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    Government Moots Law Change to Keep UK ISP Internet Porn Filters

    This is a discussion on Government Moots Law Change to Keep UK ISP Internet Porn Filters within the Sky news and announcements forums, part of the SkyUser Announcements category; Government Moots Law Change to Keep UK ISP Internet Porn Filters - ISPreview UK The Government has confirmed that they’re ...

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      Government Moots Law Change to Keep UK ISP Internet Porn Filters

      Government Moots Law Change to Keep UK ISP Internet Porn Filters - ISPreview UK
      The Government has confirmed that they’re considering the introduction of a “domestic law” that could prevent Europe’s new Net Neutrality rules from overriding their policy of requiring all of the United Kingdom’s major broadband ISPs to block adult Internet content.

      At present Sky Broadband, Virgin Media, TalkTalk and BT all offer network-level filtering based Parental Controls, which puts the ISP in charge of blocking access to adult websites, but only if you agree not to disable it. In other words, new customers are given an “enforced choice” and the feature comes pre-ticked as “Yes” (enabled), unless you opt-out by un-ticking the box.

      Some implementations of this system are more aggressive than others. For example, Sky will eventually enable the feature regardless of whether or not you missed the original notice, but the account owner can still disable it whenever they want and that’s true of all the above ISPs. Sky’s spokesperson said, “the automatic position of Sky Broadband Shield is the safest one for all – that’s ‘on’.

      However yesterday’s agreement on a new EU law to protect the Net Neutrality principle of treating all Internet traffic as equal (here) appears to have put a cat amongst the pigeons, although it’s not quite as strict as the Daily Mail appear to be reporting and indeed the new law has plenty of loopholes.

      Net Neutrality Rule (Extract from the Agreed Text)
      Providers will be required to treat all traffic equally when providing internet access services, without discrimination, restriction or interference, and irrespective of the sender and receiver, the content accessed or distributed, the applications or services used.

      On the surface the law suggests that any ISP choosing to automatically block legal content, be that pornography or other adult material (gambling or self-harm websites etc.), could from late 2016 find themselves operating in direct contravention to the new rules and thus be doing so illegally. Naturally this has the UK Government worried.

      A Downing Street source told the DailyMail: “[The EU rules] won’t kick in until the end of 2016. This means that if we need to we will bring in our own domestic law to retain the existing filtering systems the ISPs have put in place. In essence nothing will change.”

      But strictly speaking the Government doesn’t actually need a new law and there will no doubt be huge concerns at any attempt to legislate for an automatic filtering system, particularly since smaller ISPs would struggle to afford it and many of the bigger providers don’t even offer anything that strict.

      Similarly the new EU rules do actually allow for ISPs to offer network-level filtering systems, yet crucially this must be done “with the prior request or consent of end-users and the possibility to withdraw the consent, and thus such filters, at any time” (i.e. ISPs can’t impose network-level censorship without first getting customer approval).

      In reality all that’s needed here is for some ISPs to tweak their existing systems so that they NEVER PRESUME customer consent, which means that simply enabling the filtering regardless of whether or not a choice has been made would no longer be allowed (Sky take note). This still achieves the original ambition, albeit without needing a controversial new domestic law.

      Lest we not forget that such filtering is notoriously unreliable, incredibly easy to circumvent and often suffers from a mix of incorrect blocks caused by system errors, incorrect categorisation of websites (e.g. victim help sites being blocked under the ‘self-harm’ category) and sometimes generally overzealous censorship (beauty products, alternative politic viewpoints etc.).


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    3. #2
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      Re: Government Moots Law Change to Keep UK ISP Internet Porn Filters

      the user consent bit is what the gov doesnt like, they want a default on, not default off.

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      Re: Government Moots Law Change to Keep UK ISP Internet Porn Filters

      Quote Originally Posted by chrcol View Post
      the user consent bit is what the gov doesnt like, they want a default on, not default off.
      Hasn't default ON already been legislated in the UK?
      Please note the views and recommendations in my posts are my own and in no way reflect the views of Sky

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      Re: Government Moots Law Change to Keep UK ISP Internet Porn Filters

      all they need to do is ensure all isp's verify
      if a customer wants it on or off at the time of ordering
      in a prominent way

      e.g.
      two boxes both unticked

      Filtering ON
      FIltering OFF

      you cant continue until one of them is ticked

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      Re: Government Moots Law Change to Keep UK ISP Internet Porn Filters

      What a country!

     

     

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