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Major internet firms invited to content policing discussion by DCMS
Thursday 06 June 2013 09:53:52 by Andrew Ferguson

Ed Vaizey has said that 'Britain will have the most robust internet child protection measures of any country in the world, bar none' back in January, but it seems convincing the various commercial operators involved to share the same vision and actually implement things is proving more difficult.

Recent events have meant that the policing of online content is very much back in the political spotlight, both from the terrorist viewpoint and ensuring that children are not exposed to adult content, and that adults cannot access illegal child abuse material online.

The UK through the work of the IWF already has a strong mechanism in place to ensure that child abuse content is not hosted in the UK and Internet providers can subscribe to a blocking list so that even where overseas content is not blocked providers can block access to the pages.

Google, Microsoft, Twitter, Facebook, BT, Virgin, Talk Talk, Vodafone, Sky, O2, EE and Three have all now been invited to a DCMS meeting on the 17th June to discuss ways to improve blocking and police harmful content online.

The usual story is that government and concerned bodies will call for operators to do more, and the operators are likely to outline what they already do which from some coverage we have read it seems many are not aware of. Additionally the same problems that usually appear in comments about how easy it is to get around blocks will arise and with more blocking there will be more sites blocked by mistake.

Parents have access to many resources if they are worried about the content available online such as https://www.thinkuknow.co.uk/parents and even these resources highlight the problems of blocking that even amongst children there are different levels of advice and potential blocking that are needed, which is one major issue with what seems like a straight forward idea of have network level filters, as families will need to either be changing them all the time as different people use a device, or everyone is restricted to an Internet with no search engines, no online shopping etc.

One aspect that needs to be considered and is rarely mentioned, is that if we do lock down the Internet in the UK, are we running the risk of driving curious teenagers towards the darker side of the net. Or more likely they will borrow a credit card from a parents wallet and use that to verify themselves online leading to a rise in scam sites that promise illicit adult content in exchange for a credit card verfication but are really a front for collecting millions of card details for onward sale to fraudsters.

Comments

Posted by JttB over 4 years ago
I hate these things.

I have children, I researched things, setup child locks (so to speak) for the different age groups, and they dont use the internet unsupervised.

It really is not difficult, parents should look at themselves rather than blaming others all the bloody time.
Posted by herdwick over 4 years ago
http://www.talktalk.co.uk/security/homesafe-demo.html means TalkTalk can be smug when they're sat in the headmasters office on the 17th.

OpenDNS and the like are pretty useful, but you can't change the DNS settings in BT Homehubs and perhaps other routers too.
Posted by JttB over 4 years ago
You can change them locally on the PC's if you want too.

Its one of the methods I looked at for a tablet, but without interrupting the other PC's

Obviously this only works if you have an admin account, or children who dont nose about :p

Microsoft family safety works pretty well too to an extent.
Posted by davolente over 4 years ago
Decent parenting is probably the answer. Can't stand all these grandstanding, do-goody politicians.I can see massive collateral damage coming out of this, plus it just seems to be the long slippery slope to outright censorship.
Posted by litesp33d over 4 years ago
Internet control (AGAIN) to prevent people knowing too much under the pretext of protecting children (AGAIN). If your kids are too young to see 'stuff' on the internet they should not be using the internet anywhere other than in a family setting.
Posted by fibrebunny over 4 years ago
If there is sufficient demand for such services why is there not a specialist ISP that caters to parents far too lazy or inept to parent. No doubt because in addition to being feckless they are cheap and think the rest of society should be responsible for their tax credits bonuses.
Posted by otester over 4 years ago
Just one of the many fronts of the offensive to control the internet by the political elite, since when do they care about children, just look at the BBC etc. they wouldn't have done anything if no one said anything.

Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 4 years ago
There are providers offering filters already, from massed market to providers like Exa

http://www.exa-networks.co.uk/education/content%20filtering

Posted by otester over 4 years ago
@andrew

Looks rather intrusive.
Posted by Joppy over 4 years ago
So make a big noise about child protection and sneak in a sentence about terrorists that most don't notice. This IS the slippery slope to censoring anything on the net they want.

Annoying that I could not visit the Tor project website on my mobile without giving credit card details as it was on the adult blocking list.
Posted by otester over 4 years ago
@Joppy

Which mobile provider are you with?
Posted by fibrebunny over 4 years ago
@Andrew, none of which sates the demands of the rabid daily wail brigade. Who would have us all succumb to a child like stupor of compliance.

@Otester, not just the BBC, there seem to be so very many historical blind eyes before the internet came along to corrupt and spur a myriad of Saviles in to action.
Posted by herdwick over 4 years ago
"You can change them locally on the PC's if you want too" - simpler to make one network level change in a router and apply the policy to all connected devices.
Posted by irrelevant over 4 years ago
My 6yo has "her own" laptop .. it lives in the front room so we can watch what she does on it. (Mostly CBeebies website!) We use OpenDNS to block a range of topics at a network level, to reduce the chance of any surprises even if she borrows mum's tablet, say. But nothing is foolproof. Supervision is the key.
Posted by mervl over 4 years ago
I've never found one of these "abuse" sites in over 15 years intensive and wide-ranging use of the internet. Mind you I've never looked for any of them either. One politician I know claims to have found one "by accident" virtually the first time they went on-line. Says it all really. Normal people don't have a problem, but they're not the ones who go into politics.
Posted by mervl over 4 years ago
. . . or journalism (see my previous post).

Posted by chrysalis over 3 years ago
see my post on the forum, I think child protection is not more important than free rights to access unrestricted content, giffgaff making it extremely hard to unlock adult content to the point they are asking people to do things with their passport that the passport office says is abuse.
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