UK Checking To See If It Can Just Go Ahead And Block All Porn Sites

United Kingdom Internet users won’t have to suddenly shut their eyes in shock when “accidentally” happening upon a pornographic web site, if the Prime Minister can figure out whether or not the government can just block all porn. For its citizens’ sakes, of course.

The Guardian says Prime Minister David Cameron is considering introducing new filters for online porn. The government is consulting this week with the industry over whether or not it can have Internet service providers block adult material as a default. Customers would then have to specifically request the ability to view porn.

That means millions of Internet users have to opt in, and actively ask their ISP to please, bring the nudity back.

Cameron’s actions come after a parliamentary inquiry into online child protection warned that explicit material was having a harmful effect on kids.

We’re going to guess that ISPs and advococy groups aren’t going to take any such porn blocking actions lying down. In fact, the Internet Service Providers Association has already said it would oppose default filtering, as it’s not the most effective measure and is easy to get around anyway.

*Thanks for the tip, Matt! We like your style.

Pornography online: David Cameron to consider ‘opt in’ plan [The Guardian]

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  1. MCerberus says:

    Repression in the guise of morality always turns out well, right?

    • oldwiz65 says:

      Saving people from themselves is a hallmark of nanny state.

      • MCerberus says:

        Telling you what to do: the only bipartisan activity accepted in western democracy.

    • Difdi says:

      The main problem with legislating morality, is no matter who you are and what you believe, you can find someone, somewhere, sooner or later who finds everything you believe in and stand for to be an obscenity, with no redeeming value to society.

      The trick in good government is to figure out where the line between actual objective harm and subjective/moral harm actually is. Unfortunately, far too many people equate their own morality to natural law.

      • vastrightwing says:

        You are correct, but this is more about the government trying to ban anything THEY don’t like. If they can get a ban on porn sites, it’s very easy to simply ban anything they don’t like later. Look, governments don’t like this communication thing. People can reveal things they don’t like and citizens can group together. It’s not a good thing for the people in power. Knowledge is evil.

    • Naked-Gord-Program says:

      Camron is pushing through a Christian Conservative agenda for awhile now. This is no surprise:

      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/religion/8962894/David-Cameron-the-Church-must-shape-our-values.html

  2. Bort says:

    I am offended by websites that mention those tasty cucumber sandwiches, so therefore any website that mentions them should also be censored for all Americans.
    Slippery slope isn’t it.

  3. kosmo @ The Soap Boxers says:

    Years ago, the father of a friend of mine was a teacher and informal tech guy at a small school. The principal was so dedicated to ridding the world of porn that he told this guy to manually find and block every porn site that the blocker software missed. Overtime was approved for this mission (as much OT as was needed to successfully complete the project).

    At some point, a new principal took over and immediately killed off this project. Some sort of comment about it being “impossible”.

    I’m guess that some sites are going to find a way to elude the UK’s filter.

    • TheMansfieldMauler says:

      Yeah I worked at a telecom for a while, and our office had about 1000 people connecting through it. They decided to buy some blocking firewall software thing, and when they turned it on it crashed because it couldn’t handle the number of blocked sites people were trying to get to.

      They installed in on a much better server, and then 3 of us had to monitor it. It soon became apparent that we couldn’t do that and our regular duties, because manually adding every site that showed up to the filtering list would be a full time job for at least 2 people in 2 shifts (4 man-days per day). Even sending out memos and making everyone re-sign the “internet use” agreement from HR didn’t deter it. Some people sat there all day doing nothing else but surfing porn.

      Finally they just decided to forget trying to block it – as long as someone at least got their assigned work done anything else was overlooked.

      • Bort says:

        I see this as two wrongs make a right, not that i believe viewing porn at work is right/wrong or a protected right.
        If the work your paying for is getting done, i see no problem with letting employees do other things, if it means not giving them enough work or they are abusing the privilege and using it to avoid doing what they are paid for, then thats another story, but a few minutes to recharge your mental batteries (lots of pun there) by scoping out the news, reading about the latest Nikon camera or whatever can make you more productive since it gives you a short break, and a change of perspective.

    • dourdan says:

      that sounds about right.

      fan art sites for example- i have seen some very erotic art on fan art sites, but if you censor them you are taking away their feedom of speech.

    • dangermike says:

      I’m a little disappointed. I was expecting a punchline about your friend’s your friend’s dad now being blind.

    • vastrightwing says:

      Simple: open proxy servers will get around it. Unless they want to do deep packet inspection. Then just use SSL. All the government can do is get ISPs to agree to install a kill switch for one purpose or another. I believe this is what they want. The porn angle is just a veil to get this implemented. Then when the government wants to shut down the internet, it will be in place.

      It’s not going to be too long before the whole internet infrastructure is destroyed by self serving governments using fear to allow them to usurp complete control.

      • Skipweasel says:

        My ISP, following a UK court order, has just blocked access to PirateBay.
        This, of course, took less than a minute to circumvent, and may have backfired, what with PirateBay claimng a large increase in visits since the blockade.

        Really, it’s like trying to empty the sea with a bucket.

    • wkm001 says:

      It would be far easier to block every site then manually allow the ones you want.

  4. Flik says:

    Does anyone reeeeeeeallly this this’ll work? If there’s a will, there’s a way to find porn on the ‘net, even in lands without the power of the First Amendment behind them.

    It’s also slightly ironic that the kingdom that gave us Benny Hill and the phrase “naughty bits” would really consider such a thing. One man’s titillation is another man’s pornography, I suppose.

    • Portlandia says:

      Uh, if you read the article, you can simply call your ISP and have them unblock it…it’s not like a China block where you can’t unblock….I’m not saying it’s a good idea…in fact it’s a fucking ridiculously stupid thing to do…Anyone using the “Do it for the children” mantra needs to be punched in the nose.

      • Kuri says:

        Or told to go parent their own fucking kids.

      • Flik says:

        “You mean call the ISP and admit that I like to look at people shagging? We are not amused.”

        Oh, sure — a few people might call their friendly Interwebs provider and fess up that they’d really like to see “Bobbing for Bobbi XVII”, but for most? They’ll remain anonymous and not tell a soul what they’re up to. Like I said, they’ll find a way.

        • Portlandia says:

          Meh, if you can’t admit to a perfect stranger over the phone you look at “naughty bits” then you shouldn’t be looking at them….lol…just kidding…actually, it will likely be called “adult content” it takes all the ‘shame’ involved with admitting your human…I mean you look at porn…

      • There's room to move as a fry cook says:

        Kids will just put on a deep dad voice and call in to unblock..

  5. Stickdude says:

    Maybe they should ask China or Iran for pointers…

    • Princess Beech loves a warm cup of treason every morning says:

      The Great Firewall of China – works like a charm.

  6. Tim says:

    Well, they wouldn’t be missing much … http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=weijnvNCxqY

  7. XianZomby says:

    This government intervening to decide what’s best for citizens has got to stop.

    It’s as bad as government telling McDonald’s they can’t put toys in Happy Meals so as to protect the children.

    You’d think people would be offended that that the government was passing a law that in essence says “in government we think you’re incapable of making decisions for yourself or for your family, so because we’re smarter, we’re going to protect you and your family for you.”

    • u1itn0w2day says:

      In the UK that’s exactly what’s going on. I think it’s the UK that has some of the tougher anti smoking and obesity laws out there. Let us not forget gun control as well. They’re Euro trash socialists.

  8. SilverBlade2k says:

    Wow, this will not be effective…at all.

    In order to do this, you basically need to disconnect the country from the internet entirely.

    Plus, this is so easy to get around. Usenet? Flickr? deviantart? Google image search?

    • NumberSix says:

      Check Wikipedia and read up on DNS.

      • eyesack is the boss of the DEFAMATION ZONE says:

        It’s impossible to find all pornography, and unlike Net Nanny-style filters where porn sites tend to participate, porn sites will actively try to circumvent the filters – if they get through, they can be one of the limited suppliers for huge demand.

    • bluline says:

      I can envision a law that would make it illegal to circumvent mandated online filtering systems or to access or attempt to access banned sites regardless of the method used to do it. Such a law may not be effective, but it would give the authorities added ammunition if they really wanted to pursue charges against someone.

  9. pot_roast says:

    “Cameron’s actions come after a parliamentary inquiry into online child protection warned that explicit material was having a harmful effect on kids.”

    It’s now time to just ban children from the internet.

    What’s easier? more and more and more and more laws blocking consenting adults from internet content because a CHILD *might* see it, or just one law saying “Nobody under the age of 13 on the internet, unless it’s to a .kids domain – anything else you see is entirely the responsibility of your parents.”

    So sick and tired of seeing bans/blocks/etc because of “the children.”

    • SilverBlade2k says:

      Agreed.

      With children these days being more tech-savy then their already tech-savy parents, it’s really easy for them to find anything.

      No one under 13 should be allowed on the net.

      • MCerberus says:

        The US has what actually amounts to a blanket-ban on preteens on the internet. There’s lots of consent and hoops around collecting data (all data) on them, most places don’t bother. Those that do use fun tricks like the easily-faked D.O.B. or the chat filters that only allow words they like in.

        The 11 year olds yelling into the mics are actually the result of Microsoft’s Xbox department BREAKING THE LAAAAAAAAAAW.

    • RecordStoreToughGuy_RidesTheWarpOfSpaceIntoTheWombOfNight says:

      Well, those are all compelling arguments, Mr Prime Minister, but allow me to present my rebuttal:

      I don’t care about your stupid kids.

      Thank you.

  10. quirkyrachel says:

    Ahhh, the Nanny State in action. Instead of saying that people should be able to ask the ISP to blcok content, the government is just going to step in and make the choice for them unless they jump through hoops.

  11. Lyn Torden says:

    Of course, as a proxy provider open to UK citizens, I will need a copy of this list.

  12. There's room to move as a fry cook says:

    Are they also going to block big boobs on page 3 from all tabloids.

  13. AnonymousCommenter says:

    Come on…has anyone actually encountered a porn site accidentally?

    • Flik says:

      Oh, I don’t know….. go look up lemonparty.org. I promise you it’s not what you’re thinking.

      • RecordStoreToughGuy_RidesTheWarpOfSpaceIntoTheWombOfNight says:

        It’s been nice knowing you, Flik.

    • Daggertrout says:

      Whitehouse.com?

    • tsukiotoshi says:

      Yeah, once when I was in class I mistyped the web address for an ornithology group I belonged to, and accidentally went to a porn site. I was sitting in the front row and everything! Thankfully, the people behind me that saw it before I clicked it away immediately were people I knew who thought it was hilarious.

      And we all learned a valuable lesson about using the internets in class. And then forgot it again.

    • Doubting thomas says:

      Yes, but not often. Mostly it is on purpose.

  14. Nobby says:

    We’re British, no sex please!

  15. gman863 says:

    If you have Vista or Windows 7, it’s easy and free to install and customize Microsoft Family Safety.

    Different website filtering and permissions can be installed for each user, ranging from an automatic block of known porn sites to custom settings for blocking social media apps such as Facebook. It also rats out any attempt of a restricted user to access a forbidden site via an e-mail to the parent or network administrator.

    Are the Brits too stupid and/or too lazy to do this?

  16. Nobby says:

    Well they seem to have block the flow of dental hygiene products so porn should be no problem. By the way, this prudishness is from a country where there’s a hardware store called “Knobs and Knockers” and a thousand pubs called “The Cock”.

  17. NumberSix says:

    Sucks to be you GB!

  18. TasteyCat says:

    How do you ban porn? I assume the plan is to filter sites, but surely they can’t hit everything, nor torrent programs or proxy surfing for that matter.

  19. KyBash says:

    UK — the world’s equivalent of Florida.

  20. D007H says:

    David Cameron needs to get his bum paddled by a cricket bat. Call in the swat team!

  21. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    Why not mandate that web browsers provide a filter and that during installation they ask if the filter should be on or off, and provide insuctions on how to change the settings?

  22. kobresia says:

    Kitty porn!

    I think under current British law, that would probably be considered “extreme porn”, and would necessitate calling in a military strike.

  23. duncanblackthorne says:

    Filtering has been attempted time and time again and is proven over and over again to not be effective, damnit! These idiot politicians don’t understand the technology of the internet, and they don’t understand that sites will get through anyways. What they do understand is that they can use it to censor free speech by simply claiming a site has adult content and getting it blocked! I can’t wait for it to fail completely like every other attempt at “filtering”.

  24. whosyer12 says:

    What’s with the picture? Is that your example of the only kind of pussy shots the Brits will be able to receive?

  25. Groanan says:

    Though I abhor the restriction of information, especially censorship based on silly superstitions, I am all for them implementing some sort of technological porn filter; it is things like this that will get kids interested in computer programming.

  26. Telekinesis123 says:

    Rule #1 of tyranny, use a red herring to get your foot in the door.

  27. giax says:

    I don’t mind seeing porn, but they could automatically censor all the breastfeeding pictures instead.

  28. HogwartsProfessor says:

    I don’t get this. Their TV doesn’t censor the way US TV does. Granted, I visited there back in the 1980s, but there were films on TV that had adult content and showed sex scenes that would have been completely cut out here.

    How do they justify censoring Internet porn? It makes no sense whatsoever. Haven’t they ever heard of 1) parenting, and 2) individual nanny software?

  29. lostalaska says:

    It’s actually a somewhat brilliant idea in a totally backwards way. Block all porn access online in England. Wait 20 years and you have an entire generation of elite hackers who spent their youth figuring out how to get around security systems to get to what they want.

  30. meniscus says:

    Its about time!

    Porn-watching is killing prostitution! Politicial whores and street whores are in this together.

  31. flarn2006 says:

    This could have unforeseen implications. For instance, it would make it harder to hide it from your wife. I mean, that’s one of those cases when “what they don’t know won’t hurt ‘em” really applies.

  32. Kisses4Katie says:

    This is so stupid!!! There is nothing wrong with viewing porn, masturbating, or enjoying sexual activity. I get sick of hearing people complain about porn!

  33. powermetal2000 says:

    Now THAT’S a slippery slope. Maybe the UK should take another look at the history of Germany, say, around the 1930’s and 40’s.

  34. Alliance to Restore the Republic of the United States of America says:

    What is this, Saudi Arabia?

  35. KhaiJB says:

    ah I see everyone’s falling for the UK Politics trap.

    this is not about censoring porn. or censoring the internet. nope. it’s actually something quite different.

    it’s a noise maker. UK politics use these “issues” to distract from bigger more important issues. they know you can’t filter out porn. they are not stupid, they have tech advisers that do know what they are talking about.

    but while everyone’s arguing over porn filtering, they are ignoring the economy. or the cuts. or the fact that the PM may have colluded with Murdoch over Sky business deals. or…. etc.

    they don’t actually give a crap if it works or not. so long as your talking about that and not the other problems….

    • doctor_cos wants you to remain calm says:

      “..the fact that the PM may have colluded with Murdoch…”
      This makes my brain hurt. It’s a fact that they may have colluded? Wouldn’t that be an accusation or belief?

      I do agree with you that this is misdirection, used to perfection by politicians everywhere, especially in the US where we have Faux News and CNN to help!!

      • KhaiJB says:

        no… the fact the accusations been made, I mean… there’s a whole inquiry here in the UK into murdoch’s empire, thanks to the News of the World hacking scandal…

        part of the inquiry’s turned up evidence that the PM’s assistant was in talks with murdoch… that’s yet to be proved….

  36. YouDidWhatNow? says:

    The problem is that porn is the most popular product on the internet…maybe just in the history of the world. Everyone wants to see porn. Anyone who claims they don’t is lying. This is the UK government lying to it’s people.

  37. u1itn0w2day says:

    Just another example of why our ancestors left centuries ago. Another case of elitist Euro trash deciding what is best for you. It must be all the inbreeding that goes on on a island like this.

  38. yankinwaoz says:

    Here is any idea. Why doesn’t the UK Gov’t buy one huge blanket license to OpenDNS’s Parental Control services. Then UK citizens who worry about seeing porn can opt in. I’d think at that scale, they could get it down from $20/year to perhaps less than $10.

    http://www.opendns.com/home-solutions/parental-controls/

  39. Press1forDialTone says:

    Now, THIS is a perfect example of when Big Brother government (IMHO we
    aren’t nearly there yet) attempts to take away individual freedom for all when
    they are actually trying to target something really worthly of stopping, child abuse
    and child exploitation.

  40. Important Business Man (Formerly Will Print T-shirts For Food) says:

    -sigh-
    I make my own porn at home. When are you guys going to learn?

  41. technoreaper says:

    The UK is a fascist country.

  42. Freightshaker says:

    I don’t know why “the internets” doesn’t just go ahead and force all adult sites to use .xxx domain names instead of .com
    Not sure how that would/could be done, but I’m sure some kind of law could be created.
    And why make citizens “opt-in” to porn ?!? That’s total invasion of privacy. They should just make the 4 people in the entire world who don’t wanna see porn “opt-out” instead.

    • yankinwaoz says:

      Ummm… because the definition of porn is subjective. There a prudes out there who consider the Victoria Secret catalog to be porn. There are people who consider any image of a woman to be porn. Who is to judge what is porn?

      Besides, XXX domains are expensive. Until they make them free, or the same price as .COMs, then it is just isn’t fair.

      A far more effective technique would be to place a “content” meta tag record with the value “nudity” in the website’s robots.txt file. Then browser plug ins, and search engines, could filter based on that tag value.

  43. Freightshaker says:

    I don’t know why “the internets” doesn’t just go ahead and force all adult sites to use .xxx domain names instead of .com
    Not sure how that would/could be done, but I’m sure some kind of law could be created.
    And why make citizens “opt-in” to porn ?!? That’s total invasion of privacy. They should just make the 4 people in the entire world who don’t wanna see porn “opt-out” instead. It’s much easier to explain to the wife that you forgot to opt-out than it would be to explain that accidentally you opted-in.

  44. maxamus2 says:

    How about having to opt in to every religious site as well? I think that would be a fair balance.

  45. WalterSinister2 says:

    Christsake, if you don’t know how the Internet works, stop trying to make laws about it.

  46. Martha Gail says:

    Wouldn’t it make more sense to just have concerned parents request to have porn blocked to their house instead of blocking it for everyone?