Government looks to censor porn and "think of the children"

20 December 2010

Ed_VaizeyWhen we first read the story about the Government wanting ISPs to block pornography from customers, we ran a gauntlet of emotions. There was disbelief, bewilderment, outrage. We checked it wasn't 1st April. Andy donned a black armband and hasn't spoken since. And who can blame him?

Ed Vaizey, the communications minister, is to talk to internet service providers about ways that pornography can be prevented from being viewed by customers, believing that individuals should have to request to opt-in.

The reason for considering this? Think of the children.  The Government wants to protect children from being accidentally exposed to pornography. Vaizey told the Sunday Times:

"This is a very serious matter. I think it is very important that it's the ISPs that some up with solutions to protect children."

"I'm hoping they will get their acts together so that we don't have to legislate, but we are keeping an eye on the situation and we will have a new communications bill in the next couple of years."

It's unsettling and worrying, and not just for avid fans of Lady Sonia or RedTube. The suggestion that parents are somehow incapable of monitoring their children's online activity, or that they should be relieved of the responsibility, is disconcerting.

There's no clear line that can be drawn to wholly separate porn from art, health or entertainment, but the greatest concern is that we might have a government choosing to actively censor what we see and do online. Pornography isn't illegal so having it censored seems a massive step backwards for personal privacy. When China does that, everybody throws a shit-fit. Will the UK stand for such action - those passionate about porngraphy, and those horrified by the precedent it sets for the future?

TOPICS:   Technology

31 comments

  • Marky M.
    If they're so worried about children not being corrupted perhaps they should ban the Catholic church.
  • Zleet
    Even the daily mail website has people mostly decrying it. Seems really shady to me. I think there is a high probability that this is just a backdoor way to put in place a filter that can then be used for sites seen to be 'infringing copyright' or 'against the public interest'.
  • Alexis
    Surely people with kids should contact their ISP and block the porn, not the other way round?
  • PokeHerPete
    Could someone kindly explain to me what the "internet" is?
  • Bazinga
    I'm moving to Germany.
  • Daniel
    Queue tax on b( )( )bs
  • Spark
    The simple solution is not to let children use the internet. It's not a place for children anyway and most of the little bastards are already spoiled enough so losing one priviledge isn't going to do them any real damage.
  • Zleet
    "Hello, BT? I'd like to enable grot please."
  • Nick T.
    I worked in Libya for a while and porn channels are freely available on TV, no problem. And the kids are all polite, well-balanced, and a darn sight better educated than round here.
  • qwertyuiop
    Porno mags are just as dangerous, if not moreso. Yes they're on the top shelf where most children can't access them physically but there's still nakedness on the cover! Why not ban those? Why does this strange man have such a prominent role in our government?
  • Zleet
    Weren't police asking for greater powers for pulling UK based websites and sites with UK domains without oversight a few weeks ago as well.
  • PlatPlat
    This isn't a step towards censorship. It's about protecting children. Kids get their hands on unbelievable amounts of porn, of all types. It harms their attitude towards sex and towards women. Many parents don't have the technical knowledge to install filtering software, but many kids have the knowledge to get around it if they do.
  • Paul
    @Daniel I think you meant "Cue", not "Queue", and more importantly b( . )( . )bs, not b( )( )bs?
  • Kevin
    Congratulations PlatPlat you have explained exactly the issue. Parents do not want to look after their children, they want other people to do it for them. The internet is not a babysitting device to keep the kids quiet whilst parents watch TV, if a parent choose to ignore their childrens online activities the parent should be held responible for any illegal activites or porn viewing the child part-takes in. Ofc,we cannot blame the parents :O :O :O Parent's who genuinelly care would monitor their childs internet use, put the computer in a "public" area of the house and keep the occasional eye on what their little darlings are doing.
  • Zleet
    @PlatPlat I'm surprised you didn't start that with 'Will someone please think of the children!'. If you can't control your own children getting access to porn then either cancel your internet connection or poke their grubby little eyes out. I really don't want to have to phone my ISP to ask if I can have a wank.
  • Me
    Sure this will go down well when the wife realises I have "enabled porn on my internet connection".... errrrmmmmmmmm "the dog must have done it" PS - WHY DO MY POSTS KEEP GETTING DELETED OR NOT POSTED IN THE FIRST PLACE? STARTING TO THINK SOMEONE DOESN'T LOVE ME.
  • klingelton
    ok, let's throw a curve ball into the equation. Let's assume that (like many parents) these parents are luddites. they don't know how to control what their child is exposed to on the intermawebs. I see it alot - people that don't know how to use their computer and don't know how to protect their kids. These are the people that this is targeted at (i believe) The answer is not blanket blocking skin flicks, but educating those parents how to encourage their children to use the internet responsibly. Secondly, there's a much better way of moderating this. simply force ron jeremy and his cronies to sign up to a .pr0n domain and applying a blanket filter on those domains. it won't completely discourage pr0n, but it will make it harder to find.
  • klingelton
    forgot to add... this will open my revenue stream of downloading pr0n from the internet when i was at school and selling it for 50p per image on floppy disks. those disks weren't floppy for long....
  • PokeHerPete
    ( . Y . ) ^ If you cannot see that, call your ISP ^
  • PlatPlat
    Zleet, It is hardly embarrassing to ask to remove a content filter. If you get a mobile phone with Internet these days it will almost always have a content filter by default. And you wouldn't even have to ring up, just login to your account with your ISP and disable it there. If you had a teenaged daughter would you think differently? After all, her boyfriend could easily be asking her to provide images in poses and states of undress like he's seen online, and you can't exactly filter his Internet can you?
  • qwertyuiop
    Platplat, ignorance isn't an excuse. If you don't know how something works then either learn or don't use it (it being the internet) and kids that are smart enough to get around parental filtering locks are probably old enough to be viewing porn in the first place. The majority should not be made to suffer because of it. If pre-teens are subjected to porn then that is bad parenting plain and simple.
  • oliverreed
    You wait until the list of pron fans gets leaked, or the list is used for other purposes....
  • PlatPlat
    Unfortunately we don't live in a World where we can 'fix parenting' or get parents who won't install filters themselves off the Internet. We have a big problem with young children viewing porn, and some of the worst kinds of it too. It is hardly an inconvenience to login to your ISP and tick a box.
  • Marky M.
    Platplat, are you saying that children are being forced to view these images, even -- dun dun DUNNN -- "the worst kinds"? Wrong. The little poppets are going and looking for them all by themselves. Why? Because they're curious, they want to appear grown up in front of their pals, and don't see any harm in it. If you DO see harm in it, then that is your right and you should tell them so. And after you've finished flapping your mouth, they'll go back to looking for it. Such things were more difficult to find when I was young, but my friends and I still still found them. It has not corrupted me or my contemporaries, and I fear you're on the losing end of a rather silly battle, similar to the 50s film Reefer Madness trying to convince people they would turn into lunatics if they tried marijuana even once. You may find such things distasteful, but it is rarely evil when produced commercially; only when it is cloaked in mystery, hypocrisy and degeneracy, just as you and this humbug minister are proposing. It is adult entertainment. That's entertainment. For adults.
  • Zleet
    The worst that will happen if little Johnny sees a bit of porn when he is thirteen is that when he is older and has his first sexual experience he will get a swift kick in the bollocks for trying to pull out and cum on her face.
  • Brad
    Good thinking all round, Send it underground, Kids will never want to search for things they shouldn't have, like with drugs, and we all know how kids never ever do drugs these days.
  • Tom P.
    WANKERS
  • Yue
    Wonderful the Tory family values thing is back. I expect to find him sniffing coke off 15 yr old's stomachs in photos printed any day now.
  • Zleet
    They have access to all this porn and more on the continent and their kids seem to grow up fine. Why do some people in this country seen to think if a spotty fourteen year old sees some porn that his fragile mind will implode? I grew up as the internet was in it's infancy and saw plenty of porn in my formative years and I barely kill any prostitutes.
  • A B.
    [...] in the week we reported on the government’s plans to request ISPs block all websites considered pornographic in nature, and force the adults that pay for online access to request permission to view specific sites. Why [...]
  • bob
    It would be interesting to see where so of these so called facts come for, namely the posts by Kevin, Spark and Plat Plat, I'm a parent to three, one of which is a 7 year boy, he's allowed to use the internet and so will my girls when they are of age. I know how to use parental filters and our main computer has separate passworded accounts, for the adults which don't allow my son to access sites and search words we don't want him to see. I know what I'm doing as does my husband and it is our belief that the internet is a useful tool for helping with school work and yes, recreation, in this day and age it's esential to have an excellent grasp of technology and supervising use is equally essential. It is not for the government to restrict what we want to do with our computers at home, I remember people moaning about the nanny state under Labour and this is no different, so much for a change, well a positive one anyway. As usual education is the key but how to deliver it with the huge restriction of services the Tories have in store for us, with children centre budgets being cut, as well as colleges etc which would be the perfect way to allow people to have access to this training, so well done for thinking that through to a logical conclusion, oh, wait they didn't! Got to love, those Conservatives!

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