recent decision by MNHQ

(508 Posts)
NetworkGuy Wed 02-Feb-11 23:33:00

Please, MNHQ, do have a read of this thread and consult your Tech people so they can give you the answers as to whether your support for this campaign and the Minister's plans are worth going on with.

I would hope you not only reverse your position but assuming you get sufficient technical reasoning in 'Plain English', that you go public and explain how unworkable the proposal is likely to be. I feel sure journalists at Computer Weekly and Computing will be able to provide confirmation that filtering is a hiding to nothing and can be very costly because of the millions of GB of data flowing through the bigger ISP networks.

For anyone baffled, and wondering if I'm a nut case, this concerns a proposal to get ISPs to "filter out" all porn, unless a customer "opts in". For numerous technical reasons the idea is never likely to achieve filtering without blocking access to legitimate sites or not blocking access to better than say 95% reliable, thus making it a costly exercise in futility, while parental vigilance and filtering software at the home would still be essential for peace of mind.

(Incidentally the wording of the campaign page implies the parents need to ask, at the same time as someone wanting not to have censored content needs to ask - it is one or other, but not both that would need to contact ISP. )

NetworkGuy Sun 21-Dec-14 22:44:22

Have recently seen a few reports (I can link to them if anyone is interested) about some of the big ISPs (BT, Sky, VirginMedia) now prompting customers to decide if they want 'adult filtering' on or off.

Have just been trying out a free SIM card from EE (giving 100 GB of data, for first 2 months, no top-up required) and see that while it blocks some websites, it doesn't block Mumsnet (I remember seeing post from 14-02-2011 by Snorbs > link < about Orange at that time blocking Mumsnet, by default).

I wonder whether these 'landline' ISP filters block Mumsnet...

Perhaps someone using VM, BT, TalkTalk or Sky will be able to say (after all, they may have had to get MN unblocked to be able to view the site) ?

NetworkGuy Sun 07-Oct-12 23:57:44

Sorry Maryz - the BBC clip is no longer available.

Even more important than the survey of parents was the PC Pro test of the TalkTalk filter showing how it has flaws (like blocking a website but via Google showing thumbnail images and even expanding them to cover a 'this site is blocked' message!

No doubt this 'block porn' topic will come up again in Parliament, in not too distant future, and there's a bit from the survey findings that suggests parents need advice and prompting for blocking porn, to protect their youngsters. It's daft to expect ISPs to do it, and attempts to do so are pretty much bound to fail anyway...

Maryz Sun 09-Sep-12 01:15:23

Sorry, I'm not in a fit state to read this now, but I think it's important so marking my place to have a look tomorrow.

NetworkGuy Sat 08-Sep-12 08:19:32

The 10 week consultation on the proposal to get ISPs to block porn ended on Thursday. The BBC had a > discussion on FiveLive < (page plays a short extract - I assume they have had technical problems as the whole page went missing for a while)

A petition of over 100,000 supporting this plan was intended for Downing Street on Thursday, and some 140 MPs are backing this. However, one ISP already running a filtering service carried out a survey, widely reported (eg > PC Pro < that 80% in a survey did not want default blocking!

Glad to see that TalkTalk had it as direct feedback, that their filtering option is far from popular!.

NetworkGuy Tue 03-Jul-12 11:42:14

Bump so MNHQ can see the post by acalacaboom and respond!

NetworkGuy Mon 02-Jul-12 23:25:34

prettybird - something you might be interested in, is that an option on the FreeSat HD box (sold online by Tesco and includes free dish installation [or upgrade to Quad LNB if you have a dish already] for 90.00).

You can "Hide Adult channels" (just by ticking a box on screen) so there cannot be an accidental "channel hop" to BabeStation or similar (though of course another channel might have something undesirable on).

I bought online a couple of weeks ago, collected box from nearby Tesco store and after ringing for an installation on Thursday afternoon, had a dish on the side of the house and service working by 09:45 the next morning (it was exceptional service from he aerial firm, as the guy who drove 2 hours from Ripon to Merseyside was only given this job around 18:30 on Thursday evening).

I already have a dish on the front of the house with 4 cables plugged in, so they added a second dish on the side of the house to feed the rear bedroom.

acalacaboom Sat 30-Jun-12 18:41:56

So the government consultation on this is now live except it isn't actually available at the moment, they've been reported to the ICO for some pretty fundamentally privacy breaches

Are MN adopting a position on this or providing interviews to organisations?

Who was behind the public wifi survey the members panel got a few weeks ago? Was that MN? What were the results of the responses

What are you (and your good friends McDonald's) defining as 'family friendly' for this kind of stuff. Notwithstanding my position on webfiltering/controls (which I personally do not see as ISP/government responsibility) I have some concerns about how family friendly is being defined and there's a strong element of 'leading the witness' - the survey lumped some interesting examples in alongside porn in the definition of 'non family friendly sites'...

It seems to be a 'given' that it means porn is blocked but what about other things that you need to be over 18 to do - eg streaming 18 certificate films, alcohol/tobacco marketing sites, gambling etc. Plenty of people work in the alcohol or betting industries - what happens when we try to do work on a hotel WiFi if this kind of filtering becomes widespread and 'family friendly' is basically only stuff a preacher in the Deep South would approve of? Have people realised that they'll end up having to opt in to access perfectly reasonable stuff online and at that point they'll need to exercise their own parental controls and responsibility in any case?

NetworkGuy Sun 17-Jun-12 19:14:46

I know this is an old thread, but just recently spotted that OpenDNS offers their "FamilyShield" free for personal (Family!) use. See their web page... > www.opendns.com/home-solutions/parental-controls/ <

NetworkGuy Tue 08-May-12 22:47:33

Another bit of feedback to the Government :-

> Web Filtering Firm Smoothwall Warns UK Not to Force Net Censorship on ISPs <

as reported on "ISP Review", today.

One would hope that the Government might take some notice of a firm which reportedly has a turnover of 5m GPB and employs over 100 staff... If they say that determined students can get past filtering, how much more would it cost to "identify every website", let alone make avoidance-proof blocking a reality, rather than a pipe dream !!

Of course, if filtering is forced on customers, then another option (*) to circumvent restrictions is use of VPNs, and > this < indicates researchers have found an increase in such services, but it is also worth noting a comment made in the piece : "all of these measures are doing a good job of educating a new generation in how to avoid being detected online. In the future that could make it even more difficult to detect those who go down the wrong path and end up committing real online crimes or terrorism offences."

(*) VPNs are not open to most teenagers, for now, on cost grounds, but considering the recently announced policies such as logging all e-mail, mobile phone, and IM contacts, plus visits to websites, which may become popular with many families, not just geeks, file sharers, and hackers...

NetworkGuy Tue 08-May-12 09:37:32

Back to the topic, it seems there is renewed interest in attempting to filter what the ISPs can send to a customer's connection.

I posted a link or two the other day on > this thread < but today saw a further comment from the Technology section in > The Guardian <

prettybird Fri 26-Aug-11 16:23:15

Technically, our switchover is complete - which is why it is annoying still getting these messages.

We're not that close to the transmitter (about 15-20 miles away) but it's Blackhill which is a powerful one, covering most of central Scotland. (I used to know its post code off by heart as I provided its fibre/telecoms links) I wave at it every time I go past on the M8.

I've found this site better/easier for getting up-to-date info about problems.

NetworkGuy Fri 26-Aug-11 13:11:08

OK. I know some standalone (aka set-top) boxes go into the 'scan' mode every time they are turned on. I am not familiar with newer TVs where there is Freeview built in (and apologies, would not suggest a replacement box if I had known yours was a costly Panasonic).

digitaluk.co.uk has a detailed guide (if you tick the 'aerial trade' box) about the multiplexes and future changes. Sorting out the roof aerial may make a world of difference, but if you've had signals OK from a portable aerial, I assume you are fairly close to a transmitter.

Quite understand about not wanting to leave a TV on standby, though these days I suspect the power consumption is under 5 watts per hour. My external floodlight uses 3 W (45 LEDs) and I have it on a timer switch so it is on for 7 hours at a time, clearly not something I'd do if it was using 300 W or 500 W or more (!)

prettybird Fri 26-Aug-11 08:51:21

No Freeview box- we have an Panasonic IDTV, so not cheap. Not left on all the time - I refuse to leave a TV on standby - so depends who the last person was watching before we go to bed.

We use a portable digital arial - before the switchover the roof arial couldn't get all the multiplexes and although we've checked since the switchover (which took place in June in our area), the gales must have shifted the arial as it no longer gets good reception (even BBC1 reception is poor, which it wasn't before).

At some point we'll get the roof arial sorted/changed but at the moment it is not high on my list of priorities.

spiderslegs Fri 26-Aug-11 02:51:51

Network

Are you my husband??

Are you a developer?

We have no TV (me not him).

He's an architect/lead, but we have NO technology in the house other than a PC.

I agree.

NetworkGuy Fri 26-Aug-11 02:31:04

re weekly updates... do you leave box on all the time (as recommended) ?

I have had one (Thomson, I think) box demand to search for updates (but of the operating software, not channels) each time it was powered up, and replaced it with a (cheap) box from local British Heart Foundation (some do electrical goods and furniture).

Understand the nuisance a bit more now, if you're getting such updates so often. Have you actually lost any channels in the switch?

Can your freeview box handle manual tune as well as auto tune ?

Only ask because lots of info online about which channels are in which 'multiplex' group, so if you lose, say, Film4, it should be possible to update just for that multiplex (and get Film4 back) and have added only a fraction of the full set of unwanted channels (if one or more happens to be carried in same multiplex group as Film4, IYSWIM).

Other option is go the whole hog and get FreeSat so once you have list of channels you don't have the 'digital switchover' messing you about .. OK, frivolous idea, costly too, but one way to avoid this weekly hassle!

prettybird Thu 25-Aug-11 20:09:02

We've been having to do it almost weekly recently. I thought it would stop after run up to the digital switchover (when we were being told asked if we wanted to retune to get the new digital services found almost on a daily basis).

If we don't do it, every time we switch on the TV we get have to over-ride the request.

The more important point is - how many parents even realise that there are a number of smutty channels freely available on Freeview? Late night viewing and children shouldn't be up then - but they might still prefer to block them.

Agree with you BTW about the impracticality of the proposals and the fact that they are the thin edge of the wedge. Worked in telecoms until recently (company owned one of the ISPs) so know the hassle involved.

NetworkGuy Thu 25-Aug-11 20:00:22

Agreed you need to do it again, but for 'peace of mind' that someone doesn't flip to 'BabeStation' or whatever, trash, at 3am, it isn't that hard and it does not take more than 2 minutes to choose which channels to delete.

How often do you need to scan for channels ? Should be less than once every 3-4 months even if there is a lot of transmitter work going on in your TV area.

prettybird Thu 25-Aug-11 12:23:42

Networkguy - you probably can but every time you re-tune (which we get invited to do frequently at the moment as "new digital services have been found") - all pprevious settings get deleted so you need to go back thorugh and do it all again.

NetworkGuy Thu 25-Aug-11 11:53:57

With Freeview at least you should be able to not just "block" (with parental control PIN) but can even delete channels.

ChippingIn - I think the tone of the ISPreview article :
[1] need parents to not get false sense of security if ISP blocking is done,
[2] some sensible ideas like having computers in shared area not bedrooms,
[3] need parents to educate as to technology, not have teens run rings around them
are sensible and balanced. Shame that the MP involved has a particular agenda and can but hope that Mumsnet is allowed to have a voice, and not drowned out by pro-filtering "lobby"... Some ISPs seem to give it a go, but most likely understand shortcomings and won't voice problems (eg TalkTalk, which will have its own commercial interests at heart and might say filtering is fine and best thing since sliced bread, and any ISP which says different could be treated with contempt by the MP and lobby in favour of filtering, as they [lobby] won't accept that filtering will be a bad thing overall (slows traffic, adds hardware and costs no doubt to be shouldered by all customers, even though it is unlikely to be effective, and worse, imposed on everyone).

I have not yet read the Ofcom findings. I am glad they made their position one of being against the attempts to filter (on being impractical, as far as I recall from the headlines), and of course some ISPs have in the past been critical of ideas where website blocking is imposed (for attempts to stop piracy of music/video, but in part because it forces the ISP to act as investigator, prosecutor and judge of a customer, something the ISP knows will make it unpopular, especially if the costs for doing so have to be passed to the [unwilling] customer who then feels all their internet use is logged and their privacy invaded - must double check the arguments made by BT and TalkTalk against website blocking concerning intellectual property).

[not at home, so unlikely to comment more today]

prettybird Wed 24-Aug-11 16:13:35

If only the government were more concerned about the porn that is now transmitted nightly to our TVs. I know it is on late at night - but what if a child gets up during the night and goes and channel hops? (or, as my ds will be doing during the RWC, gets up deliberately during the night in order to watch some of the games).

Yes, you can block the channels but a) how many of us really realise that they are there and b) every time you have to retune (which has been frequently recently) you have to go back and re-block all those channels.

ChippingIn Wed 24-Aug-11 14:37:10

NetworkGuy - I think you are doing a good job to try to get the message out as to why this is A Bad Thing. It does, at first, appear to be a good thing - and people need it explained to them why it isn't. We need to do more don't we before it goes ahead regardless.

NetworkGuy Wed 24-Aug-11 14:33:28

ISPreview - > LINK <

NetworkGuy Wed 24-Aug-11 13:36:35

Update (from my N80 phone) - UK Parliament have agreed to hold an inquiry on website blocking to report in November this year. More details (weblink) later.

'You know who' MP will be chairing this, so nil technical knowledge at helm!

NetworkGuy Fri 22-Jul-11 03:39:41

Completely agree. Puzzled by your suggestion of banning earlier, since that's not what I'd favour. I know some profess a wish to ban completely (which is unrealistic) but unfortunately I don't recall which thread it was.

Censorship is a Bad THing. Censorship of the Internet is always going to remaim pretty much technically impossible. That's a Good Thing.

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