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United Kingdom Censorship Government The Internet

UK ISP Adult Filters Block Sex Education Websites Allows Access To Porn 227

Posted by samzenpus
from the surprise-to-no-one dept.
toshikodo writes "The BBC is reporting that Internet content filters being rolled out by major ISPs in the UK are failing to allow access to acceptable content, such as sex education and sexual abuse advise sites, while also still allowing access to porn. According to the article, 'TalkTalk's filter is endorsed by Mr Cameron but it failed to block 7% of the 68 pornographic websites tested by Newsnight.' The ISPs claim that it is impossible for their filters to be 100% accurate, and that they are working with their users to improve quality. I wonder how long it will be before one of these filters blocks access to the Conservative Party's website, and what will Cameron do then?"
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UK ISP Adult Filters Block Sex Education Websites Allows Access To Porn

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  • Can't say I'm surprised by this.

  • by gagol (583737) on Thursday December 19, 2013 @04:15AM (#45734019)
    We let kids play ultra violent war simulation for hours and hours, but god forbid they get a glimpse of love and biology. Something is seriously wrong with this picture Mr Cameron, aside from applying technology to shape what is a social matter (mainly fear of educating properly our children).
  • by mwvdlee (775178) on Thursday December 19, 2013 @04:18AM (#45734023) Homepage

    The ISPs claim that it is impossible for their filters to be 100% accurate

    Nobody's asking for it to be 100% accurate, but there's a huge difference between 100% and just 93% accurate.
    Considering this is automated restriction of speech, you'd better make damn sure you're atleast in the 99.99% range of accuracy.

  • by SuricouRaven (1897204) on Thursday December 19, 2013 @04:26AM (#45734049)

    These filters are completly useless against anyone actively trying to subvert them. CGI proxies, SSH tunnels, VPNs, and the plain old 'google until you find something that slips through.' Children do know these tricks, or know a friend who will show them - they pick it up at school, finding games to play during lessons. Plus it only filters websites - there is still p2p, files exchanged with friends on IM, sexually explicit zones on social platforms*. It's almost useless. The best a filter can hope for is to stop people from accidentally stumbling across porn while looking for something else - and that is something we just don't need. While certain elements of government and pressure group may believe that glimpsing a penis traumatises children for life, there is no real evidence for this. Children are just not that fragile. A better approach is to just explain to them that there are naughty pictures on the internet and they should just close the tab.

    * There's some really kinky stuff on Second Life.

  • by paavo512 (2866903) on Thursday December 19, 2013 @04:30AM (#45734065)

    ISPs claim that [...] they are working with their users to improve quality.

    One question: how can the users know about a blocked sexual education site in order to request unblocking it?

  • by Adam Colley (3026155) <mog@kupoOPENBSD.be minus bsd> on Thursday December 19, 2013 @04:41AM (#45734105)

    It's nothing to do with porn and we all know it.
    Did you notice that filter also blocks "extreme political content"?
    Who decides what's too extreme?
    They're going to ask everyone over the next year to choose filtering or no filtering, how long do you think it'll be until it's presumed consent unless you specifically ask for no filtering? How long after that anyone who wants no filtering is subject to extra GCHQ monitoring as they're considered subversive?

    Can someone please stop the country? I want to get off -.-

  • by AGMW (594303) on Thursday December 19, 2013 @04:57AM (#45734147) Homepage
    The default is already "Filtering ON", even though the Gov tried to insist that the ISP's call it something like "your choice" to hide the fact! Railroaded in by referring to it as some anti-child porn crusade, it also includes filters to block (extreme) political websites too.

    Who determines what political sites are extreme?

  • by jimshatt (1002452) on Thursday December 19, 2013 @05:10AM (#45734181)
    I don't know if you've seen any porn lately, but it has nothing to do with love (I'll grant you biology). Though I disagree with the UK and with censorship at large, I'm beginning to really hate this "boohoo violence is okay but love is taboo" whining. Besides, when videogames come up again after some high-school shooting, we're all up-ins too.
  • by king neckbeard (1801738) on Thursday December 19, 2013 @05:14AM (#45734193)
    How about we let parents be parents instead of the government?
  • by FlyHelicopters (1540845) on Thursday December 19, 2013 @05:18AM (#45734205)
    That is evil... It is not the government's job or business in how I choose to raise my child...

    Naked human beings is not bad for children, we are all born naked, we'll all die naked, and under our clothes, we're all naked right now.

    The violence in our culture is the real problem. Movies like "The Hunger Games" have 8 year old's being beheaded with lots of blood, that's ok, but a naked person? Evil!

    Completely wrong and backwards.

  • by cheekyjohnson (1873388) on Thursday December 19, 2013 @06:00AM (#45734371)

    Most kids will never commit any significant act of violence, but most will have sex.

    Regardless of whether or not they watch porn. Furthermore, I highly, highly doubt that most people (even kids) aren't capable of distinguishing between reality and porn. But even if someone isn't capable of doing that, a five second talk would likely suffice; censorship will never be an acceptable solution to me.

  • by xelah (176252) on Thursday December 19, 2013 @06:14AM (#45734421)

    Indeed he won't care, because he hasn't done this to 'protect children' or any similar thing. It's about political positioning: it's purpose is to present a certain image of the Conservative party - we're this sort of people - to a particular segment of voters who they hope will vote for them. (It wouldn't surprise me if this includes wives wondering what their husbands are doing as much as parents). It also helps distinguish themselves from their coalition partners who are the most pro-civil liberties of the mainstream parties, and who may be seen by some as saying 'we oppose protecting children'.

    A huge amount of government policy and law is symbolic. Like the rest, you will notice that it doesn't have to actually work in order to achieve these goals.

  • by daem0n1x (748565) on Thursday December 19, 2013 @07:28AM (#45734643)

    for those parents who don't teach their children about these subjects, they obviously know their children well enough to know that they should not engage in further damaging the gene pool.

    Unfortunately, the less kids know about sex, the more likely they are to spread their genes in an undesired and uncontrolled way. That's why sex education is so important and shouldn't be left to parents.

  • by hawkinspeter (831501) on Thursday December 19, 2013 @08:11AM (#45734787)
    Also, the parents are often parents due to their own lack of sex education.
  • by hawkinspeter (831501) on Thursday December 19, 2013 @08:19AM (#45734817)
    The problem isn't the politicians' lack of intelligence, but the fact that their motives aren't aligned with what the people want. Unfortunately, the democratic process ensures that the top politicians are the most power-hungry and effective liars.
  • by Opportunist (166417) on Thursday December 19, 2013 @08:56AM (#45734971)

    Sex education will happen. No matter whether you want it to or not. You can only decide whether your kids learn about it in the classroom or the school yard.

  • by Opportunist (166417) on Thursday December 19, 2013 @09:07AM (#45735027)

    The problem is that this is exactly what "the masses" want. And they are very eager to believe the promise that this is what they get.

    They don't want to deal with "that intarnets stuff". They don't want to be responsible for little Timmy's surfing habits. Not only because little Timmy usually knows ten times what they know about computers and can easily defeat any kind of "protection" they throw in his way. Not only because he simply grew up with it, Timmy also has about ten times more time at his hands, not to mention a whole schoolyard of information on how to thwart any and all parental blocking and filtering. Plus, unlike for his parents, it's quite a bit of a status symbol for Timmy if he can evade his parents' directives, that's something you can brag about amongst your peers.

    What his parents want is that magic little box that makes all the stuff they don't want go away. Porn, predators, violence... they don't want Timmy to see that. But they do want the internet as their nanny. Just like the TV was. Why oh why can't there be some watershed on the internet? It did work on TV, didn't it?

    And no, I'm not kidding. That question actually does get asked and is a prime example of what people do NOT know about it. And why it is easy to trick them into believing any kind of snakeoil you promise them. Because they want that snakeoil to work. They want their perfect nanny. They want the internet to be just like TV was, a neat way to get rid of your kids but not be seen as a bad parent.

Do you suffer painful illumination? -- Isaac Newton, "Optics"

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