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David Cameron cracks down on online pornography

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Old July 24th, 2013 (1:30 PM).
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    Hasn't any government learned by now that banning something will only increase its production and use? Just as the United States did with prohibition, porn will still be available and will become a black market business, which makes it even more unsafe for both parties involved. When you criminalize sexual acts, you criminalize humanity.

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    Old July 24th, 2013 (6:34 PM).
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    This is silly on all fronts. Banning "simulated rape" is silly, as it harms no one. Making a blacklist of search terms is inherently flawed; how are they going to get around the problem of legitimate searches, such as "long-term effects of child molestation?" Machines don't understand context, their program will just see "child molestation" and say it's a blacklisted search term.

    And of course, censoring the internet by default is beyond abhorrent. People say Americans are apathetic; David Cameron deserves to be ousted more than any single American politician.
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    Old August 10th, 2013 (3:43 PM).
    Lord Natural Harmonia Gropius's Avatar
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      Crap is Da Tory party :) Someone get the them OUT!!
      Old August 11th, 2013 (12:25 AM).
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        Go to America for Porn the Neo-cons are dying porn is safe here for now (even in Texas) our Vote that r****d out of office I believe the government should be in your bedrooms (or wallet)
        Old August 11th, 2013 (2:30 AM).
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          Shame on you David Cameron! You are just using this as an excuse to censor the internet! Once he takes Pornography off the internet, he will then start taking down other websites.
          Old August 11th, 2013 (5:24 AM).
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          This is just me beating a dead horse again, but I think this is a good article as to why this will not work.

          1. It's impossible to filter just what you want to

          There is a tradeoff between failing to block inappropriate content and erroneously blocking harmless material which is educational, medical or artistic. A 2007 paper by the University of California, Berkeley, tested 15 combinations of internet content filters and filter settings. The most restrictive of those filters managed to block 91% of adult content – but it also mistakenly blocked 23% of "clean" webpages. The less restrictive filters had fewer errors but only managed to restrict access to 40% of material which was deemed inappropriate for children.

          2. Filters can't cope with context and nuance

          Filters that fail to distinguish between pornography and sites that provide advice on sexual health, sexuality and relationships could actually do more harm than good. ONS stats released on Thursday say 43% of people aged over 16 use the internet to seek health-related information – that figure has more than doubled since 2007 and will probably continue to rise.

          3. You can't be clear about what you filter

          It's virtually impossible to be transparent about internet filtering. There are 4.2m pornographic websites and 68m search engine requests to find those websites every day according to Internet Filter Review. Their statistics are likely to be guesstimates but they do show the sheer scale of a big chunk of our online world. Would the government publish a searchable database of every banned site? Would that list be updated regularly? With explanations about why each site was blocked? Probably not. That poses big problems for democratic principles such as oversight and accountability, especially when it's not clear why a site has been blocked. As the Internet Policy Review points out: "HTTP error codes are used by some filtering regimes. These are commonly either a 404 ('file not found') or 403 ('access denied') code." Those messages can mean very different things to an internet user.

          4. It's not as simple as blocking a website

          As well as performance issues, questions have been raised about the scope of internet filters. Some types of filters are unable to block material exchanged through peer-to-peer networks such as instant messaging, streaming video or file-sharing programs.

          5. Many children are more tech savvy than their parents

          Children will simply change the settings. This is a criticism that Cameron may have pre-empted but did not necessarily address when he stated: "It should not be the case that technically literate children can just flick the filters off at the click of a mouse without anyone knowing … those filters can only be changed by the account holder, who has to be an adult." A US panel officially mandated by the Child Online Protection Act argued: "A child can simply guess the override security word/number set by a parent to switch a filter off for adult use (how many parents set their password to their birth date or license plate number)." Crudely put, a filter has to be simple enough for technologically feeble adults but difficult enough to stop a tech-savvy 17-year-old working out how to bypass it. Arguably, no such filter exists.

          6. There will always be ways round

          Proxy servers can be used to bypass the filters. And there are countless tutorials online about how to use these servers. Attempts to block search results for "how do I bypass the filter?" would also need to block search results for "how can I see search results for the question how do I bypass the filter?".

          7. For parents it may provide a dangerous illusion of safety

          Filters could send the wrong message to parents that their children are unable to access inappropriate content online. Adults would have a false impression of security and fail to take steps to inform their children about online risks.

          8. Filtering at router-level is inflexible

          The proposals are unworkable because they are not device specific. A household may want one level of internet filtering for its shared computer, and another entirely for its mobile phones.

          9. It sets a precedent for restricting legal content

          Some of the content which Cameron proposes to filter is legal. Campaigners such as the Open Rights Group believe that excluding legal material online amounts to censorship and that it sets a dangerous precedent for other groups in the UK (and other governments abroad) who have an interest in suppressing information. Some specific cases illustrate the point well. The Clinton administration might have appreciated mandatory pornography filters at the time of the Monica Lewinsky scandal, for example.

          10. It's not cost effective

          High-profile technology advisers such as the Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales have claimed that the plans are a "ridiculous idea" because they waste money that would be better spent on bolstering police resources to deal with online crime. Even the 2008 report by the Australian Communications and Media Authority admitted in its conclusion that it had not been able to "consider the balance of costs and benefits" associated with implementing filters.

          11. It hasn't happened yet

          We've been here before. Cameron "unveiled" almost identical plans in October 2011. That would suggest at best that these plans are difficult to implement and at worst that they are distraction policies, designed to deflect attention from more detrimental news items. Cynics will be quick to point out that the plans were unveiled the same day that a group of MPs released a report saying that official migration statistics were dangerously inaccurate and "could be out by tens of thousands". It was also the day that the "go home" poster campaign designed to target illegal immigrants attracted criticism.

          12. And finally it's a gimmick rather than a solution

          Internet filters obscure the real debate about the psychological, social and physical effects of online porn.

          David Cameron has better things to do than trying to filter pornography in a futile effort. This is just worthless.
          Old August 11th, 2013 (4:34 PM).
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          Why do you want to filter pornography? I understand that sex is such a super bad thing, it's not like it brought anyone into existence or anything, and it's certainly not like humans are born with minds wired towards sex (which is why NOBODY EVER MASTURBATES, EVER) but, honestly, pornography 95% of the time is between consenting adults, produced in film (whether or not it's real). There should be no reason why pornography should be banned because in the end, there's very little that's truly bad about it, bar the one in a thousand individual that gets addicted to it (but you can get addicted to gambling and food, and there are more cases of both). So what? Porn. Bits that you have and that the other gender have, being used in some way. Big whoop. As long as it's between adults and not say like, children or animals, I could give less of a **** (and so should everyone else)
          Old June 13th, 2014 (5:01 PM).
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            I don't see what's wrong with this. Cameron only referred to "extreme pornography" -- porn that features violence and abuse of women. Also, the main purpose of this is to crack down on pedophilia. I seriously doubt this will work, considering proxies are a thing now, and filter bypassing is commonplace, but it's worth a shot.
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            Old June 14th, 2014 (3:55 AM).
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            This thread is a touch old - before it got bumped by mr spambot here (drakie), it was last posted in August last year.

            Needless to say, closed.
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