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Prime Minister wants good clean Wi-Fi for the UK
Wednesday 24 April 2013 14:14:04 by Andrew Ferguson

The issue of parental controls and Government sanctioned blocking is once more back on the agenda, this time it appears that Wi-Fi hotspots are the focus, as there is the perception that children are accessing illicit material on their smartphones, tablets and laptops in the thousands of locations around the UK that offer free Wi-Fi.

If the press coverage of comments made by the Prime Minister are correct, we can expect to see some form of regulation requiring Wi-Fi providers to implement a system blocking pornography, though frequently when blocking pornography the filter systems used also block other adult (18+) material.

"We are promoting good, clean, WiFi in local cafes and elsewhere to make sure that people have confidence in public WiFi systems so that they are not going to see things they shouldn’t."

Prime Minister, David Cameron

We are not sure what the precise plans are but the Daily Mail is saying they will be announced today (24th April) and The Telegraph simply says the Prime Minister is to announce plans.

The Wi-Fi hotspot industry has been implementing voluntary blocks for a while now so it is unclear what big difference regulation would make. The blocking plan is also seen as a way to re-invigorate local high streets, but if the viewing of porn is so much of a problem in coffee shops and other locations it may lead to teenagers finding new places to hang out, and lets not forget the reason they might be accessing porn over Wi-Fi is that the parents already have blocks in place at home and via the mobile providers data network.

"BSkyB supports the Government’s efforts to safeguard children from inappropriate content on public WiFi networks. The Cloud already automatically filters adult content in public places. This is something we are proud to have led the way on. We believe that parents want peace of mind that their children cannot inadvertently access adult material when out of home. That’s why we were the first WiFi provider to apply content filters as default across our entire network."

Vince Russell, Managing Director of public WiFi provider

If the Wi-Fi networks do manage to implement blocking successfully and with out doing things like blocking large chunks of the Internet by accident, then the argument that over blocking will result from filtering that is used with respect to fixed line broadband will be weakened.

At the end of the day common sense should tell adults that viewing pornography is not something that should be done in a public place and part of parenting and schooling should be to instill this level of common sense on the younger generation. The biggest problem is that society has very wide range of what it considered pornography and with the internet are specific pages on large websites blocked, or specific content, e.g. is all of YouTube blocked because there are trailers for 18 rated films on it?


Posted by camieabz over 4 years ago
Shouldn't the PM pass a law that parents can be prosecuted for allowing their kids to access porn?

Posted by undecidedadrian over 4 years ago
A recent Channel 4 news study showed that large amounts of teenagers were Sexting to each other and exposing themselves and posting them on the net was becoming "normal".

I think we need a whole lot more than just banning porn.
Posted by ryant704 over 4 years ago
The topic needed visiting ages ago, I'm a younger generation just recently left school. When talking to my parents and various other people my class seemed to develop a lot earlier than they ever did. This seems to apply to the majority of people I know and it seems to be even younger than when I started.

Though an Interesting and a fact that may shock you is that birth rates have actually gone down since the 90's.

It has never really made any sense, you can legally have sex at the age of 16 but you cannot purchase pornographic material until you are 18?
Posted by adslmax over 4 years ago
It has never really made any sense, you can legally have sex at the age of 16 but you cannot purchase pornographic material until you are 18?

Tell that to David Cameron!
Posted by undecidedadrian over 4 years ago
actually the birth rate in recent years has shot up and the country is experiencing a baby boom.

Now there is even more pressure on schools as a load of them were shut in the 90's and now it seems that they need even more capacity.

Perhaps the government needs to work out how many schools, hospitals etc they need.
Posted by jrawle over 4 years ago
A porn block on public wifi is OK, but I'm worried by references to "adult" sites. If adult is a euphemism for porn, then OK. But taken literally, this could mean 18-rated films; also mainstream dating sites that are for 18+ only but where "adult" content is banned and are actually safer than Facebook. Let's call a porn filter a porn filter to avoid ambiguity.
Posted by New_Londoner over 4 years ago
Echoing comments by camieabz, I think it is the responsibility of the person that owns the device (laptop, tablet etc) to have software in place to block "inappropriate" content, whatever they deem that to be.

Clearly the govt should take steps to block illegal content from being distributed, just as they try to reduce/prevent other crime, but there really should be some expectation of responsibility on the rest of us - we can always reach for teh off switch!
Posted by alwall over 4 years ago
Note: Just another politician's soundbite as the local elections approach
Posted by otester over 4 years ago
"they are not going to see things they shouldn’t"

Things that the government doesn't want you to see, this isn't really about porn.
Posted by ukhardy071 over 4 years ago
Absolutely ridiculous. If parents care so much they should have software installed to stop the children as has been suggested.

Why should I as an adult find that I cant access adult sites for example due to this? I don't access porn on public wifi but I would like to think I could go on whatever I like as at some stage I will be banned from accessing something important.
Posted by herdwick over 4 years ago
"The biggest problem is that society has very wide range of what it considered pornography" - indeed, be interesting to see if the right hand side of is visible under such a ban.
Posted by fibrebunny over 4 years ago
Teens make their own porns, block what you like, you wont stop them from showing off various bits of themselves to other teens. How would it filter messages in Kik messenger and the myriad of other apps? Failing that they have skype and outside of that they could go retro with mms. Then you have bluetooth, memory cards, usb drives.

Will 'The Sun' count as porn or are bewbs good clean digital fun? xD
Posted by shaunhw over 4 years ago
He should spend more time worrying about the fact that this country is going completely to the dogs, rather than a few people looking at porn on their wi-fi.

I would imagine (just like if someone had a magazine) it would already be some offence to look at porn in a public place in a way that offended other nearby people.

Censorship is cheap, for politicians. It costs them nothing, but we shouldn't be fooled by them wanting to impose it when there are other much more pressing and serious issues.
Posted by zhango over 4 years ago
In olden days a glimpse of stocking
Was looked on as something shocking,
But now, God knows,
Anything Goes.
Posted by meldrew over 4 years ago
The genie left the bottle a very long time ago. What worries me is that the politicians just do not know how much hard foreign porn really is out there.
Posted by shaunhw over 4 years ago
Of course they know. I wouldn't be surprised if some of 'em watch it now and again.
Posted by zhango over 4 years ago
@shaunhw You're right there, former Home Sec Jacqui Smith has a husband who enjoyed the occasional film at the taxpayer's expense.
Posted by tommy45 over 4 years ago
So if this nonsense (more censorship)where to become law, how much is it going to cost the tax payer to implement? At a time when this country is allegedly in a recession and nearely bankcrupt, Should this fool CamerCON be really spending money on somthing like that is a parents responsibilty ?
Posted by Spectre_01 over 4 years ago
As long as I still get to play CoD I don't care.
Posted by mhc over 4 years ago
Why? and where will it stop?

I have only just won a battle with a HotSpot provider who decided to censor another specific area. They decided to ban access to shooting related sites - or anything loosely connected "because children might see it". Nothing illegal or immoral about children accessing the material - just that they had "decided".

What about in hotels?

And who will pay to implement it?

The web is supposed to be free from state interference and the government has often commented about how others countries interfere.

Posted by otester over 4 years ago

Well if they can censor all the bad news, then people will think everythings ok?

Posted by otester over 4 years ago

Yes because shooting up an airport is much worse than porn...
Posted by ScubaGirl over 4 years ago
I totally agree with banning certain adult material, including porn, from being accessed on a public WiFi hotspot.

Whilst the person accessing it may happen to be over the age of 18, who is to say that the child sitting on the table behind them should have to be exposed to this material?

If a person wishes to read Mayfair or other magazines, would they not be careful to read them in an environment where a child is not present? Consideration needs to be made for young impressionable minds when in public.
Posted by otester over 4 years ago

What happened to parental responsibility?
Posted by undecidedadrian over 4 years ago
Went out of the window years ago, parents want to blame anybody else for their failings to do some actual parenting.

Look at South Park and Blame Canada song, hits the nail on the head.
Posted by zhango over 4 years ago
One solution - ban children from Wi-Fi Hotpots.
Posted by gfkerr39 over 4 years ago
It's the parents responsibility to bring up their children and protect them from what they, the parents, may consider to be harmful influences. Explicit sexual content has always been around in one form or another. Parents today need to understand their responsibility in keeping children from accessing porn by blocking sites. If they can't understand how to do this then they should seek technical help. Sounds like there could be a business opportunity for such a service.
Posted by otester over 4 years ago

Censorship is ignorant and authoritarian.

Educating your kids so that they interpret what they see correctly is the right thing to do.
Posted by comnut over 4 years ago
95% of parents have no clue about what computers and internet can do... Its a bit like locking the front door, and forgetting about open windows, and back door!

most kids from 10 years old understand it al as well as a highly qualified pc/ network manager, and can easily get around any blocks...

As 'otester' says, the ONLY effective way is education..
Posted by comnut over 4 years ago
you may be able to control what your children see, but it is a 24 hour a day job, so give up working or sleeping!!! :D :D

they will just go to a friends house, where it is all free..

If you make them frightened by it, they will grow up unable to handle the REAL world, and make any meaningful relations.. do you want that???
Posted by caterps over 4 years ago
It amazes me that some comments above say "there should be a law against it" or "the government should ban it"

Duh? What happened to free speech, people? The actual answer is to EDUCATE young (and not so young) people on what is appropriate behaviour - both in public & in private.

Who says all porn is bad? You might like it; I might not...?

I might like it; you might not...?

If you know how to get the "sex genie" back in the bottle - please tell us.

Otherwise please don't just say "it should be banned" ... PLEASE?
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