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  1. #1

    David Cameron's Porn Filter

    Mr Cameron has organised an agreement with four of the major Internet Service Providers here in the UK, which is basically an opt-out porn filter on new contracts. It's designed to prevent kids from watching porn.

    Another 'advance' in the fight against 'smut' is the ParentPort website launced yesterday. It's a website where you can complain about things which you consider unsuitable for children. The 'Video Game' button is particularly interesting:

    '[make a complaint about] Any kind of game, whether it was played on a console, a screen or a phone'

    I personally think that the porn filter should really be opt out, as it seems there are far more young users of the internet than families. I've not looked at any factual evidence for that assumption though, so please feel free to prove me wrong.

  2. #2
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    It's not going to be an opt-out porn filter. The four ISPs to sign up to the scheme have publicly stated that users will have to make an active choice between having parental controls or not. This choice will only be offered to new users, the rest of us will see no difference.

    For particularly young children, better for the parents to educate their children. For new teenagers.... well when I was that young I wanted to see breasts.

    The real issues is false positives/negatives. Does erotic literature count? What about a company offering advice on stuff like this that gets blocked? (has happenned).
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    Note the government will spend money on things like this to 'protect' children while closing libraries and cutting funding to youth centres.

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    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Nalano's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by deano2099 View Post
    Note the government will spend money on things like this to 'protect' children while closing libraries and cutting funding to youth centres.
    Hey, some of those books have smut in them. Or so say the helicopter handwringers who want to ban Toni Morrison and Mark Twain from the classroom.

    Quote Originally Posted by StrangLove View Post
    I personally think that the porn filter should really be opt out, as it seems there are far more young users of the internet than families.
    By that logic we should hide almost ALL of the movies in the video store behind the "adults only" screen.
    Last edited by Nalano; 13-10-2011 at 02:14 AM.
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    Lesser Hivemind Node Harlander's Avatar
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    I don't trust this. At its best, it seems like it'll lure parents to abrogate still more of their responsibility in raising their children to an automated system; at likely, a system that twists to the whims of the most prudish, sanctimonious and censorious citizens; at hyperbolic worst, a system that blocks 'pornographic' concepts like criticism of government policy...

    I've been trying to dig up an article I read about the prevalence of false-positives in a commercial filtering product, but I can't remember where I saw it. I'll drop it here if I find it

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    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Nalano's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harlander View Post
    I've been trying to dig up an article I read about the prevalence of false-positives in a commercial filtering product, but I can't remember where I saw it. I'll drop it here if I find it
    The school in which I was IT director had a proxy by which the Department of Education got to dictate which sites were kosher or otherwise for the students to see. On top of the usual categories of "porn," "hacking," "social networking," et cetera, was "tasteless," through which a number of humor sites and the like were blocked.

    I took exception to that one. By whose taste?
    Last edited by Nalano; 13-10-2011 at 08:44 AM.
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    Just to reiterate, the ISPs to sign up to this are offering parental controls, not a blanket ban on porn. Controls at a level beyond what is normally seen, but it's different to how it's generally being reported.

    I am against the idea in general though, I wonder much of a difference to children. Particularly young children have to biological sex drive, no reason to care. Young teenagers only care about that, seeing a few breats/penises can't do much more damage.

    There's also the whole false positive thing, which when you're rolling out filters on a much higher level because a much greater issue.
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    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Althea's Avatar
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    I guess it's a good idea in a way. A lot of parents have absolutely no idea with the internet, nor how to effectively use it or protect their children from it, and many are unwilling - or unable - to learn. In that case, the government or the ISPs have to step in to cover their own backs at the very least because some people are too ignorant or self-fulfilled to realise they're at fault.

    I'm glad it's only for new customers, and that it's not opt-in/out or anything like that, because if it was applied to everyone I think it could have quite an effect. It would, essentially, further cause pornography to become "taboo" (What's taboo about sex? It happens).


  9. #9
    As long as it is an opt out clause I don't really see an issue with it. An option for parental controls is a good thing although I'm not too sure how effective it can be.
    "You go up to a man, and you say, "How are things going, Joe?" and he says, "Oh fine, fine — couldn't be better." And you look into his eyes, and you see things really couldn't be much worse. When you get right down to it, everybody's having a perfectly lousy time of it, and I mean everybody. And the hell of it is, nothing seems to help much." - Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

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    Well so far it's neither opt-in, nor opt-out. You make an active choice.
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    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Drake Sigar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by UnravThreads View Post
    I guess it's a good idea in a way. A lot of parents have absolutely no idea with the internet, nor how to effectively use it or protect their children from it, and many are unwilling - or unable - to learn. In that case, the government or the ISPs have to step in to cover their own backs at the very least because some people are too ignorant or self-fulfilled to realise they're at fault.
    I’d put my money on unwilling. Back when I was a kid, my parents took an interest in everything I did, always keeping one eye on the content which I was exposed to from games, checking out the latest X-Files and Sliders episode before letting me watch, that sort of thing. It’s called parenting. Over the years it seems like parents have relinquished more and more responsibility. If their little girl doesn’t know right from wrong, it must be the teacher’s fault. They bought their six year old boy GTA San Andreas and now he keeps saying he’s gonna’ bust a cap in their ass. Time to wage a campaign against the video game industry.

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    For the record, the Internet in the UK is already censored by an unaccountable, soley-government-funded body. Offically it's just for child porn, but as the actual blocked sites are a secret, it can be used for whatever purposes those in charge of it have.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cleanfe...king_system%29

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    Lesser Hivemind Node Harlander's Avatar
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    That's pretty much what I was thinking about and looking for, CMaster. Thanks!

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    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Althea's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Drake Sigar View Post
    I’d put my money on unwilling. Back when I was a kid, my parents took an interest in everything I did, always keeping one eye on the content which I was exposed to from games, checking out the latest X-Files and Sliders episode before letting me watch, that sort of thing. It’s called parenting. Over the years it seems like parents have relinquished more and more responsibility. If their little girl doesn’t know right from wrong, it must be the teacher’s fault. They bought their six year old boy GTA San Andreas and now he keeps saying he’s gonna’ bust a cap in their ass. Time to wage a campaign against the video game industry.
    My parents never really did that much, although I remember my dad turning off Total Recall in the morning when I put it on out of innocent curiosity. Oh, I generally let my mum know - even though I'm 21 - if I'm getting something like GTA. Least then she can't moan at me.


  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by UnravThreads View Post
    My parents never really did that much, although I remember my dad turning off Total Recall in the morning when I put it on out of innocent curiosity. Oh, I generally let my mum know - even though I'm 21 - if I'm getting something like GTA. Least then she can't moan at me.
    Moan at you for what? Legally purchasing a game which has no links to inspiring violence unto people?

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    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Vexing Vision's Avatar
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    Welcome to what we successfully ditched in Germany this year!

    The basic idea of Parental Control is actually really good. The execution of the idea is, however, not.

    There's three ways of identifying and classifying a websites:

    a) Keyword-scan (or image-scan). This, right now, would probably put this forum into the 18+ category because we mentioned "porn" and occasionally the word "fuck". Unless the filter is REALLY good (which it can't be, really, because there's a LOT of websites it'd have to scan VERY fast), there's going to be a few metric tons of false positives.

    b) Whitelist. The tool only allows access to websites which have been previously whitelisted. As there's significantly more websites being created on a daily basis than a few people could classify in real time, that's an issue. That's an even bigger issue if I want to learn Indonesian language and start looking at Indonesian websites - they're unlikely to ever be whitelisted, because content-assessment would be a nightmare. Alternatively, websites have to apply to be included in the Whitelist of a single company providing a tool to a few hundred thousand internet users in the UK... . yeah, not going to happen for those Indonesian guys either.

    c) Self-identification. This is what Germany tried to push earlier this year. Each landing page should have a tag identifying the content. Such as "18+", "porn", "games" for example. Fine by me, only that it needs to enforce a very specific formulaic approach.. .where we're with the Indonesians again, who probably have a lot of different requirements to build their websites (if they have any at all. I don't speak Indonesian.)


    No matter which option you pick, any parental control will be flooded with false positives. Who is going to use this software? Parents without any real grasp of the internet with kids who may want to do research or learn Indonesian, but can't.


    Parental Control does more harm than good - it restricts access to valuable sites (thereby depriving them of necessary traffic), and it provides a sense of false security for the families this might be useful for.
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  17. #17
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Althea's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alex Bakke View Post
    Moan at you for what? Legally purchasing a game which has no links to inspiring violence unto people?
    Well, she's a Daily Mail reader. I'm going to leave that there.


  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by UnravThreads View Post
    Well, she's a Daily Mail reader. I'm going to leave that there.
    ...I'm so sorry.

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by Alex Bakke View Post
    Moan at you for what? Legally purchasing a game which has no links to inspiring violence unto people?
    I guess that a little consideration when you live under someone elses roof isn't a bad thing even if you disagree with what they believe is important.
    "You go up to a man, and you say, "How are things going, Joe?" and he says, "Oh fine, fine — couldn't be better." And you look into his eyes, and you see things really couldn't be much worse. When you get right down to it, everybody's having a perfectly lousy time of it, and I mean everybody. And the hell of it is, nothing seems to help much." - Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

  20. #20
    How is the porn filter behaving in england these days ? I'm going on vacation there for the month august and I'm wondering what's being blocked ? Are we just talking about porn sites like pornhub, http://theporndude.com/ and tube8 or other sites too ?

    Can I still go to gambling sites/poker websites ?

    Is there a config something, so it can be turned off by yourself ? I'll be staying in a hotel, so I don't really feel like asking the local personnel about this. :s

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