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Internet porn may be blocked at source

(367 Posts)
David51 Mon 20-Dec-10 11:05:27

Communications minister Ed Vaizey is working on plans designed to prevent children gaining access to internet pornography.

He hopes to introduce a system that would enable parents to ask internet service providers (ISPs) to block adult sites at source, rather than relying on parental controls that they need to set themselves.

Adults using the internet connection would then have to specifically 'opt in' if they want to view pornography.

Full story:

http://www.metro.co.uk/news/850896-new-porn-contro ls-for-children-on-internet-planned-by-government

Mumsnet PLEASE think about doing a campaign about this. Or at least keep us posted on if & when the government decides to ask for our views.

In the meantime maybe we should all contact our current ISPs to ask what they plan to do and letting them know what we want as their customers.

earwicga Tue 21-Dec-10 17:53:04

Please don't get involved Mumsnet.

TondelayoSchwarzkopf Tue 21-Dec-10 18:08:57

What's the point of a Mumsnet campaign to get the government to do...er...something they are already doing?

KalokiMallow Tue 21-Dec-10 18:09:05

Dittany - not sure of your point there.

Niceguy2 Tue 21-Dec-10 18:11:19

Hi David

I guess its because networking IS my business. I do this day in, day out. So I have a deep understanding on what the govt are proposing and how bonkers it is.

You are right. IF it was possible at a cost effective price and we could agree a clear definition of what constitutes pornography then I wouldn't have an issue with it and indeed would support it.

But when the ideas are half baked nonsense that won't work then no, I won't support them and I urge everyone not to either.

Just think about how it would work in practice for a moment. The obvious sites would get blocked fair enough.

What about the less obvious sites like FHM, Maxim and other lads mags? They have topless pictures all the time. Do you block those? Personally I dont count those as pornographic but others would.

What about a forum like MN? What if a poster linked a load of porno videos/photos? The site may well refuse to take them down especially if they are based outside the UK. What then? Do we ban the entire site?

What about a website using videos & photos demonstrating sexual positions etc.

What about adult services such as escorting? Again, I suspect most would say an obvious ban.....but its not really the same as pornography is it?

Extending that one step further, what about those discussing prostitution? Is that pornography or is that simply free speech? Does that get an automatic block? Last year, Harriet Harman tried to get a very high profile website shutdown where users discussed prostitution and advertised services to men. Said site was based in the US and she famously called the Governator who promptly told her to go away. Something about their pesky first amendment and free speech!

For me the common sense solution if the govt are truly serious to protect kids would be to promote the use of parental control software. There are plenty out there both free & commercial. It's much like antivirus software. It still wont eradicate the problem entirely but its a damn site easier, cheaper than mass censorship and engages the parent who ultimately is the lynchpin in ensuring online child safety.

As I often tell my managers, technology only gets you so far. Sometimes people need to be responsible for themselves.

ItsAHollyJollyTee Tue 21-Dec-10 18:19:35

Excellent post Niceguy.

Dittany, so what if I do? Or don't? What does my viewing have to do with the fact that I hate censorship and stupidity and this is both?

earwicga Tue 21-Dec-10 18:21:56

'Hands up who uses porn who's against this measure.'

How about those who don't 'use' porn and are against it? Or wouldn't they fit in with your narrow view?

TondelayoSchwarzkopf Tue 21-Dec-10 18:23:44

Why should people who use pornography have to ring up their ISP to tell them they want to use it? Apparently 50% of internet use is for adult viewing so that would put a lot of work onto the ISPs and they would pass the costs onto their customers.

And how can we separate pornography from other sex education and health related sites?

I would prefer the government to stop retailers from putting porn on full view in sweet shops and grocers. I would much prefer if adults purchase this content in the privacy of their own home.

TondelayoSchwarzkopf Tue 21-Dec-10 18:25:13

The hands of porn-users are usually otherwise occupied I'm afraid grin.

Scaredycat3000 Tue 21-Dec-10 18:56:21

ton grin

onagar Tue 21-Dec-10 19:13:13

If the government insist that ISPs find a way then there is one way that would work. You wouldn't like it though.

You start by blocking ALL of the internet. Then you allow through those sites which have applied for the right and been vetted by some committee.

Not google or Mumsnet because neither has any real control over their content. You could have the BBC, a few shopping sites, weather sites etc. Adding more would be slow and expensive and at the first complaint a site would lose its licence and be gone.

The rest of the internet would be gone completely. No more mumsnet, no more wikileaks, no more filesharing. No more stories about MPs expenses.

Or you could let the parents of the children sort out their own controls over their kids as they mostly do now.

TondelayoSchwarzkopf Tue 21-Dec-10 19:20:18
notcitrus Tue 21-Dec-10 19:39:44

I was going to add my voice to those saying that this proposal is unnecessary, unworkable, and will have ill-advised side effects such as cutting children off from sources of advice about sex and sexuality, but Petra Boynton has explained the issues much more clearly than I could.

Many thanks Tondelayo for the link.

KalokiMallow Tue 21-Dec-10 19:40:53

Onagar is right, that is the only way to ensure the internet is porn free.

ItsAHollyJollyTee Tue 21-Dec-10 19:44:02

Great link, thanks.

Niceguy2 Tue 21-Dec-10 19:52:05

Oh and whilst we are at it, lets not forget that filtering technology will directly impact your broadband speeds.

Australia have been toying with this for a few years now. Trials organised by their govt have shown of six filters tested, only one had an acceptable drop in performance of 2%. The rest resulted in drops of between 21% -86% in speed.

Their largest ISP's all refuse to take part. All bar one who has agreed to take part only to show that filtering does not work! smile

And Ton's link was very good. I hadn't even considered the difference between erotica and porn. One man's porn is another man's erotica.

LynetteScavo Tue 21-Dec-10 20:42:10

I don't use porn...and I don't want any porn in my house. But I don't see how this is workable.

But then I'm sceptical because my DS, at the grand old age of 9, was able to accidentally access hard porn on the schools computer.

TondelayoSchwarzkopf Tue 21-Dec-10 21:21:34

I think the definition is:

THEY use pornography.
YOU like erotica
I appreciate narratives with challenging and frank adult themes.

smile

Niceguy2 Wed 22-Dec-10 09:39:16

I think this morning's problem with MN being maliciously reported as an attack site is a very good example of why mass censorship doesn't work.

http://www.mumsnet.com/Talk/site_stuff/1109797-Sto %20pBadware-org

dittany Wed 22-Dec-10 09:42:29

The hackers are the censors

ItsAHollyJollyTee Wed 22-Dec-10 09:47:52

I was thinking that NiceGuy.

Too much power in small hands with small minds is a bad bad thing.

dittany Wed 22-Dec-10 10:02:37

I agree Holly, the pornographers have far too much power. They've been able to pornify our society almost without any restriction on them whatsoever.

Jamie Oliver was making jokes about spit-roasting on his family Christmas show. That's a good example of how sexually abusive attitudes have infiltrated our culture.

dittany Wed 22-Dec-10 10:04:33

This isn't censorship by the way. People will be able to opt in to feed their wanking porn habit. They aren't banning porn they are just making it less readily available.

Saltatrix Wed 22-Dec-10 10:28:29

There are an opt in filters around parents should take responsibility rather than expect someone else to do it for them because without their supervision it will still be pretty easy to get access to pornography.

Pornography is not illegal so if they start blocking that what else would they block?

StuffingGoldBrass Wed 22-Dec-10 10:42:05

Oh this is yet another bandwagon being jumped on by idiots who are both technologically illiterate and sexually dysfunctional. Dr Boynton says it all, basically.

dittany Wed 22-Dec-10 10:51:40

I'd say it was the misogynists who can't last a minute without their porn who are the ones with sexual disfunction. If you can't experience sex without having to see women prostituted there's probably something fairly heavily wrong with you.

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