There’s been a lot in the news about the Government’s Safety Summit where a number of consumer ISPs and online entities (such as Google) have been asked to attend a meeting to discuss how they can do more to prevent people accessing illegal online child abuse material.
Sometimes when this kind of news hits our screens I don’t bother to comment. It seems like every man and bonzo gets their word in.
It is worth however emphasising a point made this morning by The Today Programme on BBC Radio4 which was that there are two issues here. One is accessing illegal child abuse material and the other is preventing children accessing legal pornography.
Access to illegal online child abuse material is totally wrong and the ISP industry already works to stop accidental access to this stuff via the Internet Watch Foundation which produces a list of sites to be blocked. Most of these sites reside outside the UK and really it needs a concerted global Government effort to take them down. They should discuss it at this week’s G8 Leaders’ Summit.
Consumer ISPs have measures in place to block access to these sites where they are known. However the nature of the internet being what it is all that these measures do is to prevent someone accidentally landing on an illegal page. The determined sicko will easily find a way around the blocks. Interesting to note the BBC report that the Government has actually cut funding in the area of online child protection (CEOP).
There may be a discussion to be had with Google and other search engines (are there any others?) re how they themselves prevent illegal material coming up in search results but it seems to me that the real issue here is how we identify the sites so that they can be included in the IWF list and ultimately taken down.
The issue of how to prevent kids accessing porn is totally separate.
I was very privileged to be invited to the Global Business Summit at Lancaster House in London on Friday. This was a showcase of the best of British Technology Businesses and the guest list was a mix of UK and overseas business leaders. It was one of a series of sessions promoting different UK market sectors and ours was the last one. Being right next to Clarence House security was about as tight as it can get. The cops here always carry guns. I had forgotten my passport at home but fortunately my driving license did the job for photo ID.
We were treated to a keynote speech by Vince Cable, UK government cabinet minister with responsibility for business and by CEO of Facebook EMEA, Joanna Shields. I won’t comment on the specific of the speeches by either of these two or by any of the other speakers in the morning and afternoon. They were all positive, upbeat messages from people involved in the technology industries of which we should be proud.
It must be said that we do know how to put on great events in this country. Obviously there are the Olympics which on the face of it are a huge success. This was very much a networking event. As well as showcasing technology they were showcasing the best in British food and drink. We did our very best to sample it all – good manners and all that.
The food and drink was sponsored by the suppliers, I’m told. I’ll name a few: Bibendum, Nyetimber champagne (I realise we aren’t supposed to call it champagne but you may have noticed I’ve been feeling rebellious of late and it is just as good as the French stuff), Chapel Down and Primrose Hill wines – great I can recommend them.
The food was terrific – little bowls for lunch so that we could circulate and chat. Crab, braised beef, quail spring to mind. The canapes at the cocktail party after the talks were also very tasty – steak and chips, seared tuna, pea puree, amongst others. We had them with gin and tonics made with Tanqueray and Sipsmith gin and a cocktail called “English Country Garden” whose constituents I don’t totally recall (perhaps for obvious reasons) but which included Chase vodka and some kind of elderflower juice. I’ve included a short video of the Bibendum staff mixing the cocktail.
We aren’t supposed to take photos in “Royal residences” but everyone was doing so and the bar staff even took some of the shots for us. Also there were loads of official photographers clicking and recording away. No prizes but can anyone guess what the tapestry is behind the cameraman in the photo inset right. It’s quite famous. The artist’s name will do as an alternative.
Also click on the photo of Vince speaking to see some of the other guests – names? Finally who is in the photo of the panel? – click on it to enlarge and see more. As I said no prizes this time as I’m on holiday but lets see if anyone comes up with right answers.
Just come out of committee room 19 at the House of Commons where a “summit” was held to discuss the state of IPv6 readiness of UK plc. The summit was chaired by Ed Vaizey, Internet minister and together with Timico had representatives of the other top network operators aka BT and Virgin. The mix was enhanced by Cisco, Nominet, Ofcom and other stakeholders.
Reality is that most ISPs have IPv6 covered, or at least a plan in place. The issue is that the rest of UK industry doesn’t. There has been extreme apathy in the corporate sector to push this technology forward.
This is completely understandable. Currently there is no problem. Considering this given a choice between spending money upgrading the corporate network or investing in a revenue generating service the former is a difficult sell for a CIO.
Businesses do need to guard against complacency though otherwise they might find themselves with a problem that will either cost a lot of money to fix quickly or take years of planning.
Neither is government prepared, as far as we can see. This compares with other parts of the world where governments are either mandating IPv6 (eg Malaysia) or are cracking ahead with full blown implementation projects (US Navy/NATO apparently).
In the UK it would appear that IPv6 is seen as a more expensive short term option for projects, at a time where cost control is clearly important. There was a general consensus amongst the 15 or so attendees that the Government should lead on this and that this would spur industry into action.
I agree with this. The cost argument is not a real one but the complacency is. Also we run the risk of other countries being ahead on the innovation curve as they think of ways of exploiting the huge number of IP addresses that now become available with IPv6.
There isn’t a desperate panic here but UK plc does need to get a wiggle on.
Check out the DCMS press release on the summit here http://www.culture.gov.uk/news/news_stories/8205.aspx