Who decides what you should see online? The Government, of course.

Today’s report from Claire Perry MP says pretty much what we expected – it is for bureaucrats to decide what we can and cannot see online.We must then ask permission from our internet service providers to see content that is absolutely legal.

Despite being a report dedicated to online pornography and how anyone wishing to see it should be forced to opt-in with their ISP, the report offers no definition of what is pornography or adult content.

Inevitably, the Internet Watch Foundation was cited as an example of how network-level filtering works. Sadly the report fails to mention the extremely high threshold for sites to be blacklisted by the IWF or the way that the IWF list has driven child abusers into non-web based communication (and therefore out of the reach of the filters, and harder to find for law enforcement.)

The report reccomends that, within 12 months, the Government should mandate network-level filtering by ISPs, although exactly what they are supposed to be filtering is unclear.  The proposals are made without any qualification or apparent consideration of either the technical impact or the likelhood of avoidance measures. It bears all the hallmarks of a policy proposal that is trying to fix a problem without understanding the solution, or even acknowledging there may be unintended consequences.

Without offering – or even attempting to offer – a definition of adult content or pornography, the report demonstrates its fundamental failiure – this is a moral argument, not a serious attempt to understand the challenges of new technology.

Are internet providers are also expected to spy on their customers to check they are not looking at something they should not be? It’s far from clear how filtering works without this kind of monitoring, particularly given the inevitability of evasion measures.

For anyone who doubts the risk that Government plans to monitor web use will not lead to calls for controls on what we can browse, this is a stark warning.

Technology is not a substitute for parenting or a quick fix for social problems and as long as what you’re looking at is not illegal, it is not for the state to stop you.




  1. Beleaguered Brian
    19th April 2012

    This is what you get when you have people who haven’t a fucking clue about the technology and how it works sticking their oar in where it’s neither needed nor wanted. It’s high time parents realised that THEY are responsible for what THEIR precious offspring are exposed to on the internet. Start taking some responsibility people.

    • Colin Gott
      20th April 2012

      Spot on mate!!!

    • Anonymous
      20th April 2012

       I’d go one step further and confiscate their children if they cannot look after them properly. Its bad enough and now it’s coming to a head, get a clue parents.

    • Non-Newtonian fluid
      4th May 2012

      how does a parent stop a child from receiving an email on a mobile phone?
      emails may have images attached …

  2. Chris2
    20th April 2012

    Can’t see what the Rothschilds are worth already! Is it the $5,000,000,000,000.00+ the Chinese Economist Song Hongbin calculated? Never mind, with hired hacks like Claire Perry in the only job that needs no qualifications, we don’t need to worry our little heads about it. Who cares if there are cures for Cancer, Aids and Diabetes being hidden. Who cares if the Rothschilds killed a Princess and organised 9/11. Who cares if the SAS/MI5 Search Team found Madeleine McCann’s kidnapper at a Mafia/IRA/CIA Hotel a month after she was taken on Evelyn’s orders. Certainly not his favourite little poodle Blair.

    • Sega
      20th April 2012

       Be careful what you say online because there are criminals in the military who are monitoring everything on the internet and they put you on a secret Organized Stalking list. If you have never heard of Organized Stalking before I would recommend you take a look at this article by Eleanor White at //www.stopos.info/osatv.pdf

      • Chris Chambers2
        21st April 2012

        Whatever really needs to be said was done so 2000 years ago. It is they who need to be careful!

  3. Non-Newtonian fluid
    4th May 2012

    Surely the simplest option would be for the Govt to fund, or make the ISP’s, a free application that users (i.e. the parents) could download and install to stop porn, hate, sick videos, horror films, religion, football, etc, with just a simple series of clicks.
    It won’t do any good, as the children would simply use their smart phones, however, it would [i]look[/i] as if the parents were doing something so they could watch Eastenders or Corrie or go to the pub and not worry about their offspring.

    Face facts, porn is not the worst the internet can offer, unless you are religious.  It is far, FAR worse IMO that young kids take photo’s of themselves, including partially clothed ones, and send them to their “friends”.  THIS is what needs to be stopped … and by educating in schools AND at home.

  4. » Why the UK porn filter is a terrible idea. DevRandom
    5th September 2012

    […] …Conservative MP Clare Perry’s report back in April, which advises that the government should control what UK internet users can and cannot see online. […]

  5. MisterDave
    5th September 2012

    I’ve been trying to find out for a while who decides exactly what gets censored. Whilst I was waiting to go into theater for the cancer cut out of my shoulder last month, a nurse recommended me a cancer self-help forum and gave me a URL. I tried it on my phone only to find it was blocked by Orange’s web censor. Why? It seems I’m not allowed to know that, and I should be satisfied that I could get the blocking lifted on my phone simply by attending an orange shop as soon as I was well enough to leave hospital and do so.

  6. Guest
    17th July 2013

    Claire Perry (along with Theresa May) needs to fall on her political sword and die already.

  7. Cameron’s Phoney ‘War on Porn’ is Actually a War on Privacy | Scriptonite Daily
    22nd July 2013

    […] privacy and freedom.  How will data on who requests porn or not be stored and used?  Does anyone requesting no porn […]

  8. Cameron’s phoney ‘war on porn’ is actually a war on privacy
    23rd July 2013

    […] Secondly, privacy and freedom. How will data on who requests porn or not be stored and used? Does anyone requesting no porn filter become somehow suspect? Will it become lawful for someone to be have their internet usage monitored where they have requested the filter removed, the act itself becoming a red flag? […]