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UK Consults Public On Possible 'Opt-in for Porn' Solution

By - Source: Department for Education | B 16 comments

UK asks for public's opinion on possible solutions for protecting children on the web.

The UK government yesterday opened up a consultation on proposed methods of shielding children from pornographic or unsavory content on the internet. The discussion paper published by ministers on highlights possible ways to protect children from harmful web content including websites promoting suicide, anorexia, gambling, self-harm and violence, as well as those exposing them to online sexual grooming or cyber-bullying.

The paper, published at a UK Council for Child Internet Safety (UKCCIS) conference on Thursday, asks for feedback on three options for keeping children safe online. The first is an opt-in solution that would see harmful content blocked automatically on internet-enabled devices. Customers would need to specify with their ISP that they want to opt-in for blocked content. The second option would involve presenting customers with 'an unavoidable choice' as to whether or not they want filters and blocks put in place on their internet service. This would happen either at point of purchase or when a customer first switches on a new device or internet subscription. The third option details a system that is an amalgamation of the options described above. Customers would be presented with a list of content to be blocked automatically unless they choose to unblock this content.

The proposed blocking of adult content is backed by UK Prime Minster David Cameron. However, Cameron believes it will only work if there was a clear prompt for the user that informs them of the settings and affords an opportunity to adjust them. According to the Department for Education, the UK's four main ISPs (BT, TalkTalk, Virgin Media and Sky) have each signed a code of practice that says they will give an active choice to customers when it comes to applying controls and filters to block harmful content. However, ministers have also said that the government will consider regulation if the industry doesn't go far enough or fast enough.

"Growing numbers of parents do not feel in control of what their families are exposed to online," the Department for Education cites Children's Minister Tim Loughton as saying. "Many want to take responsibility, but all too often they do not how know how because they find the technology too difficult to use or their children are more technically advanced then they are," he continued. "We have been clear that the internet industry needs to raise its game to equip families better in being able to block what their children access on the internet. There has been some good progress to date but just as technology does not stand still, nor should we, in making sure our children are protected. We have always been clear we would turn up the heat on industry if it did not make fast enough progress."

The government's consultation will last 10 weeks and will allow parents to give their own input and feedback.

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Top Comments
  • 23 Hide
    cscott_it , June 29, 2012 9:16 PM
    koga73Simple don't let your children use the internet unsupervised... there is no way to block everything bad.


    Exactly. Even further, a good parent shouldn't have to police their children, they've taught them well enough not to make poor decisions. Kids are going to be curious, but if you sit down with them and take the time to teach them (rather than tell them) then it will make a world of difference. Being an active part of their life and a good influence is what they need, not the government and big media blocking everything because a parent can't be bothered to do it (or better, instill the morals and values that allow curiosity but prevent bad choices).

    Or to quote Bender:
    Have you ever tried simply turning off the TV, sitting down with your children, and hitting them?
  • 23 Hide
    koga73 , June 29, 2012 9:10 PM
    Simple don't let your children use the internet unsupervised... there is no way to block everything bad.
  • 14 Hide
    v3nom777 , June 29, 2012 9:17 PM
    Educate the youth. Pretending like an aspect of society doesn't exist is like putting blinders on a horse; the horse cannot see the things in their peripherals, but it doesn't mean it's not there.

    Knowledge is power.
Other Comments
    Display all 16 comments.
  • 23 Hide
    koga73 , June 29, 2012 9:10 PM
    Simple don't let your children use the internet unsupervised... there is no way to block everything bad.
  • 23 Hide
    cscott_it , June 29, 2012 9:16 PM
    koga73Simple don't let your children use the internet unsupervised... there is no way to block everything bad.


    Exactly. Even further, a good parent shouldn't have to police their children, they've taught them well enough not to make poor decisions. Kids are going to be curious, but if you sit down with them and take the time to teach them (rather than tell them) then it will make a world of difference. Being an active part of their life and a good influence is what they need, not the government and big media blocking everything because a parent can't be bothered to do it (or better, instill the morals and values that allow curiosity but prevent bad choices).

    Or to quote Bender:
    Have you ever tried simply turning off the TV, sitting down with your children, and hitting them?
  • 14 Hide
    v3nom777 , June 29, 2012 9:17 PM
    Educate the youth. Pretending like an aspect of society doesn't exist is like putting blinders on a horse; the horse cannot see the things in their peripherals, but it doesn't mean it's not there.

    Knowledge is power.
  • -5 Hide
    alidan , June 29, 2012 9:38 PM
    v3nom777Educate the youth. Pretending like an aspect of society doesn't exist is like putting blinders on a horse; the horse cannot see the things in their peripherals, but it doesn't mean it's not there.Knowledge is power.


    what government wants to give power to the people?
    they want them just smart enough to work, but to stupid to go anywhere in life.
  • -4 Hide
    bustapr , June 29, 2012 9:42 PM
    i believe the only way to protect kids is to give them the ole' sex talk. however this is only for kids well in puberty. any teenager would get around any parental controls, if they dont know, they find a way fast(a wonder of human curiosity to find solutions and learn quickly). so many girls are being pregnant and getting STDs these days because parents avoid the sex talk, and never tell them TO WEAR THE RUBBER! blocking the internet wont work on teenagers. as for prepubescent kids, its all about what the parents teach their kids.

    I do however believe that a big help to protect everyone in general is to make a law where porn people have to wear condoms in the videos.
  • 4 Hide
    damianrobertjones , June 29, 2012 9:51 PM
    Just shove every 'suspect' page onto the .xxx domain extension. Done. Want porn or want to show porn? Grab the xxx domain and that's it. Don't want porn? Filter .xxx.

    Now... if only they'd stop something IMPORTANT like malware and 'your computer is infected click here to knacker up your pc'.
  • -1 Hide
    eyetea , June 29, 2012 10:26 PM
    koga73Simple don't let your children use the internet unsupervised... there is no way to block everything bad.



    SonicWALL or other UTM. Problem solved.
  • 8 Hide
    pjmelect , June 29, 2012 11:28 PM
    Kids will learn how to get around the blocks, on the positive side it may lead to a generation of kids who really know how the internet works and give Britain a competitive edge in the world.
  • 1 Hide
    fb39ca4 , June 29, 2012 11:41 PM
    So how are horomonally challenged teenagers supposed to go about...you know...that thing...now?
  • 0 Hide
    fb39ca4 , June 29, 2012 11:43 PM
    damianrobertjonesJust shove every 'suspect' page onto the .xxx domain extension. Done. Want porn or want to show porn? Grab the xxx domain and that's it. Don't want porn? Filter .xxx.Now... if only they'd stop something IMPORTANT like malware and 'your computer is infected click here to knacker up your pc'.

    Problem is the internet is global. They would have a hard time convincing sites based in other countries to switch.
  • 1 Hide
    ravewulf , June 29, 2012 11:52 PM
    eyeteaSonicWALL or other UTM. Problem solved.

    I'd rather get a sonic screwdriver :) 

    But, back on topic, this should be opt-in filtering, not filtering by default. How many people are going to be embarrassed or socially pressured when saying they want to "opt-in for porn" or go without and attempt to get around the filtering?
  • 0 Hide
    LORD_ORION , June 30, 2012 1:51 AM
    Reality check

    Whenever you see a "For the childeren!" sticker attached to something, you better read the fine print.

    Checkmark here to protect your children from "Whatever the government doesn't want you to see"
    Disclaimer: If you don't checkmark, we will put you on a terror watchlist.

    See... freedom to choose brought to you by your government...
  • 1 Hide
    killerclick , June 30, 2012 5:08 AM
    It doesn't matter whether tyranny has malice behind it or an honest desire to protect the vulnerable. Tyranny is tyranny, and if you don't nip it in the bud, you'll have a hard time defeating it later.

    In the UK and other liberal democracies, the children are becoming the government's excuse to take away freedoms and assert more control over the lives of its citizens. Tomorrow they may mandate video surveillance of every home that has children, to make sure they're not mistreated. Then they may mandate periodical physical and psychological exams of everyone who comes into contact with children, finally concluding that everybody may fall into that category. Then they may want to install monitoring on your body, to make sure you don't get sexually excited around children, because their safety comes first. And so on...

    Nip it in the bud, better a little mayhem now than an Orvellian society later.
  • 0 Hide
    killerclick , June 30, 2012 5:14 AM
    ravewulfHow many people are going to be embarrassed or socially pressured when saying they want to "opt-in for porn" or go without and attempt to get around the filtering?


    That's the entire idea of the opt-out system.
  • 0 Hide
    bv90andy , June 30, 2012 9:12 AM
    Why would I block porn? Its the best type of sex education.

    No, but seriously, parents need to take responsibility. The way I see it, when you make a new contract they should just give you a leaflet telling you about this decision and how you can opt-out of adult content.

    Because most people making contracts are adults (all of them), so why block adult content by default?

    Also, even if you have children, the parents might still want to watch adult content. What about websites like Netflix and Lovefilm? There are movies there with adult themes... if I opt out, will I not be able to watch netflix?


    I say just hand out a flyer or a CD called "Install this on your children's PC"
  • 2 Hide
    dellivingston , June 30, 2012 5:29 PM
    All governments are the worst for two-faced authoritarianism and especially the British government. I am British and proud but I am not naive. This is completely about censorship of peoples’ freedoms. There is an even more insidious witch hunt in Britain regarding anti parent policies where the government does all it can to work against parents that it does not like (subjective decision making by local authorities and government - not always based on logic or knowledge). However, this policy filters down from government through their controlled institutions (schooling) to the parents and their children. In this distorted system that they have created British parents are viewed by the state as the potential enemy against what the government wants children to be like. This is two faced by any government – have you seen any of these characters that are in power in any government? Some of the most corrupt, pampered people on earth. This is the opposite for what should be the case. The politicians are the servants of the people. The people decide how they want to live and the politicians are there to try and make that happen.
    The British government / local councils have also created a system where they force the parents to toe the line by using a combination of carrot and stick methods (including taking parents children away from them – or to subjecting the parents to a “social work investigation” to prod the people to go along their line of thinking. Freedom to think, say and do is out. Control of the parents is very much in. This country is dreadful for that and it didn't used to be quite as bad as it is now.

    As an example the British government / local councils try to brainwash British kids (in school lessons) into thinking that all commerce should be Fair Trade, e.g. Fair Trade chocolate. This is complete nonsense. The UK economy and wealth was based on individuals / companies making vast sums of money from capitalism. Which by definition is unfair trade. You have got to have a buyer and a seller in a trade where one gains "profit" and the other gains a "product" otherwise you have a planned economy. It is as if the British government / local councils are pretending that Britain's wealth did not come about from slave labour, exploitation of the poor and the free market since time immemorial.

    Britain in the 21st century is the most spied on nation on earth and I despise it. I want change in Britain. Real radical change. The people should kick most current politicians, political parties and local councils out and establish a new social order that does not constantly spy on the people.