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Private Members Bill seeks to introduce porn filters to all internet services
Tuesday 03 April 2012 16:15:09 by Andrew Ferguson

Baroness Howe of Idlicote has introduced a Private Members Bill that seeks to promote online safety, with safety being defined as requiring internet service providers and mobile phone operators to provide a service that excludes pornographic images.

Duty to provide a service that excludes pornographic images.

  1. Internet service providers must provide to subscribers an internet access service which excludes pornographic images unless all the conditions of subsection (3) have been fulfilled.
  2. Where mobile telephone network operators provide a telephone service to subscribers which includes an internet access service, they must ensure this service excludes pornographic images unless all the conditions of subsection (3) have been fulfilled.
  3. The conditions are—
    • the subscriber opts-in to subscribe to a service that includes pornographic images;
    • the subscriber is aged 18 or over; and
    • the provider of the service has an age verification policy which has been used to confirm that the subscriber is aged 18 or over.
Extract from proposed bill

Adrian Kennard gives an insight into the complications for a broadband provider on his personal blog. Mandating the requirement to provide a filtered service would require a massive investment in resources if the filters are to be effective. Mobile phone providers currently run a proof of 18 requirement for access to adult services, which covers not just pornography but other services like online gambling. These are far from foolproof, and also generate lots of false positives blocking access to new sites until they have been categorised, and even then a website can offer varied content.

Methods for filtering an internet connection are already available to consumers, and TalkTalk has a provider based system that parents can use, in addition to the various content filtering programs, which will also allow other types of filtering that may be as offensive such sites promoting self-harming, drug abuse and violence.

Along with the recent news of potentially more invasive internet traffic monitoring, the state control of what we can see and do in the privacy of our homes even as adults is more and more under threat. Imagine the outcry in five years time if this bill was passed and a child viewed pornography at a friends house because the parents had opted to allow it to be viewed for their personal adult use. For broadband providers there would also be the risk of court action if their filtering failed to block something or a minor managed to circumvent the age checking systems.

Comments

Posted by LT38 over 3 years ago
just another excuse to control the masses ffs
Bet this all started because someones kids see inapropriate images while searching the net.

Maybe they should teach the adults how to use the adult filters that come as standard on all browsers rather than tell people they cant view these sites without subscribing what tosh the british goverment is
Posted by GMAN99 over 3 years ago
Oh my god... we'll soon be more filtered and blocked than China....
Posted by MrTAToad2 over 3 years ago
Lets hope this gets shot down as quickly as possible.
Posted by undecidedadrian over 3 years ago
I am just waiting for the line from the Simpsons "will somebody think of the children" to be used.

It seems that rather than parents pulling their fingers out and doing some parenting for once they want the governemnt to do it for them and so they can blame anybody else except themselevs if something goes wrong.

Of course what people need to think is how this is possibly could be misused/abused or changed in the future.
Posted by creakycopperline over 3 years ago
1984.... It's a little late but it's finally here. Barroness Howe? let me guess she lives in a midsommer type villgae, has a grandson called tarquin (who goes to eaton oxford cambridge one of em) and thinks the internet is witchcraft.
reminds me of that stuck old woman who went on a moral crusade after Dunblane.
ps gmann any digging near you yet?
Posted by fibrebunny over 3 years ago
Do you have to confirm your age before turning the TV on? How about The Sun newspaper, is this sold only to adults? Is it just porn that threatens the nation and civilisation itself, or other things too? Perhaps the mad baronessi would like to sit and adjudicate on what passes as acceptable.

It is not the job of state to supplant the role of parent. We haven't nearly enough generic cotton wool for a start.
Posted by mervl over 3 years ago
More evidence, if it were needed, that the governing classes don't like the way the internet has tilted the balance of power in favour of the individual. That'll teach the pesky public a lesson.

Let's all be stupid. Why punish the innocent adults? Ban kids. Problems solved.
Posted by GMAN99 over 3 years ago
@creaky, nope not yet. I pass the cab each day to get paper & milk nothing happening yet :|

It seems to me this governments only aim is to tax everyone to death bring in loads of ridiculous laws and then get trounced at the next election leaving the next party to pick up the pieces/undo it for years.

Actually... that happens every time doesn't it....
Posted by Michael_Chare over 3 years ago
So you can marry at sixteen but not view porn until you are 18. T-Moble would not allow me to access a local shop which sells luggage presumably because it had the word leather as part of the name.
Posted by davolente over 3 years ago
Nanny state again, wanting even more control. I'm dead against the principle of being told what I can and cannot see on the net. I will make my own decisions, thank you very much. Parents are also equally capable of monitoring what their children get up to, both on and off the net.
Posted by camieabz over 3 years ago
A simple solution.

Opt in for 'connection with children' for filtering to be applied. Everyone is happy.
Posted by Saurus over 3 years ago
I think all this started because they got caught stealing from the taxpayers and want revenge, remember these are the nastiest, spiteful and vengeful specimens of our society !
Posted by creakycopperline over 3 years ago
Well i passed my cab today and sure enough there was the barriers and a new set of holes next to the wall.
Posted by irrelevant over 3 years ago
Unless they whitelist sites, it's going to be impossible to block everything. Blacklists will never be comprehensive, or recent enough and content analysis isn't good enough to do it reliably. It's too quick and easy to set up a new site on a new name and/or IP to beat any blocks.
Posted by chrysalis over 3 years ago
funny at the age verification, I have never heard of children been able to sign up for broadband.
Posted by martin9325 over 3 years ago
Whilst I agree with the nanny state comments some of you really should do your research. Baroness Howe is a Crossbench Life Peer, which means that she has no party affiliation and so is certainly not part of the government. Her peerage comes from her being at one time Chair of the Broadcasting Standards Commission and previously Deputy Chair of the Equal Opportunities Commission, so she is a QUANGO Queen. I hardly think the government will rush to give time to her bill. Relax everyone!
Posted by Ronat over 3 years ago
Still think it's a bit frightening that politicians are so self-important that they think they can regulate every smallest part of your life.On second thoughts,maybe that's why they become politicians in the first place.What happened to trying to better the lives of the electorate?
Posted by sparraneil over 3 years ago
D'Oh - You didn't think the nanny state allows just ANYONE to be a quango queen did you? Did you ever get to vote on who is APPOINTED to be depupty chair of the EOC or chair of BSC? Did anyone suggest you mum might get the job?
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