Adult content blocks on mobile ISPs

Roland Perry lists at
Sat Mar 5 10:23:39 GMT 2011

In article <48A6804B-843F-477F-B8F2-81ECA165B6CB at>, Ian 
Batten <igb at> writes
>> But this is way beyond the sort of complication the authors were 
>>expecting to be legislating for [albeit that's for a court to decide, 
>>not the authors].
>It strikes me that ISPs that offer progressively finer-toothed filters 
>on content run another risk.   If an ISP offers a filtering service as 
>a value-added proposition ("you can buy a phone for your children safe 
>in the knowledge that we are looking after them and keeping them away 
>from all that nasty porn") and their filtering is not (100-epsilon)% 
>effective against said porn, wouldn't the contract holder, in this 
>scenario a parent, have a straight-forward cause of action for 
>non-performance, trade descriptions, etc?

It's very rare for any utility company to offer more than "best 
efforts", with service-level-agreements almost unknown for domestic 

>In the case of most  things you might sell with a child-protection 
>purpose --- child car seats, or stairgates --- there are BS or DIN or 
>EN standards that you can show compliance with, and if God Forbid a 
>child is harmed through the failure in some way of your product, 
>demonstrating that you have a correct test and quality regime so that 
>both the design and each individual realisation of it meet the standard 
>is probably a defence.   But if you are _selling_ filtering as a 
>contractual part of an ISP offer, what effectiveness is being offered?

People have been arguing about what a "British Standard" for filtering 
software would entail, for about five years. They got quite close to 
agreement at one point; not heard much recently.

>Assume filtering would be aligned with BBFC criteria, so that an ISP 
>would offer 12A, 15, 18 or R18 feeds.

That's a non-starter because the various 'publishers' are not required 
to rate their content, nor can an intermediary start rating everything 
on the fly. (These suggestions of yours are very 20th Century if I may 
say so. Various proposals for rating/filtering schemes all died out a 
long time ago).
Roland Perry

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