Legal Issues

by Mike Masnick

UK Politicians Still Pushing Bill That Would Improve Access To Child Porn

from the unintended-consequences... dept

Earlier this year, we wrote about the variety of problems with a proposed UK law that would require ISPs to publicly state whether or not they blocked child porn sites. As we noted at the time, this bill appears to do the opposite of what its supporters want. That is, it tells child porn providers and surfers exactly which ISPs to use and even gives them details of how the ISPs try to stop child porn, which could help those users get around the stops. Even more importantly, this is the wrong approach. It's sweeping the issue under the rug by dumping the responsibility on the ISPs to stop access to child porn, rather than actually stopping the activity and going after those responsible. If providers can determine which sites are offering illegal child porn, then they should have authorities shut the actual sites down and arrest those responsible -- not just block access to them. Blocking access doesn't get to the root of the problem and can lead to serious problems with totally innocent sites on shared servers being blocked as well. So, with all of this evidence that the law is a bad idea, why are some British politicians still calling for it? Admittedly, the article makes it pretty clear there's almost no chance of this bill becoming law -- but it's hard to see how it serves any purpose other than to make a politician sound like she's tough on child porn without actually being tough on child porn.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Boo, Oct 26th, 2005 @ 3:54am

    Tech ignorance

    Basically the whole bill is drafted on the assumption that whether an ISP blocks child porn or not is a yes no question... which is rubbish! If this were true then forcing ISPs to publish their policies would force them to adopt a blocking policy. Problem solved - good law, guys.

    But the assumption is rubbish. Blocking sites from an ISP is a greyscale. Proxy web pages, anon distributed file hosting... there are a thousand ways to circumvent (most invented in good faith to promote freedom of press and speech in oppressed countries) ISP blocking - and how good an ISP is at counteracting these is not a yes no question.

    Providing the information on exactly how effecient each ISP is and what measures they are taking will just generate knowledge on how to circumvent blocks. It's far better to keep the perverts in the dark and monitor their activities.

    Better yet to form an international body dedicated to shutting down the sites and tracking down the people responsible for posting content. Police newsgroups, and P2P networks and launch sting operations to catch people trading files... publicise results and scare the would-be's away. We could never completely shut down the underground markets, but we do have the resources to stop them becoming accessible to mr smith your would-be neighbour.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Bob3000, Oct 26th, 2005 @ 4:14am

    Article title

    Geez, are you guys are becoming the new Fox News network? Your title is a tad misleading and sensationalist don't you think. A more acurate title would be:

    "UK Politicians Still Pushing Bill That Would Not Block Access To Child Porn"

    Comments? Or is this like a Bill O'Reilly moment --> "Shut Up!"

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Just one guy, Oct 26th, 2005 @ 6:08am

    Re: Tech ignorance


    Technical enforceability is a non-issue in politics. The importance is looking good to your voters ("We have approved a law on that, if it is not wortking is the ISP's fault, not ours").

    Otherwise why would Oklahoma have banned whale hunting within its territory?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Johnny Cash, Oct 26th, 2005 @ 6:16am

    Bush 'r' gay

    I hate bush and he hates you, hes a bad president and he doesnt care about ya'll...i bet he doesnt. why don't you ax him, hu huh hu???? he will destroy this nation and our jobs (along with the money)

    Boo YAH

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    klem, Oct 26th, 2005 @ 8:52am

    Re: Tech ignorance

    um... yeah because an international body would do what is right...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    drknkook, Oct 26th, 2005 @ 10:49am

    Re: Bush 'r' gay

    That is very rude. I believe President Bush is a decent president who has made a few errors in judgement. You obviously don't know much about politics so please learn about President Bush before you start to say bad things.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Ire, Oct 26th, 2005 @ 10:49am

    Re: Bush 'r' gay

    Er, you realize the article is about the U.K., right? -And that Bush is the president of the U-essSS and not the U-Kaaay?

    ...Just checking.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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