Adult content blocks on mobile ISPs

James Firth james2 at
Sat Mar 5 11:33:04 GMT 2011

Roland Perry wrote:
> 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.

Firstly thanks everyone for the valued debate earlier on mere conduit and
Directive 2000/31/EC.  I'm still of the mind that because viewing a web page
is a "fetch" operation, ie solicited, then we can draw a distinction between
web filtering and email filtering. But I see problems with the lack of
clarity in the legislation and analogies to "good" blocking (IWF) could lead
to common-sense interpretation that filtering on its own should not be
grounds to revoke mere conduit protection.

On blocking I see a practical problem that could open up any filtering
system to a level of "corruption", in that any attempt to enforce a fairly
rigorous age-verification system by the ISP overlooks informal content
"hiding" systems currently in used by sites like Flickr (amongst many

Flickr carries adult content, there's no rigorous age verification required
to unblock this content, so why isn't Flickr blocked by default on
A.N.Arbitrary Network?  Is it "too big to be blocked"?  Which brings me back
to my bugbear of audience monopolies being a bigger threat to free market
competition than non-neutral networks (OT: see Audience Monopoly and slightly more on topic: 5 problems with the UK net
filtering proposal: )

James Firth

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