UK Government Misses Another Ship Date On Its Porn Filter

from the an-Easter-miracle dept

Good news, UK porn aficionados: the porn filter is backed up.

The U.K. Government has postponed the introduction of controversial new regulations that have come to be known as the 'Porn Block' and would have blocked those under the age of 18 from viewing online porn from April.

[...]

According to the Mirror Online a Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) spokesperson has now "confirmed that the official rollout plans will be announced shortly" and the April 1 commencement date no longer stands.

And so the plan that won't work -- one that's going to under- and over-block when not being circumvented with remarkable ease -- is on the back burner again. This doesn't mean the government is going to fix it. It just means the government hasn't been able to convince anyone in the private sector that it's being foisted upon that it will work as intended.

The government "refreshed" its porn blockade late last year, softening a few mandates into suggestions. But the newly-crafted suggestions were backed by the implicit threat of heavier regulation. All the while, the government has ignored the hundreds of critics and experts who have pointed out the filtering plan's numerous problems -- not the least of which is a government-mandated collection of blackmail fodder.

The government is no longer demanding retention of site logs by sites performing age verification, but it's also not telling companies they shouldn't retain the data. Companies likely will retain this data anyway, if only to ensure they have it on hand when the government inevitably changes it mind.

As for keeping kids away from porn, the proposed system is already an admitted failure. Exemptions are in place for sites like Reddit, which has no shortage of porn to offer. Meanwhile, the government continues to insist this will all work out wonderfully whenever the long-delayed filtering system is finally rolled out.

"This is a world-leading step forward to protect our children from adult content which is currently far too easy to access online," a spokesperson for the Department for Digial, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) said. "The government, and the BBFC as the regulator, have taken the time to get this right and we will announce a commencement date shortly."

"Shortly." April 1st will come and go with no porn filter. The next best guess is around Easter (April 21st). But I'd wager that date comes and goes as well with zero new porn filters. The UK government only knows what it wants. It has no idea how to get it. If UK citizens are lucky, the porn filter will end up being government vaporware -- a minor annoyance only noticed every time a ship date is cancelled.

Filed Under: filtering, porn filter, uk


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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Apr 2019 @ 7:41pm

    The Real Question

    Was the problem that they hired too many wankers or not enough wankers for this daft project?

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 4 Apr 2019 @ 9:44pm

      Re: The Real Question

      Not enough religious fundamentalists, hence the UK's importation of more. It just takes time and eventually their authoritarian utopia will shine in all its beauty.

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

      • icon
        Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 5 Apr 2019 @ 5:59am

        Re: Re: The Real Question

        "It just takes time and eventually their authoritarian utopia will shine in all its beauty."

        Ah, they'll eventually run with the old etherkiller filtering method, you mean.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 5 Apr 2019 @ 8:42am

        Re: Re: The Real Question

        Time to start burning witches again.

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

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 4 Apr 2019 @ 7:52pm

    Not that that's a high bar to meet...

    "This is a world-leading step forward to protect our children from adult content which is currently far too easy to access online," a spokesperson for the Department for Digial, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) said.

    Yeah, hate to break it to you, but I'd put good odds that the majority of the 'children' you're trying to 'protect' are much more tech savy than you and the other pearl-clutching prudes trying to 'protect' them, and will blow past any blocks with ease.

    This is 'look at us, we're doing something!' legislation at best, with some potential power-grab of internet platforms mixed in.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Apr 2019 @ 8:07pm

    The UK government seems to be missing plenty of deadlines recently. A crap cherry on top of a cake of horse manure...

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

    • icon
      Wendy Cockcroft (profile), 5 Apr 2019 @ 5:28am

      Re:

      The trouble with a fractured group of ideologues with different / conflicting agendas is that t'other lot won't do as they're jolly well told.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Apr 2019 @ 9:40pm

    They just can't get past that Brazilian fart porn.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Apr 2019 @ 10:07pm

    And people will use VPNs to get around that.

    British users of one popular adult chat room I frequent, that I have talked to, have told me that have already purchased VPN services outside of Britain, and if that site does get blocked, they will use the VPNs they subscribed to, to circumvent the filter.

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

  • icon
    PaulT (profile), 5 Apr 2019 @ 12:01am

    "UK Government Misses Another Ship Date|"

    The UK government goes over budget and over schedule on an IT related project? I'm shocked...

    Although this panders to the moralistic and totalitarian whims of the Tory voter, it's likely just a way to pay whichever public school chum a minister wanted to throw a bunch of money to.

    "This is a world-leading step forward to protect our children from adult content which is currently far too easy to access online"

    Yes, far better than parents actually moderating the things they willingly give to their own children... sigh...

    Oh, and just to remind everyone who keeps saying that the UK will be magically free of silly tyranny once the disaster of Brexit comes forth - this is the kind of thing the UK can come up with all on their own. It will get worse if left unhindered by other voices.

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

    • icon
      Wendy Cockcroft (profile), 5 Apr 2019 @ 5:36am

      Re: It's the principle, damn it!!!

      As an Irishwoman I'm bemused at the prevalence of "principle above all" thinking that permeates the British mindset. Did you catch that documentary about the people duped into thinking they'd won the El Gordo lottery despite never having bought any tickets who went to court to try to claim their "winnings" off the scammers?

      Then there was the chap who hired me as a temp to clean up the mess left behind by an administrator who had her own secret filing system that I was expected to decipher. I advised I would start the filing from scratch and file in alphanumeric order and that it would take a few days but items would thenceforth be easy for anyone to find. "No!" quoth he, "The new girl will make up her own way of doing it." Sigh!

      Now we've got mad people declaring that the will o' the people must prevail despite the blue skies, rainbows, and extra money for the NHS that we were promised that turned out to be lies, even if the economy falls off a cliff and people die for want of meds, etc.

      Never underestimate the extent to which a determined idiot will go for the sake of principle, facts and reality be damned.

      /End rant

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

      • icon
        Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 5 Apr 2019 @ 6:07am

        Re: Re: It's the principle, damn it!!!

        "As an Irishwoman I'm bemused at the prevalence of "principle above all" thinking that permeates the British mindset."

        I very much doubt the "british mindset" has much to do with it. John Bull really isn't the best characterization of the brits of today.

        The real reason for shit like this can be blamed on the fact that most of the body politic of the UK pulls a Poe's Law on that old british sitcom "Yes, Prime Minister". I've always suspected the real reason why you can't show the deliberations of the UK parliament on BBC is because it exposes that shit-show for the cruel and spiteful kindergarten it is.

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

  • icon
    Lord Lidl of Cheem (profile), 5 Apr 2019 @ 2:25am

    Hmmm - more filters eh, I think I can see where this is going...

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Apr 2019 @ 3:16am

    The traditional porn filter

    "This is a world-leading step forward to protect our children from adult content which is currently far too easy to access online,"

    How about using Parents?

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

    • icon
      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 5 Apr 2019 @ 6:09am

      Re: The traditional porn filter

      "How about using Parents?"

      Parents have been found to talk to their offspring about sex. Pretty obvious you can't trust THEM not to lead the naíve young down the path of decadence and filth.

      Better let politicians set those standards.
      /sarcasm tag here, for the oblivious.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 5 Apr 2019 @ 8:56am

      Re: The traditional porn filter

      The Parents filter hasn't proven particularly effective so clearly the government needs to step in with an uberfilter. Because moderation at a higher level has always worked better than a finer-grained approach. /s

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Apr 2019 @ 4:34am

    "This is a world-leading step forward to protect our children from adult content which is currently far too easy to access online," a spokesperson for the Department for Digial, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) said.

    That protection should be the parents job, and there is software available that allow them to do that job, at least until their children figure out how to bypass it, and have the desire to do so, at which time they are probably ready to start learning about the adult world.

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

  • icon
    Wendy Cockcroft (profile), 5 Apr 2019 @ 5:26am

    Fail at All The Things!

    So now I find myself wondering if the infamous Chris Grayling is involved in this.

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

    • icon
      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 5 Apr 2019 @ 6:17am

      Re: Fail at All The Things!

      Quoted from the linked article:

      "“The lot of Brexiteers who are willing to work with Theresa May and aren’t bonkers is quite small,” said Rob Ford, a politics professor at the University of Manchester. “And one can argue he’s incompetent, but he’s not a flaming ideologue.”"

      The funny part is that after reading the article about the facts of Grayling's career I'm left with the impression that Professor Ford was massively diplomatic in his analysis.

      What is less funny is that Cameron and Grayling can be seen as a fairly normal standard of competence in UK politics.

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

  • icon
    JoeCool (profile), 5 Apr 2019 @ 9:28am

    Filters

    They need to hurry up with those filters! I'm tired of noisy images - they give me eyestrain. A smoother look to the porn is just what today's youth is demanding.

    ;)

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Apr 2019 @ 9:35am

    would have blocked those under the age of 18 from viewing online porn from April.

    So long as we can still watch Jade, Jasmine, Wendy...

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


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