UK Porn Filter Architect Arrested On Child Porn Charges

from the do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do dept

The UK government has spent years trying to impose its version of morality upon the Internet, demanding that ISPs impose mandatory opt-out porn filters, even if those filters have since been easily bypassed and often block entirely legitimate websites. Worse, the UK government has seemed intent on throwing itself face-first down the slippery slope of censorship, with plans to expand these filters to block arbitrarily-defined “extremist” content. Prime Minister David Cameron has repeatedly and loudly proclaimed to anyone who’ll listen his sole mission is to “protect the children” from the beasts that dwell in the “darkest corners of the Internet.” In the process he’s blamed nearly everyone, including Google and Yahoo, for not doing enough to thwart child porn.

Apparently, people who live in glass houses should not throw thermonuclear warheads (I think that’s how that saying goes). Reports have emerged that top Cameron aide Patrick Rock — who helped draw up proposals for the country’s Internet porn filters — has been arrested on suspicion of possession of child pornography. There seems to be some heated criticism pointed Cameron’s direction for keeping the issue quiet, with several UK news outlets also suggesting Rock was given a little extra time between his dismissal and his arrest:

“Mr Cameron’s official spokesman has confirmed that No 10 was first made aware of the alleged offence regarding child abuse imagery on the evening of February 12. The matter was immediately referred to the National Crime Agency (NCA) and Mr Rock resigned his position as deputy head of the policy unit. In the early hours of the morning of February 13 he was arrested at his home in London.”

So if this timeline is correct (and the Guardian seems a little murkier on those specifics) the government was made aware of Rock’s offense on February 12, Rock “resigned” on February 12, but he wasn’t arrested until February 13 after the government contacted the NCA. Presumed innocent and all that, but it seems a touch hypocritical and inconsistent to whine like a screaming banshee for years about how everybody else isn’t doing enough to protect the children, while your own staff member and architect of your porn filters is storing child porn on his PC. It’s of course notably worse if it’s found the government gave Rock a little extra time before law enforcement came calling (though perhaps the NCA just moves slower when it’s higher ranking officials).

Regardless, I think it’s time for UK ISPs to begin developing sophisticated algorithms capable of filtering out David Cameron’s bad ideas from the public discourse.

Filed Under: , , , ,

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “UK Porn Filter Architect Arrested On Child Porn Charges”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
58 Comments
scotts13 (profile) says:

For business purposes

As much fun as it is to jump on this guy, I’m sure a reasonable assertion could be made that, whatever the images were, they were there as “sample” material for what they wanted to block. It might even be true. Not that it would make any difference if he were in the States. Remember that politician who was arrested for having an automatic weapon magazine? He just wanted to use it as a sample on television.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: For business purposes

Bullshit assertion imho. Though it may be used as an excuse.

It’s not reasonable to assume a technically retarded politician is involved in the technicalities of blocking.

There is also the IWF for all that “sampling”. They are the goto guys when you stumble across questionable content online and have been at the forefront of Child Protection online for years.

1) Why the fuck would a “normal person” want to go out of their way to search for and save such shit?

2) If the excuse was explainable then the “cover up” would have happened already. Politicians wouldn’t risk the scandal unless they were sure and had no choice but to get him arrested.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: For business purposes

At first I thought something like this could be an explanation for them viewing child porn or having it on their computer. After all, if you write the filters to block the stuff, you’ve got to see if it works.

But that’s clearly not the case here. This wasn’t someone who wrote the code to block things, he just helped write the law.

bobs says:

Re: For business purposes

No politican was arrested for “having an automatic weapon magazine”. You are thinking about the news reported who used a high capacity magazine on the air in Washington DC where 30 round magazines are illegal. Since the reporter was pro-democrat they didn’t arrest him or press charges.

Please get simple facts straight before you start making stuff up.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: For business purposes

“Please get simple facts straight before you start making stuff up.”

So, I assume you’ll now link to your sources for this assertion, then?

“Since the reporter was pro-democrat they didn’t arrest him or press charges.”

I mean, someone so intent on facts wouldn’t be pulling an assumption out of their ass without proof, right?

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: For business purposes

Ah, the Townshend defence. Worth a try I suppose.

Here’s the problem – if said material was gathered specifically for setting up the filter, then it should have been cleared with the relevant authorities first. It would be easy to determine whether the material had been gathered during the allowed period and thus whatever immunity had been agreed would apply.

However, it appears that this was not done. Which leaves us a couple of possibilities. One is that Rock or his bosses were incompetent in the extreme, or so arrogant they didn’t think that their possession of illegal materials would be a problem. Another is that Rock was specifically abusing his position

Given that these are Tories we’re talking about, the former is probably true, but no excuses should be accepted that wouldn’t be acceptable for anyone else. The man perhaps shouldn’t be prosecuted too heavily if he’s merely the victim of a stupid procedural slip-up, but no excuses should be acceptable if there’s a likelihood that he’s just another hypocrite trying to indulge his own illegal tastes.

Diabeetus says:

Looks as if he put himself in that position to collect/distribute it himself! He didn’t create a filter, he created a vacuum!

As for the censorship:
We must save the people from themselves! For we are… um.. oh yeah! Politicians! i.e. Politicians do not see themselves as people.

Just wait, censorship on the internet will become worse and worse. You’ll have police at your door for searching for “children playing videos” pretty soon. After that, the censorship will spread to every corner of your internet experience.

Join the revolution! Stop internet censorship!

schazzz says:

Well then

Whelp that is just perfect irony. Also it was recently revealed that they have been collecting massive amounts of webcam data from some 2 million Europeans. I’d imagine that must make them the world’s largest collector of child porn as there are no doubt countless images of nude men, women and children collected from that program. Is your computer on? Well then they are collecting one picture every 5 seconds. Yeah that is a lot of naked pictures.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/feb/27/gchq-nsa-webcam-images-internet-yahoo

Quinn Wilde (user link) says:

We need a Minister for Hypocrisy

For those who need a recap on David Cameron’s government:

His Chief Secretary to the Treasury had to resign after fiddling his expenses.

His Director of Communications had to resigned after being implicated in the phone hacking scandal.

His Secretary of State for Defence had to resign after giving his close friend unauthorised access to the Ministry of Defence.

His Immigration Minister had to resign after it emerged his cleaner did not have permission to work in the UK.

And now the architect of the UK porn filter has had to resign having been arrested on suspicion of possession of child pornography.

If only Cameron had a Minister for Hypocrisy this could be the most successful government of all time. Although, given form, he’d probably have to resign after being discovered telling the unequivocal truth about everything and, you know, holding himself to his own standards.

ColinCowpat (profile) says:

Re: We need a Minister for Hypocrisy

You can probably add:

The Minister for Work and Pensions is persecuting people on benefits who have too many bedrooms in their house, while trousering ?150,000 per year from the public purse for leaving farmland around the mansion he lives in Fallow. And please don’t mention the validity of his University Degree either…

Anonymous Coward says:

"...notably worse..."

“…if it’s found the government gave Rock a little extra time before law enforcement came calling…”

Not merely “notably” – I think this would be far more egregious than Rock’s sin (if proven) itself. Anything other than instant arrest of Rock and seizure of his computers may have provided opportunity for the spoliation of evidence. To have allowed such possibility constitutes action on a scale from foolishly negligent to self-servingly collusive. It certainly deserves investigation and wide public exposure of the facts.

Anonymous Coward says:

I can’t believe the UK Gov gave a pedophile, a 24 hour head start to destroy evidence, before sending the police to arrest him.

It’s unbelievable that the UK Gov, is complicit in helping to enable the destruction and coverup of child pornography evidence!

This draws into question if their true motives behind pushing internet filters, is really about child pornography or if they’re simply using child pornography as an excuse to hide their true goal. To censor the internet in any way the UK Gov sees fit.

I wouldn’t be surprised if this article about Cameron’s co-worker child porn fetish, is probably being censored in the UK as we speak.

That’s what the UK internet filter is really about. Censoring information Cameron doesn’t want the public to know about. Put it to the test, see if these articles about UK parliament child pornographers, is being censored in UK’s opt-out ISPs.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re:

‘This draws into question if their true motives behind pushing internet filters, is really about child pornography or if they’re simply using child pornography as an excuse to hide their true goal. To censor the internet in any way the UK Gov sees fit.’

Yeah, I’m pretty sure the vast majority of people who actually think about it know full well that a filter like this has nothing to do with ‘protecting the children’, and everything to do with control.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Whether the filters work or not was never the point, the idea was to get the system in place, get people to accept having things blocked ‘to protect the children’, ‘for national security’ and various other rubbish excuses. Once such a system is in place, then history shows quite clearly that it’s just a matter of time before it starts expanding, covering more and more.

Also, while the ISP’s may be doing the filtering, they’re doing it because the government told/’suggested’ they do so, the government is hardly innocent in this.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

… really?

‘They’re doing it in China, and it’s not working there so there’s no harm doing it in the UK as well’?

Really? That’s supposed to help the pro-filter argument?

Heck, even if, for the sake of argument I agree that the Chinese filter/firewall is useless(and I have indeed heard that it’s fairly easy to bypass for those determined enough), the fact remains that such a system is a huge blow to free speech, causing people to always worry about what they post, what they discuss, lest someone in power decide to use it against them.

It also requires a system in place to constantly watch what people are doing online, what sites they visit and whatnot, causing even more damage to free speech, and being insanely open to abuse by anyone with access to the system.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

“also china needs 5000 people to spy and filter people the uk only has 10 at that”

That’s your argument? That a country with 1.3 billion people needs more people to spy on its population than a country with 60 million so it’s really not that bad in the country with less spies?

Combined with your apparent opinion that censorship is OK so long as a government forced a third party to do it for them, you’re not convincing anyone of whatever your point is meant to be.

The Wanderer (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

I think you read him wrong. Applying missing punctuation and capitalization, what he said is “If China can’t do it, how can the UK do it?”. I think you missed the “t” in “can’t”.

In other words, I think he’s asking “If even China – who are applying much more in the way of resources to this, even proportionally – can’t successfully filter their citizens’ Internet access, how can we believe the UK is going to be able to do so?”.

Durban Wedding photographer (profile) says:

How ironic!

and Sick!!

I honestly don’t mind being filtered but what happens if I want to access an adult site for a research project? Do I have to call my ISP to switch it off?

I think it should be OPT IN not OPT OUT.

I guess you have to be responsible about what you use the internet for but as far as being told WHAT to use it for, that comes down to who’s paying for the service?

Makavelli says:

wtf

HEY LOOK I M NOT FROM AMERICA I M NOT A PHEDOPHIL, BUT I THINK THIS IS A STUPID LAW BECOUSE , IS NOTHING ROUNG BY WATCHING CHILD PORN, WHEN I SAY CHILD I MEAN 13 YEARS PLUS,I M NOT SAYNG THATS RIGHT TO FUCK CHILD 13 YEARS OLD, IS LIKE TAKING ADVATAGE OF CHILD THAT’S NOT GOOD, BUT WATS ROUNG IF U JUST SEE THAT THIG,MY FIRST SEX EXPIRIENCE WAS AT AGE 13 SHE WAS 13, SO WHAT IS ROUNG WITH THAT SHE LIKE IT, I LIKE NO HARM DONE. Don t get me roung neaw i canot fuck 13 years girl, i m older and is not moral to do that,but i like to see kids fuck,i was a kid 2. YES i agree to punish older people who fuck minors, but i m not agree to punish thous who watch minor porn.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...
Loading...