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Government announce plans to block pornography in the UK
Monday 20 December 2010 16:57:39 by John Hunt

The government plans to change the way broadband providers filter Internet access to help stop access to pornography. The step follows existing plans that ISPs have used to help block inadvertent access of child pornography websites. The government want providers to use the same technology to block pornography unless adults have opted in to viewing it. This should help stop children from gaining access to inappropriate material that is currently freely available on the web. TalkTalk are already in the process of implementing a system which scans websites for malware and will introduce parental controls that can be configured for all users of the connection.

"This is a very serious matter. I think it is very important that it's the ISPs that come up with solutions to protect children.

I'm hoping they will get their acts together so we don't have to legislate, but we are keeping an eye on the situation and we will have a new communications bill in the next couple of years."

Ed Vaizey, Communications Minister

On hearing of the proposals, industry came back with mixed responses. BT said it would be happy to discuss the implementation of such a system but there are many 'legal, consumer rights and technical issues' that need to be evaluated before it could go live. Trefor Davies of Timico was less keen on the idea and questioned how well a system like this could work. There are millions of sites that would need to be blocked and these are changing all the time.

"You end up with a system that's either hugely expensive and a losing battle because there are millions of these sites or it's just not effective.

"The cost of putting these systems in place outweigh the benefits, to my mind. If we take this step it will not take very long to end up with an internet that's a walled garden of sites the governments is happy for you to see."

Trefor Davies, Timico

This would obviously please some industries who could piggyback on the system and use it to help stop access to illegally downloaded music and films for example. This is however likely to turn into a long debate much like the Digital Economy Act which, whilst rush through parliament, is now heading to the courts after the two largest ISP's in the UK, BT and TalkTalk, appealed against it.


Posted by Drefsab over 6 years ago
What id be interesting in knowing is what happens when all the millions are spent on this and put in place then people who want to get access to porn get around it, who's getting the complaints... oh wait the ISP's that said it wouldn't work well in the first place. The government say not us we told the ISP to block if etc, so once again the ISP's are in a loose loose position because some people cant be bothered to keep an eye on what their children use the net for.
Posted by frompton over 6 years ago
Why is it up to ISPs to do a parent's job? The government should use their time telling parents to look after their children better, rather than give bad parents another thing to blame "oh I thought my ISP would block all the bad things".

'Porn' regularly appears on YouTube, Facebook, Google searches and numerous forums. How exactly do you block that? As has been said, first they block legal porn, next they block selected blogs, next its music sites... it's a slippery slope.
Posted by otester over 6 years ago
I see where this is going:

CP -> Hardcore porn -> Normal porn -> Copyrighted stuff -> Political stuff -> Anything they get bribed to block.

Currently at step 2.

I am all for catching CP-ers but blocking material simply forces them underground making them harder to catch and it creates a slippery slope of censorship which the government is clearly looking for as there is software available already to censor your own connection.


"illegally downloaded music and films "

Stop misleading people, it's not illegal.
Posted by timmay over 6 years ago
And here comes the "Great Firewall of Britain" Welcome to the UK version of China. Next they will propose we give up our democracy.
Posted by tommy45 over 6 years ago
Democracy do our words count for anything these days, i mean do they think to consult us the voter/taxpayer first? no they just go and do /plan this sort of thing that isn't needed, and will not stop access to porn, just as if someone says to me we don't want you see that site, if i know of it's existence and wish to see it ,then i will i will use whatever it takes to circumvent whatever they put in the way, because as im an adult i will decide for myself not be told by this nanny state
Posted by Capn over 6 years ago
Yes another encroachment on liberties and a further step toward censorship all done under the guise of helping the children. I was bewildered as to how the tabloids were surprised by the amount of children who had 'accidently' been exposed to pornography.

Posted by whatever2 over 6 years ago
and stand back and watch as the opt-in list gets hacked and spread over the net...
Posted by mervl over 6 years ago
It's a sop to the right wing viz UK tea-partyers and their press advocates. The hope is this government has sufficient intelligence to listen to reasoned debate rather than making a knee jerk reaction as we've become used to. The announcement at least gives them that opportunity . . . though not sure it helps to match one rant with another.
Posted by otester over 6 years ago

Where were they to defend us against the DEB?

People need to get this left/right thing out of their head, they are all on the same team against us, we the people.
Posted by chrysalis over 6 years ago
how many here have mocked china's friewall, the uk is heading there now.
Posted by Firefalcon over 6 years ago
I don't dare mock china on any level as the UK is clearly heading the same way as what theyve got, you watch it be "porn" then sites which MIGHT host "porn" i.e a few file sharing sites then every file sharing site, service and its uncle and the rest.

Lets not forget this is the UK Gov so such a system will fail horribly, block more than what it should, cost tax payers billions and not do its job at all and just be a massive inconvenience to everyone. Someone needs to just take ed vaizey out back and tell him to get a life instead of censoring the country's.
Posted by anon123456 over 6 years ago
Fails on so many levels, where to begin?

First of all, services like this should be opt in and not opt out, I'm all for having a free ISP level service as a resource for parents to use if they chose to opt in. By all means have a government funded program that deals with educating parents to the available resources to help raise their kids.

Posted by anon123456 over 6 years ago
But technically it's a mine field, any kid that knows how to use a free proxy service can get around this easily, so it means blocking any page or service that allows you to proxy web requests. There are thousands of sites which are not pornographic in nature but where you'll find this kind of material, with web 2.0 we are uploading material to many sites and that cannot all be completely filtered.
Posted by GMAN99 over 6 years ago
What about a non-porn ISP? That'd get loads of sign up's from mums... not so many from Dad's ;o)
Posted by SheepFarmer over 6 years ago
@otester "illegally downloaded music and films" is illegal by definition*

In other news, green apples are green.

* other types of downloaded music and films may be available.
Posted by Gzero over 6 years ago
@SheepFarmer, prove it ;)

It's a civil matter.
Posted by drteeth over 6 years ago
All you people are too late. In the end, the EU will decide everything. And somebody above wrote "The hope is this government has sufficient intelligence to listen to reasoned debate rather than making a knee jerk reaction as we've become used to". Man, just get a grip! When was the last time ANY govt listened to reason?
Posted by SheepFarmer over 6 years ago
@GZero, proof is easy and very straightforward.

Illegally downloading music and films is illegal. Hence the sentence starting with the word 'illegally'.

Legally downloading music and films is legal. Hence the sentence starting with the work 'legally'.

It's all in the definition see. There's no room for discussion in this case as the sentence sets out the subject in the first word!

It's just reading, it isn't hard.
Posted by otester over 6 years ago

Posted by dustofnations over 6 years ago
I think it will be fantastic to delegate all of the moral and ethical judgements in our lives to Big Brother. We should never expose our weak minds to controversial thoughts and ideas. Introduce it as a porn block that appeases bad parents, slowly feature-creep until gvt approves sites.
Posted by amforbes over 6 years ago
And so it begins the censorship of the internet anything the government doesn't approve of will be censored. I'm sure there are better ways to protect children on the net, what about the responsiblity of the parent they should be keeping an eye on what they are doing on the Net.
Posted by Michael_Chare over 6 years ago
I wanted to access the website of a local shop to view the wallets and handbags that they might be selling. As my landline broadband was not working, I tethered my laptop to my T-mobile phone to make the connection. I was somewhat surprised to be asked to enter a credit card details to prove my age. I could only presume this was because the website domain name included the word 'Leather'.
Posted by baystonhill over 6 years ago
UK Big Brother strikes again, with another mad cap idea, are we really a 'free' country? - surely EU law will override this? Its not the place of government[or the EU] to tell or do a parents job, anyway Its not required as there's software that will do this.
Posted by JayUU over 6 years ago
Haven't these people been watching the fiasco that continues in Australia as their government tries to do exactly the same? [They now appear to be on at least v3 of such a silly system, and it still doesn't accomplish even their most basic aim.]
If children are that interested in seeing porn, they'll always find a way to do so. Their parents did - even when it was prohibited and only printed matter was available to be controlled. We need to educate the children that it's not always appropriate in our society and that little is gained by exploring such material.
Posted by gm6trs over 6 years ago
A war on pornography? Yeah, right. That'll work - just like the war on drugs.
Posted by pigfister over 6 years ago
UK police state censorship starts with the usual line of "we have to do this to protect our children from harm" (or substitute with paedophiles, terrorists, pirates)

yes give up your liberties to the corporations freely sheeple.

time for Open DNS and Tor in the UK
Posted by kingswearcastle over 6 years ago
We have a right wing Government in power, and this strikes me as the first stage of a western governing power restricting the open use of the internet. Just like China!!!.
Posted by mrnelster over 6 years ago

Exactly. A sledgehammer to crack a walnut. Concentrate on the dodgy stuff as they do now, and "that'll do donkey, that'll do".


I make my living as a songwriter. You love the sound of your own voice so much, maybe you should try it? Or does spouting crap (like an acne ridden student activist that always picks the wrong battles) take up most of your free time?
Posted by mrnelster over 6 years ago


"continually spotting crap".
Posted by scoutfu over 6 years ago
awe ... i like porn :(
Posted by kevin42 over 6 years ago
No prohibition has ever been successful... God, our elected representatives are morons.

Posted by kevin42 over 6 years ago
@ kingswearcastle - Duh! - There is little practical difference between any of our parties... Except for who boos who across the parliamentary floor... Go read recent policy history inc. and post Thatcher, please.

As someone else said here... this is not the time to get party political... Let us at least be rational and reflect on the facts.
Posted by kevin42 over 6 years ago
@ Pigfister... y'know you can change your name by deed poll ;)

Thanks for the great links. :)
Posted by foxygirl54 over 6 years ago
Did you see the prog on COMMENT TV & the way men in Cambodia, because of their porn addiction, treat women? Its so corrupt& deviant it beggers belief that so called human beings can treat sex workers no better than a slab of meat, gang raping girls, even killing some of them aft a session of internet & video porn. Then there's the report on traffic in children being sold or 'adopted' to paedophiles for child porn. There shd be a WORLD WIDE effort to get to grips with this deprived trade in human beings & the pornography involving children. TBC
Posted by foxygirl54 over 6 years ago
it also happens in so called civilised countries where men, and it's mainly men, turn to porn & wreck their marriages & families because of internet porn, not to mention the way it effects how they behave in relationships by lieing, lose respect, have secrets & turn to other sexual activities outside of marriage. I'm all for something that protects children, the vunerable & the sanctity of a relationship built on Trust, Consenting Love & Honesty. PORN ADDICTION WRECKS LIVES & ITS ABOUT TIME PEOPLE DID SOMETHING ABOUT IT BEFORE TOO MANY PEOPLE BECOME TOTAL IMMORAL & CORRUPT. TBC
Posted by foxygirl54 over 6 years ago
Stop waffling on sounding important about right wing this and left wing that & get off your backsides to protect Children etc, remember this It could be YOUR CHILD or YOU who's life could be wrecked except that it hasn't happened yet and i hope it doesn't as something dies within you when it does.
Posted by blackrapt0r over 6 years ago
@foxygirl54, *yawn*, so basically we should block/ban anything that cause hurt in a relationship or could make a PERSON morally wrong?
Ok... that's gonna be a long list....
Personally TV should be next to go, because it corrupts our youth.

Sorry but your argument has so many holes, its like swiss cheese.

The government should really be using this time and money on educating people about "Porn safety".
"so called human beings can treat sex workers no better than a slab of meat" - I know a few people who do this and they are female and its not due to porn.
Posted by mrnelster over 6 years ago
@ blackrapt0r

You know females like this? How about a phone number? ; )
Posted by NetGuy over 6 years ago
Looks (from ) as if there are some 'second thoughts' about how well 'blocking' might work so it looks like a duplication of effort to study the problems of blocking for porn as well as for sharing of copyright material.

There's to be some meeting soon regarding this 'block porn' proposal, of ISPs and others, so hopefully some ISP will take the lead in pointing out the impracticality and cost.
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