UK unveils plan to block online porn by default

By on July 22, 2013, 10:15 AM
porn, united kingdom, uk, david cameron, porn ban

UK Prime Minister David Cameron has revealed a plan that will effectively block all online pornography from being accessed in the nation, with the government attempting to crack down on the "corroding" influence of adult content on children. Under the plan, porn will be blocked by default for UK households, and anyone wishing to disable the filters will have to contact their internet service provider to make the change.

The plan will be introduced by the end of next year, according to The Guardian, and as a first step, by the end of this year anyone who sets up a new broadband account or switches providers will have to disable the filters to access porn. When going through the process of setting up an account, the ISP-level filters will be enabled by default, and can only be removed by the account holder. Cameron said that "it should not be the case that technically literate children can just flick the filters off at the click of a mouse without anyone knowing".

Aside from introducing filtering of porn, Cameron also announced that it will be illegal to posses "extreme pornography", which covers content such as simulated rape. The government is also working with the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Center (CEOP) to create a blacklist of "abhorrent" search terms with the idea that this will help prevent pedophiles from accessing illegal content. Cameron is calling on the major search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo to block "sick" content through measures such as the blacklist.

The Rape Crisis group in the UK has put their support behind the plans, stating that "the government today has made a significant step forward in preventing rapists using rape pornography to legitimise and strategise their crimes and, more broadly, in challenging the eroticisation of violence against women and girls."

It remains to be seen how effective the mandatory filters will be at preventing children (and adults) from accessing online porn. Methods to get around the block will likely be posted online shortly after the filters are introduced, meaning that people could make a quick search to find out how to bypass the filter and access adult content once again.




User Comments: 42

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H3llion H3llion, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Give them few weeks and they will do a quick U-Turn. Australia did this, did not work out so well for them. Look at how blocking TPB worked out, you can still use mirrored proxy URLs to get on it.

GL Flameron

Guest said:

Agreed oh too easy to bypass massive waste of resources when will they learn to go after the root cause to a problem if they know offending websites track trace arrest just ask the c.I.a for any information im sure they know of every offender at every location.

MilwaukeeMike said:

I'm generally not a fan of the government protecting us from ourselves, but this is one place where it doesn't bother me. Historically porn was something you had to go and find... subscribe to a premium cable channel, buy a magazine, visit an adult 'book' store etc. Now with the internet it's at your fingertips... and at every 12 year old's fingertips. Sure the internet community will voice some opposition, but for every upset voice there are 10 happy parents because they have children who are more computer savvy than they are. Not every parent knows how to setup a filter on a network.

If this were the USA though there'd be a ton of vocal complainers screaming about big brother and oppression and that this is just the start of what they'll block on the internet.

Lionvibez said:

They would be better off spending this money to educate the parents, its pretty obvious that most of the children know more about the internet than the parents which can make things difficult when you are actually trying to raise children.

The problem is in the households not on the internet as usual these days tho let the government do the parenting.

Burty117 Burty117, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

This will fail, no doubt about it, the ISP's already warned this won't do much but of course the govourment are not listening, massive waste of resource and its not going to stop rape, hell I've never heard of a rape case were the guy pleaded innocent under the guise he saw it on the Internet and he thought it was "ok"...

How about mr Cameron, you use that resource to actually stop the rape in the first place?! All you've done is try and put a blind fold and ear muffs on everyone but the rape is still happening and it's still a very real problem, god I hate living in this country sometimes.

Also, parents should have to turn the filter on, It should not be on by default, reason being? Education for parents, they should have to turn it on, this way the parent is doing at least a little bit of parenting and would also serve as a nice statistic since I'm pretty sure only about 13% of this country's parents actually think this is a problem, for the rest, porn is normal for a young teen who is "experimenting" I guess is a way to put it.

BabyFaceLee BabyFaceLee said:

Cameron is playing to the gallery and jumping on the 'Let's bash those nasty tax-dodging parasites at Google' bandwagon. He's courting favour with middle England but it just shows how little he understands the issues. His stated aim is that he wants to help prevent child pornography. This is an absurd approach as these disgusting perverts share their dirty little secrets via peer-to-peer networks. Who, with more than one brain cell to rub together, would search for this stuff via Google and expect to find anything...Google already remove it from their search engine.

I don't have a problem with having Safe Filters on by default, that's no bad thing - I think of it as putting the 'dirty' magazines back on the top shelf rather than next to the Teen magazines. It wont do much but it'll reenforce the message that porn is for adults...but for Cameron to make out he's really addressing the issue of child pornography? Really?

MilwaukeeMike said:

I don't have a problem with having Safe Filters on by default, that's no bad thing - I think of it as putting the 'dirty' magazines back on the top shelf rather than next to the Teen magazines. It wont do much but it'll reenforce the message that porn is for adults...but for Cameron to make out he's really addressing the issue of child pornography? Really?

Agreed, but remember he's a politician, and it's more important for them to look like they're doing something important and effective than it is to actually do something important and effective. Things like this internet blocking are very attractive to politicians because they can look like they're protecting children while only getting pushback from people defending pornography. That means he's going to market this like he's saving your kids' soul.

Guest said:

So the choice is either no porn for the entire household or porn for the entire household. How does this help? Isn't the aim to stop CHILDREN accessing porn? Because this doesn't do that at all.

All it does is force parents to make a compromise. It's not hard to restrict access to specific content, you can do it with Open DNS, so wouldn't it be more productive to educate parents instead?

Also I'm pretty sure rape and child porn existed long before the internet.

Railman said:

The photo of Cameron does illustrate just what a **** head he is. The guy seems to employ a load of his old college friends and has very little imagination. Clearly he has no real understanding of the Internet but more worrying he has no real understanding about economics.

The Conservatives used to have great leaders like Churchill. Now they have pratts like Cameron.

BabyFaceLee BabyFaceLee said:

Thinking about it further, I wonder if someone in the porn industry within the UK will file a 'restraint of trade' suit against the Tories for this policy or maybe even a class action suit? That'd be interesting (!) and I reckon they might have a fair case. Pornography isn't illegal (not the 'normal' stuff anyway) and requiring users to contact their ISP to lift the filter may be seen as hobbling the porn site providers' right to trade freely.

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I don't see a problem.

This was done with cable TV 30 years ago, by scrambling video feeds. If you didn't opt-in, you didn't have a clear video signal. The reasons for such scrambling/blocking still exist. The fact that every kid with a smart phone more than likely has Internet access, makes it a bigger issue now more than ever.

Burty117 Burty117, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

It's not hard to restrict access to specific content, you can do it with Open DNS, so wouldn't it be more productive to educate parents instead?

Well yeah but that's also the easiest one to work around, I had a friend who's parents had this setup and I (quite literally if I remember rightly) got round it within twenty seconds blind folded! But your right, Educating parents would be way more beneficial.

Thinking about it further, I wonder if someone in the porn industry within the UK will file a 'restraint of trade' suit against the Tories for this policy or maybe even a class action suit? That'd be interesting (!) and I reckon they might have a fair case. Pornography isn't illegal (not the 'normal' stuff anyway) and requiring users to contact their ISP to lift the filter may be seen as hobbling the porn site providers' right to trade freely.

This is actually a fair point and I genuinely hope it happens!

I don't see a problem.

This was done with cable TV 30 years ago, by scrambling video feeds. If you didn't opt-in, you didn't have a clear video signal. The reasons for such scrambling/blocking still exist. The fact that every kid with a smart phone more than likely has Internet access, makes it a bigger issue now more than ever.

I thought the reason for the scrambling was because they are (and still are) paid for channels? they unscramble the channel once you pay for it? I know on Sky it makes you put in a PIN that is setup on your account if you try and access rated content?

Either way it does worry me you don't see a problem, apart from the fact people will find a way round the filter almost immediately making it an absolute waste of money and the fact it doesn't solve the route cause itself, It would be much better spent attempting to teach parents how to filter content and how to track what they're children are doing online, it is extremely poor in this country how little people know about networking and how the internet works, in fact the only family I know that does any kind of filtering (the example I used above) was an American family!

Adhmuz Adhmuz, TechSpot Paladin, said:

This problem will solve itself in the next 10 years, all the people who had children during the internet boom where completely oblivious to its power, my generation, born during the era, who are going to start having children know whats what and will take action into our own hands, or home networks at least. I can honestly say I know all the tricks and ways of hiding my online activity, my son, he wont be so lucky. The government has no place in the home, that's the job of the parents. Mine did nothing, or very little and holy crap I turned out just fine. Old people and the internet don't mix, they never did, why is it they believe they can fix what they don't fully understand is still beyond me. What the UK is trying to do just proves it.

Xtreme gamer said:

If this came to be. Imagine the arguments in millions of households between Husband and wife.

Man: "Well screw this, I'm going to opt in ASAP."

Woman: "And why on earth would you want to do that! "

Man: "Well because....Ummm.... I need it."

Etc. lol

Vrmithrax Vrmithrax, TechSpot Paladin, said:

My conspiracy theorist friends see this as a political slip & slide... I mean, if you have to "opt in" for adult content, your name goes down somewhere with a little check next to it. Somebody gets that info and compiles a list, then that list becomes a method for "profiling" potential deviants. It's not that much of a stretch (see the McCarthy era) for a simple list to become fuel for a witch hunt... I hate when their wild paranoid theories make me stop and think!

Realistically, though, I'm with the crowd that thinks this is well-meaning, but will be ineffective and/or impossible to enforce. All it takes is a few public wi-fi hotspots to have "opted in" and your good intentions for censoring what children can see is out the window. The only way to control specific access for every individual, is to have every individual categorized and assigned a singular online identity for accessing the web, with no other method available beyond that one assigned portal. But, hey, these are politicians we are talking about - we're lucky if they even know what the internet IS, let alone have the first clue how any of it really works.

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

It would be much better spent attempting to teach parents how to filter content and how to track what they're children are doing online
Thats just plain BS, and doesn't give parents any options at all. Adult content should be defaulted as an opt-in not an opt-out scenario.

Put it this way either remove the adult content label, so everything is available freely to everyone regardless of age. Or ban underage from Internet access, because we adults can't remove adult content from their view. It is not a personal view that adult content should not be seen by anyone underage, it is a law of which has yet to make its way to Internet regulations. I could agree with you if it was a personal view, but its not.

Guest said:

Now all we need is effective image recognition so the networks can block all the kiddies 'sexting' each other. No, I'm not joking. It's a sick and depraved form of communication that is funny for about 5 seconds, then potentially forever damaging. No wonder youth suicide is such a problem when you incorporate 'likes' and 'peer pressure'.

Another good investment would be to educate today's 'dumb-smart' kids what the words "permanent record", "indelible" "reputation", "regret" and "future" really mean.

How about some independent thought kids? Nah, just do what your idi0t mates are doing.

dikbozo said:

Merely defining what was acceptable as 'adult' was a very daunting task the US courts had spent far, far too many hours deliberating. They failed and ultimately gave up, leaving it up to local communities to sort things out for themselves. This was the beginning of modern pornography back in the early 1970's.

Fast forward to today.

Instantaneous communications proliferate. The web is every where. Everything seems to be linked to it. The nature of this adhoc network is to go around stumbling blocks and gaps. The nature of people's prurience is to seek out visual, textual and graphical elements of that which is forbidden. We are all of us curious. We seek things out. The net enables us.

For every thing that is put in place to limit the net, there is at least 1 work around, usually more. The kiddie diddlers are reprehensible scum as those who cater to them. An out right filter would merely force them a bit more deeply underground again. The forces of law and order do indeed catch these people and they do it through the time honored methods of infiltration and surveillance, just like catching 'terrists' to borrow from 'W'. To institute another bit of 'security theatre' (to borrow from Bruce Schneier a phrase that he applied to borders and airports) would have the same effect, wasting billions if not trillions in money, hundreds of thousands of hours of time, an insane number of CPU cycles, an equally ridiculous amount of bandwidth and who knows how much rage for an infinitesimally small if measurable at all effect on this. Cameron and his ill advising advisers may as well mandate search filtering at the device level as well as the search engine level as you never know when little Johnny might get hold of uncle Bob's handheld thing and go looking through it for elephant pr0n. OMG!!!

swapnil sood said:

First of all they should completely disrupt internet I mean completely end it.

Then they should a new network which will contain what they like

isnt it simple

Sunny87 said:

This just says to me "Yes the UK has it's own little corrupted NSA program" This is going to cause other companies to go bust, reduce businesses to the underground scene and not pay tax and reduces the safe content to possibly risky content, and where does it stop? Let's block slightly funny but rude youtube content while we're at it to, because we all know that the tories definition of pornography is not the same as everyone else's definition of pornography, I think the nazies would have had these ideas too.

Tory scum I'd rather shoot myself, than ever agree to ones policies.

Railman said:

Ironically Cameron's attack on porn is actually promoting it. Years ago there was an anti porn campaigner Mary Whitehouse who wanted several films banned including an art house movie called Last Tango in Paris. No one would have gone to see that film but in the event there were queues round the block.

Divvet said:

First of all they should completely disrupt internet I mean completely end it.

Then they should a new network which will contain what they like

isnt it simple

Move to China, they got what you want there.

This problem has already been highlighted in many libraries. Try accessing a news article that tells you about the "porn" filter. All you will get is an error saying the content is blocked, and someone on the other side of things gets a nice notification saying you attempted to look at porn.

The government will have to make a U-Turn on this. They are so technically inept its ridiculous. A bunch of old farts running our country, we need a change.

Skidmarksdeluxe Skidmarksdeluxe said:

Blocking porn is all good & well and I'm for it but not by the govt or ISP's, but by the parents. I really can't see this working out too well. If people want porn, they'll get it.

avoidz avoidz said:

And where does this "opt-in" Internet end? Porn is only the beginning.

1 person liked this | mailpup mailpup said:

And where does this "opt-in" Internet end? Porn is only the beginning.
The UK is already blocking "piracy" websites (see this: [link] ). Although I am dead set against piracy, this is a slippery slope. Now it is porn sites. Maybe next it will be gambling sites.

Once the government starts deciding for you what you are allowed to see, the temptation is to do more and more. People are getting too used to letting the government do everything for them.

Skidmarksdeluxe Skidmarksdeluxe said:

The UK is already blocking "piracy" websites (see this: [link] ). Although I am dead set against piracy, this is a slippery slope. Now it is porn sites. Maybe next it will be gambling sites.

Once the government starts deciding for you what you are allowed to see, the temptation is to do more and more. People are getting too used to letting the government do everything for them.

I'm not sure they'll pick on the gambling sites anytime soon because winnings have to be declared (at least in my country) so the govt gets their chop whereas they make zip from porn. As long as they can make money from it, they won't stop it.

There is nothing more hypocritical than governments.

Guest said:

Far enough but then they allow same sex marriages and who knows what. Where is the logic ?

mailpup mailpup said:

I'm not sure they'll pick on the gambling sites anytime soon because winnings have to be declared (at least in my country) so the govt gets their chop whereas they make zip from porn. As long as they can make money from it, they won't stop it.

There is nothing more hypocritical than governments.

Gambling was just an example. It wasn't an actual prediction. It could be anything from which the government decides you need protection.

Guest said:

How considerate of mr. Cameron to think of what corrodes children's minds.. and yet same-sex marriage is bound to be given the green light next year in Britain. How about the main pedophilia advocacy group in the Netherlands - Martijn (no wonder they call themselves "down below") being given the ok to function by courts, that now wants sex with 12-year olds and up be deemed legal?

Hipocrisy and moral putrefaction .. good mix for evolution! Western Europe paves the way!

Guest said:

Here is a completely crazy idea,

How about you be a parent and don't let your kids use the internet unless supervised. Am I the only person that can remember a computer in the living room?

Here is another one,

Pull the modem cord at night so your kids don't have access.

Im sick of people who don't want to take responsibility for their actions. You brought that kid into the world. I SHOULD NOT HAVE TO PAY FOR THEM!

fimbles fimbles said:

David cameron is an utter utter imbecile.

Counting the days until the next election.

Zilpha Zilpha said:

Why can't parents, you know, be freaking parents already? Take some responsibility for raising the children you just HAD to have. It's completely ridiculous to make some other random adult have to "opt in" to something like this just because some other ****** can't take responsibility for themselves and the Government has to do it.

Gosh, blocking porn are you kidding me?

Guest said:

Like alot of people says, a waste of resource and will fail.. but the question is, why do the government still intend to do something that they may already know that would fail? It's simple, political popularity movement and *gasp* majority of the money isn't going back to the society but mostly under their own pocket through hired "private company".

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

A teen cannot walk into a store and purchase an adult magazine. But yet with their smart phone they don't need to. So whats the point in keeping the age regulation on the adult magazine? Besides the kid could always steal the magazine, which would be no different than scheming ways to find material on-line. The idea would be to at least try to make adult material, less accessible to the not intended audience. But to turn our backs and not even try, crap where did our morals go?

Like alot of people says, a waste of resource and will fail..
Don't even get me started on how we are already wasting resources, inside each and every culture alive today. Anyone living beyond the absolute necessity for survival is wasting resources. Take your wasting resources comment and shove it. The fact is we are all wasting resources, the only question is where to waste them. If there was a follow up question, it would be "Who will be the beneficiary of wasting the resources?".

And for the failure bit, sure when you fess up and state "I don't even want to try".

Guest said:

Cameron's bleating is completely irrelevant. He is unelected, unelectable and drowning daily. Of course, he will not bear the consequences of his actions, we, the public will. If my ISP dares to contact me and ask if I require access to pornography, I will be happy to tell them that I wish to retain my freedom of choice, whether I watch pornography or not.

If people allow this enormity to occur, I give it 6 months until 'anti-government agitation' becomes the next 'pornography' scheduled for a ban.

How many more years do we have to put up with this ***** we as a country did not elect?

Railman said:

What what I gather the access can be altered at any time. I dare say most adults would switch to the adult settings just after the 9pm watershed so they can watch 18 rated movie or program on netflix. Problem is that all devices can then access adult material. Somewhat defeats the intention to restrict access to children. But there again there is no true logic to Camerons ramblings.

1 person liked this | Railman said:

By the way what people find offensive does tend to be subjective. I went to the movies this night to see Monsters University with my family. Unfortunately we had to endure a trailer for a 1 Direction film which I found to be very offensive to my sensitivities. No one should have to suffer such sickening material. (:

1 person liked this | Phraun said:

Utter waste of tax money. Any kid 'tech-literate' enough to disable a filter will bypass this with minimal effort as well. Trying to make 'impure thoughts' illegal would make about as much sense, and be met with roughly equal success.

Hasbean said:

Fantastic!!!!! I can drop my 80Gb plan down to a 1Gb plan.

Thank you Mr. Camerunt you've saved millions of impressionable minds. Bravo.

1 person liked this | captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

Christ I hate news stories about porn blocking! They always drive me into histrionics. Now I'll be furiously downloading every piece of porn I can find for the next month and a half. You know, in case there's a future shortage.(*)

OTOH, if the British government wants to cripple the porn industry, all they have to do is ban breast implants, and have David Cameron star in a porn scene or three. How about a period costume piece? King John, and his underage bride Isabella, could be the characters. Playing a fop to Isabella's strumpet, wouldn't be much of a stretch for Davie boy.....

Let's come up with a porn name for him shall we? It must be something dignified, upper crust as it were, something the peerage would approve of... How about "Dudley Pokestraight", or maybe, Studley Thrustworthy", "The Earl of Shagsbury". Knight him, and he could be, "Sir Humpalot"......Now, here he is, "the seat of government", live and in your face....:eek:

In case any of you need historical references to get those jokes, here they are:

[link]

[link]

(*) Oh who am I kidding? I'd be furiously downloading porn anyway. But you gotta admit, this makes the perfect excuse.

dikbozo said:

Ironically Cameron's attack on porn is actually promoting it. Years ago there was an anti porn campaigner Mary Whitehouse who wanted several films banned including an art house movie called Last Tango in Paris. No one would have gone to see that film but in the event there were queues round the block.

Oh, yeah. I remember the first time 'Last Tango in Paris' was released. Everything old is new again. As for no one seeing it, this was valuable free promotion with the added spice of being' forbidden', a classic advertising shtick.

EDIT:

This 40 year old film was pretty hot stuff back in the day. Compared to recent pr0n, it is tastefully done and with very little that would be considered explicit.

Guest said:

Good, it's about time... maybe people will have better morals now!

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