Luddite MPs

August 1st, 2008 at 10:05 am by David Farrar

The Herald has a report on some UK MPs concerned about . Let;s look at what they want:

“We are concerned that user-generated video content on sites such as YouTube does not carry any age classification, nor is there a watershed before which it cannot be shown.”

How stupid are these people? A watershed time before some content can be shown? Oh yes that will work. And what time zone should be used, morons?

The MPs expressed their anger that the operators of such sites did not routinely screen clips posted on them by the public.

Oh yes that is so very practical. Let us look at how many videos are uploaded every day – around 65,000. Now if each is ten minutes long, then one person can do around 50 in a day. So these UK MPs think You Tube (which costs $1 million a day to run already) should hire around 1,300 staff just to screen the videos that come in.

Incidentially did you know You Tube concumses more bandwidth today than the entire consumed in 2000?

They said the practical problems of sifting through vast quantities of material could be overcome as technology is being developed that can rapidly spot hardcore pornography when it is uploaded.

Pornography is banned on You Tube. It normally gets reported very quickly and is gone within hours or minutes. Do these MPs really think people spend all their time on You Tube frantically searching for in the few minutes it is there before it is deleted?

I mean if people want porn, they will go to Youporn or Pornotube which have nothing but pornography.

“In a lucrative market, the cost to internet service providers of installing software to block access to child pornography sites should not come second to child safety,” the committee said.

Child pornography is sickening and authorities do a good job in prosecuting those who produce or distribute it etc. But the incidence of child pornography on You Tube is incredibly small, and anyone who uploads it will have their IP address given to authorities.

In terms of wider issues around access to child porn, I agree ISPs should restrict access where possible. But any such blacklists should be based on emperical evidence (ie the site has been verified as having illegal material) such as the British Cleanfeed system, and not on automated filters which “guess” is a site has illegal material and ends up blocking legal content.

The committee called for video-sharing sites to include a “one-click” facility that enabled users to report clips appearing to contain images of abuse directly to the police.

Not a bad idea, but which Police? The FBI? Scotland Yard?b

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31 Responses to “Luddite MPs”

  1. Rob Hosking (77 comments) says:

    Hmm…What’s Trevor Rogers doing these days??

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  2. pushmepullu2 (32 comments) says:

    No prizes for guessing which party these Luddites came from.

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  3. stephen (4,063 comments) says:

    The ‘oh that’s what a Youtube is!’ party? Anyway it was committee of MPs, so there would be all sorts on it.

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  4. goodgod (1,363 comments) says:

    Culture, Media and Sport Committee:

    Members,

    Mr John Whittingdale MP, Maldon and East Chelmsford, Conservative

    Janet Anderson MP, Rossendale and Darwen, Labour

    Philip Davies MP, Shipley, Conservative

    Mr Nigel Evans MP, Ribble Valley, Conservative

    Paul Farrelly MP, Newcastle-under-Lyme, Labour

    Mr Mike Hall MP, Weaver Vale, Labour

    Alan Keen MP, Feltham and Heston, Labour

    Rosemary McKenna MP, Cumbernauld and Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East, Labour

    Adam Price MP, Carmarthen East and Dinefwr, Plaid Cymru

    Mr Adrian Sanders MP, Torbay, Liberal Democrats

    Helen Southworth MP, Warrington South, Labour

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  5. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    “How stupid are these people?”

    Pretty stupid, but don’t be mistaken, the left are coming after the internet because

    1) They just cannot help their innate control freak persona and,

    2) They can’t abide by diversity of political opinion or worse, truth.. and,

    3) They’re all totalitarian swine.

    ..and like all such leftist subterfuge, the first step will be made under the guise of protecting the innocent.

    Oh and before the usually political maroons leap in whining that they’re not all Labour- SO WHAT? If so many of the so called right weren’t really abject leftists, we (or more pointedly the UK) wouldn’t be in such a God awful mess. Pseudo-Conservatives are as big a threat to our culture, civilisation and liberty as Pseudo-Liberals.

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  6. Bryan Spondre (554 comments) says:

    Maybe they are concerned more about the use of you tube to satarise politicians than it’s use to deliver pornography. Morons indeed!!!

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  7. Ryan Sproull (7,056 comments) says:

    Oh and before the usually political maroons leap in whining that they’re not all Labour- SO WHAT?

    A better point would be that Labour are not left-wing.

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  8. Bryan Spondre (554 comments) says:

    DPF: “Youporn or Pornotube which have nothing but pornography.” Links please :-) Just for research of course!!!

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  9. stephen (4,063 comments) says:

    Offering to verify that porn is actually porn and not an episode of ‘Will it Blend?’ Brian?

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  10. PaulL (5,968 comments) says:

    Will it blend. I saw the one on the iPhone. They were blending it before it was even available in Australia. That was pretty funny.

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  11. stephen (4,063 comments) says:

    No doubt it made a lot of tech-nerds cry.

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  12. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    “A better point would be that Labour are not left-wing.”

    Its not a point its a delusion. The kind of delusion that could only be held by someone who is -

    1) completely detached from reality, and,

    2) unable therefore to distinguish propaganda from truth..

    In your case, can’t thing of a more fitting description..

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  13. Mr Dennis (348 comments) says:

    You can’t control the internet, and shouldn’t want to. Completely impractical.

    However parents may wish to screen content for their children on their own computers. Does anyone know if any filtering software currently available can block inappropriate youtube videos (however that is defined) while allowing others, or does such software simply block whole websites?

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  14. Mike S (231 comments) says:

    My money is on Sue Kedgely going for this first.

    Bets please!

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  15. PhilBest (5,117 comments) says:

    Agree with Redbaiter. Ryan Sproull, how do you come up with the “Labour is not left-wing” assertion?

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  16. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    “You can’t control the internet, and shouldn’t want to. Completely impractical.”

    You need to tell that to Helen Klark’s good buddies, the Chicom generals who are closing down ISPs and jailing bloggers all over China.

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  17. Ryan Sproull (7,056 comments) says:

    Agree with Redbaiter. Ryan Sproull, how do you come up with the “Labour is not left-wing” assertion?

    UK Labour? The party whose government buddied up with Bush and illegally invaded Iraq?

    What would make you call them left-wing?

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  18. RRM (9,600 comments) says:

    YouPorn or PornTube – cheers DPF I’ll have to check those out now! :-)

    I don’t see why YouTube should be able to wash their hands of any responsibility for content just because “It’s too hard for us to screen it all.” Tough, it is their site. If there was no YouTube to post porn on, then children would not be able to sift porn on YouTube, if you see what I mean.

    OTOH, if the same child gets his hands on a Penthouse or Hustler (or whatever) without his parents’ knowledge or consent, is that the magazine publisher’s fault?

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  19. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    “UK Labour? The party whose government buddied up with Bush and illegally invaded Iraq? What would make you call them left-wing?”

    There you go Phil. Ryan is right on to it as always. So nauseating.

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  20. davidp (3,550 comments) says:

    It’s like Series of Tubes, version 2.

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  21. PaulL (5,968 comments) says:

    Well, we don’t make road operators responsible for whether the people in the cars are committing crimes. And we don’t make warehouse renters responsible for people storing drugs in said warehouse, nor city councils responsible for crimes committed in public parks.

    YouTube are a service provider. The person who uploads an offensive video is the one committing the crime, not YouTube. Same argument about ISPs – they aren’t responsible for whether you are downloading porn using their wires.

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  22. Ryan Sproull (7,056 comments) says:

    I meant the question, by the way, Phil. What would make you describe UK Labour as left-wing, apart from being theoretically less right-wing than the Tories?

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  23. PaulL (5,968 comments) says:

    Ryan, left wing/right wing are pretty meaningless definitions these days. If you stick to the economic bits of the policy of the parties, then UK Labour still supported large government and state run agencies. Having said that, they did introduce competition and choice in some areas, which is more a right wing concept. On social policies they probably fit the traditional left mold a bit more.

    Going to war in Iraq, and partnering with Bush in doing so (I’ll ignore your suggestion it was illegal given it had UN sanction) isn’t really a left/right differentiator to me – unless your definition of right somehow includes anyone who ever went to war. Tony Blair was a conviction politician, he went to war because he was convinced it was the right thing to do. We may disagree on whether he was correct in that belief, but it certainly wasn’t the case that Bush somehow pulled the wool over his eyes, or that Blair didn’t know what he was getting into. He was a full partner in the endeavour.

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  24. goodgod (1,363 comments) says:

    haha so left wing governments don’t go to war. Godssake Ryan, you on the hooch today?

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  25. gd (2,286 comments) says:

    One of most wonderful events in my adult life has been watching as the internet and other technologies empower the citizen and disempower the political and civil servant classes.

    As an avowed FREEDOM FIGHTER it brings great joy to watch these pond life who get their jollies from imposing their will on good people thrashing around frothing at how this and that must be controlled.

    Long mat it continue and we get access to even better ways to disempower these command and controls freaks

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  26. Ryan Sproull (7,056 comments) says:

    haha so left wing governments don’t go to war. Godssake Ryan, you on the hooch today?

    There are very few left-wing governments in the world, and the ones that exist don’t join up with the US to illegally invade foreign countries.

    And Paul, I do not believe Blair believed his given reasons for invading Iraq.

    And it didn’t have a UN sanction. Remember Powell and Bush getting up in front of the Security Council to try and convince them to sanction it? Aluminium tubes and vans? They didn’t convince the Security Council, and there is very very nearly total unanimity among international-law experts that no previous resolutions sanctioned the invasion.

    .

    You say the left-wing/right-wing are meaningless definitions these days. Why? Have the meanings changed? Or has the usage of them just been so consistently inaccurate that people’s use of them are ridiculous. What is the difference between National and Labour, or between UK Labour and the Tories, or between Republicans and Democrats? They both support a taxed capitalist economy with some state spending on community services. The difference is of degree, not of type. Why not call a spade a spade? Labour are higher-tax capitalists and National are lower-tax capitalists. ACT are even-lower-tax capitalists. They’re all the same species.

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  27. PaulL (5,968 comments) says:

    Ryan, or if I was RedBaiter, Labour are big government socialists, National are slightly less big government socialists (if we can ever get around to saying something other than “me too”), the Greens are big government socialists, even ACT don’t seem to be questioning the underpinnings of our welfare state. They’re all the same species.

    And hence the uselessness of the measure. It used to be kind of sensible when you only got two parties and one was left of the other. Where left generally meant economically restrictive, socially in favour of freedom. And right generally meant socially restrictive and economically in favour of freedom. And the measure was one of who was “more left” and who “more right.” Even that got broken down such as with the Lange govt v’s Muldoon govt comparison, where Muldoon’s govt was probably to the “left” of the Lange govt.

    The world has gotten more complicated, it is no longer the “workers” v’s the “owners”. People have more dimensions to who they are, and as our economic life has generally converged on a relatively successful model that needs tuning to the left or right, but not too much of either, people don’t choose to vote with that as their primary issue. Race relations, gender matters, local issues and all sorts of other things are starting to flavour votes, and many of those issues cut right across the traditional split between left and right.

    Ultimately I think we will end up with a “country CEO” who runs the day-to-day business of the country, a “president” who represents our interests on the world stage, and a large volume of referenda on the many social and policy direction issues that I don’t believe fit in neat and tidy boxes any more. As this happens, we’ll also find more and more people becoming “citizens of the world” – affiliating with like minded people offshore more than they affiliate with different minded people onshore. This will also be a good thing – I usually find when I travel that I have way more in common with the people of my age and generalised social group from other countries than I have in common with a large proportion of the NZ population. I suspect most NZers would find the same.

    These changes will eventually have to flow into our political system, and eventually our whole concept of a country. I’m not sure what it will mean, but “left” and “right” aren’t going to cut it.

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  28. Peter C (40 comments) says:

    Must beg to differ with most above – as the father of a 6 year old boy who is discovering youtube I am quite nervous. You can easily find stuff on there you wouldn’t want a child to watch. Indeed, there are highlighted videos at the top of the page that regularly change. There was one the other day with the word “porn” in it with the video being a “soft-core” (animated) takeoff of hardcore. All very well for adults but young minds? Of course a young boy will click on something if it looks interesting. I am not a techie so dont know how easy it is for Youtube to screen/filter stuff, nor if there is something we can load on our machine to block certain stuff on youtube.

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  29. PaulL (5,968 comments) says:

    Peter C: they can filter relatively easily based on words – but it also catches stuff that you wouldn’t expect to catch. There are plenty of joke videos that go up with titles that sound like porn, but then turn out to be David Hasselhof or some such (used to be quite the in joke).

    If we assumed that YouTube went and blocked all videos with dodgy sounding titles (not too hard in English, a bit harder when you remember that they accept stuff in a bunch of languages), the question is what next. If people still want to upload porn, they just won’t call it porn. They’ll call it “Happy People” or some such, and it will be even harder for you to notice what your kid is looking at – cause you think he’s looking at Happy People.

    Actually filtering based on the video content is a hell of a lot harder. There are some technologies that try to do this – you know, pictures or videos with far too much pink in them might be dodgy etc etc. Pity the person who wants to put up a video of their pink house. In general these technologies don’t work all that well, and have all sorts of gaps (what if my porn is of a black chick etc etc).

    I personally believe the best response for those with kids is:
    a) put the computer in a shared space, not in a bedroom. You need to be able to see what they are doing
    b) younger kids, keep to “closed garden” type internet, not the wider internet. You know, xtra.co.nz, or some of the kids sites (Disney and the like)
    c) from about 8-15, you probably need to explain to them what porn is, that it isn’t “bad” per se, but that really it is exploitation of the downtrodden etc etc, that some of it is pretty weird. Demystify it, don’t forbid it, but keep that computer in the family areas so you can see if they are looking at it every day v’s sneaking a peek at something to see what it looks like. Keep the lines of communication open
    d) above about 15, accept that they are now a young adult. If you’ve done the earlier steps they’ve probably learned what the internet is good for, and they’ve had opportunity as growing up to peek at whatever they wanted to. They’ve hopefully formed some views, with your help, about what is OK and what is not. Time to trust them at this point – and to accept that if they’re a boy and in their teenage years, they’re looking at porn. Just hope that they know that kiddie porn and freaky circus stuff isn’t OK, and why (with why not being “because I said so”). Sometime you have to trust the values you taught.

    In terms of technology for that younger age group, there are filters that block everything except specific sites (good for young kids), and you can also usually load blocks on your router that are time sensitive (mine allows me to block some sites at some times of the day).

    For the middle age group, you can get filters that run the other way – they block the obviously pornographic sites, but there are always new sites popping up that aren’t on the filters yet, and various forms of anonymizer. You stop them from getting to the obvious stuff, and hope the lessons you taught are working.

    For the older age group, I’d give up and hope. If you go with blocking, they’ll work out a way around it just because they can. If you set it to log but not block, they’ll be offended that you’re monitoring them. Teenagers – no way to win!!

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  30. Peter C (40 comments) says:

    PaulL – an excellent answer! Didn’t mention it, but you can read about basically anything, in great graphic tones, on Wikipedia as well. As you said, values, standards and discernments starts from home.

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  31. john terris (9 comments) says:

    WHAT ABOUT THE KIDS?

    I realise that some people just love You Tube and view an attack on it as the state gone mad.

    However, there is a major public health and safety issue in unlimited access by the young and the vulnerable to images which portray violence as a solution to their problems, and a satisfying sexual experience as some sort of naked gym workout.

    The British MPs are I think expressing widespread public concern about increasing crime amongst youth world-wide. The growing incidence of text bullying and the grooming of minors for sex via the Internet is not something which can just be dismissed as some some sort of unwarranted intrusion in a free society. Where else do we imagine the growing epidemic of youth violence in school playgrounds and in our streets, as well as the distinction this country enjoys of having the highest rates of teen pregnancy in the world, come from? The NZ Police and the Families Commission have both identified the Internet as a major influence here.

    However, this debate is not about free expression, it’s about allowing our children to have a childhood. Adults can and should be able to watch whatever they like but what about the kids? They are entitled to the protection of a responsible community. Studies going back 40 years show that kids exposed to endless repetitive acts of bad sex and violence, aquire a predisposition to all sorts of abberant behaviours. They come to believe that hitting other people is fine. What do you know, more bad stats there too, and a government programme designed to lower domestic violence by TV advertising.

    That’s only part of the solution. Most people don’t realise that we in NZ have the least regulated digital environment in the world. Elsewhere around the globe, you have, at one extreme, the Chinese government which monitors everything on the Internet. At the other extreme , here in NZ, Supreme Court judges and School Principals access porn on their work computers with impunity.

    If ISP providers don’t regulate themselves (they show no sign of doing so in NZ) then the state is going to have to, for the sake of a healthier environment for a most precious asset, our children.

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