David Cameron Plans 'Radical' Child Protection Internet Measures

from the 4chan-the-children dept

The last time we heard from David Cameron, he was wringing his hands over social media in the wake of protests in the UK. One may have thought this was just a blip on the wrong-radar, but he's back and he's apparently decided that the UK government needs to handle that whole parenting kids thing that parents used to do. This go 'round, Cameron plans to install filtering software on every new computer sold through major manufacturers that will issue a quick quiz upon its first boot-up.
If the plan is backed by manufacturers, it would mean that owners of every brand new computer would be asked if there are children in the household when they are first turned on. If the user answers positively, they will be prompted to adjust their internet filters accordingly.

If parents repeatedly click OK to get through the process more quickly, the computer would automatically block access by any user to sites containing pornography and self-harm. Internet service providers (ISPs) would also be required to verify the age of the person setting the controls, so that a child can't do it.
Gee, let's see, where to begin. First off, the idea of putting government sponsored filtering and snoop-ware software on every machine in the country may just face a tad bit of backlash from the public. Privacy concerns are the obvious culprit for such software, but so are concerns of parents who may just want to still be...you know...parents, rather than letting the government take this role from them by force. Say you disagree with how the UK government designates a website "harmful" or "pornographic"? Say you want your child to be able to see that site? It would appear that parent would be politley informed to screw themselves, because the government is in charge now.

The Sherlock Holmes Museum - 221b Baker Street, London - Victorian Policeman
"Sorry, but if you want to parent your child, you have to wear Sherlock's hat. Dem's the rules."
Image source: CC BY 2.0

Next up, if watching everyone I've ever met handle iTune's EULA process is any indication, you can expect roughly one-billion percent of internet users in the UK to fall into the "clicked like hell through the process" category. This would automatically turn the filters on to whatever David Cameron thinks is the appropriate level. I imagine frustrated adults trying like hell to search the internet for the answer to the age old question "Why the hell is everyone freaking out about Kate Middleton having boobs?" would then try to reset the filters, but would then click through them quickly again, resulting in only more frustration.
 

Frustration (was: threesixtyfive | day 244)
"Still not working? I must not be clicking through fast enough!"
Image source: CC BY 2.0

Frankly, it's also fun to imagine how this software would determine exactly what is too "quick" of a click-through, given that different people read at different speeds.

Finally, it would be interesting to hear how exactly his plan to have ISPs verify the age of the people they're likely talking to on the phone would work. We've noted previously how difficult and riddled with potential danger age verification of this nature can be, so how exactly is Cameron going to accomplish this? Unless he plans on forcing ISPs to do site visits or meet with child protection services for every account, they're still going to have to talk to their customers over the phone. Now, this may come as a shock to Cameron, but kids occasionally lie.

Timothé
"Sir, are you an adult?" "No, I'm a llama. Now let me see 4chan, doo-doo head!"
Image source: CC BY 2.0

In the end, this is yet another move by government to wrestle away a free and open internet. Unlike some other measures, Cameron may actually believe his "for the children" trope, but the best protection of children comes from involved parents. Trying to treat the symptom rather than the problem not only won't work, but it opens the door for some truly bad inadvertent outcomes.



Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Duke (profile), Dec 21st, 2012 @ 5:45am

    U-turn forced by the Daily Mail

    You can see some more details here, but basically this is a complete u-turn by the Government. Last week they published a report on this (which is still on my reading list) which, from what I gather, said that the experts, the government people, the majority of parents and the public thought this was a bad idea.

    The Daily Mail (one of the more disreputable UK newspapers - and that's saying something) didn't like that, so kicked up a big fuss, so Cameron has had to give in, writing them an entire article on this.

    Given that this is technically impossible and only the Daily Mail (and Claire Perry MP, the woman being put in charge of this) want this, I don't know whether or not it will actually happen, but it is rather depressing to see the Daily Mail completely running the Government.

    Also, this doesn't just apply to pornography, but "sexual messages, violence, gambling, bullying, alcohol/drugs, abuse on social networks, self-harm, anorexia, grooming, radicalisation, suicide"; obviously all things that children shouldn't be able to get any information about... Oh, and according to the results, the second highest category (of those) people said their children had been exposed to online was "other." This is a mess...

    Here's another fun set of numbers: of all the groups of respondents to their consultations the following thought (overwhelmingly) that there shouldn't be blocking: parents, businesses, academics, and "others". The only group that didn't were the "voluntary community organisations" (which I think includes religious groups).

     

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  2.  
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    Ninja (profile), Dec 21st, 2012 @ 5:47am

    Meanwhile negligent parents will still let their kids do whatever and smart kids will always find a workaround while decent parents and well educate children will suffer yet again from overzealous morons that think they can solve all the world problems with a silver bullet.

     

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  3.  
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    Call me Al, Dec 21st, 2012 @ 5:56am

    This pisses me off so much.

    It is technologically impossible to have an effective filter.

    What filters they put in place will be easily circumvented by the kids who will likely have better tech skills then their parents.

    This is going to add to the costs of the manufacturers, which means it is going to add to my costs when purchasing a computer.

    It is the first big step towards government censorship of things they do not approve of.

    It will mean that technologically illiterate parents assume that everything is fine and dandy because they have a "government approved" filter in place. Meaning they will not pay attention to what their kids are actually doing online. When inevitably something goes wrong and a kid who got around the filter gets caught up in something horrible, those parents will sue the government and probably win and we'll end up with yet more draconian rubbish.

    It is pandering to a ghastly paper and to the interfering busybodies who create their own lobbying groups so they can imprint their will on society... when all the rest of us want to do is just get on with our lives.

    Pretty much all I want to do now is walk down to Cameron's house, stand outside and shout abuse. If you see someone get arrested for doing such this afternoon then it may well be me. What a waste of time, money and effort!

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 21st, 2012 @ 6:05am

    When will this trend of nanny-state governance end!

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 21st, 2012 @ 6:11am

    this shows the measure of man that Cameron is. even after his own ministers turned down this proposal, he has gone on to do what he wants. it is exactly the same with the Hargreaves report that was commissioned by the Torie Government. the results, the evidence, the recommendations are all being ignored in favour of the entertainment industries.

    on another note, after the failure of the 'speculative invoicing' scams that were being carried out in the UK, the High Court has just given Golden Eye permission to carry on obtaining the names and addresses of those people, via IP addresses only, that are supposedly guilty of illegally downloading porn movies. if this doesn't show exactly what sort of hold the entertainment industries have over governments, in particular the UK government, i dont know what does!! i think the best thing to do is to lock up the whole planet and let governments destroy each other. once they have finished fucking up the entire planet in the process, the people can then come out and put everything right again. at least for a little while, that is!!

     

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  6.  
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    Zakida Paul (profile), Dec 21st, 2012 @ 6:14am

    What is wrong with teaching parents how to use parental filter software that already exists? It's not that hard to learn and would not require a lot of time. The trouble is that parents are too bloody lazy and expect the government to do everything for them.

    If you cannot take the responsibility of raising and protecting your own kids, DON'T HAVE KIDS.

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 21st, 2012 @ 6:28am

    I don't understand the need here

    Can't he just get his buddies in the media to snoop on everyone's computer and make sure they're not letting their kids look at porn?

     

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  8.  
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    Dreddsnik, Dec 21st, 2012 @ 6:30am

    " Trying to treat the symptom rather than the problem not only won't work, but it opens the door for some truly bad inadvertent outcomes. "

    The projected outcome is NOT inadvertent. It's planned and expected.

     

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  9.  
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    Beech, Dec 21st, 2012 @ 6:30am

    Coming soon to a computer near you...

    "Hey, Billy, come help daddy get around this stupid filter..."

     

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  10.  
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    PaulT (profile), Dec 21st, 2012 @ 6:32am

    Re: U-turn forced by the Daily Mail

    It's worth noting that the Daily Fail was also behind the whole "video nasties" thing back in the 1980s - something that achieved rather little other than give self-righteous morons a handy scapegoat and create a nice must-see movie list for horror fans who didn't like being told they couldn't watch something (most of which titles are now available on DVD, mostly uncut).

    So, same as it ever was - right wing outrage machine aimed at middle class morons creates a scandal, right wing moron in charge swallows it and forces an unworkable and ineffective "solution", kids wanting to access the material laugh as they can still get it.

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 21st, 2012 @ 6:37am

    Jesus fucking Christ can't they give it a rest for at least one day. I mean we just survived a mother fucking apocalypse.

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 21st, 2012 @ 6:40am

    No

    So all the parents have to do is say "no" to "do you have children" and they don't have to go through a bunch of annoying steps?

    Guess what half the parents will do?

    And when every computer in the country is running the exact same filtering software, it makes it that much easier for workarounds.

    And also, the computers are actually going to contact the ISP to tell them that it's a new computer that needs verification? I can see serious technical problems with that. Either you're going to end up with brand new computers that suddenly will be unable to access the Internet, or it's going to be easily circumventable. Or both.

    And of course, everyone now has to pay for software they don't want, and an increase in Internet access costs to pay for the extra employees verifying age for every new computer. (By the way, they have a choice of denying access to young-sounding people, or having a "verification" system which perhaps involves a teen writing down his parent's credit card number.)

    And of course the whole thing is TOTALLY UNNECESSARY since filtering software is ALREADY AVAILABLE to whoever wants it.

     

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  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 21st, 2012 @ 6:47am

    Re: Re: U-turn forced by the Daily Mail

    Sounds like a normal day in a conservative-run country.

     

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  14.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 21st, 2012 @ 7:01am

    Re: Re: U-turn forced by the Daily Mail

    And the most terrifying thing?

    It has nothing to do with Murdoch, who runs the other major "full of shit" newspaper in the UK, The Sun. They make up the British Hate Machine.

     

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  15.  
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    Vincent Clement (profile), Dec 21st, 2012 @ 7:03am

    Has any kid every been harmed by pornography?

     

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  16.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 21st, 2012 @ 7:18am

    Re:

    My brother was once knocked over by a falling stack of (a neighbor's) skin mags. Does that count?

     

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  17.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 21st, 2012 @ 7:32am

    Man, the UK sucks.

     

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  18.  
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    Baldaur Regis (profile), Dec 21st, 2012 @ 7:41am

    Is technology replacing natural selection in weeding out stupid gene sets? Prospective parents who can't figure out how to circumvent these rather simple obstacles will have less time to breed.

     

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  19.  
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    Chuck Norris' Enemy (deceased) (profile), Dec 21st, 2012 @ 7:41am

    Re:

    If you cannot take the responsibility of raising and protecting your own kids, DON'T HAVE KIDS.

    Problem is that you have to have some level of responsibility to use birth control measures to prevent gestation. Irresponsible people shouldn't have kids...irresponsible people won't use a prophylactic.

     

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  20.  
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    Chuck Norris' Enemy (deceased) (profile), Dec 21st, 2012 @ 7:42am

    Re:

    The day isn't over...yet!

     

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  21.  
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    techflaws (profile), Dec 21st, 2012 @ 7:58am

    Re: U-turn forced by the Daily Mail

    Apparently the British government fears the tabloids more than it fears the Internet. That should be changed.

     

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  22.  
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    Deleet (profile), Dec 21st, 2012 @ 8:10am

    History

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daily_Mail#Inter-war_period

    "Lord Rothermere was a friend of Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler, and directed the Mail's editorial stance towards them in the 1930s.[30][31] Rothermere's 1933 leader "Youth Triumphant" praised the new Nazi regime's accomplishments, and was subsequently used as propaganda by them.[32] In it, Rothermere predicted that "The minor misdeeds of individual Nazis would be submerged by the immense benefits the new regime is already bestowing upon Germany". Journalist John Simpson, in a book on journalism, suggested that Rothermere was referring to the violence against Jews and Communists rather than the detention of political prisoners.[33]

    Rothermere and the Mail were also editorially sympathetic to Oswald Mosley and the British Union of Fascists.[34] Rothermere wrote an article entitled "Hurrah for the Blackshirts" in January 1934, praising Mosley for his "sound, commonsense, Conservative doctrine".[35] This support ended after violence at a BUF rally in Kensington Olympia later that year.[36]"

     

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  23.  
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    gorehound (profile), Dec 21st, 2012 @ 8:13am

    Re: U-turn forced by the Daily Mail

    Little by little the anger in me grows.Been watching this World since the 1960's and it is going downhill.

    Wake me up when the Revolution Starts !

     

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  24.  
    identicon
    bob, Dec 21st, 2012 @ 8:20am

    question based protection

    I used to play leisure suit larry as a kid.
    their protection was asking several questions that only older people would know.
    unless you had an encyclopedia or were in school learning the stuff, or were good at guessing.
    overall, I might have memorized an extra 5 facts about history at that time, but it really felt more like a mini-game before playing the actual game.
    on the other hand, leisure suit larry totally scarred and twisted my psyche into the man you don't see in front of you today.

     

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  25.  
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    Duke (profile), Dec 21st, 2012 @ 8:21am

    Re: Re: U-turn forced by the Daily Mail

    Apparently the British government fears the tabloids more than it fears the Internet.

    ... and the people (including parents); the majority of whom seem to be against these measures.

     

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  26.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 21st, 2012 @ 8:29am

    It's time for Mr. Cameron to be removed.

     

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  27.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 21st, 2012 @ 9:31am

    So what?

    This just adds to the reasons why you pull off any legit keys you need from the computer and then you format ANY new computer get before doing ANYTHING on it.

    Back doors, ads, trial software, bloated BS software running at all times to send your info back to someone who wants it....

    Blow away any and all partitions on the machine, partition however you want, format, install fresh. It's the only way to do it.

    If someone isn't doing this, they deserve what they get.

     

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  28.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 21st, 2012 @ 9:37am

    Hang on a minute, where is t5he filter, on the computer or at the ISP. In the first case an exploit to kill the filter will be available within days. In the second case, and if the same as T-mobile, borrowing Mummies or Daddies credit card will give proof of age.
    If ISP run, how are different people given different access rights, or is it assumed that with children in the house, the filter must be enabled for all access.
    ISP run filters are subject to mistakes, such as wind power site being blocked.
    An ISP filter is an all or nothing affair, with no way of getting mistakes corrected, and require a login to allow different levels of filtering. This is almost reasonable where a mobile connection is used, as it is usually tied to an individual. It is messy when applied to a shared broadband connection.
    This looks like a half baked measure being put in place to appease the loudest shouting members of the press.

     

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  29.  
    identicon
    Anon, Dec 21st, 2012 @ 10:28am

    BBC, UK Royals, Jimmy Savile, HIGH-LEVEL PEDOPHILES

    Maybe David Cameron should have a closer look at the BBC, the UK Royal Family, and some of their associates, like Jimmy Saville, and other HIGH-LEVEL PEDOPHILES!

    The Prince and the Pedophile: Charles' Connections to Pedophilia Networks
    http://www.activistpost.com/2012/11/the-prince-and-pedophile-charles.html?

    Gatekeepers Attempt to Erase Pedophilia: BBC and Govt Operatives Still Hoping To Stop Hemorrhaging of Public Confidence
    http://www.blacklistednews.com/Gatekeepers_Attempt_to_Erase_Pedophilia%3A_BBC_and_Gov%E2 %80%99t_Operatives_Still_Hoping_To_Stop_Hemorrhaging_of_Public_Confidence/22524/0/38/38/Y/M.html

     

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  30.  
    identicon
    Anon, Dec 21st, 2012 @ 10:28am

    BBC, UK Royals, Jimmy Savile, HIGH-LEVEL PEDOPHILES

    Maybe David Cameron should have a closer look at the BBC, the UK Royal Family, and some of their associates, like Jimmy Saville, and other HIGH-LEVEL PEDOPHILES!

    The Prince and the Pedophile: Charles' Connections to Pedophilia Networks
    http://www.activistpost.com/2012/11/the-prince-and-pedophile-charles.html?

    Gatekeepers Attempt to Erase Pedophilia: BBC and Govt Operatives Still Hoping To Stop Hemorrhaging of Public Confidence
    http://www.blacklistednews.com/Gatekeepers_Attempt_to_Erase_Pedophilia%3A_BBC_and_Gov%E2 %80%99t_Operatives_Still_Hoping_To_Stop_Hemorrhaging_of_Public_Confidence/22524/0/38/38/Y/M.html

     

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

  31.  
    identicon
    Anon, Dec 21st, 2012 @ 10:29am

    BBC, UK Royals, Jimmy Savile, HIGH-LEVEL PEDOPHILES

    Maybe David Cameron should have a closer look at the BBC, the UK Royal Family, and some of their associates, like Jimmy Saville, and other HIGH-LEVEL PEDOPHILES!

    The Prince and the Pedophile: Charles' Connections to Pedophilia Networks
    http://www.activistpost.com/2012/11/the-prince-and-pedophile-charles.html?

    Gatekeepers Attempt to Erase Pedophilia: BBC and Govt Operatives Still Hoping To Stop Hemorrhaging of Public Confidence
    http://www.blacklistednews.com/Gatekeepers_Attempt_to_Erase_Pedophilia%3A_BBC_and_Gov%E2 %80%99t_Operatives_Still_Hoping_To_Stop_Hemorrhaging_of_Public_Confidence/22524/0/38/38/Y/M.html

     

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

  32.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Dec 21st, 2012 @ 10:49am

    Re: No

    So all the parents have to do is say "no" to "do you have children" and they don't have to go through a bunch of annoying steps?


    I'm a parent, but this is what I'd do. Not because it would save me a bunch of steps, but because there's no rational reason the software needs to have this information. Any time I'm faced with software requesting information they don't need and have no right to know, I lie. It's just good practice.

     

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  33.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 21st, 2012 @ 11:49am

    This go 'round, Cameron plans to install filtering software[...] that will issue a quick quiz upon its first boot-up.

    All politicians are:
    a. hardworking.
    b. honest.
    c. ethical.
    d. on the public payroll.

     

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  34.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Dec 21st, 2012 @ 12:34pm

    Re:

    When I was 12, I got a paper cut from a Hustler once.

     

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

  35.  
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    in_to_the_blue, Dec 21st, 2012 @ 12:53pm

    Re:

    if you pick D it causes the machine to self-destruct and sends the feds to arrest you

     

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  36.  
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    Davem (profile), Dec 21st, 2012 @ 2:24pm

    Perhaps the opt in/out pages could all carry a bloody big Daily Mail logo on them with the legend: "This child protection measure brought to you by the Daily Mail, without whose continued campaigning it would never have happened."?

     

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  37.  
    identicon
    Glenn, Dec 21st, 2012 @ 3:21pm

    Well, yeah,

    'cause the last thing you'd ever want your kid to know about is something that you think is harmful. Of course, that's the way to protect your kids--hide any and all info about those "nasty" things that can harm them--knowledge is a dangerous thing. I mean, they might actually start thinking for themselves... can't have that.

     

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

  38.  
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    AzureSky (profile), Dec 21st, 2012 @ 3:39pm

    Re: U-turn forced by the Daily Mail

    see, theres this thing called parenting, most parents these days dont want to do it,they want schools and the like to do it for them.

    when i was a kid, my parents kept and eye on me online till they figured out that i wasnt interested in the porn side of things and wasnt into chat rooms...

    on the other hand alot of people i know now arent like that, they dont want their net filtered(they like porn and such) but they would love it if the govt would parent their kids so they could spend more time looking at porn online.....

    I dont agree with anything like this net filtering crap....parents need to parent, if they want to block their kids seeing stuff like this there are many easy ways to do it, including scrubit dns and opendns servers that will block sites without need of client side filtering.

     

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

  39.  
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    nasch (profile), Dec 21st, 2012 @ 6:28pm

    Re:

    Prospective parents who can't figure out how to circumvent these rather simple obstacles will have less time to breed.

    Or they'll have MORE time to breed, because they can't find any porn.

     

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

  40.  
    icon
    nasch (profile), Dec 21st, 2012 @ 6:31pm

    Re: Re:

    if you pick D it causes the machine to self-destruct and sends the feds to arrest you

    This is the UK, so there are no feds. ;-)

     

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


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