that one or more of your students is being abused at home and to fucking watch for the signs.
    But if everything looks alright on the surface then it's all ok as far as most people are concerned.

  • Re:Hold your horses (Score:5, Interesting)

    by hairyfeet ( 841228 ) <> on Tuesday February 24, 2009 @08:31AM (#26968169) Journal

    You wanna hear the most ironic part? According to my buddy at the state crime lab the hardcore child molesters and Cp rings aren't actually using the Internet at all, at least not for anything other than non-sexual "first contact" kind of stuff.

    According to him once you are "in" the bunch, most likely by sending someone who is "in" some encrypted CP they haven't seen before with the key, they then pass all further content by the mail of all things. That's right, good old snail mail. They pass it by using heavily encrypted DVDs for which the keys are sent by avenues like coded emails or letters. He said that they have caught a few because of children they have molested and found dozens and even hundreds of encrypted DVDs sent from mail drops all over the place, but since these guys are looking at 400+ years good luck getting any of them to rat.

    So while the governments of the world Big Brother the hell out of us "for teh childrens!" the actual sick child raping bastards will keep right on swapping thanks to the good old world wide mail system. I just find that ironic as hell.

  • I give up (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 24, 2009 @10:25AM (#26969071)
    International Wildlife Foundation? Is it that hard to give the acronym meaning in the summary? Don't say RTFA, how do I know if I want to RTFA if I don't know what TFA (the freaking acronym) means in the first place. Do we have editors here, or just post monkeys? And no I'm not new here.
  • by mdwh2 ( 535323 ) on Tuesday February 24, 2009 @10:32AM (#26969155) Journal

    AliasMarlowe and you are both twats. You're as dumb as the fundies if you spew such garbage. Piss off.

    Blimey, I wish the worse that "fundies" ever did was post stuff that some people didn't like to hear on Slashdot.

    And if that's the criterion, then surely that makes you "as dumb as the fundies" too...

  • Re:Congrats (Score:3, Interesting)

    by horza ( 87255 ) on Tuesday February 24, 2009 @11:35AM (#26969933) Homepage

    I think you are missing the point, daveime. I don't think the intent is to stop those that actually want to watch child pornography. That simply isn't going to happen. There are a zillion ways to bypass any filters the government could force on ISPs. I think the idea is to stop kids surfing around the net late at night and casually browsing onto really disturbing images. Look on youtube at the reaction videos to 2girls1cup, something even I refuse to watch, most of them are teenage kids.

    Where the UK govt. miss the point by several thousand miles is to hand blanket censorship for an entire country over to some shadowy unaccountable group that decides what is and isn't an abusive image. They've only just started and shown they get things horribly wrong. There is potential for spiteful abuse, imposing arbitrary moralistic values, and blackmail.

    The obvious solution to me is:
    * a government recommended list, published online
    * an arbitration board so people that end up on the list (in their opinion) wrongly can appeal to be removed
    * forcing the ISPs to add a PICS rating to the http headers of sites on the list
    * release a downloadable local proxy, and firefox plugin, that requires a user definably PIN number to access restricted content
    * allow ISPs to charge a monthly fee to proxy with PIN number server-side, much like they do for VOD.

    The benefits are as follows:
    * government gets to look reasonable - with both transparency and recourse available.
    * the ISPs get a fixed cost target to implement, and aren't chasing a moving target. The watch list is downloadable on a daily basis, and the PICs system is nearly 14 years old with reference implementations available.
    * adults have the option of viewing whatever they want, possibly with a "Are you sure?" click-through supplied by the ISP
    * parents have the option to secure their children from viewing unwanted images
    * parents have the easier option of doing from the ISP side, but the ISPs can actually cover their costs for doing it. For those that cry loudly about protecting their children, isn't that worth £1.50 per month?

    I agree with your fundamental premise though, the idea is to give greater control to the parent and not take it away from everybody.


  • Re:Absurd! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Firethorn ( 177587 ) on Tuesday February 24, 2009 @12:55PM (#26971241) Homepage Journal

    Now, this might seem oddball, but wouldn't this be ineffective and worse than nothing for preventing child abuse, the whole reason child porn is bad?

    My reasoning: If the pervs are unable to get it from non-domestic sources, they are more likely to look domestically for it; even producing it themselves instead of downloading it.

    1 child abused to produce X images of CP downloaded 10k times is 'better' than 2 children abused to produce 2X images of CP, each downloaded 5k times because of blocking resulting in greater sectionalization.

    Personally, I'd prefer not bothering with blocking over monitoring and tracking down persistant downloaders.

    Look at it like illegal drug distribution networks. Which is better, disallowing international phone calls to try to keep the out of country makers from communicating with their in country distributers, or actually tracing the calls and use them to track down the makers/distributers?

news: gotcha