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July 22, 2013


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Charles Oppenheim

Brilliant post. Well said. DC doesn't seem to understand how the Internet - or human beings - work at all. My hope is that he's out of office well before this stupid idea of his gets any sort of legal backing.

Robin (@inrepose)

I agree with you. Censorship won't restrain the really nasty people that will always find a way to find the junk, even if it is just through physical sharing of images on disc or visits to foreign countries. So if it can't stop them why the rhetoric from Cameron?

All I can think is that he wants to use the mechanism of forcing control and monitoring into the ISP's. A convenient banner to force the setup of more monitoring and control technology. To be honest I think that technology is already there, this is instead a way to soften and justify the use of it so it does not come as such a surprise.

Neil Infield

Well argued Phil.

Will this count as pornography?


Phil Bradley

This is a very good point Neil. I think the line that might be taken is 'material that is designed to provide sexual arousal'. So in theory, this might also include fetish wear shops and god knows what else besides!


well put Phil.

It will restrict a lot of art on the web or great works of fiction that would be now be classed as pornography. It's a sad day for common sense and the rise of Big Brother again

David Bradley

Fundamentally, Cameron and his ignorant cronies are led by their egos. They make endless idiotic kneejerk reactions to lobbyists and people who shout the loudest. Then, when it all blows up in their face because they were too stupid, quick to react and ignorant of the myriad consequences that would ensue, they make a U-turn.

Thatcher, for her many faults, must be turning in her grave.

Democracy my *rse.

Plus ca change...

Katharine Schopflin

"Material that is designed to provide sexual arousal" would count for an extremely large proportion of mainstream newspapers and magazine content.

P. Matthews

A lot of the arguments against filtering are either a) focusing on edge cases; and b) assuming that the current policy has not had any expert input. It is actually relatively easy to maintain a blacklist that is kept up to date by the community - I have been using OpenDNS for several years now and it works well. *Of course* it doesn't block everything but it just makes it a litle harder to stumble upon pornography if you're not looking for it.


Hi Phil,

I swear when I first read this yesterday there was a section devoted to the US first amendment and how it make it impossible for Cameron to get US search engines to filter out content. But this morning, it seems to have disappeared. What happened?

Phil Bradley

Hi Richard,
I think you must be getting two sites confused - this wasn't something that I included in my blog post and I haven't edited it at all.


David King

I'm playing devils advocate here, but you've raised a bit of an ignorant point:

"...if parents are capable of buying a computer and setting it up, they're capable of installing software that is designed to [protect your children]."

That covers the 90's household with a single PC shared by the family, but you've forgotten the modern world has mobile phones, tablets, games consoles, TVs and everything else that connects to the 'net. If each one runs a different OS then you're probably looking at a not insignificant bill for all those filtering apps. Then there's the mobile networks too.

John Kirriemuir

It's an electoral numbers game and political posturing. There's well under two years now to the next general election. Cameron will have been briefed on things Internet, and will know that most of what he says is misleading and unworkable, and that the very bad people will easily find technical ways around any measures he puts in place.

However, he'll also know that it sounds great to the ill-informed, naive and technically illiterate: "We will make it harder for bad people to look at bad things online, and we will protect children, etc etc". And that the opposition, if they counter, can be spun to look irresponsible e.g. "Labour are trying to block our measures to protect your children. The Conservatives are the party of the safe family".

Cameron's lost a lot of support, especially in the senior demographics who may abstain or vote UKIP, partially because of gay marriage (one of the few good things he's achieved), and needs that massive block vote of previously reliable seniors to (re)turn out and vote Conservative in May 2015 so he can remain Prime Minister. "The net is bad and we will make it harder for bad people to use it" is calculated to sound good to them, especially the many in that demographic who do not use the net and "learn" (cough) about it from the papers.

It would be so good if someone senior from Labour or the Lib Dems would just stand up and say a frank and 100% accurate piece about what is possible and what is not, as well as privacy, safety and libertarian aspects. But after watching PMQs for the last few years, not optimistic on that. At all.

At some point after the next general election, if he remains in office, any plans or promises will be watered down or quietly dropped.

Kevin Morrissey

My concern is the database of people who opt in which will be created and then made available to the Police, local councils including social services and uncle tom cobbley etc.

You opted in, no job as a teacher for you. Sorry you failed the adoption process, you opted in. Further down the line your "opt" status could be included with information like CRB checks.


"Material that is designed to provide sexual arousal"

Well there goes Page 3. Mr Murdoch is not going to be happy about that. There goes Ann Summers, 50 Shades of Grey and Last Tango in Paris, basically the middle class and working man's vote.

I'm hope I'm not the only one who had visions of Maude Lovejoy shrieking "Won't someone please think of the children" when they heard about this.

Garry Humphreys

That's telling 'em, Phil, and I couldn't agree more. In fact I'm forwarding your piece to my (Conservative) MP. Perhaps others should do likewise.

Thank you!


Hmm, interesting that when DC has been questioned regarding page3 his response to parents is to simply 'turn the page' Hypocrisy much...?

David Sant

As my 'career' sails into the sunset, how fascinating to watch librarians, presumably of the usual soggy left-wing variety, falling over theselves in the rush to defend access to pornography.


As you watch careers sail into the sunset, you realise they really didn't understand the profession they worked in. Which perhaps explains the mess we are in...here's hoping the next generation make a better job of it. One wonders what other *legal activities* David thinks should have restricted access? If anyone is 'soggy' it's the kind of people who cave in to state propaganda so willingly and without engaging their critical faculties.

Good post, Phil.


Phil, your excellent argument hinges on "Why should your choice be taken away from you because of them?". But why is choice so important? I have no choice over many things in my life. PLEASE expand.

Phil Bradley

Hi Norman,

Thanks for your reply, which I have to admit that I find puzzling. The only people - it seems to me - who dislike choice are those who want power. The lack of choice is obvious in totalitarian regimes. Bullies like lack of choice and forcing people down one road. There are of course lots of things that we have no choice over, but to use that as an argument to lose even more choice seems somewhat peculiar to me.

David Sant

I'm sure 'Phil' has had a very nice time in librarianship, as, no doubt, have 'Ian' and the rest of the library trendies. Goodbye librarianship.

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