On November 23rd there was a debate in the house of commons, started by Claire Perry (Devizes MP), who believes ISPs need to offer a opt-in system to restrict access to pornographic material.

Ed Vaizey was in the house to chip in on the subject too. Thankfully he disagreed with Perry, and wanted a self-regulation system. Not that that is ideal either.


Perry comes out with some notable remarks, one of which is:

The arguments for passive acceptance and self-regulation are past their sell-by date, and it is time to regulate the provision of internet services in this country

A call to regulate the internet in order to filter pornographic material. Also..

Why should internet service providers be any different from other content providers?

TV is a receive-only medium, as is cinema and film. You can not transmit on those mediums, only recieve. Which is what makes the internet fundamentally different. The fact they can all contain pornographic images and films does not mean they can all be regulated in the same way in my opinion.

Notably, the combined revenues of that business model are more than £3 billion a year, so it is a deeply profitable industry in which to engage.

Vaizey goes on to point out that ISPs may make significant profits, but we do rely on the profits to provide us with better broadband. I fear the combination of the DEAct costs and any other regulatory costs imposed on ISPs will only result in weakening the UK broadband infrastructure and/or forcing ISPs to develop ‘new techniques’ (phorm anyone?) to provide more profits. These techniques will no doubt also harm net neutrality.

Vaizey goes on to say:

I am very interested in the work of the Internet Watch Foundation, because I believe that it provides a model that is now well established and working effectively. The issue I particularly want to discuss with the IWF is whether its work, which has hitherto focused on child abuse content, can be widened to cover some of the other issues that my hon. Friend has raised this evening.

Here we go, expanding the IWF list. It was only a matter of time before this system gets abused and expanded to cover other things. Although im not too sure how it will cope with a list of 12% of all the worlds web sites (250M). It would take a while to pass that list around the ‘pipes’.

The scariest part of this rather scary debate, is the talk of expanding the closed IWF (Internet Watch Foundation) list to contain pornographic material, as this would be unmanageable and open to exploitation.