David Cameron Wants To Shut Down Porn Sites Because Kids Are Clever Enough To Defeat Age Restrictions

from the the-war-against-porn dept

UK Prime Minister David Cameron has been using "porn" moral panics as a wedge issue to ramp up censorship and control over the internet in the UK. He's been pushing aspects of it for years, including demands for the impossible: filters that block "bad content" but allow "good content." Yes, it does seem bizarre that someone in as powerful a position as David Cameron sees the world in such a black and white way, but remember, this is the same guy who bases his defense of more spying powers on what happens in fictional TV crime dramas.

His latest plan? Well, he's insisting that he's going to shut down porn websites if they don't guarantee to keep out everyone under the age of 18. Yes, many sites have some age controls, but kids aren't stupid and can usually figure out a way around them. And that's always going to be the case. And it's been the case since pornography existed. I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest that it's quite likely that David Cameron himself first came across pornographic material long before his 18th birthday.

This whole plan seems like something designed to shut down websites... because kids are clever enough to get around basically any age restriction system. Anyway, it looks like Dan Bull may need to add a new verse to his musical open letter to UK Porn Minister, David Cameron:

Filed Under: age restrictions, david cameron, filters, porn, uk


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  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 3 Aug 2015 @ 2:45am

    #1 Trick of stage magicians:

    Distract with one hand while you act with another.

    While it's possible that this is really all about porn, I can't help but think, what would be the 'best' way to ensure that children can't access porn sites? Clearly just asking for birth-dates doesn't cut it, they can lie about that.

    You can tie an account to something that you generally have to be(or have the cooperation of) an adult to have, like a credit card, but that only works for pay-sites, doing nothing for the free sites, of which there are massively more than paid.

    Hmm, tricky...

    Wait, I know, how about an online identity, tied to your real identity through some means(driver's license, ID card, something like that), that was required to browse at all(because you can't always know ahead of time when you'll run across porn, and some sites may not flag their content appropriately).

    However, setting up such a system would be a real hassle, and to make sure it works on all sites, and was done properly, it would probably be best if the ever so helpful government stepped in and set up and ran the system, you know, just out of the goodness of their hearts.

    Yes indeed, that would seem to fix the problem. And, purely by accident I'm sure, also allow real time tracking of what people do online, what sites they visit, what searches they make, what comments they leave, and anything else they do online.

    But hey, a complete destruction of online privacy is a small price to pay to make it slightly more difficult, for a week or so, for underage individuals to get access to porn, right?

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 3 Aug 2015 @ 4:13am

      Re: #1 Trick of stage magicians:

      You can tie an account to something that you generally have to be(or have the cooperation of) an adult to have, like a credit card, but that only works for pay-sites, doing nothing for the free sites,

      Actually, a credit card can be used a an age check, by validating it without making a charge on the card, and so can be used by free sites.
      The real problem with online age checks is that they only prove that someone can pass the age check at the time it was made, which need not be the person using the computer a few seconds later.

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

      • icon
        That One Guy (profile), 3 Aug 2015 @ 4:19am

        Re: Re: #1 Trick of stage magicians:

        And I'm sure having tons of sites asking for credit card info, 'just to make sure', would have no negative repercussions at all, and certainly wouldn't be a hacker's wet-dream.

        Credit cards as age-checks are a terrible idea, and just asking for trouble.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 3 Aug 2015 @ 9:16am

          Re: Re: Re: #1 Trick of stage magicians:

          ...sites asking for credit card info, 'just to make sure'...

          I remember around the turn of the century coming across one such pr0n site that stated you could use an expired card as proof of age. I thought that was a nice concept at that time as I would not have to expose an active card to potential fraud. Later it occurred to me: how could that work? If they ran the card info as a book/preauth transaction it would be rejected due to the expired date.

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 3 Aug 2015 @ 9:29am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: #1 Trick of stage magicians:

            The number itself can be used to tell if its a valid card from its contents and format - could be used as a primitive test.

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

      • icon
        R.H. (profile), 3 Aug 2015 @ 6:55am

        Re: Re: #1 Trick of stage magicians:

        Can't you get pre-paid credit cards at stores without showing ID? I know I never had to show ID to pick one up and I know that I have seen people under 18 using them for spending money acquired from part-time jobs. I really don't think credit card age checks are that effective anymore.

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

        • identicon
          Matw2, 5 Aug 2015 @ 2:09pm

          Re: Re: Re: #1 Trick of stage magicians:

          Not really a credit card, and sites would be able to tell by the first 6 digits of the card number.

          However you can be an additional cardholder on someone else's account at any age so it would be a fairly terrible age check.

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

          • icon
            PaulT (profile), 5 Aug 2015 @ 11:34pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: #1 Trick of stage magicians:

            Also, it's not like any kid seriously wanting to bypass such a block isn't above "borrowing" a card from their parents' wallet or purse during the night or making a note of the number. Such a check is good enough to make sure it's a valid credit card and possibly that the *cardholder* is over 18, but it does nothing to verify the identity of the person currently typing in the card details.

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

      • icon
        John Fenderson (profile), 3 Aug 2015 @ 11:49am

        Re: Re: #1 Trick of stage magicians:

        "Actually, a credit card can be used a an age check"

        With only slightly more accuracy than just asking the user if they're 18 or not. And with a large helping of security risk.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 3 Aug 2015 @ 7:27am

      Re: #1 Trick of stage magicians:

      real id to access content? then eventually needed to access internet? no thanks

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 3 Aug 2015 @ 8:02pm

      Re: #1 Trick of stage magicians:

      "Distract with one hand while you act with another".

      Porn often distracts me, forcing me to act with one hand.

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

  • identicon
    avideogameplayer, 3 Aug 2015 @ 3:56am

    Here's a idea that has been around for awhile...

    LET THE PARENTS DO THEIR JOB!

    I'd like to know when the hell these gubbermints decided that they're better parents than the real deal...

    These bozos can't even balance the budget, and yet, we're supposed to TRUST them to know what's good for kids?

    You want to do right by kids? Make sure they get a good education, after school programs, get rid of these zero tolerance policies and let teachers use common sense...

    And most of all, STAY OUT OF THE NANNY BUSINESS!

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

  • identicon
    avideogameplayer, 3 Aug 2015 @ 3:58am

    Can we get a Kickstarter fund going for Davey to get him laid? It's sounds like he needs some loving...

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

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 3 Aug 2015 @ 4:06am

      Re:

      That might actually just make things worse actually, as one of the commentors on the YT vid embedded in the article noted, it's possible 'Davey' has problem getting it up and is lashing out against porn in jealously.

      "If I can't enjoy myself, no-one can" basically.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 3 Aug 2015 @ 6:33am

      Re:

      You seem to have misspeld laid off.

      That much better value for our money.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Aug 2015 @ 4:05am

    This is the same logic as the Taliban logic of:- women can sexually excite men, and so should wear a burka when in public.

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

  • identicon
    David, 3 Aug 2015 @ 4:15am

    It's depressing that kids in the UK are smart enough to access porn

    but once they become adult, they vote for Cameron.

    They should have stuck with porn. Definitely the less obscene option.

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

    • identicon
      QW, 3 Aug 2015 @ 5:08am

      Re: It's depressing that kids in the UK are smart enough to access porn

      His 'majority' government got in with around a quarter of eligible voters, because of our hugely flawed electoral system.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 3 Aug 2015 @ 5:48am

        Re: Re: It's depressing that kids in the UK are smart enough to access porn

        I wouldn't say the electoral system is flawed, just the voters are morons.

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

        • identicon
          QW, 3 Aug 2015 @ 6:47am

          Re: Re: Re: It's depressing that kids in the UK are smart enough to access porn

          The 25% of eligible voters who voted for him? The 34% who didn't vote at all? Or the nearly 40% who voted FOR SOMEONE ELSE.

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

        • icon
          CanadianByChoice (profile), 3 Aug 2015 @ 12:41pm

          Re: Re: Re: It's depressing that kids in the UK are smart enough to access porn

          It's not so much that the voters are morons - it's more that there's no one worth voting for, and not even anyone different enough to be worth voting against

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

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 3 Aug 2015 @ 7:48am

      Re: It's depressing that kids in the UK are smart enough to access porn

      "It's depressing that kids in the UK are smart enough to access porn but once they become adult, they vote for Cameron."

      A majority of British voters did no such thing in either election where he slithered to power.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Aug 2015 @ 4:39am

    Should have just let the Nazis have them.

    The Nazis were all for this kind of stuff.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Aug 2015 @ 5:01am

    Here's a newsflash: The internet is not a nanny!

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

  • icon
    Agonistes (profile), 3 Aug 2015 @ 5:28am

    I am the adversary of all who want to shut down porn sites.

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

  • identicon
    V, 3 Aug 2015 @ 5:32am

    Whatever this is about - You can be sure it is not about 'the children'. Best case it is just Cameron working the aging prude vote. More than likely it is an idiotic strategy for getting more verifiable credentials running through his illegal, fucking outrageous Turbine total surveillance operation.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Aug 2015 @ 5:34am

    anyone who thinks this is really his aim, is living in a bubble! it's not to do with porn, he's using it, just as he did previously, as a means to be able to expand the blocking of more and more websites that Hollywood and the entertainment industries want! he is so far up the US ass, he cant breathe and will do anything to maintain that useless, waste of time, only when it suits, special relationship that is supposed to exist between the USA and the UK!
    as is the usual case, he has the idea that because HE thinks something is bad, everyone else has to as well! because he wants something stopped, everyone else has to as well! because he brings his kids up in a certain way, everyone else has to as well!
    i dont understand why he thinks that how he brings up his kids is the right way, the only way and that everyone has to follow his example! and have parents not done a reasonable job over the centuries, without him sticking his oar in? he would do better to leave things alone! he's fucking up the uk as a whole, he need not interfere with the grass roots parts!!

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Aug 2015 @ 6:18am

    In that Guardian article he claims that 90% of UK broadband users now have access to parental controls via their ISPs. And all of the top sites he mentioned comply with these controls - so why is this still a problem....

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 3 Aug 2015 @ 6:23am

      Re:

      Because he is a censorious totalitarian who wants to impose the morals he thinks people should have on them.

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

      • icon
        Not an Electronic Rodent (profile), 3 Aug 2015 @ 6:38am

        Re: Re:

        Because he is a censorious totalitarian who wants to impose the morals he thinks people should have on them.
        This.....

        The only other possibilities I can see are:
        1/ Shouting about a pointless, ineffectual "moral crusade" is a good way to distract from all the other truly awful and stupid policies of the government and is a good bait-and-switch for removing even more freedom from the "free" country that is the trying-to-catch-up-with-China UK

        2/ He really is stupid enough to think that a law passed in Westminster is going to have more effect than generating a laugh for the 95+% of porn sites that aren't based in the UK.

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

      • identicon
        David, 3 Aug 2015 @ 11:39am

        Re: Re:

        Why did they even deport the Puritans to the U.S.A.?

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 3 Aug 2015 @ 8:46pm

        Re: Re:

        "Because he is a censorious totalitarian who wants to impose the morals he thinks people should have on them."

        I don't think he's really concerned about morals. "Porn" and "protect the children" are just excuses. He really wants to establish control over people. Then, once the control is established, it can be used for all sorts of other things. And what is slavery but control over people?

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

        • identicon
          observer, 4 Aug 2015 @ 6:45am

          Re: Re: Re:

          You've hit the nail on the head there. The goal is to control the people by controlling the internet: by labelling it as a moral crusade, he gets the Daily Mail on board. (Just as he gets corporate media on board by labelling it as an antipiracy effort. The guy used to work in PR, and it shows.)

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Aug 2015 @ 6:34am

    And to think I had to wait for a neighbor to discard his porn magazines in the trash when I was a lad. Go get them David, they are polluting the minds of our young people, and should all be ashamed of their nakedness. Good to see a civil servant doing his job.

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

    • icon
      JoeCool (profile), 3 Aug 2015 @ 2:11pm

      Re:

      Your neighbor wasn't discarding his porn magazines, you were part of the Cycle of Porn. Your neighbor's kid's mother found his porn stash, and threw it away for you to find. Eventually, your mother finds it and throws it away for another kid to find, whose mother finds it and throws it away for another kid to find. Eventually, your neighbor's kid finds it, thus completing the cycle.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Aug 2015 @ 7:11am

    This will have about as much success as a law that makes it illegal to be naked at any given time.

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

    • identicon
      David, 3 Aug 2015 @ 11:44am

      Re:

      I'm naked under my clothes.

      Actually, I liked the original Yiddish joke about the Hasidim who was clean-shaven under his beard better.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Aug 2015 @ 7:29am

    Never mind protecting children from porn, who's protecting them from politicians?

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Aug 2015 @ 8:31am

    I have a solution i think everyone will agree with.. Ship David Cameron to Saudi Arabia instead of letting him bring Saudi governance to the UK.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Aug 2015 @ 9:13am

    Can't we get a law to ban wankers from politics?

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Aug 2015 @ 9:16am

    Cameron vs the Internet

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

  • icon
    CanadianByChoice (profile), 3 Aug 2015 @ 10:34am

    Maybe it's time to find a more realistic solution?

    For those that claim to be Christian, I'd like to point out that God didn't create clothes. (See Genesis 3:7-11). But, God DID create sexuality - and did not give "Adam and Eve" **any** "rules" about it.
    Somewhere around the beginning of their teen years, children go though puberty. In the ensuing flood of hormones, sexuality becomes an overwhelming priority; trying to prevent this is like "spitting into the wind" - it isn't going to work. You might as well legislate against tides. Legislation didn't work for Prohibition, and drinking isn't biologically driven.
    The young people will find a way to satisfy their totally natural (chemically induced) curiosity. "Pornography" would seem to be a preferable alternative to them finding out directly from each other. At the very least, it's less dangerous to them.
    It's still a bad alternative, but the choice would seem to be between "bad" and "worse". And why? Because our modern society has decreed that that this normal, natural drive is "wrong" (until you're 18 years old - then it's ok). (View a consensual picture of a nude adult at the age of 17 years, 364 days, 23 hours and 59 minutes? that's a crime! One minute later, it's not! How does THIS make sense?)
    I believe that we'd be better served as a society trying to find a better way to allow young people to satisfy their (from a biological perspective) normal, natural curiosity safely, especially since they are going to find a way to do it anyway, no matter what the law says.

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

  • identicon
    nubwaxer, 3 Aug 2015 @ 12:23pm

    VPN and internet censorship futility

    "David Cameron Wants To Shut Down Porn Sites Because Kids Are Clever Enough To Defeat Age Restrictions"
    unless they are morons they will still find a way to access any website they want to especially when told they can't.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Aug 2015 @ 1:31pm

    David Cameron himself first CAME across pornographic material long before his 18th birthday....and still comes across it to this day, but now he has a PA to wipe the keyboard afterwards....

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

  • identicon
    Personanongrata, 3 Aug 2015 @ 1:35pm

    More Off Than On

    His latest plan? Well, he's insisting that he's going to shut down porn websites if they don't guarantee to keep out everyone under the age of 18.

    What about jailing politicians both in the UK and US that don't guarantee their campaign rhetoric once elected to office?

    UK Prime Minister David Cameron and his political ilk in the UK/US are dangerous morons.

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

  • identicon
    Zonker, 3 Aug 2015 @ 2:54pm

    I still remember way back when I was a teenager the day my mother had a friend over and asked me how to activate the naughty mode in Infocom's "Leather Goddesses of Phobos" adventure game to show to her friend. I told her all you have to do is type "lewd" and when prompted enter a year of birth 21 or more years back. This was before the Internet was widely available and years before the Web.

    Her friend chuckled. Mom said somehow she knew I'd have the answer (I'm the computer guy in the family after all) and I was not punished for it at all.

    Leisure Suit Larry 3 was harder. I had to either ask my one year older brother who knew more about current events and history than I did or brute force guess and retry the multiple choice questions I didn't know to get into the naughty mode.

    I figure if you're motivated enough to try to bypass the age verification, you're mature enough to view the content.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Aug 2015 @ 3:13pm

    Maybe Cameron's going through a "mid-life faith crisis"? Or aiming for a S.Korea-like system of state-issued SSN-like ids tied to accounts.
    I can't see any other reason for proposing more censorship laws...

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Sep 2015 @ 11:18am

    Pig porn websites!

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


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