Porn ban “technically not possible” warn ISPs

Dec 21, 2010
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UK government ambitions to make porn blocks mandatory and force individual users to actively request access to XXX content have been described as "technically not possible" by ISPs, with warnings that the end result of following such a path is "a walled garden of sites the government is happy for you to see" according to ISP Timico CTO Trefor Davies. The plans - which are intended to "protect children" according to UK Culture Minister Ed Vaizey - have also been criticized by digital liberties activists as an attempt to sneak in "generalised censorship through the back door."

Jim Killock, chair of the Open Rights Group, suggests that "if the government controlled a web blacklist," such as has been suggested for the ISP smut-block scheme, "you can bet that Wikileaks would be on it." However, as far as ISPs are concerned, it's unlikely the project would even get to that stage. "You end up with a system that's either hugely expensive and a losing battle because there are millions of these sites or it's just not effective," Davies said, "the cost of putting these systems in place outweigh the benefits, to my mind."

Davies too is concerned that the government may have other forms of content block in mind when it envisages the system, and UK regulators have come out in favor of parents being responsible for managing what their children access online. However, according to Vaizey the internet industry may have to act more decisively nonetheless; "I'm hoping they will get their acts together so we don't have to legislate," he said, "but we are keeping an eye on the situation and we will have a new communications bill in the next couple of years."

[Image credit Luke Robinson]


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