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.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    icon
    Anonymous Howard (profile), Mar 6th, 2014 @ 3:19am

    For his job

    He did it to better do his job!

    "To know your Enemy, you must become your Enemy"
    - not Sun Tzu

     

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  2.  
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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Mar 6th, 2014 @ 3:21am

    insert me talking about those who complain the loudest have the most to hide here...

    It really is time that people take their leaders to task, and start putting the fear of the people back into them.

    The filter no one wanted, wasn't needed, is worthless, a smokescreeen for the real purpose...

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Howard (profile), Mar 6th, 2014 @ 3:25am

    Also:
    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.

    Every engineer worth his salt already has the solution in his pockets: duct tape. The stronger, the merrier.

     

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  4.  
    identicon
    any moose cow word, Mar 6th, 2014 @ 3:32am

    I guess Rock was really doing it "for the children".

     

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  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 6th, 2014 @ 3:46am

    What a surprise. All top politicians fuck kids. Its probably how the cia/nsa and friends keep them in their pockets

     

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

  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 6th, 2014 @ 3:53am

    Re:

    And why every single time they claim they're doing something "for the children", it never ends up actually helping the children, and half the time it actually helps the pedophiles.

     

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

  7.  
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    Ben (profile), Mar 6th, 2014 @ 4:11am

    On the bright side, Rock is now in a hard place.

     

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  8.  
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    scotts13 (profile), Mar 6th, 2014 @ 4:57am

    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.

     

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  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 6th, 2014 @ 5:02am

    Re: For business purposes

    live by the sword, die by the sword.

     

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  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 6th, 2014 @ 5:15am

    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.

     

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  11.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 6th, 2014 @ 5:18am

    politicians fuck everyone , this isn't much of a surprise, a revelation MAYBE a surprise no not at all.

     

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  12.  
    identicon
    Diabeetus, Mar 6th, 2014 @ 5:45am

    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!

     

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

  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 6th, 2014 @ 6:19am

    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.

     

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  14.  
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    Tony, Mar 6th, 2014 @ 6:23am

    Response to: Ben on Mar 6th, 2014 @ 4:11am

    Yes, but it doesn't change the fact that children were caught between Rock and a hard place.

     

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

  15.  
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    bobs, Mar 6th, 2014 @ 6:39am

    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.

     

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

  16.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 6th, 2014 @ 6:51am

    maybe not hypocrisy

    His misguided legislative efforts could have been a not-so-silent plea for help. After all, no one understands the pain of alcohol abuse like an alcoholic.

     

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  17.  
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    schazzz, Mar 6th, 2014 @ 6:53am

    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

     

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  18.  
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    PaulT (profile), Mar 6th, 2014 @ 7:02am

    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.

     

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  19.  
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    PaulT (profile), Mar 6th, 2014 @ 7:05am

    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?

     

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

  20.  
    identicon
    Quinn Wilde, Mar 6th, 2014 @ 7:07am

    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.

     

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  21.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 6th, 2014 @ 7:21am

    Re:

    Or more precisely, Rock was doing it "to the children".

     

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  22.  
    identicon
    Guardian, Mar 6th, 2014 @ 7:26am

    wholly shit

    a lot a sick fucks in the UK govt

    no wonder they want a surveillance state to prevent you form doing shit about it

     

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  23.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 6th, 2014 @ 7:31am

    "...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.

     

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

  24.  
    identicon
    Titania Bonham-Smythe, Mar 6th, 2014 @ 7:47am

    Allegedly

    I suggest the word "allegedly" be inserted into this sentence:

    "...while your own staff member and architect of your porn filters is storing child porn on his PC."

     

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

  25.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 6th, 2014 @ 8:10am

    A Little Extra Time Can Make a Big Difference

    And of course they gave him a little extra time to go home and cleanup his home computers before sending the coppers. Nice.

     

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

  26.  
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    chris, Mar 6th, 2014 @ 8:40am

    Re:

    Paranoid much?

     

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

  27.  
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    Gaby, Mar 6th, 2014 @ 9:56am

    time line

    from EVENING of the 12th to EARLY MORNING of the 13th is hardly giving the guy extra time. It does take time to issue an arrest warrant and catch a guy at home.

     

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

  28.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 6th, 2014 @ 10:06am

    for queen and country

     

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

  29.  
    identicon
    edpo, Mar 6th, 2014 @ 10:11am

    Think of the children!

    "Can I touch myself while I do so?"
    -- Patrick Rock

     

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

  30.  
    identicon
    any moose cow word, Mar 6th, 2014 @ 10:14am

    Re: Re:

    And watching a porno is the same as actually screwing a hooker.

     

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  31.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 6th, 2014 @ 10:29am

    Re: A Little Extra Time Can Make a Big Difference

    Of course; accusation is one thing, proof is entirely another. They really couldn't have that; could they?

     

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

  32.  
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    That One Guy (profile), Mar 6th, 2014 @ 10:31am

    Re: time line

    Umm, not so much actually, if it had been just a regular citizen, with charges like that, you can bet they would have had the warrant within an hour, and him in a cell almost immediately after that.

     

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  33.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 6th, 2014 @ 10:54am

    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.

     

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

  34.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 6th, 2014 @ 10:56am

    I fear the internet might implode from the irony of this.
    At least in Britain...

     

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  35.  
    identicon
    Chris, Mar 6th, 2014 @ 11:24am

    Re:

    No its not blocked I wish there were less paranoid people on this site also filters are opt in

     

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

  36.  
    icon
    That One Guy (profile), Mar 6th, 2014 @ 11:36am

    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.

     

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

  37.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 6th, 2014 @ 12:13pm

    Re: Re:

    Sadly, it is not called paranoia anymore, it is now referred to as "stating fact" or the colloquial phrase "I can see you hiding behind the curtain"

     

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

  38.  
    identicon
    Michael, Mar 6th, 2014 @ 12:16pm

    Re:

    In their defense, anyone that believes that they can block pornography on the internet with filters is so technologically inept that they are unlikely to be able to actually destroy electronic evidence.

     

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

  39.  
    identicon
    Michael, Mar 6th, 2014 @ 12:17pm

    Re:

    That's ok.

    All of their network traffic is on the wrong side of the cable anyway.

     

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

  40.  
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    Durban Wedding photographer, Mar 6th, 2014 @ 12:18pm

    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?

     

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  41.  
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    chris, Mar 6th, 2014 @ 12:44pm

    Re:

    it is opt in

     

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

  42.  
    identicon
    chris, Mar 6th, 2014 @ 12:47pm

    Re: Re:

    the filter do not work anyway and its the ISPs who are doing the filtering not the government

     

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

  43.  
    identicon
    chris, Mar 6th, 2014 @ 12:51pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    but fact needs proof not saying your wrong

     

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

  44.  
    identicon
    chris, Mar 6th, 2014 @ 12:54pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    it could also be a PR stunt to get votes (looking like your doing something when your not

     

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

  45.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 6th, 2014 @ 1:07pm

    Re: For business purposes

    He wasn't charged (or even arrested); because he was on the "right side" of the issue, the DA declined to take any action despite him committing a felony on national television.

     

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

  46.  
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    That One Guy (profile), Mar 6th, 2014 @ 1:21pm

    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.

     

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

  47.  
    identicon
    chris, Mar 6th, 2014 @ 1:38pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    you know the system has been in place for years right also no one is accepting the blocks

     

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

  48.  
    identicon
    chris, Mar 6th, 2014 @ 1:40pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    also if china cant do it how can the uk do it?

     

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

  49.  
    icon
    That One Guy (profile), Mar 6th, 2014 @ 6:08pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: 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.

     

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

  50.  
    identicon
    chris, Mar 6th, 2014 @ 7:37pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    wow wow were did i say i was ever pro filters tell me were am infact anti filters also china needs 5000 people to spy and filter people the uk only has 10 at that

     

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

  51.  
    icon
    Anonymous Howard (profile), Mar 7th, 2014 @ 12:01am

    Re: Re: Re:

    No, but child porn raises the problem that someone at some point did have had (probably forced) sex with a children.

     

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

  52.  
    icon
    PaulT (profile), Mar 7th, 2014 @ 12:13am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: 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.

     

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

  53.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 7th, 2014 @ 6:57am

    Re: A Little Extra Time Can Make a Big Difference

    When the US Congress wrote the federal child porn laws, they actually exempted themselves. I wonder why the British didn't do something similar.

     

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

  54.  
    identicon
    chris, Mar 7th, 2014 @ 8:35am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I never said censorship is OK! never mind keep believing what ever you believe

     

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

  55.  
    identicon
    any moose cow word, Mar 8th, 2014 @ 10:28pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Rock was accused of having CP on his PC, not making it like AC suggested.

     

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

  56.  
    icon
    ColinCowpat (profile), Mar 10th, 2014 @ 2:37am

    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...

     

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

  57.  
    identicon
    Makavelli, Mar 11th, 2014 @ 5:37pm

    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.

     

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

  58.  
    icon
    The Wanderer (profile), Mar 13th, 2014 @ 4:45pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: 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?".

     

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


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