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TorrentFreak Blocked By British ISP Sky's Porn Filter

Unknown Lamer posted about 4 months ago | from the slashdot-unsafe-for-any-age dept.

United Kingdom 171

judgecorp writes "TorrentFreak, a news site covering copyright issues and file sharing news, has been blocked by the porn filter of British ISP Sky. As TorrentFreak points out, the filter is provided by Symantec, and doesn't block Symantec when the company reports malware news: 'Thanks to their very own self-categorization process they wear the "Technology and Telecommunication" label. Is their website blocked by any of their own filters? I won’t even bother answering that.'" From the TorrentFreak article: "Our crimes are the topics we cover. As readers know we write about file-sharing, copyright and closely linked issues including privacy and web censorship. We write about the positives and the negatives of those topics and we solicit comments from not only the swarthiest of pirates, but also the most hated anti-piracy people on the planet."

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171 comments

The question (5, Insightful)

erikkemperman (252014) | about 4 months ago | (#45885535)

The question is whether this was always the plan. First put in place the infrastructure for censorship -- eek, porn! -- and then slide on down the slippery slope.

Re:The question (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45885589)

Yes. Next question?

Re:The question (2)

erikkemperman (252014) | about 4 months ago | (#45885625)

Yes. Next question?

What are we -- well, the Brits in this case -- going to do to prevent that?

Re:The question (4, Insightful)

gutnor (872759) | about 4 months ago | (#45885763)

We are supposed to drown our sorrow by consuming a little bit more.

Re:The question (3, Funny)

erikkemperman (252014) | about 4 months ago | (#45885771)

Glad to hear you've formulated a plan. Cheers!

Re:The question (4, Insightful)

gutnor (872759) | about 4 months ago | (#45886337)

1. Write your MP and express your outrage. Stop using a provider using filtering. Write your new provider CEO and explain why you joined them. Write your old provider and explain why you quit them.
2. Get some friend interested and mount an official protest in front of Westminster Palace. Get all of those people to stop using the bad provider too. Ignore the DailyMail labeling you as a kiddie porn addict wanting to destroy the economy and force toddler to watch hardcore porn and terrorism training video on internet.
3. Continue, get more people on board, get traditional/real media interested. Ignore government promises to oversight the filter list, claim of transparency, ...
4. Continue get more people on board and create your own party. Win the election, change the law.


People do that all the time - like for war, animal abuse, ... If the subject is more popular than important for the government, it works. There are organisation that will help you through that, there are MP that will support you. (see Pirate Party, Touche pas ma pute in France, ...)

If you are cynical about that approach use my previous response.

Re:The question (2)

erikkemperman (252014) | about 4 months ago | (#45886405)

That sounds like a more effective strategy, thanks. I will look into it just as soon as the effects of your previous suggestion wear off.

Re:The question (4, Interesting)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 4 months ago | (#45886313)

I've been working on a USB flash drive loaded with software to bypass the filtering. Pre-configured portable Firefox installation, Chrome extensions, maybe even a portable VM with Tor. Flash drives are really cheap on eBay now so I might buy a load and give them away.

I wrote to my MP, who didn't seem to understand the problem, and forwarded my concerns (as well as others about GCHQ) to the relevant department. I eventually got an extremely vague response that could be accurately summarised as "fuck off, pleb". I think I'm basically at war with my country now.

Re:The question (1)

hawkinspeter (831501) | about 4 months ago | (#45886409)

Well I, for one, am going to try to get as much of the internet blocked as possible to highlight the censorship. If I keep mentioning explosive bombs and masturbation, then maybe I can get Slashdot banned as well.

Re:The question (2)

Joce640k (829181) | about 4 months ago | (#45886527)

Yes. Next question?

I realize you're jesting, but that's only because you haven't seen the list of blockable things:

http://bt.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/46809/kw/parental%20controls/c/346,6679,6680/related/1 [custhelp.com]

ie. It's not just "porn".

TorrentFreak *is* covered by that list and was therefore blocked.

Re:The question (3, Insightful)

gweihir (88907) | about 4 months ago | (#45885643)

I think they decided to not even bother to hide it and to start blocking copyright-terrorism, deviating opinion sedition and independent thought treason right from the beginning. They seem to feel very sure nobody will be able to protest effectively.

Re:The question (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about 4 months ago | (#45886507)

They'll just block the protest sites, too.

Add in TV censorship, put out a few press releases about how many children have been saved ... everything is happiness and smiles. What an awesome government we've elected!

Re:The question (4, Funny)

runeghost (2509522) | about 4 months ago | (#45885675)

Anyone calling it "Hadrian's Firewall" yet?

Re:The question (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 4 months ago | (#45886327)

We prefer "Cameron's porn filter" because it associates his ignorance and stupidity with pornography and a failed attempt to protect children.

Re:The question (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45886359)

No, that would only filter out Scottish sites.

Re:The question (4, Informative)

Chrisq (894406) | about 4 months ago | (#45885681)

The question is whether this was always the plan. First put in place the infrastructure for censorship -- eek, porn! -- and then slide on down the slippery slope.

They always said it was. The thing is most people just got stuck on the "think of the children and didn't look at the rest. The list includes: [newstatesman.com]

"violent material", "extremist related content", "anorexia and eating disorder websites", "suicide related websites", "alcohol" and "smoking", "web forums", "esoteric material", "Web blocking circumvention tools", and "sites where the main purpose is to provide information on subjects such as respect for a partner, abortion, gay and lesbian lifestyle, contraceptive, sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy."

Re:The question (1)

erikkemperman (252014) | about 4 months ago | (#45885731)

Thanks, I did not know that. Must be because I've only ever heard it referred to as the "porn filter".

Re:The question (3, Interesting)

mwvdlee (775178) | about 4 months ago | (#45885783)

We need a different name for these kinds of filters.
I propose "Divergent Opinion Filter".

Re:The question (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45885829)

What about "Free Speech Filter"?

Re:The question (3, Interesting)

peragrin (659227) | about 4 months ago | (#45886267)

the UK doesn't have free speech. it isn't considered a right.

Now I do believe there is a law that allows one to speak their own mind, as long it doesn't(insert long list of exceptions here).

Only a handful of countries actually have free speech and free press.

Re:The question (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45886615)

Only a handful of countries actually have free speech and free press.

Oh yeah? Name one.

Re:The question (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45886747)

the UK doesn't have free speech. it isn't considered a right.

Now I do believe there is a law that allows one to speak their own mind, as long it doesn't(insert long list of exceptions here).

Only a handful of countries actually have free speech and free press.

Depends on what you mean by free speech. If you mean the american version where anyone can say anything they like, whether true or not, and not be held accountable for the results of their lies, then no the Brits don't have that. If you ignore libel, slander, and incitement to hatred, they can say pretty much whatever they want.

Re:The question (1)

reikae (80981) | about 4 months ago | (#45885733)

I don't like the idea of filtering at all, but the "respect for a partner" bit really makes me go WTF. Since when is having respect for one's partner considered harmful?

Re:The question (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45885775)

Since when is having respect for one's partner considered harmful?

Well, those sites likely reference the fact that you shouldn't forcibly mash your jiggly bits into your partner's jiggly bits.

We can't have kids learning that jiggly bits exist! Why can't you think of the children? Why aren't you happily sacrificing your rights as an adult so that parents won't have to be embarassed talking about natural bodily functions with their wretched little brats?

Are you some kind of monster?

Re:The question (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45885861)

The Daily Mail - the propaganda paper of the Conservative Party - is more against gender equality than pornography. "Respect for a partner" really means "not abusing your wife", and if there's one thing the Big-C Conservatives universally advocate, it's for women to be subordinate.

(No, Thatcher was no exception. She spoke against non-traditional families - with one or two thoroughly homophobic speeches to add to the mix - and regarded feminism as like trade unionism. And we're not talking about modern hipster penis-hating feminism, but the '70s "let's treat women decently now" feminism.)

Re:The question (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 4 months ago | (#45886265)

Take a look at the Daily Mail's site. For all their talk of the evils of porn, it's usually got more than a few celebrity women in bikinis in it. And today, photos of some topless celebrity men.

Re:The question (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45886321)

Well, those sites likely reference the fact that you shouldn't forcibly mash your jiggly bits into your partner's jiggly bits.

We can't have kids learning that jiggly bits exist!

Or rather they can learn that jiggly bits exist, but not be allowed to discover that they can used for anything more than urinating out of.

Re:The question (1)

michelcolman (1208008) | about 4 months ago | (#45885851)

Oh, that's OK then. Surely we don't want to teach children to respect a partner!

Re:The question (0)

Chrisq (894406) | about 4 months ago | (#45885867)

Oh, that's OK then. Surely we don't want to teach children to respect a partner!

i imagine that this was added at the request of the Islamic lobby.

Re:The question (1)

blackraven14250 (902843) | about 4 months ago | (#45885983)

Wow, "web forums". That's just absurd.

Re:The question (3, Funny)

Chrisq (894406) | about 4 months ago | (#45886023)

Wow, "web forums". That's just absurd.

A politician saw one once and didn't like it!

Re:The question (3, Funny)

mrclisdue (1321513) | about 4 months ago | (#45886421)

Wow, "web forums". That's just absurd.

A politician saw one once and didn't like it!

Indeed. I believe it was beta.slashdot.org

cheers,

Re:The question (1)

fa2k (881632) | about 4 months ago | (#45886259)

(sorry, couple of keys are fucked). Wow. I was coviced it was a joke util i read the referece. This is mad. Last item's proaly worded like that from the list provider to distiguish from por, the cesors had to go ahead ad check that ox for some reaso

Re:The question (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 4 months ago | (#45886345)

Esoteric, adj. intended for or likely to be understood by only a small number of people with a specialized knowledge or interest.

What... the... fuck? So any child interested in something non-mainstream should be blocked from educating themselves. This term would appear to apply to virtually anything anyone wishes to block.

Re:The question (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about 4 months ago | (#45886415)

"think of the children and didn't look at the rest. The list includes:

And now, Slashdot:

(o)(o)

Damn, I haven't had a use for that since 300 baud.

Re:The question (4, Insightful)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | about 4 months ago | (#45885849)

First put in place the infrastructure for censorship -- eek, porn! -- and then slide on down the slippery slope.

Censorship is about power. There is no "infrastructure" needed for censorship so much as simply giving someone the power to stand between the public and certain types of information.

Power has been granted and it is being used for the purpose it was always intended: silencing those who people in power do not like.

The public did not call for or approve blocking child pornography, obscene content, etc etc per se. The public -- and the public is to blame here more so than politicians -- approved granting power to censors to shut-up malcontents and misfits. This is what those supporting censorship actually wanted; duct tape around the mouths of Lefties, wingnuts, geeks, gays, and truth-seekers. Pornography hardly entered the equation except as an emotive wedge.

A large segment of the public supported this, and played along with the pornography red herring. This mentality of a large part of the population is rarely ever acknowledged, much less discussed or analysed. But a five minute conversation with a on an innocuous topic such as, say, lolcats, will reveal that there are a many people who would be happy with seeing the vast majority of web-pages shut-down by fiat.

Re:The question (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45886553)

...basically anyone or anything deemed or suspected of being disruptive to the established alpha-beta hierarchy. And, yes, the beta's want it just as much as the alphas, if not more so.

Re:The question (1)

nurb432 (527695) | about 4 months ago | (#45886767)

The question is why are you even asking this question.. of course it was part of the plan.

Works for me (0, Offtopic)

Mr_Silver (213637) | about 4 months ago | (#45885537)

Well, I'm on Sky and I just clicked on the torrentfreak link and ... lo ... their article appeared.

Looks like it was a short-lived mistake.

Re:Works for me (5, Informative)

Mr_Silver (213637) | about 4 months ago | (#45885553)

Ignore me. Turns out the blocking only occurs if you have the under-18 filter turned on - which I managed to get from the article :)

Re:Works for me (-1)

julian67 (1022593) | about 4 months ago | (#45885755)

Please don't spoil the story by introducing facts! There is a large array of whiners, bedwetters and fungible rent-a-gob pseudo liberals, all eager to scream "Censorship! Oppression!". If everyone finds out that the filter can be switched on and off at will by the account holder (like any other service or config option - via the settings on their ISP website account page) they will all be revealed as hysterical bloody idiots and empty headed nutcases and it will degrade the /. click farm efficieny. /. seems to have one of these UK censorship stories every week and they always come back to the same thing - it's the ISPs' filters, not the government's, it's optional and if you don't like it you can either scream like an infant or you can switch it off. Apparently the typical /. respondent prefers the "scream like an infant" option and to continue to pretend to be oppressed.

So please keep your awkward-but-true facts to yourself because you risk being identified as politically unreliable and incorrect and also negatively impacting on 3rd party ad revenue. It'll be a re-education camp for you if you carry on like this.

Re:Works for me (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45885785)

if you don't like it you can either scream like an infant or you can switch it off.

Yeah, but you can't necessarily persuade your mum to switch it off. Which is the issue for the people bleating about it.

Re:Works for me (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45885801)

Yes, you can claim that the liberals are crying "Censorship!" and "Oppression!" without warrent right now because they can indeed turn the filter off. But the problem lies in the fact that the filter exists in the first place. Any filter that is optional now, can, with the backdoor nod of an elected official, become mandatory over night.

Let's not forget either that these filters have not be democratically put in place. There was no vote in parliament *at all*, and instead was simply done on the advisory of David Cameron. If optional filtering can be put in place without a vote, so too can mandatory filtering.

There in lies the crux of the issue for us liberals.

Re:Works for me (1)

julian67 (1022593) | about 4 months ago | (#45885953)

"Any filter that is optional now, can, with the backdoor nod of an elected official, become mandatory over night."

That's complete nonsense and mere assertion. It is also demonstrably untrue. The ISPs have agreed to implement optional family filters and to enable them by default on new accounts (existing accounts are not modified). This has been done at the urging of an elected government, not "with a backdoor nod". The ISPs are not obliged to do this but the government (an elected government made up of two parties in coalition in a parliamentary democracy) has said that if they don't do so then it will aim to introduce legislation. It *cannot* be made mandatory without legislation.

The Conservative party would like the filters to be on by default by law (mandatory) while their coalition partners the Liberal Democrat party disagrees, which is why it hasn't happened and probably never will unless either Labour or Conservatives gain an absolute majority at the next election (if any party has a history of state interference in absolutely every facet of life it is the Labour party).

Even if the Conservatives had got their way and the filtering was legislated it would not change the fact that the account holder can switch it off or on at will.

Your "crux of the issue" simply doesn't exist.

Re:Works for me (1)

Roger Lindsjo (727951) | about 4 months ago | (#45886809)

The ISPs are not obliged to do this but the government (an elected government made up of two parties in coalition in a parliamentary democracy) has said that if they don't do so then it will aim to introduce legislation. It *cannot* be made mandatory without legislation.

So basically "Do it now by free will or we'll force you".

Re:Works for me (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45886049)

But the problem lies in the fact that the filter exists in the first place.

So let me get this straight: because you don't want filtered internet - whether that's because you don't have children, because you supervise all your children's internet use, or because you don't care what your children do on-line doesn't matter - making the filter available to people who do want it infringes your rights? That's a pretty bizarre claim. I don't much care for Dr Pepper myself, but I somehow get through my life without buying it and my right to drink Coke instead appears, on the surface at least, to be intact. The existence of Dr Pepper allows for the theoretical possibility of its being made mandatory to the exact same extent that the existence of parental controls allows for their being made mandatory.

Let's not forget either that these filters have not be democratically put in place. There was no vote in parliament *at all*

I realise /. has trained you to believe that the UK is a Stalinist command economy, but private enterprises are not, in fact, required to sumbit every new product and service they offer for parliamentary approval. British Sky Broadcasting plc are entirely within their rights to offer customerr this option on their own authority.

If optional filtering can be put in place without a vote, so too can mandatory filtering.

Yes, Sky can cease to offer unfiltered internet without a vote. They're a private company and it's up to them. I'm not a shareholder in Sky, but for whatever it's worth I think that would be a bad business decision.

Re:Works for me (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45886305)

So let me get this straight: because you don't want filtered internet [...] making the filter available to people who do want it infringes your rights?

That's not what I'm saying at all. To use your Doctor Pepper as an example... Sure, you don't like Doctor Pepper right now, and hell, it's OK for other people to use it, but what if one day you were told you weren't allowed to drink anything except Doctor Pepper from now on? There's no chance this will happen, that's absolutely absured because no good could come of it, but if you replace Doctor Pepper with Internet Filters, then fighting against it is something we should be doing.

Parents should be supervising children's internet use, as much as they supervise their offspring's dietry habits. It should not be down to government pressuring Doctor Pepper sales outlets to not ever serve it to children!

What about "web forums" is bad for pre-18yo? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45886269)

The filter is marketed as a porn filter.

TorrentFreak isn't porn.

Therefore AT THE VERY LEAST this is fraud.

What if you want to block porn but not conversations about copyrights to your kids? This filter doesn't do it, but SAYS it does. So if you're informed, you can't use it, therefore it's worthless, and if you're not informed, you'd use it and it's damaging.

Re:Works for me (1)

advocate_one (662832) | about 4 months ago | (#45886479)

Yes, you can claim that the liberals are crying "Censorship!" and "Oppression!" without warrent right now because they can indeed turn the filter off.

more worrying for me is even if they claim the filter is off, how can you be sure it really is off and is not blocking stuff they don't want you to read like foreign news stories on scandals involving your politicians?

Re:Works for me (4, Informative)

Chrisq (894406) | about 4 months ago | (#45886027)

Ignore me. Turns out the blocking only occurs if you have the under-18 filter turned on - which I managed to get from the article :)

True, but it is the default for all new internet connections. Many people just leave things at the default, and may not even know that you can have it disabled.

Re:Works for me (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45886057)

It does not silently default to on for new contracts. People taking out new contracts are required to explicitly choose whether to have it on or off.

Re:Works for me (1)

Chrisq (894406) | about 4 months ago | (#45886081)

It does not silently default to on for new contracts. People taking out new contracts are required to explicitly choose whether to have it on or off.

Its a bit ambiguous. According to this article [ispreview.co.uk] :

At present only new customers will be given an “enforced” option to keep or disable the service, which will come pre-selected (enabled) unless you specifically choose otherwise during the sign-up process.

Re:Works for me (2)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 4 months ago | (#45886355)

The government wants everyone to be asked if they want the filter on or off. Otherwise they can't build an accurate database of known perverts.

One answer (1)

BeerCat (685972) | about 4 months ago | (#45885543)

Since the requirement was pushed for by politicians (the "won't someone think of the children" view), then the websites of all political parties should be blocked under the same filters until they realise that automated blacklist/whitelist filtering will never work 100% of the way it is expected.

Re:One answer (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45885641)

The politicians would probably not care. (In the UK) You have to be 18 to vote, so the parties would not care about the under 18s getting access to their web pages.

Re:One answer (1)

andrewbaldwin (442273) | about 4 months ago | (#45885781)

The politicians would probably not care.

Voter apathy is at an all time high in the UK. This can be read in many ways ('they are all the same', 'a pox on both your houses', 'they only care about getting re-elected and their cronies - not about us'...) but the net result of a lack of political party output would probably be welcomed by all sides:

  1. for the people at large, it's a pause from hearing someone spouting forth about how they'll promise a wonderful future [right up until 24 hours after the results are declared when promises spontaneously evaporate]
  2. for the politicians, less kept on public accessible records the better - they can then bury history and past broken promises [as the Tories did in taking their past web history off-line recently] - al less well informed populace is easier to bamboozle and less likely to think critically
  3. for the news media [who are pushing for this -- those most vocal are also those who delight in publishing the very stuff they'd like to see banned] it's less competition for eyeballs

If this seems cynical - it probably is: there is precious little to choose between the parties nowadays. After the expenses scandal (thankfully we don't have quite the scale of campaign contribution corruption over here [yet]) politicians in general are not highly regarded by many and a period of quiet while some other group gets bad publicity would be welcomed by them -- is this the hidden agenda behind this? ;-)

Re:One answer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45885915)

Just one point of order, nowadays politicians have given up promising us a wonderful future. No, they find it much more effective to promise to deliver us from imaginary terrors of their own invention.

Re:One answer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45886055)

You have it backwards.

All _outgoing_ connections from MPs computers should be blocked until they realise that this game of whack-a-mole is futile.

Hooray! now block Slashdot (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45885549)

Free thinking anarchists don't deserve to read news because they're not obedient enough.

Re:Hooray! now block Slashdot (1)

Chrisq (894406) | about 4 months ago | (#45885689)

Free thinking anarchists don't deserve to read news because they're not obedient enough.

If they were you wouldn't need a block, you could just tell them not to read it.

America, F*** YEAH (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45885617)

Sometimes I look around at the backwards American hick town I live in and wish it were more like ultra-progressive Europe.

And sometimes I don't.

Re:America, F*** YEAH (5, Insightful)

Luckyo (1726890) | about 4 months ago | (#45885635)

It's not Europe. It's UK. The country that likes to take the worst of the US, the worst of the EU, mix them together and implement.

Re:America, F*** YEAH (3, Interesting)

Xest (935314) | about 4 months ago | (#45886203)

And then blame Europe for it when the public complain.

It's Europe's fault prisoners may have to be given the vote!

No it's not, it's our fault for deciding that human rights might be something worth actually giving a damn about and recognising that denying prisoners the vote and then imprisoning political opposition is a common tactic for seizing power that we may wish to avoid in our country. All Europe has done is confirm to us what we've said we agreed with previously. It's not their fault we can't get our message straight, that we legislate one way and then bitch, moan, and complain that we want it another.

Re:America, F*** YEAH (1, Insightful)

gweihir (88907) | about 4 months ago | (#45885649)

You do realize, the UK is far more like the US than like Europe, right?

Re:America, F*** YEAH (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45886397)

That is simply not true at all.

Re:America, F*** YEAH (1)

Anne Thwacks (531696) | about 4 months ago | (#45886399)

Perhaps you might want to visit the US and Europe. Churchill may have said "divided by a common language" but there is more to it than that.

What Freedom of Speech or Press? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45885725)

AFAIK the UK does not protect speech or press as we do in the US. There are no laws to that effect in the UK, right?

captcha: "acquit"

Re:What Freedom of Speech or Press? (1)

mlk (18543) | about 4 months ago | (#45885865)

Up to 1998 freedom of expression was protected under common law [wikipedia.org] rather than a single document. In 1998 the UK passed the Human Rights Act which covers freedom of expression [wikipedia.org] . Like the US this is not absolute, and I believe in the case of libel even sticker than the US.

The UK does not have a separate "freedom of press" as it is covered by the freedom of expression. Anyone can start up a new news paper and express themselves.

Re:What Freedom of Speech or Press? (1)

michelcolman (1208008) | about 4 months ago | (#45885895)

AFAIK they do have them. They even had extremist imams advocating the destruction of western society and for a while just let them continue unopposed. I don't remember how they finally managed to get them to stop (if they did), but it was quite a scandal.

The US officially has freedom of speech, until they decide not to let you fly on airplanes anymore. And if you say anything that's unacceptable to some fraction of the population, you lose your job. Unfortunately Europe is heading the same way, though.

Re: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45885973)

The UK protects free speech just as you do in the US. That is to say, not at all.

I'd take this with a pinch of salt (1)

Viol8 (599362) | about 4 months ago | (#45885751)

The NewStatesman is a well known left wing magazine and it'll take any opportunity to take pot shots at the Cameron government. Now I don't agree with the porn filter at all, but the assertion that its *currently* being used to block people off from a large part of the net is frankly b0ll0cks.

However, what the filter may be used for in the future is another matter. Once power is available to politicians they will inevitably use it.

Re:I'd take this with a pinch of salt (1)

horza (87255) | about 4 months ago | (#45885815)

Well it has some facts quite easy to check. For instance is Childline really being blocked? The Cameron-filter was touted as stopping children "accidentally" coming across images of hardcore pornography. In which case why are "Web blocking circumvention tools" censored? There is too much of a discrepency between what Mr Cameron described to us why it was needed and what it actually does. Either Mr Cameron lied or the ISPs have radically over-reached in the level of national censorship. Some investigative journalism should dig it out, though the only paper brave enough to print the truth these days is the Guardian and you would consider than a well known left wing newspaper.

Phillip.

Re:I'd take this with a pinch of salt (1, Insightful)

Viol8 (599362) | about 4 months ago | (#45885833)

"though the only paper brave enough to print the truth these days is the Guardian"

For various definitions of the word "truth". I wouldn't trust the Guardian any more than any other newspaper with this sort of story - they all have an agenda.

Re:I'd take this with a pinch of salt (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45886067)

"though the only paper brave enough to print the truth these days is Andrex"

Fixed that for you!

Re:I'd take this with a pinch of salt (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45886129)

You wouldn't trust it more than the Daily Mail?

Oh, sorry, you said "newspaper". As you were...

Re:I'd take this with a pinch of salt (4, Informative)

Jahta (1141213) | about 4 months ago | (#45886299)

Either Mr Cameron lied or the ISPs have radically over-reached in the level of national censorship.

Have a read of this article - David Cameron's internet porn filter is the start of censorship creep [theguardian.com] - and make your own mind up. For example this quote:

"The category of 'obscene content', for instance, which is blocked even on the lowest setting of BT's opt-in filtering system, covers "sites with information about illegal manipulation of electronic devices [and] distribution of software" – in other words, filesharing and music downloads, debate over which has been going on in parliament for years. It looks as if that debate has just been bypassed entirely, by way of scare stories about five-year-olds and fisting videos. Whatever your opinion on downloading music and cartoons for free, doing so is neither obscene nor pornographic."

Re:I'd take this with a pinch of salt (1)

Anne Thwacks (531696) | about 4 months ago | (#45886413)

Interestingly "Stephen Ward - the Musical" has just opened in the West End.

Personally, I can't wait for a musical version of the Lady Chatterly's Lover trial - perhaps featuring the cast of Mama MIa? (Cast of Umoja might be more fun!)

Re:I'd take this with a pinch of salt (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45886463)

There is a lot of confusion about this topic, mainly because of bad reporting and secrecy on behalf of ISPs.

There are essentially 2 levels of filtering. There is government mandated filtering, which all major ISPs must block on all connections: this was intended to be used only for sites distributing material pertaining to child abuse/pornography. However, it is also widely used to block sites containing or linking to copyright infringing material.

There is a 2nd level of filtering, which ISPs providing services direct to consumers are mandated to provide (B2B providers don't have to provide such filtering, so there are ways of avoiding it, by buying going to an ISP which specialises in business connections), which is user controllable to block pornography and other material unsuitable for children. The expectation is that ISPs would switch this on by default, and the subscriber would need to opt-out of the block, once they have proved their age.

The implementation of the 2nd level filter is widely variable. In general, however, the filter is bought as a managed service from a security systems vendor, rather than being managed by the ISP itself. In the case of O2, their filter is actually a whitelist, rather than a blocklist. Only sites which have been proven to be happy-clappy, fluffy-bunny type content only get on. Childline, the samartians, etc. are well known examples of sites that are not on the whitelist. Other providers offer various levels of granularity and category filtering (e.g. ability to block porn, but not forums; or ability to block forums, porn, etc.)

Re:I'd take this with a pinch of salt (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45885903)

The NewStatesman is a well known left wing magazine

The Socialist Worker is a well known left wing magazine. The New Statesman is "left wing" in the same way CNN is "liberal media" to Fox News stalwarts.

and it'll take any opportunity to take pot shots at the Cameron government.

As long as they're accurate, so what? It is a journalist's job to take "any opportunity" to legitimately attack power structures, whether business or government.

but the assertion that its *currently* being used to block people off from a large part of the net is frankly b0ll0cks.

Considering the popularity of porn and torrents, the assertion is frankly true.

Once power is available to anyone they will inevitably use it.

FTFY.

Your post reads like an archetype for how someone comes into an argument with bias. Without your permission, I may use it for discussions of logic and critical thinking.

Re:I'd take this with a pinch of salt (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45885993)

"As long as they're accurate, so what"

Except they're not. Just a minor point but a crucial one.

"comes into an argument with bias"

Complete unlike yourself apparently assuming the article is 100% true.

"Without your permission, I may use it for discussions of logic and critical thinking."

I doubt you'd recognise critical thinking if Bertrand Russell, Wittgenstein and Descartes turned
up in your front room and started a debate.

Re:I'd take this with a pinch of salt (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45886061)

Except they're not. Just a minor point but a crucial one.

That's not argument - that's just contradiction, etc.

I doubt you'd recognise critical thinking if Bertrand Russell...

Starter for 10: which reformist socialist society founded in late C19 links Russell and the New Statesman?

Not that it's been remotely socialist since admitting Blair's ramblings in the '90s. Nor the NS. But anything further left than the Hate is Trotskyite, I hear - a paper which still supports the Blackshirts, because, well, it did in the '30s.

Thin end of the wedge (1)

PsyMan (2702529) | about 4 months ago | (#45885757)

It was always a blatent "think of the children" method of establishing a national censorship system, now its in place it will of course be abused. First it was piracy blocking, then pr0n, then whatever they want to block from the vast majority of people who can't (or are afraid to) opt out of it.

They will claim it's a mistake (3, Interesting)

bugnuts (94678) | about 4 months ago | (#45885869)

I claim, preemptively, that such claims are bullshit. The censorship is intentional, and will get reversed, but it will be cited as a mistake. Mark my words.

Smaller sites that are just as innocent will get blocked, but won't get unblocked because not enough people will complain. This causes real damage. It costs site owners real money.

STOP calling it a "porn" fllter. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45886391)

Its a plain Big Firewall of UK, simple as that. It blocks free speech.

Working as designed (2)

Dunbal (464142) | about 4 months ago | (#45886515)

So the UK is slowly removing itself from the Internet by censoring itself. No loss. And "OMG it has the word torrent in it, it must be evil!".
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