ISPs: UK porn block not possible

Earlier this week, it was reported the UK government is considering an opt-in option for accessing online porn. This plan will be discussed in January with the UK’s leading ISP’s including BT, Virgin Media, as well as Talk Talk before any legislation moves forward. The government will define how porn should be blocked by default on a user's connection, with the ability for adults to opt-in should they want to view such content.

Today the BBC reports several ISP's say such a plan is not possible, explaining that too many variables and work arounds exist to prevent such a block from occurring. Legal issues regarding how to block lawful pornography also haven't been clearly defined. Nicholas Lansman, secretary general of the ISPA industry body, worries an opt-in may “lead to the blocking of access to legitimate content and is only effective in preventing inadvertent access."

One of the largest UK ISP’s BT, said it would partake in any discussion on the proposed opt-in idea, but also stated there are several legal issues regarding consumer rights laws that need to be reviewed before any blocking policy is implemented.

While the legality of this proposal continues to be debated, the larger issue of actually filtering pornographic content comes into play. Trefor Daves, chief technology officer at Timico states, “Unfortunately, It's technically not possible to completely block this stuff.” File sharing networks, e-mail, VPN’s, news groups, internet boards, and social networking sites all offer ways to bypass such blocks. The sheer amount of data being exchanged would be extremely difficult to filter, and would require massive amounts of resources to monitor.

Proponents of the opt-in idea such as Miranda Suit, co-chair of Safe Media, whose company’s focus is ensuring media is safe for children, stated “Children are becoming addicted in their teens to internet pornography; They are being mentally damaged so they cannot engage in intimate relationships.”  Opponents such as Jim Killock, chair of an open rights group said, “This is not about pornography, it is about generalised censorship through the back door." Others believe filtering should be left in the hands of the parents, and not the government.

Regardless of what side UK citizens may be on, a big debate on this opt-in policy appears to be inevitable; one that will require a review of all current filtering technologies, as well as the mediums used to distribute online porn.

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41 Comments

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This legislation is just plain bull****. If you're a parent and cannot be arsed to install something like NetNanny or any of the other free alternatives (hell, even Windows Live comes with a web content filter) on your child's PC/laptop, then you are the one at fault.
There is no need for a legislation that affects all of us legally aged perverts just to cover for the stupidity of some people. It's almost as pathetic as parents letting their 14-15 y/o children play 18+ games, and then complain there is too much gore and violence.

Examinus said,
“This is not about pornography, it is about generalised censorship through the back door."

LOL

Yup I lol'd too

Kinda surprised there weren't more amusing euphemisms in this article... not that hard.

On the opposite side I can see the porn sites losing legitimate revenue from IT illiterate adults who can't figure out how to opt back in, or know anything has happened at all. The porn industry, like any other legitimate business, has staff and needs to pay these staff. We could ban kids from McDonalds to stop obesity but that'd be deemed unfair on McDonalds.

Even at the age of 8 or 9 I knew the account password for our internet connection. I was the one who set it up as I was more IT literate than my parents. This is true for a lot of my friends. The kid'll just opt out messing it all up.

And yet again somebody with perhaps a guilty conscience of being a parent wants society to take care of their off-springs. You are the mother, how about talking to your children about some (sick) stuff people do once in a while? You can't hide the whole world we live in...

All these proposals are nothing..Just make it mandatory for people to sign in with their real Facebook or Twitter account before they can access porn..The world will stop watching porn and the governments and parents will be happy..

AnonD said,
All these proposals are nothing..Just make it mandatory for people to sign in with their real Facebook or Twitter account before they can access porn..The world will stop watching porn and the governments and parents will be happy..
And facebook/twitter will explode with people creating fake accounts.

force porn to adapt the .xxx domain name, I loved the idea for this and think it should be followed.

Most people enjoy porn, but the truth is in the early days of the internet there was some pretty disturbing stuff mixed in (Not saying its not there any more, just was more mixed)

I think breaking the category into a simple .xxx domain make the web a safer place, there is some real disturbing stuff online and I'm all for freedom of speech but this stuff is just messed up.

xXTOKERXx said,
force porn to adapt the .xxx domain name, I loved the idea for this and think it should be followed.

Won't happen.

No one country "owns" or "governs" the internet so you would need every country to agree to make it law. Porn sites unbelievably don't want to be blocked so they would just move their servers to places where it's not enforced and if necessary onto domains of those countries.

I think the TLD should be introduced as it would make blocking a large amount of porn possible but it wont be the only domain pointing any any one site.

If allowed to block porn, then what's next? Articles the government does not like? Products that are frowned upon by a small group of politicians?

Before you know it, the entire Internet would be blocked. Block all or block nothing. Already plenty of software out there that lets reasonable parents block stuff they don't want their kids seeing.

In fact this has nothing to do with kids or parents. That's just the excuse they are using to push this **** down our throats.

It's really about giving the government the power to block **** they don't like simply because they don't like it. None of what they want to block is illegal in any way!

Anything to avoid parents having to take responsibility for their children. No wonder there is a general decline in good behaviour with people in charge actively degrading the concepts of personal responsibility and consequences.

This won't help in taking out the drama and taboo out of sex, which is damaging to teen relationships and body image issues. What would be best is if seeing sex was OK, and explained how different porn is from real life. Because now they'll still see the sex, just without as much guidance since it's so frowned upon in society.

Not possible

Oh thank heavens. If they start on porn then what else? everything that fringes on society's "acceptable"/"unacceptable" views comes under the spotlight.

I don't care whether you support porn or hate it, thats your opinion, if our opinion and discretion is manipulated by an outside source then we lose freedom. soon blocking will become subtle and without warning. eventually you end up with the great firewall of china (or freeze-wall of britain)

You want to opt-in to see porn? ok, pay an extra 50p per month.

Fact is, the opt-in site would be hammered to death. It would be attacked by various groups, i'm sure.
You're basically letting the government know "HELLO! I LOOK AT PORN!"

It's not freedom of speech that's the issue, it's freedom to fap.

Grunt said,
You want to opt-in to see porn? ok, pay an extra 50p per month.

Fact is, the opt-in site would be hammered to death. It would be attacked by various groups, i'm sure.
You're basically letting the government know "HELLO! I LOOK AT PORN!"

It's not freedom of speech that's the issue, it's freedom to fap.

It's not like there would be one porn site for everyone who chose to opt in, they just get normal unfiltered internet.

There are many programs out there that successfully block this stuff everyday. Yes there are some "variable" but there are ways to block all porn and even add custom variables to unblock or block certain sites. The problem is it costs money and the ISPs would have to dedicate a department to blocking and unblocking sites via user submissions etc.

I don't get how they think this is at all possible. They would have to block everything, then slowly unblock stuff that isn't porn for those who haven't opted-in.

They can block all known porn sites now, but what about new ones? What about proxies? What about being sent through emails?

Which is all said in the article, of course, but still, what do these people not get about the Internet?

In UK junior schools, they teach the kids about gay relationships, and
how an orgasm a day is good for you.
This is internet censorship, starts with porn ends up as the great firewall of britain.

lordofangels said,
In UK junior schools, they teach the kids about gay relationships, and
how an orgasm a day is good for you.
This is internet censorship, starts with porn ends up as the great firewall of britain.

They teach that an orgasm a day is good for you?

Do you have a link or a letter about this?

torrentthief said,

They teach that an orgasm a day is good for you?

Do you have a link or a letter about this?


This is a must see. I'm curious too!

TheGlassPrison said,
Porn isn't allowing teens to engage in intimate relationships? That's insane.

It only affects idiots who think porn == real life.

TheGlassPrison said,
Porn isn't allowing teens to engage in intimate relationships? That's insane.

i watched porn in my teenager years, still do, and i'm not damaged in any way fockers.

just wnated to make that statement

JJBBBBBBBBBB said,
What ever happen to freedom of speech or the right to express yourself?

Freedom of speech is only Free when everyone agree's..... Carnt do anything these days without offending some minority or person's human rights and blah blah blah...

I really like the fact the government wants porn blocked.... yet murder videos sites like liveleak and others are good game? Block one you then start blocking everything and loosing more and more of our freedom...

JJBBBBBBBBBB said,
What ever happen to freedom of speech or the right to express yourself?
it's only freedom of speech when the government likes what your saying

SickDave said,
Freedom of speech is only Free when everyone agree's..... Carnt do anything these days without offending some minority or person's human rights and blah blah blah...


I always love people that stagger off t.owards the fainting couch with this type of response... "Oh my, where o' where did my freedom of speech go? I had it back in the 'good ol days'!"

For starters, there is not a person living in a 1st world country today that's EVER had absolute freedom of speech... I don't care which one you live in. You think you do? I dare you to go into a crowded theatre and yell 'FIRE'... or go into a bar and start ranting about how you're going to kill the leader of your country.

As to what really appears to pain the heart... the ability to say things that offend some minority, or someone's human rights. First off... Wow. To actually argue on behalf of the right to be hateful, mean spirited, oppressive, etc... That speaks volumes about anyone defending THAT position to their own benefit. I suppose that can be chalked up to the level of anonymity afforded by the Internet... a person's worst demons can be let out when the repercussions are limited (or non-existent).

The simple fact of the matter is (in most 1st world nations) people have an enormous freedom to express whatever they want. What people who make this argument often fail to understand is that, while they have the freedom to express their hateful, bigoted, off-color opinions, they don't have the freedom to not be criticized by for them by others. That's the part that really seems to give them a touch of the vapors... having to face the proverbial fire for their ugliness.

I guess it's just easier to paint themselves as the victim than to try an be more insightful about their own behaviour.

Edited by Monkeys4me, Dec 21 2010, 6:19am :

JJBBBBBBBBBB said,
What ever happen to freedom of speech or the right to express yourself?

Gone down the toilet along with the responsibilities parents are shirking apparently.

SickDave said,

Freedom of speech is only Free when everyone agree's..... Carnt do anything these days without offending some minority or person's human rights and blah blah blah...

I really like the fact the government wants porn blocked.... yet murder videos sites like liveleak and others are good game? Block one you then start blocking everything and loosing more and more of our freedom...

Don't forget that some people abuse that use which is why we can't have nice things. They should really make it where if one screws it up for the rest they'd get severly punished in some way or another...

JJBBBBBBBBBB said,
What ever happen to freedom of speech or the right to express yourself?
They should just start by not allowing us to not use the words Penis and Vagina, because supposedly, those are terrible words to know as a child. Porn is part of life, it's a huge market and you cannot deny that.

I know I sound like I am a porn addict but I mean this is only adding to internet censorship. It starts with that, and soon the government will have total control over the Internet and you can say bye bye to that.

Monkeys4me said,


I always love people that stagger off t.owards the fainting couch with this type of response... "Oh my, where o' where did my freedom of speech go? I had it back in the 'good ol days'!"

For starters, there is not a person living in a 1st world country today that's EVER had absolute freedom of speech... I don't care which one you live in. You think you do? I dare you to go into a crowded theatre and yell 'FIRE'... or go into a bar and start ranting about how you're going to kill the leader of your country.

As to what really appears to pain the heart... the ability to say things that offend some minority, or someone's human rights. First off... Wow. To actually argue on behalf of the right to be hateful, mean spirited, oppressive, etc... That speaks volumes about anyone defending THAT position to their own benefit. I suppose that can be chalked up to the level of anonymity afforded by the Internet... a person's worst demons can be let out when the repercussions are limited (or non-existent).

The simple fact of the matter is (in most 1st world nations) people have an enormous freedom to express whatever they want. What people who make this argument often fail to understand is that, while they have the freedom to express their hateful, bigoted, off-color opinions, they don't have the freedom to not be criticized by for them by others. That's the part that really seems to give them a touch of the vapors... having to face the proverbial fire for their ugliness.

I guess it's just easier to paint themselves as the victim than to try an be more insightful about their own behaviour.

WELL SAID.

Shouting fire has nothing to do with freedom of speech anyway, as the word speech as used here means the expression of opinions or ideas, not physically making a sound with your mouth.

JJBBBBBBBBBB said,
What ever happen to freedom of speech or the right to express yourself?

Alive and well in the USA but have never existed here in the UK. What are you lot on we dont have a constitution the govenment can do almost anything it likes it only fears not being elected again.

Anyone here old enough to remember we used to have a right to silence in this country when arrested.