UK’s New Online Porn Filters Blocking Sex Ed, Health Websites

When British Prime Minister David Cameron announced in July a mandatory, country-wide, opt-in system in order to view porn online, there were plenty of critics. The Electronic Frontier Foundation, for instance, speculated that under the legislation, Internet Service Providers could block a lot of non-pornographic content. It turns out they were right: Britain's major ISP's have been accidentally blocking access to sex ed and health websites. 

Tom Stefanac/Wikimedia CommonsTom Stefanac/Wikimedia CommonsBritain's four major ISP's — TalkTalk, BT, Virgin and Sky — have all installed the filter. For the most part, they are having problems with overblocking. According to BBC News:

Among the sites TalkTalk blocked as "pornographic" was BishUK.com, an award-winning British sex education site, which receives more than a million visits each year.

TalkTalk also lists Edinburgh Women's Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre website as "pornographic."

The company also blocked a programme run by sex education experts, and taught to 81,000 American children, that has been in development for more than 20 years.

BT blocked sites including Sexual Health ScotlandDoncaster Domestic Abuse Helpline, and Reducing The Risk, a site which tackles domestic abuse.

Sky also blocked six porn addiction sites. 

The measure was announced this summer, and Britain's ISP's have gradually implemented the filters in recent weeks. Cameron said the reason for requiring Internet users to have to opt-in to porn viewing is to "protect our children and their innocence." (The measure also bans "extreme," or violent, pornography.) So, while softcore online pornography has not been outright banned, users will need to call their ISP specifically requesting the filter be removed.

While the ISP's will likely adjust their filters so that the currently blocked sex ed and health websites can be viewed by the public, there are still significant problems with the legislation.

In addition to civil liberties concerns over curbing free expression, there is growing evidence that the filters may not be very effective in accomplishing Cameron's goals.

From a logistical standpoint, researchers in a Newsnight study found that, despite blocking many sex ed websites, TalkTalk's filter failed to block 7% of pornographic sites. Additionally, developers have already created a browser extension called Go Away Cameron that bypasses the porn filter. 

According to Justin Hancock, the managaer of BishUK, even if the currently filtered sites become unblocked, many sites are still at risk. "They might fix my site in the short-term but what about all the other sites that are out there for young people, not just sex education sites…who are TalkTalk to say what is allowed and isn't?" he asked

Additionally, TalkTalk did not notify Hancock that his site had been blocked. He learned about it from a news reporting agency. 

Some child safety groups have expressed their concerns that the filters are giving parents a false sense of security and are encouraging them to stop monitoring their kids' Internet usage. Victoria Shotbolt, chief executive of the Parent Zone, told RT, "We're focusing so heavily on filters and all of the ISPs having them and public wi-fi having filters that the message getting through to parents is that those filters will do the job."

Finally, the outcry over porn usage is based on the probably faulty belief that viewing porn leads to sex crimes and poor treatment of women:

If you look at countries that ban porn (and ones that don't), you'll notice that at best, there's no clear relationship between banning porn and that country's treatment of women and children. At worst, a ban on porn is perhaps harmful. For example, take a look at India, where the distribution of porn is illegal. That country has recently become notorious for an epidemic of brutal rapes, some of them against children. Meanwhile, in the United States the incidence of rape declined 85 percent over a period of 25 years while access to pornography has increased, The New York Times reported. The U.K. is probably closer to the U.S. in that stark in comparison, and is regularly rated as one the top countries in the world for women. 

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  • Sevo||

    'I know what it is when I see it'.

  • Paul.||

    OT: Nutpunch of the day, juries are not always your friend in reigning in the errant behavior of officer friendly.

    Jury finds Lakewood officer did not violate rights of man attacked by K-9

    Saldana said he was urinating in some bushes several blocks away when he heard a “loud voice telling me to get down.”

    “I did exactly as I was told,” he said, but Astor tore into his leg.

    The attack lasted only a few seconds, but the animal tore out a fist-size piece of his calf, rending ligaments and gristle, Saldana said in an interview. Saldana said the sound was “like tearing a chicken into pieces.”

    Saldana has said the officer repeatedly told the dog, “Get him, boy! Get him, boy!”

    Saldana was arrested on charges of felony burglary and was booked into jail after spending 10 days in the hospital. He was never charged with a crime.
    [...]

    In court pleadings, the city argued that the law allows officers to make “reasonable mistakes” that do not rise to the level of constitutional violations.

    http://blogs.seattletimes.com/.....ed-by-k-9/

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    A jury can be wrong, but you can't prove wrongness in a brief blog post.

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    Aren't companies and drivers usually held liable for "reasonable mistakes"?

  • Sevo||

    "Jon Stewart defends ‘Duck Dynasty’ patriarch’s freedom of speech"
    Well, no. What he does is gripes that the guy was tossed off the show.
    http://blog.sfgate.com/hottopi.....of-speech/

  • ||

    On ‘The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,’ Stewart admitted Thursday that while what Robertson said is “ignorant,” he also has “an inclination to support a world where saying ignorant s*** on television doesn’t get you kicked off that medium.”

    Since he makes a living making fun of people who say ignorant shit on television and even allows people to come on his show as a guest to spot ignorant shit, I'd say his position is unsurprising.

  • Paul.||

    I'm with Stewart on this one. I think Stewart's being entirely reasonable.

    I don't have to agree with what you say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it.

    I wish more liberals would take this position. Instead, we get wea-tea diatribes about hate speech and responsible speech.

  • Sevo||

    Paul.|12.20.13 @ 7:25PM|#
    "I'm with Stewart on this one. I think Stewart's being entirely reasonable."

    The only problem is that he's not the agent in line to lose money over the decision.
    My take is simple; the opinions of the guy and his employer are the only ones that (directly) matter.

  • Sevo||

    ..."I'd say his position is unsurprising."

    Except that's he's commonly too much of a hypocrite to make such statements.

  • ||

    His facial expression indicated that he was also being deliberately self deprecating.

  • Bobarian||

    Since Stewart says lots of ignorant shit on TV, this must make him nervous

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    For a supposed political commentator, he doesn't seem to know shit about very many details of politics, other than common stereotypes.

  • Agammamon||

    And the fact that he makes his living *saying* ignorant shit on TV . . .

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    First of all, I don't watch that shit, but how does a show shutout someone who is a key member of a family based reality show, and pretend like they don't exist?

    Second of all, butt sex is shitty. What's intolerant about making that statement?

  • SQRLSY One||

    Butt... Butt... Butt I've had ENUFF of yer shit... Now... Wink, wink... I want some of yer PISS!!! (Sophisticated humor I invented in high school, BTW, "Golden Showers", Ya know, I was before my time)...

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    A&E usn't Congress. They can control their personalities' speechmunless there's a contract saying otherwise.

    But it doesn't sound the same if Stewart says, "I get they violated his contract which I haven't seen!"

  • Anomalous||

    No sex please, we're English.

  • Hugh Akston||

    Honestly though you guys, the less Brits know about sex, the better off we all are.

  • Lady Bertrum||

    I lived in the UK for 18 months. It's a miracle the English manage to procreate at all. I suspect osmosis.

  • SQRLSY One||

    I suspect parthenogenesis or cellular division / mitosis, one or the other… Or maybe they reproduce by asexual protoplasmosis or alien-anal-probing or Ancient Alien History Channel Theory or something TOTALLY un-forsee-able by Us Who like plain vanilla Penises and Vaginas…

  • Agammamon||

    I do not think that word means what you think it means.

  • Lady Bertrum||

    I think I know what it means. I was being cute. Movement of molecules through a membrane into a region of higher solute concentration, to equalize the solute concentrations on the two sides. yada yada yada.

  • Dweebston||

    I think he meant "miracle" used in reference to English procreating.

  • Count Negroni||

    The 24/7 link on RSA including backdoored algorithms for cash is huge.

    Absolutely brutal to read that. It's insane.

    I knew they included Dual_EC_DRBG, but to have it come out that they were paid to, with a secret contract. It's not just that they put it in because it was a NIST standard. Nope, they put it in because they were paid on a secret contract.

  • Bobarian||

    Oh holy fuck!

    Everytime I think this NSA shit can't keep getting worse... pow! right in the nuts!

  • Count Negroni||

    The one from last night -- the president's commission's report specifies the NSA should *not* adjust account balances -- implies that they may have done it. And yea, it just keeps getting worse.

  • ||

    I wonder (not sure either way) if they would have still been willing to do this if they hadn't been purchased by EMC and were still an independent company.

  • Count Negroni||

    Figure for the NSA, pre-Snoden revelations, to get something like this done, they'd need to turn two or three people, max.

    If there's one super-engineer, just convince him. If there isn't, convince the bosses. They sell it to the techs as "include this RNG, because it makes us NIST compliant, and we need that to sell it to all these places."

    It's not like it's obvious that Dual_EC_DRBG is backdoored. It's not even confirmed yet, just assumed.

    Boss says put it in because we need NIST compliance? Perfectly reasonable request. Never look at the algorithm twice, because NIST wouldn't be stupid enough to standardize on backdoored algorithms that some hostile power could exploit, right?

  • croaker||

    Except that previous news items reveal that NIST itself has been compromised by NSA.

  • Irish||

    They are going to destroy the American technology industry with this bullshit. Why would anyone trust an American company not to be in bed with the NSA?

  • Count Negroni||

    Yup, pretty much. They may have already and just don't know it.

    But hell. The Progs are just about to go Luddite, anyway, so they would just ban the technologies anyway.

    Postrel's The Future and It's Enemies really does a good job of pointing out the odd collitions around technology. Biden wrote the patriot act and John Ashcroft opposed the Clipper Chip.

  • PH2050||

    Postrel's book is such a great read; I loved it and own a copy to re-read parts from time to time.

  • Cdr Lytton||

    They are going to destroy the American technology industry with this bullshit. Why would anyone trust an American company not to be in bed with the NSA?

    Opposition to Huwei as projection?

  • Sevo||

    For those tech 'users' among us, how about fleshing out WIH goes on?

  • Count Negroni||

    Dual_EC_DRBG is a software random number generator, included in the NIST standards. The algorithm itself is probably fine, but if someone chose specific initialization values, they could then predict what numbers would be given by the algorithm (it's a *pseudo*-random number generator, that problem is really hard.)

    If someone was to, say, pick random numbers for those initialization values from a raffle ball cage in front of a bunch of geeks, no problem.

    If someone comes out of the cathedral with the list of values to be used, forever and ever amen, you start to get suspicious.

    All that said -- as PRNGs go, it's pretty slow, and not particularly good. So why use it, unless you have to? I suppose a $10 million secret contract is a good reason.

    It was suspected that the algo was backdoored in '06. Snowden's releases in the summer almost confirmed that. A secret contract to default to it? That's enough confirmation for me.

  • croaker||

    So what does the average user need to do to keep NSA out of their underwear drawer?

  • Monty Crisco||

    Nothing. NSA doesn't give a shit about you. They do FOREIGN intelligence... FOREIGN, people, do you get it? Got a problem with domestic hassles? Take it up with the FBI or - hey, look! - the IRS. You are FAR more likely to be hassled by the IRS than the NSA.
    Just sayin'...

  • Count Negroni||

    Oh, and good random numbers are essential to encryption. If an attacker can predict what random numbers you will use, he can figure out what your cleartext data is.

    And given the CPU power, it doesn't need to be a *good* prediction. If a particular value (private key) is supposed to exist in a 2^1024 space, and you can ensure the RNG gives, say, 100 million possible values, that's enough. You can solve that encryption quickly, and most people wouldn't hit it with enough attempts to detect that.

  • Sevo||

    OK, so what is presumed to be an almost random number is now predictable by NSA.
    And the outfit which accepted NSA's value to produce this almost random number provides encryption sorta universally? So that what is currently presumed to be encrypted in the US tech industry is the NSA's comic book?

  • Count Negroni||

    Not quite that bad.

    There are a lot of PRNGs, and some of them we know aren't backdoored in the initialization value way (ie, values chosen from a raffle wheel, where it was next to impossible to cheat.)

    And hardly anything uses Dual_EC_DRBG. 'Cause it's slower than the other three in the same standard.

    But to implement the NIST standard, you have to support it. And the NSA paid the biggest crypto company to make it their default.

    It *may not* even be backdoored. We don't know where the initialization numbers came from. They could be entirely legit. But then there wouldn't be much reason to pay someone with a secret contract to make it their default.

    This revelation has a *huge* impact on RSA's reputation (which had been suffering already). It has a substantial impact on companies that use RSA's crypto library (with the default Dual_EC_DRBG or without).

    My guess? NSA was playing a long game, trying to get it used as a standard in everything.

  • Sevo||

    What is the NIST standard? National Institute for XX?
    RSA represents how much of the encryp market? IOWs, do half the banks in the US now automatically leak data to NSA?

  • Count Negroni||

    National Institute for Standards and Technology. It's not a requirement to follow it, but a lot of government agencies require it.

    RSA percentage of market? Hard to say. It's a big gap between open and closed source projects. Open-source projects almost certainly use OpenSSL. Closed (and commercial) are more likely to use RSA.

    Still, their BSafe library? I'd guess a very small amount of the market. 20 - 50% of commercial apps, maybe.

    IOWs, do half the banks in the US now automatically leak data to NSA?

    I'm not ruling that out, but probably not because of this program.

    Where it really matters -- imagine you're sniffing traffic. You record everything a computer sends and receives. Cleartext stuff, like H&R, is readable immediately. Encrypted stuff, like traffic to your bank or gmail -- you store it. When two computers want to talk encrypted, they exchange a secret key and use that. That key is generated with a PRNG. If you find that key our 5 years later, you can go back and watch that traffic you had. If you know that the key is in a set of 100 million rather than a set of 2^1024, you can figure it out.

  • Count Negroni||

    I should add -- RSA is used in two ways. One is as RSA the algorithm -- it's the first public-key (asymmetric) crytpo available to the public/non-NSA. Asymmetric crypto wasn't known outside of the NSA until the three guys behind RSA released their algo, and NSA hired essentially all American cryptographers.

    Public key meaning it has two keys -- one public, one private. Give the public to anyone, if they want to send you a message they use that to encrypt it, and only you can decrypt it. It has the nice side-effect that you can sign a message with your private key, and anyone that has your public key (which you put on a website or posted on a forum) can verify was signed by you.

    RSA the company was setup to sell software based on the algorithm. They had various issues early on, but had a decent reputation. Eventually they got bought by EMC (an enterprise storage behemoth.) Reputation is probably shot at this point (they also lost the seeds for those little physical one-time-key RSA keys.)

  • Sevo||

    OK, I think I'm seeing sort of, say, finding MS is holding the bag for NSA. No one trusted them 100%, but the presumption was that they were not a bag-man, and now is seems they are. And the damage is not only now and forward but applicable to stored (past) data. Close?
    But now I have a question I've had for a while:
    A) Generating a true random number through a human-designed formula seems impossible, in that a formula must impart some 'series' into the generator. The 'match' may be out there in really big numbers, but it is there.
    B) So why not hire Sam to flip cards from a deck and have Max come into the room every ten minutes and record five cards. Do this for the number of digits required and be done with it.
    There is a TRNG.

  • Count Negroni||

    Microsoft/NSA? That's been done. No contact yet, there, though.

    For A: generated random numbers is hard, but if you do it right, it raises the difficulty of predicting it to astronomical levels (ie, all mass in the solar system converted to a computer couldn't solve this problem before the sun runs out of energy.) Generating random numbers with software is hard.

    For B: there's a wonderful setup called diceware, essentially generating keys by rolling standard six-sided dice. It's fine, but it's not something you want to do every time you connect to Amazon.

  • Sevo||

    "For B: there's a wonderful setup called diceware, essentially generating keys by rolling standard six-sided dice. It's fine, but it's not something you want to do every time you connect to Amazon."

    OK, but if it does that, I now have a TRNG and can chose to encrypt to the point that NSA is screwed, right?
    Seems there's a market right there.

  • Count Negroni||

    That's exactly correct. If you have a good random number generator, and the assumptions we've made about what the NSA can do hold up, and you're using good encryption, you're safe.

    This is for Bitcoin, and talks about counting to 2^256. Figure that asymmetric encryption needs more bits for the same level of security.

    As to the market? To be trusted, you have to put your source out there, and OpenSSL already does that (and has it's own problems)

  • Sevo||

    ..."and the assumptions we've made about what the NSA can do hold up,"...

    Pretty sure that single-use keys and (real) random number crypts are absolute proof against 'breaks', shy of intel.
    IOWs, I'm saying there are no assumptions required or applicable for those crypts to be secure.
    Correct?

  • Count Negroni||

    The assumptions are in deep math, and assuming those hold true.

    Is it always really hard to factor large primes?

    That's the sort of assumption.

    It's always an underlying risk that the NSA knows math we don't (they knew asymmetric encryption, differential analysis before we did). As it stands, it's still a good bet that: Strong crypt algorithm (RSA, AES, etc) with decent random generation is fine.

    Single-use keys with a good algorithm should be safe past heat-death of the universe, yea.

  • Michael S. Langston||

    A) Generating a true random number through a human-designed formula seems impossible, in that a formula must impart some 'series' into the generator. The 'match' may be out there in really big numbers, but it is there.

    This isn't exactly true today - I mean while it is true than any random number generator has to use some starting point and therefore can never be as truly random as say - atmospheric noise - random number generators today are random enough they have not be broken (or if they have, those who can do so haven't mentioned it publicly).

    & it is a huge deal - as 20 years or so ago - random number generators used system time, and due to a consistent why that time was stored, could be broken.

    But the reason it's a big deal is that your public and private key only encrypts header information of what you are encrypting - in that header information is a new key which was generated in part using a random number generator.

    So the key opens the header, and the info in the header, opens the remainder of the message.

    So being able to accurately know what an encryption's algorithm "random" numbers will be - essentially allows you to break all encryption coming from that source.

    PS: Screw RSA & NSA - idiots could well ruin an entire US industry as no one should ever have any faith in US encryption products.

    I remember when RSA used to actively fight the government on thing like export standards - and yet now they're part of the problem.

    How far we've gone...

  • crazyfingers||

    How long until other "offensive" content is blocked?

  • Hugh Akston||

    Let's see...'penis'...'rectum'...'fallopian tubes.' Yep, these are all words that would appear in pornography, I imagine.

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    I knew a dude named "Fallopian Tubes", or "Fallopes" for short. He went to Wyotech.

  • C. Anacreon||

    Let's see...'penis'...'rectum'...'fallopian tubes.'

    Thus sites would be blocked that said:

    "the penis mightier than the sword"

    "rectum? Heck, it nearly killed 'em."

  • 2ndClassProle||

    Merry Christmas from Chuck Norris :)

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    I get it. This is libertarian paternalism. Nobody is being forced to do anything. Except the service providers. And the people who don't want to be hassled by bullshit.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    And people who don't want to talk to a random person at the phone company about how they watch porn?

  • Agammamon||

    Funny story - for several years, while using computers on navy run networks overseas, you couldn't order breast insignia from the online uniform store.

    Those pages were blocked for having the *word* breast on them.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    No sacrifice is too great if you're keeping Navy guys celibate.

  • XM||

    So gays can marry in GBR, but there are porn restrictions?

    I can't marry my cousins (not yet), but there's no restrictions to offensive content. USA wins again.

  • croaker||

    Unless you're in Appalachia, Arkansas, or Schoharie County, NY, there is no reason to marry your cousin.

  • Count Negroni||

    No independents thread tonight, eh? I blame Welch.

  • ||

    I hate to tell you this, but...

  • Count Negroni||

    3:15?!? WTF?

    Actually, I even saw that at the day job, and entirely ignored it. thanks, though.

    Also didn't turn it on tonight, as MIL is here, and I'm not sure she could handle Kennedy.

  • Sevo||

    Hey, missing a talk TV show and inane comments about the participants? How will I survive?
    I hope the contributions aren't going for this; are there commercials?

  • Count Negroni||

    All the commercials are for boner pills and reverse mortgages.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Jesus. Is the expected demographic 65 to 130?

  • Count Negroni||

    that appears to be correct, yes.

    Or GenX Kennedy fans fell apart way quicker than anyone could have expected.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    I resemble that remark.

  • Sevo||

    And here I'm in the demo and wouldn't watch it even if I had an idea what channel is was on.
    You guys got to tell 'em the ads are aimed wrong!

  • Hyperion||

    You got to get he reverse mortgage to afford all your boner pills and pay for cheap dates with all the gilfs you're gonna nail.

  • Count Negroni||

    Nuh-uh! Medicare Part D for the old, and Obamacare for the young not old

  • SQRLSY One||

    Y’all Reason commentatarians y’all! Y’all with yer fuck this & fuck that & fuckity-fuck-fuck-fuck, and talk of parasites “sucking at the teats of the taxpayers” and so on… Next thing y’all know, Reason web site will be BANNED in good ol’ Engrund, land of the source of freedom and other crappity-crap! And it will be all YER fault, the censors will have had NO other choice! Now LOOK at what y’all made us do! Ya left us with NO other choices, NONE at ALL!!!

  • Count Negroni||

    This is why Postrel hates us.

    I read this like listening to Listen to Buttcoin after clicking Cosby Mode

  • SQRLSY One||

    Ah LIKES butt-coin; Ah ams a regular ol' high-energy butt-miner of butt-coins, Ah am the finest in the land! Now WHERE can I cash in my butt-mining activities for regular Govern-mint Almighty coins?!?!

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    At least he didn't say cunt.

  • Hyperion||

    protect our children and their innocence

    Now where did he get that line of shit from? Yeah, that's right, he got it from our dipshit politicians here in the US. Whatever's the latest fascism that you want to push onto the people, that line is the ticket.

    But I can sort of relate to why they're doing it, and how it might really be protecting the children.

    You see, I remember back when I was still just a little innocent child. I was 7 years old and we were visiting one of my aunts. I just happened to walk into the house of my aunt and was going to use the bathroom when I walked past the room of my cousin, who was probably 18 or so at the time and he sees me walking past. So he says 'hey, come here kid'. So I walk into his room, and he points to the opposite wall, where hangs this large framed picture(photo) of two women standing in some scene, totally naked from the waist up. That's when, for the first time, I saw fully developed titties. TITTIES! I couldn't look away, I was mesmerized. And that's when it happened! I was instantly transformed from a totally innocent little child into a MONSTER! From that moment on, I did nothing but drugs, sex, pillage, plunder, rape, kill!

    See, that's what happens when little kids see titties.

  • croaker||

    Anyone who claims "it's for the children" should be immediately fed to a wood chipper.

    http://www.madmikein2016.com/index.html

  • Hyperion||

    Who says that radical feminists aren't Purdy?

    Please don't rape me with your male gaze!

  • Sevo||

    The Red Army might have, but...

  • Count Negroni||

    stop othering my brain

  • Agammamon||

    Uhm, OK. I got it that you 'need' feminism to stop you from being raped for wearing a corset (because that happens, like, *all* the time - is 'she was asking for it' still a legitimate legal defense for a rapist?) but what would feminism have to do with a not-woman wearing a corset.

    'Cause last time I checked, feminism was about *women's* rights (to do what their told by feminist 'leaders') and had no special insight into the plight of men, trans, whatever.

  • ||

    It's wrong for feminist propaganda apparatchiks to use the mentally handicapped like that.

  • pan fried wylie||

    Still waiting to opt-out of bleeping on TV....

  • Agammamon||

    Comedy Central likes to air Kat Williams specials.

    During the early evening.

    When you can't have cussing.

    Every damn other word out of the man's mouth is a profanity so for an hour all you hear is 'The *beep* *beep* *beeeep* is really *beep* *beeeeeeeeeeeeeep* *beep beep* and *beep* *beep* *beep*!"

  • RishJoMo||

    lol, those bloody Brits crack me up man!

    www.PrivacyTru.tk

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