Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Latest attempt at filtering the Internet

This is serious stuff - the only hope we have is that every time this exact wording has been tried before it has failed. However, we are in 2016 where stupidity reigns at every level of government in all of the major countries of the world.

The proposed amendments to the Digital Economy Bill are detailed by Open Rights Group here.

So two issues.

1. That a filtered internet *must* be offered by ISPs unless the subscriber “opts in” to subscribe to a service that includes online adult-only content; the subscriber is aged 18 or over; and the provider of the service has an age verification scheme which meets the standards set out by OFCOM in subsection (4) and which has been used to confirm that the subscriber is aged 18 or over before a user is able to access adult-only content.

Now some of that is OK as EVERY SINGLE A&A CUSTOMER HAS OPTED OUT OF ALL FILTERING and confirmed they are 18 or over. We have no interest in contracting with under 18's as that is much harder to enforce and hence get paid. The only issue there is the "age verification" aspect - that has a shit load of issues as explained at length by ORG. I really hope that at least that bit is ditched - otherwise all out signup for new services will have an extra cost for us to pay some age-verification provider to check you are over 18.

REMEMBER! THIS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH USERS OF THE SERVICE! This is only for subscribers, which we want to be over 18 anyway. Their kids can be accessing all the porn they like and we would be 100% compliant.

2. The other worrying clause is CENSORSHIP of the internet at court order. We have this a bit for copyright law now, but A&A is too small to have ever had such an order, and it has been proved time and time again that such orders simply do not work.

There is NO TECHNICAL WAY for any ISP to actually PREVENT access to some part of the internet. If we allow ANY PACKETS in and out, even just DNS, then ACCESS will be possible so it is IMPOSSIBLE to comply with such orders. This needs knocking on the head now. It is nonsense.

Let's be clear here - if every ISP has to pay some third party age-verification service before they can sign up any customer, that will cost, probably several pounds, and that will be added to cost of signing up. For us it would not change our service, we ONLY do opt-out of censorship and ONLY do 18 or over, so nothing changes but paying an extra fee. Why do that?

P.S. Seems like the amendment has been withdrawn - but why do they keep trying to throw this in to legislation - what is the point?

10 comments:

  1. Just as emphasis for you - I work for a multinational company, and have the ability to choose which country's VPN endpoint I use from my company equipment.

    If the UK censors something, I can simply fire up my workplace VPN, and appear to the rest of the world as coming from a different country - and you as my ISP cannot distinguish "encrypted packet to Singapore whose contents will cause it to route to a legitimate uncensored server" from "encrypted packet to Singapore whose contents will cause it to route to a censored service in the USA". Thus, I can bypass any court order imposed on you.

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    1. Thus we cannot comply with such an order to start with and so should not even try. We can demonstrate how anything we can do can be circumvented to the judge if needs be.

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  2. Of course, if any deluded customer ever asks for a packet filter on their service that will flawlessly prevent their precious little Billy from watching 'adult' content, it's deny all from all. Job done. Advise how to do it on the CPE with the excellent 'scissors' utility on either the WAN link or the Power link.

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    1. At least the education sector has "got it" these days - 15 years ago, if little Johnny was found looking at porn at school, that was the web filter's fault and the filter provider caught hell; but now schools see it as little Johnny's fault and will discipline him. That's not to say that they don't want/need filtering, but at least they now accept that it isn't flawless.

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    2. "Advise how to do it on the CPE with the excellent 'scissors' utility on either the WAN link or the Power link."

      I certainly approve of the advocates of this insanity using scissors on a power cord. Preferably 3 phase, when they've just got out of the bath.

      Apparently the equally insane anti-porn side of this crusade is going ahead, though (obvious result: all porn hosting will have to move out of the UK). Sadly, those pushing it would probably mistake that for a "success" and be praised by the Daily Wail for "think of the children".

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  3. Have both amendments been withdrawn or just the age verification one?

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    1. Main AV clause is part of bill for porn, the AV for ISP service has gone I think.

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    2. Sorry, other than the AV for ISPs I was asking whether Court Orders to ISPs to block. Has that part been withdrawn?

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    3. AFAIK the AV for ISP and court blocking is withdrawn. The AV for Porn sites is not yet.

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  4. >> Seems like the amendment has been withdrawn - but why do they keep trying to throw this in to legislation - what is the point? <<

    They only need to get it past the MPs once...Try and try again..

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