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United Kingdom Censorship Government The Internet Games

Great Firewall of UK Blocks Game Patch Because of Substring Matches 270

Posted by Soulskill
from the that'sextremely-stupid dept.
Sockatume writes "Remember the fun of spurious substring matches, AKA the Scunthorpe problem? The UK's advanced 'intelligent' internet filters do. Supposedly the country's great new filtering regime has been blocking a patch for League of Legends because some of the filenames within it include the substring 'sex.' Add one to the list of embarrassing failures for the nation's new mosaic of opt-out censorship systems, which have proven themselves incapable of distinguishing between abusive sites and sites for abuse victims, or sites for pornography versus sites for sexual and gender minorities."
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Great Firewall of UK Blocks Game Patch Because of Substring Matches

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  • by Taco Cowboy (5327) on Wednesday January 22, 2014 @05:08PM (#46039431) Journal

    I do not understand. I just can not understand.

    China is a communist country, a country in which the regime is NOT elected.

    They have their "Great Firewall" in place in order to protect their totalitarian regime.

    Why in the world the UK, with a supposedly "ELECTED" and "DEMOCRATIC" government, want to follow China in erecting their "Great Firewall" ??

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 22, 2014 @05:09PM (#46039445)

      Same shit, different team.

      • by Cryacin (657549) on Wednesday January 22, 2014 @05:41PM (#46039789)
        In a word, control. It doesn't matter what flavour of politics you have, there are groups that want to control you, for your own good, of course. Some seek it to gain control as a dictator, but by far the most dangerous, are the ones that actually believe that their beliefs imposed upon society are for the betterment of society. Those are the ones who are stupid enough get their ambitions and capabilities mixed up.

        The world will be destroyed with the best intentions at heart.
      • No, same team too, just different BS...
    • by MightyMartian (840721) on Wednesday January 22, 2014 @05:10PM (#46039455) Journal

      Because apparently if children see breasts, vaginas and penises, the whole fabric of British society will collapse.

      • by Goose In Orbit (199293) on Wednesday January 22, 2014 @05:14PM (#46039515)

        Where the US leads, the UK inevitably follows...

        • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 22, 2014 @05:19PM (#46039557)

          Say the word "nipple" to the average yank in games chat, gets usually a warning by yanky moderators... Even tho "ingame content is unrated".

          Apparently Yanks don't have nipples.

          One thing for sure, they sure don't have balls.. Other wise they would stand up and defend their constitution, but no they so far take it laying down for the past decade yet spout on forums about "one more straw and we will huff and puff... and eat more fries"

          • by Taco Cowboy (5327) on Wednesday January 22, 2014 @05:29PM (#46039657) Journal

            It is unfair to paint all the "yanks" as ball-less.

            Some of them still have their intact.

            For example: Edward Snowden. That guy did what he had to do in order to dislodge enough information from the secretive (and apparently illegal) activities within the American government, and then revealed the information to the world.

            • by Cryacin (657549) on Wednesday January 22, 2014 @05:43PM (#46039797)
              And to such a great personal cost. Muchas Gracias indeed.
            • wants to lynch him.
              Maybe slightly off-topic, but the bit I could never quite understand in the States (and I accept you're a lovely bunch of people with differing views), was how the demographic allegiances are flipped related to pretty much the rest of the world.
              Usual (for the rest of us) seems to be that the more affluent you become, the more right-wing your views - "I want to keep my money, not redistribute it to the proles"
              The coasts of your country contribute the majority of tax-base to the country,
              • by lgw (121541)

                On can be against redistribution in principle, yet still take free money when offered. There's a lot of that here.

                • by sjames (1099)

                  There's also a lot of "The damn government better keep its grimy hands offa mah medicare!"

              • by vux984 (928602)

                Usual (for the rest of us) seems to be that the more affluent you become, the more right-wing your views - "I want to keep my money, not redistribute it to the proles"
                The coasts of your country contribute the majority of tax-base to the country, and in return get the centre hoovering up the money whilst whining about 'big government

                Mass delusions.

                The highly affluent who want to "keep my money and not redistribute it" have managed to convince the bible belt that the sinners and gays on the coasts are the rec

          • by burnttoy (754394) on Thursday January 23, 2014 @12:14AM (#46042949) Homepage Journal

            A good friend of mine got into a "conversation" about the Janet Jackson nip-slip incident.

            It went roughly like this:

            Antagonist: "But what if my children saw it"
            My Friend: "But nipples are for children..."

            Touche.

        • The US has a national censorship firewall? Since when?

          • by Taco Cowboy (5327) on Wednesday January 22, 2014 @05:31PM (#46039695) Journal

            What US has is not a "firewall" per se, but the effect would, at the end of the day, be similar.

            By tapping into everybody's phone, email and whatnot, the US government is sending out a message to all (including the hundreds of millions of the American citizens) that they better be careful of what they wrote/talk (or even think), or they will be subject to very very close scrutiny.

            Thus, what available in the USA is akin to "censorship via intimidation".

            • You think those things are the same? Really?

      • by SuperTechnoNerd (964528) on Wednesday January 22, 2014 @05:22PM (#46039575)
        You know your post will never make it through to the Brits, right?
    • by mlgunner (219100)

      1. Elected by who exactly?
      2. Democratic just means the lowest common denominator, the tyranny of the majority, and you can convince 50.1% of the people of almost anything long enough to get elected.

    • by Xaedalus (1192463)
      In China, it's done in name of protecting the national harmony. In the UK, it's done in name of protecting the children. Either way, you've got millions of people who absolutely believe and support in this. They are the majority (and always will be).
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Ralph Wiggam (22354)

      Why in the world the UK, with a supposedly "ELECTED" and "DEMOCRATIC" government, want to follow China in erecting their "Great Firewall" ??

      Why the "supposedly"? Do you have evidence that the UK's election results were not legitimate?

      The British government is enacting this censorship policy with the full support of millions and millions of people who don't post on Slashdot.

      I certainly don't support the filtering, but the fact that it's opt-out makes it VERY different from China's firewall.

      • The British government is enacting this censorship policy with the full support of millions and millions of people who don't post on Slashdot.

        Quite possibly (almost certainly the bit about Slashdot), but they do not necessarily provide a majority with "full support" for the policy. The UK has voluntary voting. Only 65.1% of eligible voters voted in the 2010 election. Outright you can say the 44.9% non-voters are indifferent to the policy. If only 5.1% of the voters voted against this policy, or voted for it only because of other issues, then the majority of voters do not provide "full support" for it. There is no way to know for sure. Anyway

        • by jimshatt (1002452)
          100 - 65.1 = 34.9
        • So you're assuming that everyone who didn't vote agrees with you? That's reasonable.

          • No. Nothing to do with my opinion. There are three broad positions on the policy, not two; support, indifference, opposition. Only one of those positions could be said to offer "full support." The people that did not vote do not care about the policy enough to vote either for or against it, they are indifferent. It is as unreasonable to say non-voters offer "full support" for the policy as to say they fully oppose it. It follows that counting the indifferent in the "full support of millions" would

        • Worse than that, there's a minority conservative government. So they didn't even win 50% of the votes either.

          If around 65% of eligible voters actually voted, and of those 36% voted Tory. Then less than 24% of eligible voters supported the Tories. Hell of a mandate.

        • Outright you can say the 44.9% non-voters are indifferent to the policy

          No, that's what politicians use to justify their rediculous policies.

          Not voting does not mean indifference.

          It also means that all 3 parties are equally crap.

          Sure there's the pointless protest vote, but everyone knows that has no real function anyway.

          the Government of the day sets the policy regardless of promises or actual majorities.

          fuck knows where they get half of the ideas from.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by mrbester (200927)

        The real problem is that the government has *not* done this. Instead, they have threatened the ISPs that they *will* if it isn't done voluntarily. And all thanks to one shrill unelected bitch on a committee who got some reason has a direct line to Cameron. The "support of millions" is from the hypocritical mouth breathers at the Daily Fail and the cretins who read it.

      • by 0123456 (636235)

        Why the "supposedly"? Do you have evidence that the UK's election results were not legitimate?

        They're a minority government elected by around 20% of the British people. In the last election, the British people resoundingly said that they didn't want any of the three main parties on offer.

        Any civilized country would be embarrassed by putting in place a government that about 80% of the people didn't vote for.

        The British government is enacting this censorship policy with the full support of millions and millions of people who don't post on Slashdot.

        None of my British relatives and friends have ever demanded the government 'protect' them from pr0n. Most Britons who do are idiots like the batty old Mary Whitehouse.

    • by ackthpt (218170)

      Wait until the Great Firewall of The United States, as carried out by business interests now that Net Neutrality is all but dead.

      This site has been blocked by your content provider. If you feel this is in error, it is you who are terribly, terribly wrong.

      • by lgw (121541)

        I wouldn't say Net Neutrality is dead, only the attempt by the FCC to enforce it without the congress's say-so. Net Neutrality by law instead of arbitrary regulation is still an open door. Of course, that will involve democracy, and thus it would have to be popular (ie.e, actually matter to most people). Right now, most people don't care, but if the problem ever because actual, not theoretical, they would.

        • by ackthpt (218170)

          I wouldn't say Net Neutrality is dead, only the attempt by the FCC to enforce it without the congress's say-so. Net Neutrality by law instead of arbitrary regulation is still an open door. Of course, that will involve democracy, and thus it would have to be popular (ie.e, actually matter to most people). Right now, most people don't care, but if the problem ever because actual, not theoretical, they would.

          Most people don't understand. And even if you were to dedicate a half hour show on prime time television explaining it and why it's important to preserve liberties, people's eyes would glaze over and they still wouldn't understand. Though if some demagogue on radio or TV told them how they should feel about it, tens of thousands would queue right up behind whatever the position is.

          It's like a return to the 1920s.

          • by lgw (121541)

            Sure, but that's how democracy works: a terrible system, but better than anything else that's been tried. But if (the lack of) Net Neutralityactually stats affecting people, not just geeks working about the future but real problems really happening, then the average voter will care. And most of politics operates on the basis of preventing the average voter from ever caring, so it's possible that some sort of Net Neutrality law will happen if content-based throttling starts reaching the threshold of screwi

          • And even if you were to dedicate a half hour show on prime time television explaining it and why it's important to preserve liberties

            The problem being that the people who want to "preserve liberties" tend to be...selective...about which liberties need preserving.

            Note that many First Amendment fanatics tend to be utterly opposed to the Second Amendment. And vice versa, of course.

      • by Bogtha (906264) on Wednesday January 22, 2014 @08:26PM (#46041555)

        Wait until the Great Firewall of The United States, as carried out by business interests

        The USA doesn't need a Great Firewall. Anything it doesn't like, it takes down for everybody instead of blocking it.

        When Slashdot commenters posted things the Church of Scientology didn't appreciate, the USA didn't block Slashdot for USA visitors, they forced Slashdot to remove the content for everybody.

        When 2600 linked to DeCSS, the USA didn't block 2600 for USA visitors, they forced 2600 to remove the links.

        When people set up gambling sites that USA citizens were using, they didn't block USA citizens from using them, they seized the gambling sites' domain names so nobody could visit them.

        When Dmitry Skylarov wrote an ebook reader that circumvented copy protection so blind people could use it, the USA didn't block people from visiting his employers' website. They arrested him.

        These are far from isolated examples. The USA censors all the time without having to bother with a Great Firewall. Why bother blocking something when you can take down the source and send a message to anybody else who might be thinking of doing something similar?

    • by 91degrees (207121) on Wednesday January 22, 2014 @05:45PM (#46039815) Journal
      Well, part of the problem is that most of what you read about the "UK porn filter" is bollocks.

      Firstly, it's not a government filter. The only government involvement was the Prime Minister pressuring the ISPs to offer it.

      Secondly it's entirely voluntary. It's not even "opt-out". You have to make an actual choice whether to enable it or not during setup.

      China, on the other hand, has a mandatory government imposed filter.

      I'm sure you can see the difference.
    • by wisnoskij (1206448) on Wednesday January 22, 2014 @05:53PM (#46039901) Homepage

      They have elections in China.....
      They just do not have official political parties, like many other democracies.

      China is also mostly Capitalistic...

    • I'm guessing it's one of those things where someone is getting a big fat government contract that they bribed the government into giving them. It's just insult to injury that not only are they taking tax dollars, but they're harming citizens to do so. If it were just wasteful spending, that would be bad enough, but wasteful spending taking away nudity is just rude.

      This is my major beef with the Iraq war. Military industrial complex, next time just have the president and congress write you a big check
    • by c0lo (1497653)

      Why in the world the UK, with a supposedly "ELECTED" and "DEMOCRATIC" government, want to follow China in erecting their "Great Firewall" ??

      Careful with that word: your message may be blocked by UK 'inteligent' filters.
      Not because of the critique implied by your message, it happened [bbc.co.uk] before.

    • by Immerman (2627577) on Wednesday January 22, 2014 @05:58PM (#46039977)

      Democracy is orthogonal to communism. One is a type of government, while the other a type of economy. You can have a democratic communist country, just as you can have a totalitarian capitalist economy. The fact that we have had so many totalitarian "communist" countries is simply because waving a "communist" flag is a great way to attract the downtrodden masses to support your overthrow of the current regime.

      In no sane sense can China actually be considered communist, even ignoring the capitalistic reforms they've been experimenting with. From each according to their abilities, to each according to their needs, right? That's not particularly compatible with a group of elites that are radically wealthier than the general populace. From wikipedia

      Communism (from Latin communis – common, universal) is a classless, moneyless,[1][2] and stateless social order structured upon common ownership of the means of production

      Ergo, if you have a ruling class it's not communism.

      In fact arguably the single core tenant of communism is communal ownership of the means of production - and the only way government ownership is compatible with that ideal is if the people own the government. And so far democracy is the only model that even attempts that, for all that it usually fails badly in its efforts. Therefore, a strong democracy is a necessary precursor for communism.

      • by mjwx (966435)

        The fact that we have had so many totalitarian "communist" countries is simply because

        Labeling something you dont like as communist has been incredibly popular over the last 60 odd years.

        Very few of the so called communist countries are actually communist. Even China is only really communist by name. "Communism" has become little more than a dark specter used in propaganda and most people these days couldn't identify real communism of their lives depended on it.

        • by Immerman (2627577)

          Not that you're wrong about the abuse of the word, but I believe quite a few places identify *themselves* as communist. It's hard to pin that on Allied anti-communist propaganda. Pro-communist propaganda perhaps. Certainly there's little enough evidence to justify the label in either case.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 22, 2014 @06:16PM (#46040175)

      Your comment is now cencored in the UK due to the word 'erect'.

    • Same reason. Since the UK politicians can be voted out of office, they have even more reason to defend themselves.

    • by tlhIngan (30335)

      I do not understand. I just can not understand.

      China is a communist country, a country in which the regime is NOT elected.

      They have their "Great Firewall" in place in order to protect their totalitarian regime.

      Why in the world the UK, with a supposedly "ELECTED" and "DEMOCRATIC" government, want to follow China in erecting their "Great Firewall" ??

      A LOT of countries have "great firewalls". The only one that everyone seems to know about is China, but there are many, many, many more. And many of them are "ele

    • Because the people ask for it. But only to be used against the bad guys. The fact that it gets used against everyone is just more evidence that the government can't do anything right.

    • by Luckyo (1726890)

      Who do you think developed the software and hardware?

      What did you think they would do with it once it's done?

      Or are you one of these people that like to pretend that modern West is about freedom of people, rather than freedom of money?

    • by RoboJ1M (992925)

      Yes, well, when all of the parties are basically the same and voter apathy is almost total what do you expect?
      People in power want to stay in power.
      Our system evolves people engineered to keep it.

  • by Neil_Brown (1568845) on Wednesday January 22, 2014 @05:08PM (#46039435) Homepage
    Or Sussex, or who is researching Wessex.
    • Just goes to show that most of the time when management types start talking about "smart" software, it's just as bloody-minded and primitive as ever. Software is software is software, at least until someone invents strong AI.

    • by Livius (318358)

      And medical schools and all sorts of vital public health information...

  • by CastrTroy (595695) on Wednesday January 22, 2014 @05:09PM (#46039449) Homepage
    How sensitive is this filter really? How does it affect the residents of Sussex [wikipedia.org]
  • Uh oh (Score:5, Funny)

    by Antipater (2053064) on Wednesday January 22, 2014 @05:11PM (#46039457)
    Across the UK, kids are running to their parents crying "the porn filter won't let me play my video game!" This might actually increase support for the firewall...
  • Reminds me of... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by rock_climbing_guy (630276) on Wednesday January 22, 2014 @05:18PM (#46039547) Journal
    This reminds me of the story I read in a /. comment about an overzealous filter that wouldn't let people at his office visit any URL with "sex" in it. There was a problem because they were using expertsexchange.com
  • Wrong name? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by GameMaster (148118) on Wednesday January 22, 2014 @05:23PM (#46039587)

    Really, "Great Firewall of UK" is clumsy and doesn't doesn't make much sense in context. Perhaps we should call it "Hadrian's Firewall"?

  • Ah, reminds me when the slashdot had a "bolt" icon for the hardware posts and were blocked by a filter... because any internet image with "hard" in it was obviously porn.

  • Reminds me of a time when I went to access expertsexchange.com on the job, to get a quick solution to a coding issue I was having, back around 2000... the web filter classified it as "sexually oriented" and it took me a minute to realize how the name had parsed out.

    You can now get to the site via experts-exchange.com, though it is far less useful these days.

  • by mlgunner (219100) on Wednesday January 22, 2014 @05:31PM (#46039689) Homepage

    When ever you have people making decisions for the "greater good", they end up making those decisions for their own greater good. So it doesn't matter in the long run what they are censoring, the act of Law in doing so is the objective. The fact that it is not doing what was intended doesn't matter, it just means the censorship must be "refined", and the filters need to be "fixed".
    Liberty would mean removal of the filters and government intervention from an act of free will, i.e. looking at sexual content on line for example, and an act of responsibility from people, i.e. monitoring their children's internet access. This will never do for Big Government tyrants, because this would imply that people actually have their own freedoms that are not "given" to them by the government, and their free will and responsibility is more important than the governments ability to intervene.

  • by CanHasDIY (1672858) on Wednesday January 22, 2014 @05:32PM (#46039703) Homepage Journal

    from the that'sextremely-stupid dept.

    Sorry, but we found the word 'sex' on this webpage, so we're going to have to block it.

    Again, dreadfully sorry about all that.

    Sincerely.
    Her Majesty's Nanny-State

  • Censorship is easy (Score:4, Insightful)

    by hawguy (1600213) on Wednesday January 22, 2014 @05:45PM (#46039825)

    It's a good thing that there's no way to advertise a porn site with obvious keywords like Porn or Sex. In Britain, users should only be able to see safe sites featuring things like tasty Cream Pies and beautiful Pearl Necklaces and innocent Rimming sites to teach kids how to enjoy decorative rims. It's easy to filter out the bad stuff by looking for the obvious bad words.

  • by 91degrees (207121) on Wednesday January 22, 2014 @05:47PM (#46039849) Journal
    There's really no evidence that this is the case. Just speculation. PC Pro actually did some journalism and found that the actual ISPs had received no complaints [pcpro.co.uk]

    So the Guardian is doing the Daily Mail thing of nabbing articles from reddit, and accepting them at face value without any actual research. No wonder traditional newspapers are dying.
    • No official complaints means about the same as a random poster complaining. I'd say we know as much as we did before anyone posted anything. Jack and shite.

    • by Sockatume (732728)

      I'm just going to give up submitting stories that aren't in peer-reviewed journals at this point. :(

  • Gender minority? Since there's 2 genders and the minority is very slightly men (49/51-ish) that would be minority not minorities. Also nobody considers it one.
    Anyway, do they have an inline word-destroying filter like some awful 90's filter instead of a point system with an all or nothing blocker? What cheap ass software suite are they even running?
    Although, uncompressed and unencrypted plain text in patch file that contain vulgar words is a bit dumb on the developers' part. They shouldn't have allowe
    • by 91degrees (207121)

      Gender minority? Since there's 2 genders and the minority is very slightly men (49/51-ish) that would be minority not minorities.

      They mean transgender people.

      Anyway, do they have an inline word-destroying filter like some awful 90's filter instead of a point system with an all or nothing blocker?

      No. The article is reporting informal speculation and wild guesswork by some LoL fans as verified truth. The ISPs have reported no complaints, and say their filters don't work that way, so it's probably a complete

  • by sir_eccles (1235902) on Wednesday January 22, 2014 @05:59PM (#46039985)

    Associate it with something "naughty" (ala Santorum) and demand it be added to the filter for the sake of the children and voila slowly but surely Cameron will be filtered out of UK life.

  • by Minwee (522556) <dcr@neverwhen.org> on Wednesday January 22, 2014 @06:17PM (#46040193) Homepage

    It happens when you buttume that doing a mbutt replacement of strings consbreastutes a good plan, when it's really just a reRichardulous buttbuttination of words.

    It's somewhere between buttstounding and buttinine.

  • “Sadly there is no silver bullet when it comes to internet safety and we have always been clear that no solution can ever be 100 per cent. It requires all of us to play our part,” said TalkTalk spokesperson to PinkNews.

    Mistakes were made.... but not by us. It's your fault we had to censor you!

  • by ihtoit (3393327)

    well thank *** I've not go** ***wing carrots in the S****horpe ***tant factory!

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