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Thread: Speaking of Por - Censorship

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    Administrator Will's Avatar
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    Default Speaking of Por - Censorship

    Oh wouldn't it be delightful to have our most recent resident troll back for a guest appearance on this one?

    I don't even know if this story is true or not, I literally came across it when googling in 'Talk UK'. Anyway, I'm going to assume it is for now as I'm tired and want to go to bed.

    http://www.shinyshiny.tv/2011/10/uk-...nny-state.html

    The crux is it appears the UK government is at least considering to implement an "initiative" to make UK ISP's block porn websites unless you "opt out" which as this article rightly points out, would involve a rather embarrassing phone call to your ISP.

    It also goes on to rightly point out that who gets to decide what is considered pornographic or not? What other "initiatives" can we expect in the future. As 'Boards of Canada' rightly point out, "If you can be told what to see and hear, then it follows that you can be told what to say or think".

    AOL already has a child internet filter, which the account owner can turn on or off at will. This is the perfect balance, rather than the government enforcing it. The country I live in bans porn automatically from the only ISP there is, it also bans websites that speak out against it.

    It's a slippery slope my friends. Still, it's nice to blow some cobwebs out of the Nanny State Big Brother forum, it's been a while.
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    I think there is a major risk of certain people and organisations blowing this out of all proportion to support their own aims.

    As you rightly point out, this kind of filtering already exists but the current systems all rely on the parents having a certain level of technical understanding and the kids not having a higher level. By shifting the technical work on to the ISP, it removes the effort required by the technically illiterate and greatly reduces the ability of sneak kids circumventing the blocks. The actual scale and scope remains the same, as will the people deciding what is and isn't blocked.

    I think that, with the opt-out, there is no major problem. The "embarrassment" issue is something we need to get over if we're going to honestly address the area in general anyway. It isn't a perfect solution but no such thing exists.

    I'm sure there will be objections to the government mandate aspect but I fear this would be the only way to ensure ISPs actually put in the investment to effectively implement the measures.

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    Super Moderator eatmywords's Avatar
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    Are they doing this for the kids, or the parents? I'm never quite sure. I find the regulation and control of the internet a quite frightful thing, considering it the thought to abstain thought. You never saw a man with a red flag walking in front of a horse and carriage, so one imagines that red flag was an indication some fat idiot is having a drive about with his latest music-hall conquest in his mechanical coffin, and perhaps we should keep an eye on that nut-job. Even though there were far-far more injuries and deaths from horse and carriage accidents than there were for the auto-mobile, a system of control and legislation quickly grew up around a very minor and insignificant object without too much thought on the driver's side, culminating in the Department of Transport. I suppose in a few years we will have the Department of Internet, or something. A taxing fact when you think the scale and expense the BBC is now to the public and its purse. The widening scheme of the M6 motorway is costing 900 an inch. Anyway, I doubt the Department of Internet will ultimately cost that much.

    What is again disheartening is now pornography is becoming a rather misused word. The thought a child-molester ringing up their ISP to ask about connecting them to sick and depraved imagery is rather ludicrous, but young adolescents and single-men asking for pornography is a little less so. So, if you do ask your ISP for pornography I suppose you are then registered, at the ISP, as a sexual deviant. And so, if there is some sick and depraved act committed in the middle of Twintown, then the police have a nice starting point to save time from and the government more material to enlarge the powers of the Department of Internet. Am I spiralling out of control or into control?
    Last edited by eatmywords; 10-16-2011 at 10:16 AM. Reason: deleted line, and added "save time"
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    Administrator Will's Avatar
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    Ironically, I've had to temporarily change the name of this thread so I can write on it. The Qatar authorities even automatically ban website pages that have the word 'porn' in the title! I doubt it would be much different for the restrictions now placed on UK ISPs.

    Saying that it would be complicated for parents to switch on or off the porn filters for ISPs is a non-argument as far as I'm concerned. If they can't activate a simple password protected filter on ISPs suck as AOL, then it's highly unlikely they would be capable of even using a computer in the first place!

    I'd quite happily accept forcing ISPs to copy AOL's filtering system, but forcing the public to opt out of a filter is extreme. It's also concerning how easily our Government can impliment such an "initiative" and how readily UK ISPs seem to be to accept it. Perhaps next we will have to "opt out" if we want to see websites that have extreme views. Perhaps eventually we'll have to "opt out" if we look at websites that speak out against the government or authorities?
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    Administrator Will's Avatar
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    Just found an article on Open DNS discussing this very subject.

    http://blog.opendns.com/2011/10/12/t...ent-filtering/
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    Quote Originally Posted by Will View Post
    The Qatar authorities even automatically ban website pages that have the word 'porn' in the title! I doubt it would be much different for the restrictions now placed on UK ISPs.
    You honestly believe that? I'm sure it would be much more sophisticated, probably similar to local filtering software which is based on specified domains and sites.

    Quote Originally Posted by Will View Post
    Saying that it would be complicated for parents to switch on or off the porn filters for ISPs is a non-argument as far as I'm concerned. If they can't activate a simple password protected filter on ISPs suck as AOL, then it's highly unlikely they would be capable of even using a computer in the first place!
    Lots of people, including many parents aren't. A lot more are less skilled than their children, meaning the kids can easily circumvent locally configured blocks and filters.

    Quote Originally Posted by Will View Post
    I'd quite happily accept forcing ISPs to copy AOL's filtering system, but forcing the public to opt out of a filter is extreme.
    I don't see the major problem with the opt-out as long as it's clearly identified and relatively easy to change.

    Quote Originally Posted by Will View Post
    Perhaps next we will have to "opt out" if we want to see websites that have extreme views. Perhaps eventually we'll have to "opt out" if we look at websites that speak out against the government or authorities?
    Slippery slope arguments only work with an element of reality involved. What you describe is no more likely than the police being used to arrest anyone speaking out against the government but I don't hear you calling for the police to be disbanded.
    Last edited by HonestJoe; 10-16-2011 at 04:03 PM. Reason: Grammar fail!

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    Administrator Will's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HonestJoe View Post
    You honestly believe that? I'm sure it would be much more sophisticated, probably similar to local filtering software which is based on specified domains and sites.
    Yup. Filtering programs are not sophisticated enough to differentiate between porn or explicit writing and "art" or creative writing. If you think it would be realistic to individually decide on specific sites, you are living in a fantasy world.

    Lots of people, including many parents aren't. A lot more are less skilled than their children, meaning the kids can easily circumvent locally configured blocks and filters.
    Pathetic excuse, what is complicated about using a help file or a manual? If kids can circumvent local blocks and filters, then what makes you think they won't be able to circumvent a government imposed one?

    I don't see the major problem with the opt-out as long as it's clearly identified and relatively easy to change.
    Yet you don't think it's possible to implement a user controlled filter that will be easy to use? Double standards.

    Since you have such a low opinion of parents computer abilities, what makes you think it's fair to force a filter on them that they won't be savvy enough to switch off?

    Slippery slope arguments only work with an element of reality involved. What you describe is no more likely than the police being used to arrest anyone speaking out against the government but I don't hear you calling for the police to be disbanded.
    What you and advocates of censorship in general fail to appreciate, is that it may seem unrealistic now, but I bet there was a time when being locked up for 28 days without charge seemed unrealistic too. I simply can't understand why someone would advocate heavy-handed censorship when it isn't necessary to take it that far. It's entirely plausible that a protest being organised which DOESN'T have police approval, could find itself being filtered out of the internet too. If it's not a police approved protest, then it could quite easily be designated as a riot. THAT would be enough to get you arrested and charged.

    Cameron has already indicated that he thinks "controlling" the flow of information is a good idea. So please, don't try and tell me I am being unrealistic.
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    As I understand it, the proposal only refers to new subscribers.
    Surely, all the new subscriber needs to do is say they don't want any the ISP to block access to any sites? No specifics. No embarrassments.

    As an aside, about two years ago I was working in a Civil Service location where the in-house restrictions blocked me from accessing Anne Widdecombe's site. God only knows what she had that HMG thought might be corrupting...

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    Administrator Will's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Patman Post View Post
    As I understand it, the proposal only refers to new subscribers.
    Surely, all the new subscriber needs to do is say they don't want any the ISP to block access to any sites? No specifics. No embarrassments.
    Why should they even need to do this though? Also, surely an actual controllable filter would be preferable in any case? So parents can protect their children yet still be able to accessed the internet without filters themselves. Isn't this a lot more sensible all round rather than another half-baked government "initiative," cooked up by cretins who probably struggle to use email?
    As an aside, about two years ago I was working in a Civil Service location where the in-house restrictions blocked me from accessing Anne Widdecombe's site. God only knows what she had that HMG thought might be corrupting...
    We were probably being protected from pictures of her offensive haircuts.

    Welcome back BTW Pat, it's been a while.
    Admin Will - Think for yourself, it hasn't been banned, yet.
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  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Will View Post
    Yup. Filtering programs are not sophisticated enough to differentiate between porn or explicit writing and "art" or creative writing. If you think it would be realistic to individually decide on specific sites, you are living in a fantasy world.
    That's how a number of filtering programs already work. I'm in complete agreement that no system is perfect. The actual technical aspect of implementing the filter (and all the related difficulties) isn't changed by the proposal though.

    Quote Originally Posted by Will View Post
    Pathetic excuse, what is complicated about using a help file or a manual?
    You can be as insulting as you like, you're not going to eliminate the significant number of people with little or no practical computer literacy.

    Quote Originally Posted by Will View Post
    If kids can circumvent local blocks and filters, then what makes you think they won't be able to circumvent a government imposed one?
    Because changing it wouldn't be about a button or password on the computer itself but a process of contacting the ISP, confirming you are actually the customer and receiving some form of notification of the change. There is potential to mess it up but it should be more secure from cunning kids.

    Quote Originally Posted by Will View Post
    Since you have such a low opinion of parents computer abilities, what makes you think it's fair to force a filter on them that they won't be savvy enough to switch off?
    But they wouldn't need to have the technical savvy because the ISP would (should!) explain the choice in simple terms and offer a clear yes or no.

    Quote Originally Posted by Will View Post
    What you and advocates of censorship...
    I'm not advocating censorship. This isn't about censorship. This is about offering a choice. You'd be free to opt-out and use whatever systems (or lack thereof) you currently have.

    Quote Originally Posted by Will View Post
    but I bet there was a time when being locked up for 28 days without charge seemed unrealistic too.
    Yes, when it was assumed that you could beat a confession out of pretty much anyone within 24 hours.

    Quote Originally Posted by Will View Post
    It's entirely plausible that a protest being organised which DOESN'T have police approval, could find itself being filtered out of the internet too.
    That could happen now (I suspect it generally doesn't - it'd be more effecitve to monitor). Using this system wouldn't be a very effective method since it would be immediately obvious when the opt-out people could see it and the opt-in ones couldn't.

    Quote Originally Posted by Will View Post
    Cameron has already indicated that he thinks "controlling" the flow of information is a good idea. So please, don't try and tell me I am being unrealistic.
    In what context was that single-word quote used?

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