Great Firewall of Cameron: the worst of all worlds for British parents


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Well said. I have been trying to explain this to a number of people for the last few months. It seems they just get hung up on the “no one needs porn so just ban it, we have to do something” idea. Of course they don’t see that you can neither ban it or filter it out and that trying to do so makes this worse.

I now have a good place to send them but I would say whilst I really like the analogy but those same people will just say… you shouldn’t drive with bad brakes you just stop. So we should stop porn!


But that’s an even weirder argument. By that logic we should also ban music and film. Neither are necessary; and there’s nothing more human than sex. Are your friends Amish? :stuck_out_tongue:

No not Amish. They don’t have a problem with sex they are okay with that.

Let me try again…

They would say that if you detect bad brakes on your car the correct response is that you stop and get someone to fix it so then you can drive normally rather than with the care and attention required to get a car with faulty brakes to the repairers.

So if porn on the internet is like the bad brakes on your car you get the porn removed from your internet and thus there is no danger and kiddies can use the internet with impunity.

Of course they don’t realize that by assuming the filters work perfectly they are effectively assuming that their brakes can never go wrong so can drive like an idiot at any time. (Hmm thinking about it and seeing how some people drive I guess this is how a lot of people think.)

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If you type ‘big dick’ into a search engine, will this automatically filter out all photo’s of Cameron?


If porn’s a problem (and it is really; delve into the lives of most of the participants), just make sure everyone appearing is really ugly.

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Yeah, Canute (aka Cnut) thought he could control the waves too and he’s probably automatically filtered just in case…

The internet is where you go to find out about stuff. It should also teach you that…

  • There is lots of nasty stuff out there
  • You cannot believe all you read or see

I have just been reading the ‘femskin’ article. I had no idea there was such a thing, and now I do. I am not sure I will ever use the knowledge, but I am probably somehow richer for having seen it. This is the internet working as it should, even if it can be upsetting at times. If you chop out all the rude bits because you want it to be something you can amuse your children, you kill it. Or worse, you turn it into sucky, wholesome (nearly said ‘Disney’ there, but they don’t deserve that) ‘educational software’.

That’s assuming you could do a perfect job of filtering the Internet. And everyone who knows says you can’t come close.


Do you want children to watch porn? Do you like it when children see dicks? Why do you want to show your dick to children, Dr. Ow - if that is your real name?

But for reals. I have no problem with internet providers offering a service like this for parents who want to control what their kids watch, but to make it so that you have to opt out instead of opting in is just ridiculous. As much as I try, I just can’t understand what goes on in the heads of the people who support this. Why would anyone ever think it’s a good idea?

Though I probably just demonstrated in the first paragraph why some politicians decided to hop aboard the Cameron Crazy Train. No matter how good your reasons are for opposing the censoring, some people will always see you as supporting porn and cry out “but think about the children”. It’s just much safer to support it, just like it’s safer to support the War on Drugs.

Hang on guys, I’ve got to correct something here…the Amish are no more squirrely about sex than any other U.S. fundamentalist religious group. They’ve even got the incest and other rape statistics to prove it. Maybe it’s the Shakers you’re thinking about?

Downton Abbey watcher, perhaps? :wink:

There's nothing more deadly than a false sense of security: If you know your car is having brake problems, you can compensate by driving with extra care, increasing your following distance, and so on. If you falsely believe your brakes to be in good running order, you're liable to find out the hard way that they aren't (if you survive, you can thank Bruce Schneier for that apt and useful analogy).

I totally agree with this, and more…if you block normal pathways to access forbidden subject matter, then if your kid has half a brain (or friends with half a brain) they will figure out how to circumvent the filters in such a way that they will be swept out beyond the breakwater in the undertow of the Deep Web. Out of the frying pan, into the fire.


I was getting at the ‘removing unnecessary evil activities’ thing more than sex specifically; I probably just didn’t tie the comment together very well.

Never meant to say anything about the Amish other than the people I was talking about where not Amish.

Yet again I prove why I don’t write for a living!

OIC…thanks, guys!

Cameron’s version of the Iranian “Halal Internet” can’t possibly filter out all the bad stuff, nor can it avoid falsely catching good stuff we want our kids to see (already the filters are blocking websites about sexual health and dealing with “porn addiction”).

This is a problem libraries have been dealing with for, as far as I know, there’s been an internet. Libraries, for the most part, want to block the “bad stuff” but not the “good stuff”. And as far as I know no one’s come up with a real solution, short of putting computers in very public spaces where everybody keeps an eye on everybody else.

I’m surprised Cameron hasn’t proposed that as a solution.

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David Cameron’s attempt to create a Made-in-Britain version of Iran’s “Halal Internet” is the worst of both worlds for parents like me.

Well, no, because parents like you know that it is garbage, and will opt out of it, right?

That’s how it worked in our home: the only accessible computer was in the kitchen until the kids had proved themselves capable of making responsible choices regarding screen usage (both content and when/where). At some point, you want them to be able to look up sensitive subjects in private.

What works for kids works for adults just as well.

Listen to their speech carefully. Every time they say something that’s similar to a swear (especially if you can maneuver them into speaking about clASSic cars or saying “I was going to BUT …”) tell them that your profanity filter has caught them and they need to contribute to the swear jar. By the end of the conversation, flag even sentences that have no profanity and say that your profanity filter has adapted to their speech and has detected something undesirable. Even better, don’t flag sentences where they DO actually swear.

You can do this with emails as well, and the non-real-time interaction will make it easier.

Then ask them if they think the government’s filter will be any better than yours as you go out to a restaurant to eat or to get drinks (using the swear jar to finance the trip.)

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The library system in the nearest city to me started by putting filters on the computers in the kids’ section and nothing on the rest of the computers. Then in 2007, the library board decided at a meeting without even putting it on the agenda to put filters on the adult computers. Then things blew up. Very much in the same way that the debate is going in the UK actually. The busy-body Christians and the anti-porn feminists on one side against the librarians, freedom of expression people, and technical people who know that filters are useless on the other side. The filters were removed after a few more library board meetings and physical privacy screens added to make accidental viewing of other peoples screens less likely.

While I was checking for articles to see if my memory was accurate about the events (it wasn’t entirely), I found this really good video from 2011 about what happened. It’s an hour long presentation at Western University from one of the free speech people. (It also contains a partial shot of what I think is one of the Abu Ghraib photos, so maybe nsfw).